YOU might not like the looks of the new Toyota Prius which arrived in the UK earlier this year but you will certainly be impressed by its engineering and technology.
The Prius famously started the hybrid revolution and quickly became the vehicle of choice for environmentally-concsious drivers and motorists who wanted to reduce their running costs.
To be honest, I have never really been a fan of hybrids and have always found them to come up short, so I was pleasantly surprised by the improvements the new car delivers.
You will either like or hate the sharp styling with its many lines and creases but they are all there for a reason - to reduce drag for greater efficiency - resulting in lower emissions and higher mpg.
The Prius sits on a brand new platform which will be used in a raft of new Toyotas and all the big parts - engine, gearbox, electric motor and battery pack have all been considerably improved.
Toyota is claiming new benchmarks in fuel economy, emissions and efficiency from the new car, which is cleaner than ever with CO2 emissions falling to just 70g/km.
The car is powered by a new generation of Toyota's full hybrid powertrain, giving the potential for an astonishing average fuel return of over 80 miles to the gallon.
Powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, the Prius is able to operate in petrol and electric modes as well as in a combination of both.
The 1.8-litre engine is backed up by a powerful electric motor, a generator and a Nickel metal-hydride battery.
When you set off gently, the Prius automatically operates in EV mode, using electric motor power alone and if you are on the morning commute it will also crawl along nicely just using battery power.
When the time comes to go quicker the petrol engine immediately cuts in and does the business.
An ECO setting allows you to select from three drive modes - EV, ECO and Power - but don't expect to get anywhere near the claimed 85.6mpg. I did manage to get in the mid 60s during a couple of journeys so that is still respectable.
The interior is much improved and the Excel model tested offers stacks of kit to keep you comfortable and interested. The equipment list includes dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery and heated front seats, a head-up display, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, smart entry and start, park assist, wireless phone charger and a 10 speaker audio system.
You also get Toyota Touch 2 with Go PLus which included a 7in touchscreen, DAB radio and CD player, satnav, a text to speech function SMS text and email display, advanced Bluetooth, WiFi hotspot and access to online services.
The Prius also has all the latest safety features including hill-start assist, a blind spot monitor, tyre pressure warning system and Toyota's pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.
There is a high tech feel to the cabin and while the Prius is not a sporting drive, it is smooth, quiet and refined. The CVT automatic gearbox also feels better and the Prius is good for 112mph with 62mph being reached in 10.4 seconds.
Boot space is a generous 502 litres and inside you will find the dreaded tyre repair kit.
Prius prices start from £23,295 and the top of the range test car came in at £27,450 before adding £495 for hypersonic red paint.
A five-year/ 100,000 pan European warranty is standard and you also get one year's full AA cover.