Feature Flick: Toyota Prius Faces an AMC Gremlin, And a Tank

Where your opinion stands on the Toyota Prius and hybrid cars in general is probably influenced somewhat by your socio-political beliefs. General opinion on the car ranges from seething hatred by those driving behind them going 10 mph below the speed limit in the left lane, to love for its perceived environmental virtuosity and frugality.

As you might expect, the Prius is not exactly one of the favorite vehicles of Hot Rod magazine, and the Roadkill team of David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan make no secret of their disdain for Toyota's poster child for efficiency. In what may be a world first, the duo compares the Prius with another hatchback icon of bygone days, the AMC Gremlin. Although a compact, unlike some other vehicles of the era, like the Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega, the Gremlin came standard with an inline-six engine.

The pair get their hands on a well-used, high-mileage Prius with over 280,000 miles on it. Once they figured out how to drive the futuristic (compared to the Gremlin) hybrid, they were surprised by its performance relative to the disco-era AMC hatch, with the Prius decisively pulling ahead of the Gremlin in impromptu roll-on acceleration tests on the freeway.

But the final test of performance was on the Streets of Willow, where the pair expected the Gremlin would finally show its superiority. Once again, the Prius looked like it was going to demonstrate its superiority, until the engine started making a loud clanking, ultimate resulting in a smoke, a seized engine, and some minor pyrotechnics. Finally, after nearly 300,000 miles of virtuous service, the Prius is recycled, the Roadkill way…with a tank. Watch the full video and its dramatic, crushing conclusion.

Be sure to watch Roadkill on the Motor Trend Channel every fourth Friday.

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