Feature Flick: Toyota Hybrids Tour the Land of Diesels

Can hybrids penetrate the European market, where diesel-powered vehicles reign supreme? Motor Trend’s Jonny Lieberman drives three Toyota hybrids in Paris to find out on the latest episode of The Downshift.

Lieberman’s hybrid safari begins just before sunrise in Paris, where he drives the Lexus GS Hybrid through the city. While the Lexus brand hasn’t seen the same success in Europe as it has in America, Lieberman believes the GS Hybrid could catch on thanks to its smooth and silent ride – both qualities you’d want in a luxury car. Contrasting that driving experience is a BMW 5 Series diesel, which Lieberman recounts as sounding like a truck when idling at a stoplight.

Next, he drives the European-market Prius and the Toyota Aurus Hybrid, a model not available in North America. The Aurus uses the same drivetrain as the Prius, and feels sportier thanks to its smaller size. Finally, Lieberman leaves France to tackle the famed Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps race course in Belgium in the Lexus GS Hybrid F Sport with four-time Nürburgring 24 champion Marc Duez coaching him around the course.

Check out the video below to find out whether Lieberman thinks hybrids can gain traction in the land of diesels.

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2012 Toyota Prius

2012 Toyota Prius

MSRP $29,805 Five Hatchback

0-60 MPH:

9.8 SECS


51 City / 48 Hwy

Safety (IIHS):

Best Pick