My folks have a Prius, and I'd like to offer a little public service announcement:


Y'see, quite aside from the expected sources of geek distraction in this car (the coolness of the whole hybrid thing, the cuteness, the running silence), there is a very cool little lcd panel in the dashboard. It's also a touchscreen. It is an interface to the various systems in the car (cd player, radio, mileage and trip counters), it can interface with a GPS device (drool), and (here's the dangerous part), it displays your choice of constantly updated charts while you're driving - on-the-fly mileage charts or an animated flow-chart of which engine is being used and whether or not the electric's battery is being charged or drained. Oh god. It's insanely fascinating. We narrowly avoided so many accidents while staring at it. Please, please, if you are a geek, avoid this car, for the safety of everyone. It's only a matter of time before someone gets linux running on their Prius, and then god help us all.

Heehee. Anyhow, the prius is a dream to drive. It's a smooth ride, it's incredibly quiet (you have to be careful about pedestrians - the electric motor is so quiet that you can sneak up on them and freak them out.), and while it's a very small car, it's roomy inside. The mileage is incredible, especially in the city. (yes, bitter_engineer, it's because there's more braking in the city and because there's more low-speed driving. for sustained acceleration and steady high speeds, the gas motor tends to kick in.) The switching between (that's a bit deceptive - often both motors are used, and sometimes the electric is both being charged and used. it's crazy stuff.) motors is automatic and transparent to the user (well, except for that cool display) - if you've ever driven a natural-gas/gasoline hybrid car with a picky manual switch-over, you will greatly appreciate this feature. It's expensive for a small car, but you will save a bundle on gas, and depending on what country you live in, you might get an insurance or tax bonus too for buying such an environmentally friendly car. I know in Canada in most provinces you get a rebate of the sales tax you pay.

You will also totally totally get chicks with this car. Cute, geeky, enviromentally inclined chicks. Trust mama yam on this one.