The Toyota Prius Plug-in is probably the most modern car on the road these days. And it is the number one in the green class.

There tends to be a bit of mickey taking about the Prius. Its owners are described as the brown bread and sandals type, earnest to protect the planet at any cost.

The Californians just love a Prius and there are more owners per head of the population than anywhere else in the world. But hold your horses before you express an ill judged opinion because the Prius is quite an exceptional car.

So first things first. The car is a five door auto, is not cheap and it costs £33,195 to get it on the road with the government paying the extra £2,500 fee as an inducement to go green.

The 1.8 engine has the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive which mixes the four cylinder in-line 16-valve power pack with an electric motor which makes it possible to drive almost 300 miles to the gallon. Yes that’s right, 300 miles to the gallon.

And if you choose to ignore the electric element you’ll still get more than 60 miles to the gallon by just using the petrol engine.

But this plug-in version of the Prius is the ideal commuter car because you can drive for 30 miles in pure electric mode and charge the battery in just two hours. The charging speed has increased by 65 per cent.

Toyota was the first manufacturer to bring in the plug-in option and now they have the world-first eV range-extending solar panel roof option, capturing solar power for battery recharging. And that alone will provide you with three miles of drive power in about eight hours of the car standing in the sun!

The car has a top speed of 112 mph and a 0-62mph in just over 11 seconds and also the attractive insurance group of 21E and there is the benefit in kind of nine per cent.

And the maximum speed in EV mode has increased from 53 to 84mph which is like driving a top speed dodgem car.

The Prius handles extremely well and is the sort of car most motorists would be happy to have in their garage. It is lively enough, good around the corners and the speed is more than sufficient for your needs.

It is something of a luxurious vehicle with good gear and is ideal for four people. Hence that’s why many taxi drivers have them.

On the safety front Toyota is on a par with Volvo when they build cars. The Prius has pre-collision system with pedestrian detection; cruise control; lane departure alert with steering control; driver and passenger front and side airbags; driver's knee airbag and curtain airbags. The list goes on.

Try ABS with electronic braking; vehicle stability control; traction control; hill-start assist and even rear passenger footwell heating.

The toys include a dual 4.2in multi-information display; heated front seats; power lumbar adjustment on driver’s seat and power windows; dusk-sensing headlights; auto-dimming rear-view mirror; sunglasses holder and a wireless phone charger.

There is a six-speaker audio system 8in touchscreen, six-speaker audio system with RDS tuner, DAB and CD player, satellite navigation, on-line connectivity, advanced; Bluetooth, rear-view camera, Aux-in and USB port.

The exterior features include heated, auto-folding door mirrors; 15in alloy wheels; front fog lamps; LED headlights, rear lights and daytime running lights.

As with all Toyotas there is a five year/100,000-mile pan-European mechanical warranty; three year paintwork warranty; 12-year anti-corrosion and perforation warranty and one year full AA cover.

Servicing is recommended every 10,000 miles or annually.