It's always interesting to see automotive trends evolve. Take hybrid-car design. When the first Honda Insight and later the Toyota Prius debuted, they featured designs that hinted vaguely at futurism and carried a look-at-me-I'm-different aesthetic that seemed to be the automotive version of the running shoes with individual toes.
Fast forward several years and most hybrids have been assimilated into already existing models or their looks have been toned down. Then there's the Toyota Prius, which if not doubling down on those "I'm-different" hybrid roots, is not abandoning it. We drove a 2016 Prius Four in Sea Glass Pearl and it carries over to the new model year. The Four is the second-from-the-top trim of the Prius models. This fuel sipper gets you 54 miles per gallon in the city, 50 on the highway.
The interior is roomy for a compact, and there's even a respectable 27.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. The cabin is futuristic with an instrument panel not behind the steering wheel but at the top center of the dash. Advantage here is that you can keep your eyes closer to the road.
The technology package ($1,935) — we think it's worth getting — adds a moonroof, color head-up display, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, full-speed dynamic radar cruise control and auto high-beams.
What you won't get is an exciting driving experience — the tires on 15-inc alloy wheels can be loud on rough roads, the brakes can feel disconnected and the handling is not razor-sharp. But none of those things are what prospective Prius buyers likely will make a priority.