Hello Everyone! Potential Toyota Hybrid Prius owner here! First time car-buyer and am very interested in hybrid car, in particular, the prius...but Not sure what model i should get. Although, I am open to hearing about other comparable cars.
Questions for Current or Past Prius Owners:
-What are the pros and cons for the prius?
-should I buy new or used? (I'm leaning towards new because I believe that the battery is very expensive to replace)
-what's the maintenance like? How often do you have to maintain the hybrid? What is the cost of the maintenance compared to a non-hybrid car?
-any problems with batteries that you won't find on non-hybrid cars? How expensive have they been to replace?
-what are your thoughts on warranties?
-Live in Seattle...Lots of rain (obviously) but hardly ever any snow.
-driving habits: right now just, going to the grocery store and park and ride, but plan to start using it heavily very soon...maybe in the next 4-5 months (driving to school and work and to boyfriend's house)
- this would be my first car that I've purchased myself (eeek!)
I found the Prius to have the driving personality of Marvin (From Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy - Google it). Brilliant at times, competent almost all the time, but lacking in joy. Of the models, the V is a great choice for room - and seems a bit smoother, but I found the instrument panel more than a bit off-putting - the shifter and center-mounted gauges don't do it for me. The only plus for "C" is the relatively low price - but at it heart, it's a Yaris - the least competitive car Toyota sells in the US by far. That's a cheaply made small car that reminds you of the fact every mile of its life - not as bad as a Versa, but darn close in the 'cheap-and-not-too-cheerful' corner of the bargain bin.
Durability has been excellent overall, but with any used vehicle, the abuse the first owner heaps on the vehicle (especially wrecks) makes a big difference. Line up a shop you trust that knows the cars to perform an inspection for any used vehicle. Traction battery has been quite durable, and the auxiliary 12 vold battery has bee quite good, but a bit spendy when you need to replace it due to its deep cycle use.
Given your stated age, a lightly used Gen III Prius (2010+) sedan is likely the best bet from a cost and durability perspective. You should have several years of battery and powertrain warranty to ease your mind, while still avoiding the big hit of initial depreciation. A 'V' is a good choice - but more costly and more rare. Going new, avoid excessive tart-ups - you can quickly get to a crazy price point if you don't. A wild card is that right now, Toyota is doing some screaming deals on the Prius - so know your price point for a given trim. Places like Fitzmall list them as low as $22K. They are a bit too far away for your location - but I'm sure the Seattle area has their share of comparable price points.
If you are uncomfortable haggling, find a friend or family member who has the 'killer instinct' or go with outfits like Sam's, Cosco or BJ's that will help get you a decent deal. Stay aware that as a young female, many salespeople will try their worst to take advantage of you - be ready for battle, and get informed. If you finance, get pre-approved with your Credit Union at a rate and payment duration you want to deal with - the finance people at the dealership are another pond of sharks to watch out for. Avoid the 'rust and dust' add-on (things like overpriced extended warranties, obscenely overpriced wax jobs, etc).