Me & My Car: Morgana O'Reilly loves her purple Prius people mover
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Morgana O’Reilly stars in Mean Mums, Tuesdays on Three, and The Sounds on Neon TV. She drives a Toyota Prius V.
You knew this was for a car publication but you’ve turned up with a Prius. Not only that, a Prius people mover. And it’s really dusty. What do you have to say for yourself?
Ahhh! Please forgive me, but in the wide scheme of things, you’re welcome! Water restrictions plus small children equals no time or resources to wash one’s car.
But I will not apologise for having a hybrid people mover, never never never! We were really adamant that we wanted to find a car that was good (or at least better) for the world: having two kids already puts a strain on the environment.
Also after our previous car, a Toyota Camry hybrid, it’s hard to go back to a normal petrol car, for the cost alone; getting petrol every week seems absolutely insane once you’ve gone hybrid or electric!
What path of car ownership led you to a Prius?
Our last car in Melbourne was a Toyota Camry hybrid. It was a big spaceship of a thing to drive which was great, and also packed a bit of grunt considering it was hybrid. But it was a sedan, which we quickly realised meant it was hard to stack all the kid stuff in the boot.
Having spent some time in LA last year, we borrowed a friend’s Prius and it was great! It was the classic Uber model, but it did the trick, and that’s all we need in our situation, so that’s what got us looking into the Prius V wagon model.
Why this particular car?
We are a family of four; we need something to get us from A to B safely, effectively, economically and sustainably.
Because it’s the wagon model it has heaps of glorious space… heaps. The added bonus of the aubergine colour sets it apart from the typical white Uber Prius.
Who drives it?
It’s shared between my husband and I. Our children are desperate to drive it, but they will have to wait around 10 more years to reach the pedals.
What’s the single best feature of your car?
There are many things for a parent to love, but the bestest bit is how cheap it is to run. A tank of gas a fortnight, sometimes longer, it’s great!
What’s the worst feature of your car?
The compromise for getting an eco car at a reasonable price is definitely the lack of muscle. It’s gentle acceleration, even when you floor it. But hey, we are under no illusions about an aubergine Prius wagon being some zippy city number, so it’ll do for now.
Do you think hybrids are the future?
Yes! Well, actually I think electric is the future. I can almost hear my daughter, 10 years from now, when she’s learning to drive:
“So wait, you had to put petrol in your car?”
“Every week, you’d go to the petrol shop and pour it into your car and then pay THAT much for it?”
“Why didn’t you just plug it in at home?”
Do you prefer to cruise or go for the gaps in traffic?
This is a contentious issue between my husband and I.
I definitely feel the odd “gap fill” can get one moving a little faster. But I’m also aware I’m like a shark in traffic, I just have to keep swimming. Queen of the back street routes!
Okay, money no object – what’s your dream car?
Since I was little, my fave car has been a Valiant Regal. Can someone turn it into a badass eco machine for me?
What car did you learn to drive in and when?
Jeep Wrangler! I loved that car. I was desperate to learn to drive since I was like, 8. But was finally allowed to start learning around 13-14. When we’d take road trips from Auckland to Wellington, Dad would take me off-road through the Desert Road and let me 4WD. He was a great driving teacher; the 4WDing helped me learn how to handle a skidding car, which has definitely saved my life on one or two occasions.
You’ve spent a lot of time working in both New Zealand and Australia. Which nation has the better drivers?
This is a very interesting question!
So, Melbournions are some of the kindest people on the planet; I would often go to a café or a gym and make small talk with someone working there and literally just want them to be my best friend.
But on the road: woah! It’s one of the most aggro places I’ve driven - Sydney coming a close second. My theory is that because they have a lot of two-lane roads, but there are so many parked cars in the left lane mean there’s actually only one lane; so at the traffic lights people often nip left and cut in front after the light goes green.
It’s infuriating! “Wooopeee, you managed to get two cars ahead, buddy. Cheers.”
Then throw the trams and train crossings into the mix and oh how I laugh when Aucklanders complain about traffic.
My other observation is from driving in LA. That city is huge and fiercely busy, but people let you in through traffic easily and regularly. I can now see it’s a bad move to cut people off, because no one gets anywhere like that. To keep it all moving, you got to let people in.
Seriously, when do you think you’ll clean the Prius?
I feel it’s adding a certain grimy grunt that my aubergine machine is pulling off astonishingly!