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Toyota Prius, Hybrid Cars, Car Buying, Hatchback, Sedan
#38 of 52 Toyota Prius Experience
Apr 19, 2007 (12:11 pm)
I test drove the Prius twice - once in 2005 Aug, and again in 2007 March. Driving experiences are the same. In 2005, I rejected it outright because the dealer wanted a $6,000 mark up over MSRP (that's Toyota of Dallas) - trying to justify it with market conditions and tax breaks. I said "No thanks, I'll keep driving my Camry for a few more years" and left.
In 2007, they are not asking for mark ups. However, there is more road noise and engine noise compared to my 10yo Camry (4cyl). I still get mileage over 33 driving between Dallas and Houston averaging 75mph and 27-28 in the city. Going to 40/45 won't save me much on gas. The Prius also feels flimsy - like the hood/dash/fender - everything is made of cheap plastic to make the vehicle lightweight.
I remember - when I bought the Camry, the dealer asked me to lift the hood - "See, how heavy it is? This is how crumple zones work properly, and what saves you in a collision and gets the vehicle stability". The Prius dealer also told me to lift the hood - "See, how light it is? This is the new technology that helps with the great mileage". Now I don't know which is better, having a heavy hood or a light hood!
It's great technology, the dials and gadgets are fun to look at, but I could get into an accident trying to look at the shift of power between different sources and not focusing on the road. Headroom, legroom, hip room, shoulder room - every room is more than sufficient for me. The start button and the 3" shifter on dash are unique, too. The dash has a futuristic look to it, too. The big digit display deep in the dash (speedometer) could be a distraction, and I think the display size for the other meters should be comparable (they are much smaller) so you dont have to squint. The rearview camera is a nice feature while backing up.
An aside (buying decisions are influenced by dealer reputation, too). A colleague of mine drove her Prius on a gravel road, and something went wrong with the suspension, within the warranty period. The dealer wouldn't recognize the problem, and she had a hard time with Toyota Customer Service to get the problem fixed. She will not recommend that dealership to anybody. Now we drive 12 more miles to the next dealership.
I wish some of the more popular, resale-able and reliable cars (like Camry/Accord/Civic) offered the options of Xenon headlight and backup camera, features useful for driving, as opposed to sunroof, designer wheels and surround sound systems. If they did, I would not even consider the Prius.
Bottom line - If I spend that much money on options for creature comforts like leather seats, sunroof, Xenon headlamps, and not save substantially on gas, the Lexus ES would be a better upgrade for myself.
#39 of 52 At least you got a walkaround
Apr 19, 2007 (2:13 pm)
I just test drove 3 cars (on a rainy day), and was not properly shown any of them, even with vehicles inside the showroom!
I'll guess which one has a heavy or light hood. I know more than the salesmen anywho. You know me!
#40 of 52 Re: Off Track [krawitzmail]
Apr 20, 2007 (1:07 pm)
Get a Hyundai Elantra if you want a new car for him. It has air bags all around and ABS brakes standard, as well as power windows and locks. The ad cars (around $11,500) are usually manual with no AC or radio, but there is a $2000 rebate right now, so you should be able to get a base GLS auto with pkg 3 (ac, radio, cruise, foglights) for around $14,000. We just bought one for my hubby to use as a commuter car and are very happy with it. If we could afford 2 car payments I would get one for my 16 yr old son also and dump the 14 mpg Explorer he is driving now, but gas is still cheaper than car payments plus higher insurance costs.
On that note: before you buy, check out what your car ins is going to be for a 16 yr old boy that has to have collision and comprehensive on it. You may quickly decide that an older car that you can pay for in full and carry liability only on is the way to go.
Good luck and best wishes
Apr 20, 2007 (2:05 pm)
On Long Island, insurance for a 17 year-old boy driving 5000 miles per year, with $500 deductible through GEICO costs $3500 for a jalopy having little value and $5000 for a brand new Honda Civic LX.
So the bulk of the costs are to cover the damage he could cause to other people and property.
#42 of 52 Re: Insurance [krawitzmail]
Apr 20, 2007 (2:40 pm)
YIKES!!! And I thought I had it bad here in Calif. I'm paying approx $1200/yr for liability only for my 16 yr old on a 95 Ford Explorer. They said it would be $3500/yr for full coverage ($500 ded) on a new Hyundai Elantra. But $5000!!!!!! Parents have to get a second job to pay for that.
#43 of 52 Re: Insurance [pmanza]
Apr 20, 2007 (5:35 pm)
I would have to get a bicycle if my insurance was anywhere near that high.I carry full coverage with a $1000 deductible on my KIA and just liability on my 97 Chrysler .Thats for 300K,100K liability coverage.My premium for both cars last year? Under $500.
#44 of 52 Re: Toyota Prius Experience [msindallas]
Apr 20, 2007 (6:03 pm)
I believe the Prius is as "popular, resale-able and reliable" any of the other cars you mentioned. Probably even more so than those others. According to Consumer Reports, the Prius has the highest customer satisfaction of ANY car on the road. Yes, even higher than all other Toyota AND Lexus vehicles.
#45 of 52 Re: Questions about your Toyota Prius Test Drives [krawitzmail]
Apr 24, 2007 (9:06 am)
"However, I have heard of two issues that might dissuade me from purchasing this car, and I would like current Prius owners to comment on their own experiences.
1. Slow acceleration from 40 MPH to 65 MPH, i.e., accelerating to "highway speed."
2. Loss of traction in snow or gravel causes onboard computer to incorrectly think car is in idle and shut down electric power to steering wheel and brakes."
Can't speak to number 1.
Number 2 was a problem but was fixed in the 2007 model (as I recall - might have been the 2006). The problem was the traction control could not be disabled, and it was protecting the electric engine by shutting the car down instead of allowing a "rocking" technique.
#46 of 52 Re: Questions about your Toyota Prius Test Drives [stevedebi]
Apr 24, 2007 (10:04 am)
I have a 2004. 1. Acceleration is not just good but great at all speeds UNLESS the battery boost is depleted from 5-10 minutes of severe uphill driving like going over a mountain pass. It gets back to normal when you come down the other side and the battery has a chance to recharge.
2. There was a software problem that sounds like what you describe. It got a lot of publicity, thanks to GM and Ford PR firms. The fix was already being implemented when the shit hit the fan. It never happened to me and my computer had been updated a few weeks before as part of a group of TSBs.
#47 of 52 Re: Questions about your Toyota Prius Test Drives [stevegold]
Apr 24, 2007 (12:42 pm)
"There was a software problem that sounds like what you describe. It got a lot of publicity, thanks to GM and Ford PR firms. The fix was already being implemented when the shit hit the fan."
I never saw it from a GM or Ford source. It was reported by someone on this site.