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Prius: Fun to drive but an ergonomic catastrophe

3075 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  BenG
At work I've driven around 10 different '03 Priuses (sp?) and just last week I drove an '04 for the first time. The '04 is bigger and still fun to drive, but unfortunately it doesn't improve on any of the ergonomic failures of the '03.

Ever try to change the radio to a preset station on a Prius? On an '03 first you have to hit the "Audio" button to get to the right touchscreen. Then you have to turn your head and look at the screen, because since it's a touchscreen there's nothing to guide your fingers by. All you can do is keep looking at the dumb screen -- which is around ten feet from the driver's seat -- to find the next "button" to press.

And even the controls that aren't on the touchscreen are spread out all over the place. Just for the radio, there are controls on both far ends of the dashboard as well as the touchscreen controls. Want to change the volume? That's on the left side. Want to get to the Audio screen? That button's on the right. Want to adjust the bass? You'll have to hit another touchscreen button just to get to a different touchscreen. And oh, BTW, the buttons on the left side of the dashboard are all blocked from sight by the crooked gear shifter.

The '04 just makes things worse. It adds the ridiculous ignition system which requires you to put your little remote control INTO the dashboard (just give me a key, ok?). And then you have to press the brake pedal while hitting the "START" button or else you can't put the car into gear -- EVEN THOUGH THE CAR'S IN PARK ANYWAY. Then there's another button to put the car into Park, which is separate from the newfangled gear shift in the dash.

Another example is the handy dandy diagram which shows the flow of power in the car from the wheels to the battery to the engine, etc. The '03's is simple enough and easy to understand. But in the name of PROGRESS, the '04's is incomprehensible, adding all kinds of unneccesary graphics. It's almost like Toyota expects you to always have a passenger along to help you run the car. Because it's sure as hell unsafe to do any of this while driving.

Change for Change's Sake is BAD!!!! If Toyota's going to change the standard controls that every American driver is used to, then it should be for an improved and EASIER TO USE system.

Otherwise the car is fine. I love driving the '03 in traffic.
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· Registered
156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I should add that the '04 at least has steering wheel buttons. Also, the '04 moves the speedometer back to where it belongs -- in front of the driver and not in the middle of the dashboard, which really sucks about the earlier Prius.

However, the '04 gets rid of the only sensible controls in the '03, the climate controls. The '03 had standard climate controls that anyone could understand. The '04 has moved them to the dreaded touchscreen and the steering wheel.

· TN Member
5,470 Posts
Get the smart key, then you don't have to put the fob into the dash. Also, pressing POWER will also put the car in Park. Pushing the Park button isnt' necessary. Radio and Climate controls are on the steering wheel. You can switch CDs and turn on/off the radio with the steering wheel controls (if you know how).

· ECHO....Echo....echo....
1,047 Posts
Pressing POWER to shutdown the car without hitting PARK first causes the car to jerk when shutting down. Don't like that, feels like something is going to break.

Steering wheel controls are so far away from the rim of the steering wheel, it's just as bad as not having them.

Everything else, I completely agree with ian721.
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