Last post on Jul 28, 2013 at 8:39 AM
You are in the Toyota Prius
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Toyota Prius, Hybrid Cars
#2199 of 7508 Re: 2004 Prius Test Drive
Oct 26, 2003 (5:25 pm)
My response to JOHN (john1701a) “the Toyota PR guy’s” comments on my 2004 Prius Test Drive:
> >Rather than improving the 2002 controls mess,
> >the 2004 additions and options actually worsen
> >the situation.
>Are you considering it a mess now that users have a choice of 3 different ways
>(feel, sight, voice) to adjust items?
Yes. “Voice” is for DVD mapping only. “Feel” only applies to the steering wheel controls, which are overdone—not the dashboard controls, which are the worst part of the “mess.” Lastly, all “sight” controls on a car are inherently dangerous because they take your eyes off the road.
>> off-setting much of the power gains
>125 pounds is a lot? And an increase in 2.4 seconds isn't?
Test drive both the 2002 and the 2004 back to back (which we did since we own a 2002 Prius) and you’ll see for yourself that the 2004 power gains are not that impressive.
>> Parallel parking is more difficult
>Really? Now you can actually see the very back corner of the vehicle, and the >back window is a little lower.
The 2002 rear view is better than the 2004. Try it and you’ll see.
>> The 2002 has better handling than the 2004
>Perhaps with city driving in snow, but surely not on the highway. The larger >wheels and longer wheelbase offer a nice improvement at high speeds.
I mean precisely at highway speeds. Our test drive was at 70+ weaving in and out of psycho Los Angeles freeway traffic. At high speeds the 2004 body rolls too much when you take evasive action—hence the need for the VSC option of package #7.
>> what happened to the great navy blue available on the 2002s?
>Marketing. Color options are cycled over the years.
Then Toyota Marketing screwed up.
> >Controls should be simple, ergonomic, intuitive,
> >and enable you to use them by feel and not sight.
>The steering-wheel controls *ARE* all carefully marked with unique identifiers >to make them usable by feel. Some bulge out, some bulge in, some have a >pinpoint, and some have a line.
As I said, there are too many controls on the steering wheel, and there are no “feel” usability features for any of the dashboard controls, and the layout for the latter is a very counterintuitive and distracting mess.
>> Two glove compartments? One is fine
>The one is so large, small items disappear into its depth.
Nothing prevented Toyota from just making a single smaller glove compartment.
>> What happens if you accidentally push the "Park" button
>>while you are driving at full speed?
>Nothing. The benefit of drive-by-wire is the fact that the computer can intercept >illogical requests.
I’d still like to hear from someone who has actually pressed the button while the car was traveling at speed.
Oct 26, 2003 (6:33 pm)
> “Voice” is for DVD mapping only
All of the following commands work too, and they have nothing to do with mapping: 65 degrees, 66 degrees, 67 degrees, 68 degrees, 69 degrees, 70 degrees, 71 degrees, 72 degrees, 73 degrees, 74 degrees, 75 degrees, 76 degrees, 77 degrees, 78 degrees, 79 degrees, 80 degrees, 81 degrees, 82 degrees, 83 degrees, 84 degrees, 85 degrees, Radio, AM, FM, FM1, FM2, CD, CD changer, Cassette, Audio, Seek up, Seek down, Fast forward, Rewind, Play, Reverse, Next track, Previous track, Skip backward, Track up, Track down, Previous track, Disc up, Disc down, Automatic air conditioning, Raise temperature, Lower temperature, Next CD, Next track
> “sight” controls on a car are inherently dangerous
Yes, I agree. But the fact that you rarely need to use them helps a lot. That climate control is *AUTOMATIC* even in the base model means, you just set the temperature and leave it.
> Test drive both the 2002 and the 2004 back to back
I drove my 2001 for 59,827 miles over the last 3 years. The pep increase in the 2004 is quite obvious. Perhaps you should qualify what you mean by "impressive".
> Then Toyota Marketing screwed up.
Most automakers have been cycling color selections for decades. It helps to draw attention to new model years and to better control inventory. The very same thing is being done with Prius.
> there are too many controls... very counterintuitive
Reevaluate this after you've used them for a few months.
> Nothing prevented Toyota from just making a single
> smaller glove compartment.
There are 9 storage areas spread throughout the new Prius. Toyota put them there because people are always requesting more places to put their stuff (like the return of the storage tray under the front seat).
> I’d still like to hear from someone who has actually
> pressed the button
The owner's manually clearly states this is a dangerous thing to do. When you look in the tech manual why, you'll find that holding it for a few seconds will in fact cut the power. But that's not something you could ever accidiently do, especially in that location. The chances of bumping a traditional shifter or traditional ignition are higher.
#2201 of 7508 hoping to buy a Prius?
Oct 26, 2003 (6:55 pm)
Darn...I read these threads and wonder if any car is worth its price. I've been a happy Honda and Toyota owner for many years...usually keep a car for at least ten years. Just put $500 down to order a 2004 Prius...drove it and really liked it. Like the mileage. But what about this: "Park" button, while you are driving at full speed?"
Oct 26, 2003 (7:23 pm)
___Thanks for all the first hand personal reviews ...
___John1701a, here is an Edmund’s 04 Prius Review quote: Cons “Less power and room than other midsize sedans, center-mounted gauges not intuitive.”
___I have to keep reminding myself that you are the final say on the new and old Prius’ no matter anyone else’s own personal experiences with them.
___Remember these ...
> The 2004 Prius battery pack cost is about $4300
>> That's in LOW-VOLUME early introduction $$$. Many, many years & miles from now *IF* you actually need to replace some modules or the entire pack, production volume will be significantly higher. That will drive the price down.
___With the 01-03 Prius being available in Japan for ~ 7 years, what does the 01-03 Prius battery pack cost INSTALLED? I am sure you know the answer given in 7 years and with the cost of technology falling as fast as it always has ... In other words, someone that changes vehicles every 2 to 3 years with 60,000 or so miles won’t have to worry about it in terms of a non-warranty repair but they do pay for it in depreciation costs.
___On another note, the Edmund’s TCO estimates have been released for the 04 Prius. Notice anything in particular? Given the bath you recently took, maybe you should consider this before you purchase your next new car as well?
___Wayne R. Gerdes
Oct 26, 2003 (7:38 pm)
> center-mounted gauges not intuitive
Which is a meaningless comment once you've figured out the interface. That's no different many other software interfaces.
FYI: the speedometer is not in the center anymore. It got slid over to the left a few inches to enable the new reflective view, which pushes the display even further forward for even easier viewing. That also literally eliminates any possible washout from sunglare.
> I have to keep reminding myself
And I remind myself that you prefer the short-term perspective... no opinion, just a fact.
> maybe you should consider
No one else will ever be in that position I was in, not even me again. What's your point?
#2204 of 7508 Re Edmunds' TCO
Oct 26, 2003 (7:40 pm)
I looked at that the other night, and a few things surprised me, such as the huge depreciation estimate (over $5000) for the first year and a huge repair cost in year 5. I'm trying to figure out these numbers, given that the '04 Prius is a brand-new design with no resale track record, and it appears to be an extremely popular model based on the long waiting lists only a few days after it came on the market. And why such a large repair cost in year 5? Does Edumunds think the engine going to fall out of the car in Month 53? Did they take into account that many of the synergy drive parts are covered for eight years and 100k miles?
#2205 of 7508 Five Year Cost Spike
Oct 26, 2003 (9:14 pm)
If you check other cars, there are similar spikes in maintenance costs around year five. I think Edmunds assume around 12K/year and 60K is usually the big hit on the factory maintenance schedule, typically running $800-$1600 if you just go to the dealer and say "do a 60K check", especially if it requires a timing belt replacement. Combine this with a few replacables like struts, brakes, tires, battery, etc. which Edmunds probably assumes needs replacement then and you've got your cost spike.
It's not unique to the Prius and the average owner probably will find his costs distributed over a few years, not all at once.
Oct 26, 2003 (9:19 pm)
I do think one should be careful about getting a Prius if they think they might flip the car in a few years.
Anytime you invest in brand new, emerging technology, you are going to see relatively rapid advances in the first few years. We already have seen this in hybrid technology, and I'm sure current Prius owners are looking at a very soft resale market now that a much more advanced replacement has appeared with little or no increase in cost. I think the same thing will happen with the current model in a few years as the technology is likely to continue advancing rapidly, and Honda (and perhaps others) are not sitting idly by.
If you plan on driving it for five years or more, it probably doesn't matter much.
Oct 26, 2003 (9:46 pm)
___Now Edmund’s itself is making meaningless comments? Hmmm. I forgot, you are the Prius answer man and the only one might I add.
___As far as where the speedo is located on the 04 Prius, I posted Toyota’s own Dashboard pic link if you have forgotten so what were you saying?
___I am short term? I guess that is why I am NOT trading in an 03 Corolla LE with just 48,500 miles on it for a new car this month? You can keep taking a bath with the short term trade in value of your Prius’ given the short term view that you apparently have. The last I checked from Black Book, TIV for your 01 was in the $9,000 range. That was a very expensive Prius you owned, wasn’t it? Of course you wouldn’t answer that question the same as you wouldn’t answer how much a battery pack for an 01-03 Prius cost either?
___Backy, I can’t say that Edmund’s own numbers aren’t skewed one way or another as my own 03 Corolla LE w/ 48,000 miles on it says Edmund’s depreciation numbers in particular are unusually high ...
Depreciation: $4,290. This includes my $15,200 purchase price and a 48,000 mile/Clean/Black Book (TIV) of $10,910 vs. Edmund’s $4,033 in depreciation with just 15,000 miles.
Financing: $51.00 because it was paid off in 3 months vs. Edmund’s $668.
Insurance: $225 every 6 months vs. Edmund’s $402 every 6 months.
Taxes and Fees: $1,063 vs. Edmund’s $1,464.
Fuel: ~ $1,245.00 for 48,000 miles vs. Edmund’s $2,206 over 45,000 miles.
Maintenance: $99.00 vs. Edmund’s $399.
Repairs: $40.00 vs. Edmund’s $0.
___What Edmund’s is apparently doing is coming up with some type of averages based on a new model with a history from the old. There is no history other then estimates but those estimates weren’t pulled out of the sky for the 03 Corolla when it was first released in 02 either. As far as Maintenance and Repair costs, they appear to be in line with what the Corolla’s do as well ... Look at year 5 with a maintenance bill of the 03 Corolla = $1,329? That is an expensive tranny repair or worse and I don’t expect that kind of damage to be seen at 75,000 miles nor would I suspect to see it at 250,000 mile either. On a Prius, eventually, the battery replacement is going to be a factor whether that is at 100K, 120K, 150K, or even 200K. At some point, it will be prohibitively expensive to repair both the ICE and the Battery Pack together vs. an ICE of a std. automobile. This apparently is not factored into the listings shown given at 75,000 miles, that HW is still covered under warranty. A possible explanation for a higher repair cost was presented in this Sunday’s Chicago Tribune – Transportation section. A reader asked about the Prius’ maintenance being performed at a local Auto repair shop. The editor said anything of a more serious nature, Toyota is the only place you will probably be able to get it fixed. Going to a dealership is probably the most expensive labor rate you will find on whatever repair.
___Wayne R. Gerdes
Oct 27, 2003 (5:22 am)
Intuitive means "unclear at first". Once you learn the interface, it's no big deal... or meaningless.
> short term
Short term means "first model year in a still developing market". It did not mean keeping it for just a few years.