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Who owns a Toyota Prius and how do you like it?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Nic36, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    I suspect many members do not own a Prius, but I figured I would ask anyway. Presently, I own only one vehicle-a 97 Tacoma 4X4. But, I was going through a green light in town late last month (December 2010) and a young gal ran the red light and "t-boned" me. Thank goodness she admitted to the cop that she ran the red light, because everyone going through the green light with me kept going. She missed all of them somehow. I had to have the alignment fixed on my truck, but I am still able to drive it and her insurance has since paid me to have it fixed. (It was an ordeal though.) I really loved the truck and I realize now that replacing it with another is not an option as those smaller (not made now) trucks in good condition are outrageous. I can buy a black door and fender from a junk truck locally and then have the body work done. So, I can actually save a little by doing that way. I can also keep driving it as-is indefinitely.

    But, I have considered buying a little Corolla or Civic as a gas saver for longer trips and daily driving. I know owning two vehicles does not make financial sense. I had an older Camry I had just sold, betting I would never get into this predicament.

    Anyway, I have also had the wild idea of a buying Prius. I have found a couple for sale reasonably priced. If anyone owns one, I would appreciate their thoughts on it.


    Wrecked Tacoma:

    http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp205/Woody35722/100_4464.jpg

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  2. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    hahaha...should have named this post "who owns a prius and will admit it?" at somepoint, people will see you driving that car...
  3. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    I will be the first to admit they are ugly. But, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    But, gas is projected to hit $4.00 a gallon by this summer. I hope not. If it does though, I could live with how it looks.

    I have been doing some reading and I have a very short daily commute to work-about a 10 minute drive. For a Prius to get it's maximum MPG, it must driven for about 15 minutes to warm up and do it's thing. I'm still leaning towards a Corolla at the moment.
  4. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I don't own one but those I know that do have praise them. I've heard they're not good in snow and that the traction control system doesn't work well.

    I think Garygary of the Builditsolar website and a poster here has one.
  5. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    My wife has a Camry hybrid and we love it. The factory tires are useless here in the winter but with a decent set of all seasons the car has no problem in the snow.
  6. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    I have a 2006 Prius that I bought new. I am very happy with how it's performed. It now has 111K miles on it an it has been rock solid reliable.
    The factory tires it comes with are crap, like most other cars these days from what I've seen. Replaced them at around 40K. with half-decent tires it's about as good in the snow as the other small or mid-sized front WD cars I've driven. In 111K miles I've replaced the headlights, small 12V battery, tail-lights, tires, oil & filters and that's it.
    I average right around 50mpg lifetime. Less in winter, better in spring & fall. I use a few tricks to get that: block the grill in winter, run the tires about 5 psi on the hard side, go easy on the heat & AC, but I drive same as always, 70-75mph on the freeway and no drafting or anything crazy like that.
    It is not a dragster, that's for sure, but the torque of the elect motor helps a lot with acceleration whether stopped or passing. The ride is about equivalent to a Corolla.
    You would likely be surprised at how roomy they are. The Prius is classed as a mid-sized car, not a compact as most expect. 5 adults fit without squishing. That's where the value comes IMO. Also cargo space is good since it's a hatchback. I've basically never had anything that wouldn't fit in the hatch. I can even fit 10' dimensional lumber with the hatch closed and have done it many times. Oh, they also come very well equiped even in the base model. Mine doesn;t have a single option but is better outfited than my 2'nd car.
    What else do you want to know?
    A great resource for geeking-out is Priuschat.com

    ps. Any car with an internal combustion needs to get up to temp before hitting peak efficiency. Prius does pretty good on that front since it has a tiny 1.5L engine to get warm and it also has a nifty "thermos" that stores hot coolant for many hours. A short commute will give you lower overall MPG, but you'll still get better mileage in a prius than say something rated at 35mpg.
  7. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Traction control on mine is more sensitive than I'd like, but I'd say it works well. No good for doing donuts in a snowy parking lot though
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I have a 2006 Prius as well. Still low miles on it. I like its fuel economy, incredible engineering, luxury features in a mid-class car and good interior space. But there are some things I don't like about it too to be honest, though none affect its reliability. Primary gripe ares rear visibity, tv screen controls for heating/ac and super aggressive traction control that doesn't have a switch to turn off. Steering is kind of dead too with little or no road feel. I think they have addressed the climate control issue in the new models along with improved handling. The visibility looks better in the new Prius C and v models just announced. But the traction control issue is one I haven't heard a solution to yet.
  9. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for all the comments and keep them coming if you feel like it. What it boils down to is finding a used one that is not insanely expensive and taking that leap of faith. I've always trusted Toyota and at one time thought they could do no wrong. I think they have made some very unwise decisions over the last few years though (big and ugly Tacomas, big everything), but I won't go into that right now. I'm 39 years old, and believe it or not, have have only owned three vehicles in my lifetime. A 77 Corolla, an 84 Camry and currently my 97 Tacoma 4X4. All were great, with probably the Camry being the best of the bunch and the Tacoma second, although it's still proving it's toughness-even while wrecked.

    However, I have felt that in the last few years Toyota quality has been slipping. I test drove a used 07 Camry a couple of weeks ago and was not impressed overall. The engine may have been good and may last as many miles as an older Toyota, but the body and interior just screamed out cheap. I have two sisters that have recently bought new Camrys within the last year. Both have complained about the overall (interior) quality compared to their older Toyotas. They have no complaints so far of reliability though.

    One of things that I like about the Prius is that as far as I know, they are built in Japan-at least the 2007s are. Call me a snob, but I feel more comfortable buying a late model Toyota if it is made in Japan. That belief may be totally illogical as my American built Tacoma has been nothing but trouble free other than doing some routine maintenance over the 8 years I've owned it.

    Midwest, you mentioned Priuschat.com. While being snowed in yesterday, I did a lot of reading there and elsewhere. Interesting site. Funny, you mentioned many of the things I read there, like traction in the snow, blocking the grill, extra air in the tires, etc. By the way, did you know there is an electric block heater (EBH) you can install that will keep things warm so the car can be more efficient when starting off in the morning? I read that most install them and put them on a timer to turn on about 3 hours before they leave in the morning.

    I have found a couple of 2007 models for about $11,000.00. One has 83,000 ($9,900) miles on it and the other has 59,000 ($11,500) miles on it. I have big fears like the traction battery dying on me or some other insanely expensive component going out. I do know that the one with 83,000 miles has been recently checked out and serviced by the Toyota dealership and has a clean bill of health. But I know that is no guarantee. I haven't inquired about the one with 59K miles on it. Solar, I would consider a Camry hybrid, but they are out of my price range.

    One question. The Prius is rated a higher MPG for city driving, but the consensus seems to be that long highway miles are where it really shines. Do you find that to be the case?

    I'm still not committed to anything. But I do find the idea of having one pretty cool, especially if gas skyrockets by this summer.

    BeGreen, how many miles do you have on yours? What are the colors that you all have? Currently, I have my eye on a black one and another that the seller has described as tan. I think it may actually be Driftwood Pearl. Color is not really a concern to me, although there is a green color I would care to avoid.

    Also, I know the plug-ins are the next step. That is very appealing to me as it would be ideal for my short commutes to work and town.
  10. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Have you considered a VW Jetta TDI? I get 45mpg with mine without much trouble and I know 50+mpg is acheiveable with carefull driving.

    Nothing wrong with having 2 (or more) vehicles. I have no reason to drive my truck 500 miles a week, but my Jetta would be of little value to haul firewood, my car trailer, lumber, etc.

    My Dad runs a Corolla and gets 36-38mpg with it.

    Can't say much about the Prius. I think they are fugly and wouldn't own one, but that's my opinion.
  11. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    Does the Prius come in any color besides silver? %-P

    I know a couple of folks that have Volkswagen TDI's and get 50 MPG with no trouble. Though, I have read that if you want to do a veggie oil conversion, the engines don't last that long (80 to 90 kmi) before they need a rebuild.

    If I was looking for a hybrid, I would get an older Honda Insight. The first generation (2000 to 2006) got over 60 MPG if you drove carefully. My friends had one and thats what they got, though I have seen claims of 70 MPG. They are little, and its basically a 2-seater. The second generation (2007 to present) is bigger, looks just like a Prius, and gets about 50 MPG.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm a member of PriusChat, though I don't hang out there that much. There are some good tips to be found there and most folks are very helpful. They tend to get a bit geeky at times, so take some suggestions with a grain of salt. The best mileage we achieve is on country highways where the speed is a pretty steady 45-50mph and reasonably level. With a light foot, in warm weather you can start touching 60mpg. Once you get over 60 mph, mileage declines to about 55mpg, though it is a bit better using cruise control. If you like cruising at 70mph then expect about 50mpg. City mileage really depends on the terrain. I a fairly level city you can expect to get 45-50mpg. What astounds me is that we live in a crappy situation for mileage. Lots of hills, short trips of 5-10 miles and still get an average of 45mpg summer and 41 in the winter.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the battery. Toyota overengineered this car and designed the battery to last for the life of the car. Consumer's Report just tested a person's 2002 Prius with over 200K miles on it and compared it to the test results they achieved on the car when new. It was within .2mpg, still running on the orig. battery and very strong. We had some of the first Prius cabs here in Vancouver and Victoria BC, later in Seattle. They stand up very well under this kind of use and have racked up some really impressive mileage.

    I'm looking at adding a Hymotion battery kit. The local results have been impressive. A few folks are getting 75-150mpg depending on driving conditions. Though I think 65-75 is a better long term average. The car is paid for, so this will probably be our best bang for the buck. The car only has 21K miles on it. At this rate I expect it might outlast me :).
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Remember that there are other hybrid vehicles, even from Toyota. There are also other cars that will be cheaper to run, even including fuel cost, than a hybrid. A lot of the hybrid allure, especially the prius with its distinctive looks, is to give the impression that you give a crap about the environment. It's a statement car.

    Fuel at 4$ is no big deal. Really, think about it. Your commute is 10 minutes long and hardly uses any fuel at all. When you consider that gas is now well above 3$ per gallon your potential savings is minimal. Hardly enough to justify the purchase price AND additional insurance and maintenance of the second "mpg" car.

    I commute 8 miles per day to work. I do it in a one ton diesel pickup getting 15 mpg because, moneywise, it makes sense and will continue to do so well after 4$ per gallon. It's not about needing to drive a truck, it's about the wisest choice.

    If you want to make a statement, then go for it. Your Tacoma is an excellent and safe commuter.
  14. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    You're exactly right. Mathematically, owning two vehicles with my short commute does not make financial sense. I had an older Camry until about 6 months ago. I knew it was not worth keeping, since I also had to pay insurance and upkeep on it, so I sold it. I never anticipated someone hitting my truck shortly thereafter.

    My idea of buying another one was mostly for convenience and a better ride quality. My Tacoma is not the best vehicle for long trips-no cruise control and it rides rough.

    If I had any sense, I would borrow a spare vehicle from my folks (they have 4 for some unknown reason), have my truck fixed like new and move on.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Very good. I can appreciate the comfort of a nice smooth and quiet ride. This has value, more value to some and less to others. If you value those creature comforts as much as the price tag then do it. I am a firm believer in buying what you want because you want it enough to pay for it.
  16. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Uh, le'see 111,500 miles / 50mpg= 2,230 111,500 / 30mpg for a comparable mid-size 4cyl car = 3,717
    So there's 1,487 gallons (and counting) of unburnt gas out there somewhere, which is worth more than a statement to me. If I didn't have to travel for work and had an 8 mile roundtrip commute I may have made a different choice.
  17. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Yep, back when I was making the decision and for about 6 mos after I spent a lot of time on that site learning about the car. I didn't get a block heater as I had to park on the street. Now with a driveway & no garage I am just too lazy to bother.

    I also get the best mileage on highways around 45-55mph. that's pretty common for most cars. I don't see the higher MPG in the city. The EPA test isn't a very good simulation of actual driving conditions IMO. As an example I had friends with an original Honda Insight which they used almost exclusively for short in-city trips. They complained about mileage in the upper 30's to lower 40's range

    BG, I haven't looked into the plug-in convertion packages in a long time. What are prices like now?
  18. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I tend to agree with you on that, that the actual "sustainability" of the car may not be what it seems to be. However, I think there is some value in supporting the technology as a step to something that is truly "green". If they came out with the Prius and no one bought them they might assume that there is no market for "green" cars. We know better now.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If it was just for the gas mileage I probably wouldn't have bought the car. What is really is amazing is the emissions reduction. over that same mileage.

    Midwest, how many brake jobs have you had during this time? Exhaust systems? Tuneups?
  20. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I think its more than that. The current hybrids are good drivers that have the economic and environmental bonus. They aren't anemic machines with no market or just freak market appeal. The Camry hybrid was cheaper than a comparable V6, faster and gets much better gas mileage. And, it was cheaper even after the credits for Toyota expired. Strangely enough, it was also cheaper than a comparably equipped Prius. A guy I work with just replaced his mid sized car with an Altima hybrid and couldn't be happier.

    That said, I do my 9 mile expressway commute in a 10 year old 3/4 ton truck and probably will be doing so for a long time even with $120+ fill ups.
  21. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    That would be 0, 0, and 0. Scheduled maintenance only, plus what I mentioned in first post.

    Yep there are some other cool things that reduce emissions, like the bladder in the gas tank that greatly reduces evaporative loss of hydrocarbons.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Exactly my point. These cars have very low per mile ownership costs, have incredibly low emissions, and do it in a roomy, practical package. It's quite a remarkable achievement and turning out to be a very practical car to own.

    I guess folks in Japan are all trying to make a statement too. It's the #1 selling Toyota there in 2010.
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Context, go back and read the whole thing. There is more than one hybrid available if that technology floats your boat. One of the reasons that the prius sells so well is that it is butt ugly and distinctive. Allowing the owner to be making a loud statement about the decision.
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Prius sells better than it's peers because it is better designed. It gets better mileage and has a more flexible interior design with better legroom. Otherwise we would be driving the Honda Civic hybrid. The lack of a fold down rear seat, smaller rear seat leg room, poorer local driving gas mileage were the determining factors. Toyota technology is what is in several of the other competing cars. I prefer to get it from the source.

    I like the looks of the GenII Prius, though not so much the GenIII models. But looks are not the reason we bought the car. That's a false assumption. Practical considerations took precedence. I really wanted to by the Civic but featurewise the Prius won out. Still, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. My wife thinks Hearthstone soapstone stoves are ugly, and although I disagree, they'll never make it into our house. But that doesn't stop lots of folks from happily buying them.
  25. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    Haha. I can't remember for sure, but I think you snubbed my stove once-likening it to a refrigerator or maybe it was a washing machine. Forgive me if it wasn't you. It might of been BrotherBart or someone else. But, to each his own. If everyone liked the same thing, it would be boring world. (Plus, I didn't want to spend the extra $$$ on the Alderlea)

    I finally got out today. I have been snowed in since Sunday. A Prius pulled up close to me at the grocery store. I gave it a once over, and they really don't look that bad. Several people have a problem with the shape. I assume it is designed that way to maximize the aerodynamics of the vehicle. Even if it is "ugly" for a good reason, I don't have a problem with it. I hate ugly for no reason.

    By the way, I have been looking on Autotrader and Craigslist and have seen some very high mileage Prius vehicles....2007s usually. Some have over 150,000 miles, but they are cheap-cheaper than a non hybrid Toyota of that year. They also appear immaculate from the pictures. Typically, 150,00 miles is nothing to a Toyota if it has been maintained. From what I am reading, the Prius may be an even bigger exception and could far outlast their gasoline counterparts.

    I saw a blue 2007 Prius with 160K miles on it for $6900.00 by a dealer. A one owner car. I'm sure they would take less. I just wonder how big of a gamble buying one like that would be?

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