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Toyota Prius, Hybrid Cars
#767 of 1489 Prius Concerns on Tires, Tax Incentives, HOV and Personal Property Tax
Oct 21, 2001 (6:03 pm)
I have just placed a tentative order for a Prius. I am concerned about a few things: 1) people have posted that tires have been problematic; please elaborate if this is a general problem with the car or if just one person had bad luck; 2) will purchases made in 2002 (that's when mine is supposed to arrive) qualify for tax incentives? the Toyota website said that purchases made by Dec. 31, 2001 would qualify for a $2000 tax deduction (rebate?), but there is nothing about 2002 puchases; 3) how long will HOV restrictions in VA be lifted for Prius owners; how can I know that the law won't change next year (or next month for that matter) that would take away this benefit; 4) does anyone know if Prius owners are exempted from personal property tax in Virginia?
Thanks for any information anyone can provide. These are answers we need before deciding to make this important purchase.
Oct 23, 2001 (1:51 pm)
Here in VA, I think the HOV benefit runs until 2004 or 2006. I can't remember which. As with any law, you are at the mercy of the legislature, but I honestly doubt there will be any negative changes. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they extended that when it does come up for renewal. Virginia is having troubles complying with clean air requirements and anything they can do to encourage more hybrid sales will be look upon favorably.
Hybrids are not exempt from the personal property tax. If current budget plans remain in effect, all cars will escape this tax on the first $20K of assessed value by next year. The current elections could impact this pretty heavily. Early seems fairly committed to keeping the current schedule but Warner may have other ideas.
#771 of 1489 Prius Allocation System
Oct 24, 2001 (3:10 pm)
Let me clear up the confusion about exactly how the Prius is allocated to the customers by Toyota. Toyota does not build this vehicle to spec based on each individual customer's order. When you place your order, all you have done is reserve a vehicle. It is produced the same as any other conventional vehicle in that they are assembled in batches of colors & different configurations of equipment, then shipped to the U.S. & matched with the customer's order. That is why some are taking delivery within 30 days & some as long as 6 months. Therefore it is impossible for a dealer or salesperson to track an order & anyone who tells you they can is delusional. The dealer is not aware until the vehicle is placed in their inventory as sea stock, which means the vehicle is about 2 weeks away from being in the dealership. I contact my distributor several times a week & find out what is coming in & assist them in matching my customer's request so that nothing falls through the cracks. Our dealership has assigned myself as the Prius Account Executive & one of my jobs is to make certain that my customers receive their orders in a timely fashion. The date you receive your owners manual & calculator means nothing. Your best bet is to find a dealer that sells alot of these cars & has someone on staff that is knowledgeable & has a vested interest in making certain the orders are matched.
#772 of 1489 Prius vs. Toyota Echo
Oct 24, 2001 (6:58 pm)
Consumer Reports compared Toyota's hybrid Prius with its conventional Echo. Prius has been around (in Japan) since 1997, and Echo is an economized version. A base Echo sells for $10,525, and a Prius for $20,520. The difference in miles per gallon found by CR's drivers? Three miles per gallon (41 vs. 38).
Is that all you get for your money? CR also tested the Honda's hybrid Insight, another $20,000 machine, and got 51mpg. It seats two and weighs 1820 lbs. Testers at Edmunds.com got the same, after over a year of ownership. Total U.S. sales in its 18-month history are a miserable 7,500 units.
These "mass market" mpgs are lower than what you find on "enthusiast" Web sites. That's because those intrigued by the technology (like this driver) do their best to see what it can get. In fact, you can get much more mpg out of both conventional and hybrid cars if you try. When we look at this subset, Prius owners average around 45mpg and Insighters around 62 (mine shows 69.7). But this group is much more obsessive about mileage than, say, SUV owners.
So if you're an average Joe driver, it's pretty simple. Would you pay twice as much for a car that gets you three more miles per gallon?
Of course not. But the hybrids are chic and politically correct. And no American auto company needs a bit of PC more than Ford. So, after helping to spend our $1.5 billion in the PNGV, they announced last week that they're going to stuff hybrid technology made by Toyota (!) in their Escape SUV. That's gratitude to us taxpayers for you.
How much gas will this save? Consumer Reports got 17 mpg out of their Escape. Analogizing to the Echo-Prius comparison, expect an 8 percent increase in fuel economy for average Joes, or about 1.4 mpg. For this saving of about $100 in gas a year, you'll pay a premium of several thousand dollars, because Toyota's not going to give away this technology to Ford. In fact, this is where they will recoup some of their substantial Prius losses.
Escape from Automotive Reality
#773 of 1489 Prius and its economized version the echo- not exactly
Oct 25, 2001 (7:27 am)
Prius and echo the same- bologna!!
I have owned both vehicles and the echo is the base version$9995. Nope- not even power steering. No AC [you appreciate this best in Aug. in TN]. But it is a wonderful car for the price and definitely has Toyo workmanship. Prius- power everything, AC,ABS, alarm system,much quieter overall,etc.I think echoes with all options get into the $15000 range but still do not have near the standard equipment that the prius does.Over a period of driving each several thousand miles you see the Prius gets consistently 10 mpg above what the echo does in the same situation generally. So this story of the echo/prius comparison is getting old. They are NOT the same cars and do the research properly to know that or do not write or post a review- please!
#776 of 1489 Prius v echo
Oct 26, 2001 (8:21 am)
This is not a valid comparison. Even if one were to factory order an ECHO and wait 3 to 4 months to get one with ABS, you would pay a bit over $15K and you still wouldn't have alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, power windows, power mirrors, keyless entry, or engine immobilizer. You would not have nearly as nice or quiet of a ride and the back seat would be smaller. The seats are not as comfortable and the ECHO lacks some of the insulation that makes the Prius feel like it does. You also would not have your first 3 years of maintenance paid for, nor get road side assistance.
CR is a decent information source, but this is a flawed comparison of costs. To get to the amenity level of the Prius, you would need to compare it to a Camry LE at about $21K and you would still be lacking a few things but would have a larger car.