Bought this during one of the coldest winters in Utah. Still got 44 mpg. Weather is beginning to warm up now and get 47 mpg. Hopefully it will continue to go up in summer although the ac will maybe drive mpg down.
Mine is the top of the line so it has vsc, abs, and all the airbag packages. I'd be lying if I said this stuff doesn't matter because it does. I have three other cars that don't have all this safety equipment and they don't do as well in adverse weather as the Prius. It makes adjustments as you drive if it feels the wheels doing things they shouldn't. All I know is with the same tires and weather conditions the Prius makes me feel safer. On the subject of braking, it does take a light foot with this car as the regenerative braking seems to assist you. If you brake in this car like you normally would in another car, you'd be close to going through the windshield! It doesn't take long to acclimate to this...
I didn't expect this in a small car but it is a fairly quiet car. Cruising at 65 mph on the freeway one can carry on a conversation in a normal voice. Build quality is excellent and parts are light. If a stiff wind comes up the car does get a bit noisy but not severely so.
Mine is the Touring model so it has a slightly stiffer suspension and larger rims and tires so it is not as smooth riding as the standard or base models but it does ride smoothly nonetheless. I used to drive an old Cadillac and it was smooth but was a mess on a curvy mountain road. Not so with the Prius as handles well and has a very compliant ride.
Top notch quality from a Toyota product. I've bought many Toyotas over the years and this takes a back seat to none in quality. I have very little to complain about with this car.