According to a report in the Contra Costa Times, the bear climbed into the 2002 Toyota Prius at about 3:30am one morning earlier this month.
Managing to get itself wedged behind the wheel, the bear became frustrated and started tearing at the interior as it tried to find a way out.
In the process, it slashed the seats, bit a big chunk out of the steering wheel and damaged the transmission by bumping the hybrid into neutral.
Parked on a slope, the Prius rolled backwards out of the driveway and picked up speed as it continued, crossing the street, jumping a low rock wall and finally coming to a rest on a neighbour’s porch steps.
Awakened by the ruckus, the Brian McCarthy and his family could do little but watch on from inside their house until the bear eventually broke free of their fuel efficient hatchback and escaped back to the woods.
Mr McCarthy said the car was completely closed and had no food in it to attract the bear.
Police from the South Lake Tahoe department said it was ‘not uncommon’ for bears to break into cars, but also ‘definitely not a normal thing to hear about’.
We think the bear may have been living out its dream of being a car reviewer, in which case it probably would have praised the Prius’s ease of entry, low running costs and its off-road ability, but taken marks off for interior space, cabin durability, steering wheel taste and ease of egress.