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Toyota Prius, Hybrid Cars, Sedan
#1146 of 2152 Re: Is now the time to buy? [bob104]
Dec 06, 2007 (9:25 pm)
This is actually a really tough question in my opinion. I live in mid OR and in all honesty, gas is at the $3.00 mark. Shen we were in CA a few weeks back, it was $3.30 and about $3.50 up in Tahoe. With the economy not doing so well, it being the end of the year, car lots in the area overflowing with excess stock (cars), dealerships needing to hit end of month/year quotas, this is definitely a prime time to buy.
I looked very closely at the hybrid Civic and Prius (both '08 models). The '08 Civic hybrid still has the full federal tax break for about 3 more weeks, then they begin to phase it out progressively. Right now, it's about $2,400, assuming you're not hit with AMT and qualify for the full refund. Additionally, Oregon offers a state tax break of about $1500 for either the Civic or Prius, so, you're talking about an almost $4k tax break if purchased soon. In all honesty, I was very close to buying the civic, did the research, etc. It's basically like buying a fully loaded LX, but, instead, for the same price you get the hybrid engine/system.
If it comes down to simply an economic decision, I'm not sure how you would beat the Civic at this point with the tax rebates in OR and full federal. CNN also just printed a nice article detailing it's analysis of how the hybrids stack up. Note, that the write up didn't take into account potential state tax credits. This article also does its best to compare apples to apples. It's probably not fair to compare the Prius to anything other than a non-hybrid that is about the same size/class. CNN suggests this equivalent would be the non-hybrid Camry for the Prius because it is bigger than the hybrid Civic or something like a Ford Focus.
http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/autos/0711/gallery.hybrids_that_pay/index.ht- - ml
I was getting dealer quotes for the hybrid civic (without nav) for high 21s. Assuming I would get the nearly 4k in write offs, that's about 17k for a very nice hybrid w/outstanding manufacturer reputation.
Having said all that, I still went with the Prius. With package #2, you can find them in the low to mid 22k range out here and I still receive a $1,500 rebate from my state. So, why a Prius? First of all, I do more in-city driving, so, this specific type of driving evidently favors the Prius as it runs more often on battery up to about 30mph and gets nearly 10mph better gas mileage than the Civic in comparable contexts. #2, I just couldn't get over the back seats of the Civic not folding down. I guess the batteries are placed in such a way that they simply don't allow you to do this. Ouch! Having several more cubic feet of space in the back seat area AND in the hatchback (yes, it's a hatchback, not a trunk) was huge for us.
We currently have a Jeep with a V8 and run about 14mph to the gallon. When I ran the numbers, I actually chose the Prius simply for economic reasons and found the carbon emission benefit an added plus. The CNN article I mentioned suggests it would take about 4.2 years or so to pay for the premium placed on the hybrid cost. However, that does NOT take into account state tax rebates, assumes the driver puts 15k on his/her car (the average is probably higher for most of us on the west coast) and that the price of gas stays in a certain range, so, it might likely be more in the 2-3 year range for us to hit the magic equivalency "requirement". Since this is a Toyota, we honestly assume we'll have this car for 10-15 years. With that in mind, it's hard for me to imagine why everyone doesn't own a Prius as their main in-city/commuter car. In all honesty, I'm not surprised it's the car of choice in the Bay Area and in our area of OR; it makes financial and environmental sense for most, especially if the price of gas does move back up near $4.00 a gallon and stays there for awhile. When that happens again, you better hope you have your name on a waiting list
#1147 of 2152 Re: Is now the time to buy? [nw_priusguy]
Dec 06, 2007 (10:11 pm)
I think you got all bases covered. A couple of quibbles. The price difference to my thinking between hybrid and non-hybrid (all else trying to be equal) is about $6,000. I think a Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris is cheaper to drive 50%hwy/50%city than a Prius until gasoline hits about $7/gallon. Fit and Yaris average about 33mpg, Prius 44mpg. Say 400gallons/yr vs. 300gallons/year. 100 gallons only costs $300-350. We're talking as much as 20 years payback. But that's at a steady $3.00/gallon.
At $7/gallon that's $700/year or a 9 year payback.
I would choose a Prius over a Civic hybrid for sure if I were a predominant city driver. Moreover, the Prius is the premiere car and will lord it over Civic when it comes to resale.
Why buy a hybrid over Fit or Yaris? It's a good question. I did it partly as insurance against high gasoline prices and partly as a matter of eco-chic. A far better solution, at least for hwy driving is a Prius WITHOUT hybrid, just a 70hp motor. I called Honda and begged them to sell the Fit as a 1.0, 1.2 or 1.3 liter model but they told me the smallest engine the American market would tolerate is their 1.5liter, 109hp. A conventional Fit with a 1.0liter engine would cost at least $6,000 less than Prius and would get better mileage on the hwy. And it's a far better car in terms of ride and handling.
#1148 of 2152 Re: Is now the time to buy? [bob104]
Dec 06, 2007 (10:44 pm)
Good points. Of course, a bicycle would beat both the Prius and Fit/Yaris and would be much cheaper, but, you would have to expend extra energy and room carrying your passengers and cargo The Fit does look like a really neat car for commuting. I don't think it makes a lot of sense though trying to compare cars that vary as much as say the Fit and the Prius. The Fit seems to fall into the "mini" category, while the Prius is more in the mid-size sedan (smaller end of that spectrum); case in point, the CNN article found the closest non-hybrid to be the Camry. I think a better example to make this point is to simply compare the Honda Civic Hybrid to its LX counterpart, add tax rebates to hybrid (at least for awhile), compare prices. Of course, when the tax rebate goes away, will be harder to make this comparison. There isn't a non-hybrid Prius though, hence, the Camry fills in as the equivalent.
Your points make a lof sense in terms of pure economics, but, again, we really value the larger interior space that you find in the Prius versus a Fit or biycle Take care.
#1149 of 2152 Re: Is now the time to buy? [nw_priusguy]
Dec 07, 2007 (7:18 am)
The Fit has just about the same interior space as a Prius. But even if it didn't the point is that Toyota and Honda could make a roomy conventionally-powered car, a non-hybrid 70hp Prius if you will, if they wanted. It would weigh several hundred pounds less and get better hwy mileage than hybrid Prius. The 109hp Fit and Yaris already get 43 and 44mpg hwy compared to the Prius 50mpg hwy. With 80hp they'd probably get mid-50s.
see below for excellent comparisons of best fuel-efficiency:
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/buyingleasing/most-fuelefficient-cars-20- 6/index.htm?resultPageIndex=1&resultIndex=1&searchTerm=most%20fuel%20efficient%2- 0cars
As to bikes, you are definitely on to something!! . . . I own an electric bike (properly, a power-assisted bike) and I toss it in the trunk of my Civic in the morning--well, it hangs out of the trunk. After I drop the kids at school I ride it home. In the afternoon I ride back, toss it in the car, pickup the kids and drive home. I substitute 3000 miles of car driving a year with e-bike riding. 2000 mpg-equivalent (1gallon petroleum yields 37kWh). Less road needed. Saves time/money I'd spend in the gym. Glorious. Consider a similar technique: Ride to the urban edge, hope on your bike or e-bike with a BOB trailer or good racks and baskets or pannier to do your errands/appts. Return to car. Drive home.
Unfortunately, the Prius doesnt' allow me to carry the kids and an e-bike except using a clumsy roof or rear rack that doesn't have enough security or convenience in my case.
Sorry, got a bit far afield here. Do consider a Yaris or Fit instead of Prius if you do mostly hwy driving and want to save a bundle.
#1150 of 2152 Re: Is now the time to buy? [nw_priusguy]
Dec 07, 2007 (7:23 am)
When you have a family of 4 and car pool daily dropping off the kids in the morning, the wife at her office and then reverse that on the return trip, the Fit or Yaris is TOO small. As stated above, the next car up to compare to is a Camry. If you were to purchase a Camry Hybrid, now there you have a good cost argument, but with the Prius, you simply do not have another car on the market to compare it to. When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Prius outranks all of the cars sold today. Mine gets 48+ and that is mostly highway miles. If I had a chance to drive more city driving I could easily take it over the 55 MPG mark. The best I have had so far is 65 MPG on the highway, the worst is 42 and change. Considering I went from a 2001 Crown Vic that gets AVG 18MPG to the Prius which gets 48+MPG, the return on investment is more than I am paying per month for the car and insurance. My other vehicle is an F350 Dually diesel which gets 15 MPG and since the price of diesel is now well over $3.40 a gallon, I can buy two Prius and still come out ahead. I cant say that for any other car, except maybe a TDI Jetta, even that would be pushing it since diesel is far more costly than gas now. Keep in mind I need a car that will fit two car seats in the back and two adults comfortably. Anything smaller than the Prius wont work, We had tried a Corolla and could not get the car seats to fit without shoving the front seats forward putting our knees against the dash, hard to drive like that.
BTW the Premium on the Prius would be getting it fully loaded, that would take a while to pay off, but a base like I have, or a package 2, would quickly pay off compared to most other family sedans, especially Domestic ones. If getting a Highlander hybrid, now there you have a good argument on premium! The lowest I have seen them for is $42,000+, compared to a non hybrid of about $32,000. That is a huge premium that would take a very long time to pay off.
I have to admit, I was skeptical on how the Prius would handle snow and I am quite impressed. Yesterday I got the crown vic stuck in the drive, today my moms Grand Marquis got stuck in the drive, but the prius only got stuck because the snow was too deep. Shoveled out some snow from the front and off it went, today, it pulled right through without a hitch, the Vic is still stuck.
#1151 of 2152 Re: Is now the time to buy? [bob104]
Dec 07, 2007 (7:44 am)
I dont know where you are getting your comparisons from, but the Prius has a 110HP engine, the fit a 109 HP engine. The Prius has a 5 star crash rating vs a 3 star crash rating. It has a tighter turning radius, gets 48MPG in city vs 27, 45 on highway vs 34, has a range of 571 miles vs 292 miles per tank, has 5 inches less rear leg room than the prius less shoulder room, rear hip room, and when it comes to standard features, to get even close to what a base Prius includes, you will be paying the same price provided you can even get those options. You just cant compare the two, they are not in the same class. The fit is what it is, an econobox, nothing more. The Prius I have is still worth about what I paid for it, the fit, well good luck getting close to what you paid for it after 6 months.
Dec 07, 2007 (8:41 am)
Comparisons? We have other forums for that...
#1153 of 2152 Service Fee added after OTD?
Dec 07, 2007 (6:14 pm)
I agreed to purchase a 2008 w/Option 6 for $26150 + TTL out the door. When I asked for a breakdown showing the TTL, the dealer added a $95 Service fee. (over and above the OTD quote) I think that was bit underhanded. Is it just me?
What are your thoughts?
#1154 of 2152 Re: Service Fee added after OTD? [chrisprius]
Dec 07, 2007 (7:40 pm)
the doc fee in my area is $299, basically extra dealer profit.
It takes some work to determine if you got a good offer. It would be better if everyone also posted the dollars over invoice. That way it would be a lot easier to scan to see what range the current going prices are running. So, for your #6, Edmunds lists:
MSRP: $27,535 (includes $660 delivery)
Invoice: $25,313 (")
Your offer: $26,150 + $95 + TTL = $26,245 + TTL
Offer minus invoice: $932 over invoice + TTL
It sure would make things simpler if people posted the "offer - invoice" ($932) figure.
You didn't mention a trade-in. That often can distort the listed offer because everyone thinks their car is worth more than the wholesale value.
But back to your question. Seems like there are better prices in California. For the rest of the country, it seems like a decent deal. Most dealers in my area have 1 or 2 or none, so I assume they are probably getting close to, or over, list MSRP for the this popular model.
#1155 of 2152 Re: Is now the time to buy? [bob104]
Dec 07, 2007 (8:58 pm)
When comparing the Fit and Yaris to the Prius you seem to be using 2007 EPA figures. Using the more realistic 2008 figures (and an average of 55% city, 45% highway, 15,000 miles per year, and regular gas $3.10 per gallon)
Honda Fit (automatic) - 27 C / 34 H = 30.1mpg $1545 annually
Honda Fit Sport (auto) - 27 C / 33 H=29.7 mpg $1566 annually
Toyota Yaris (auto.) - 29 C / 35 H = 31.7 mpg $1467 annually
BTW: The manual transmission models are only 1 mpg better on the highway and same in the city.
Toyota Prius - 48 city / 45 highway = 46.7 mpg $996 annually
This is 21 city / 11 highway better than the Fit and 19 city / 10 highway better than the Yaris and an average gas savings of $510 a year.
These numbers are from http://www.fueleconomy.gov.
Now, if gas goes to $4 a gallon, and you drive 18,000 miles per year, you're saving $790 a year comparing to those already gas efficient models. If you go here you'll see that a fairly loaded Yaris is, on a feature for feature value vs. the Prius is only $4000 cheaper than a Prius Standard with Package 3. And a base Fit is also around $4000 cheaper than a Prius on a feature for feature comparison.
At $4 a gallon and 18,000 miles per year, you'll recoup your investment in five years. After that, you'll be driving a MUCH nicer vehicle than a Yaris that will also have a higher resale value.