Kurt Verlin
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Are the Toyota Prius’ Glory Days Over?

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2016 Toyota Prius Four Touring

The Toyota Prius’ status in the automotive world is legendary. Regardless of what you think of its styling or handling (bland and bland, yes we know), there’s no denying that it set something extraordinary in motion back in 1997, when it became the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in the world.

Today, the Prius is the poster child for green cars and it hasn’t been resting on its laurels; the latest model is still the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered car available in the United States without plug-in capability.

But the Prius isn’t novel anymore. Hybrids can now be found in the lineups of just about every major automotive brand, and plug-in hybrid and all-electric models are becoming increasingly common as well.

In fact, plug-in hybrids are arguably better than hybrids in every way: they’re more efficient, have more range, and can theoretically be driven purely in electric mode provided your commute is short enough for you to be able to recharge in between.

Still, it would be an error to just discount the Toyota Prius. Sure, most people don’t like the 2016 model’s styling, but it does remain the most efficient non plug-in hybrid you can buy and Toyota continues to sell nearly 200,000 per year.

For the first time, the Prius is also kind of fun-to-drive—and these are words you would have never heard someone utter in that order a few years ago. Even if you don’t find it as interesting as you might have back then, there’s always the Prius Prime on its way to US markets later this year.

In fact, if the Prius’ glory days are coming to an end, it might just be the Prius Prime that steps in to take over.