The Prius is the first car I’ve ever seen that comes with a quick-start guide — a small tear-off sheet giving startup instructions. Starting the car is different enough from every other car I’ve ever seen that the clerk at Enterprise had to walk me through it.
Check out the key. It provides a subtle break with reality as you know it. This plastic, electronic key looks like the remote doorlock and trunk control of a more traditional car. In fact, the engineers at Toyota essentially built the car key into the remote control. The result says, This is not your father’s Oldsmobile. And thank goodness for that.
The key device, which is about the size of a small box of wooden matches, slides into a slot in the dashboard. The next step in starting the car, according to the quickstart guide, is to press the POWER button. I had to laugh — this car boots up. I really enjoyed pressing that button.
I’ve been debating getting one of these vehicles for awhile now. I’m definitely a point-A to point-B car owner as is evident by my appreciation for cars other folks tend to hate such as Pontiac’s Aztek. In addition to being better for the environment and easier on the gas consumption, the Prius also has a big pull on my Gadget Geek side. The main thing that’s keeping me from making the plunge is the fact that A) I still haven’t fully paid off the Grand Prix yet and B) I should probably get something that has more capacity for hauling crap around inside it as whenever we need to move something we end up calling on friends and relatives. But I can always dream.