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Discussion Starter #1
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?

other info:
-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!)

Thanks,

Michelle
 

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Venzoid
V6 Venza AWD
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I bought a Camry hybrid 6 months ago and love it. We did test drive the Prius and it is a wonderful car. It gets the best gas mileage around, other than plug in cars. Don't worry about replacing the drive battery, they are not failing and they are covered with an 8 yr warranty anyway. I recommend the hybrid experience because it is very interactive and you can actually learn how to drive more efficiently. BTW, I'm saving $200 per month just on fuel over our minivan which we traded for the hybrid. I expect other maintenance costs to be even lower than a conventional vehicle. If you are comfortable in the Prius seats then you can't go wrong. Good luck with your decision.
 

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'12 Prius v
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There are 4 current versions of the Prius

so it is best if you focus on what the car would be used for and what you do and don't expect the car to do.


  • Prius C - the little fellow, great mileage, cheapest, but smallest
  • The Fastback - the one you see all around
  • The Fastback plug-in - gotta have a charging station for this to make sense and it is more expensive
  • The v - CUV or station wagon, more roomy, less MPG than any of the above, more expensive than the fastback
And of course each model comes with various option packages.


Go to the toyoya.com web site and build one, look at the features for each, compare them to other cars you are considering.



Since a hybrid is more expensive to make and buy than a conventional car, I suggest you run a spreadsheet and decide if it will pay off for you in the time you think you will own it and the amount you'll drive it per year. Compare it to another car of comparable year. Or you can justify it on its very low emissions or just it's novelty. I'll confess the long term savings and emissions were less influential than the novelty in my purchase of the v. It will never pay off for me. But then I like the convenience of not having to refuel as often or as long. And its quirks and displays make it fun to drive.


No car is perfect.


As to new versus used, every car is worth lots less the minute it is driven off the dealers lot and it becomes a used car. It is almost always cheaper to own on a cost per mile basis a used car. But you give up some full coverage warranty (or maybe it has none, depending on the age of the car) and you don't have control of its service and are liable to need services sooner than a new car. Again, run the spreadsheet. It can be a real learning experience.
 

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I worked at the Kirkland dealership, so I have plenty of experience driving prius's, but then again, I'm not an owner of one. However, from having to drive them to other dealerships for trade/around the lot/to the gas station, I would say I've logged a fair amount of miles. (If you want a salesman who will absolutely NOT pressure you in any way, I can give you some names if you are willing to drive to Kirkland).

The normal prius, the most popular one, is fine at what it is designed for. You see many of them on the road in Seattle and the other side of the lake, so in terms of foul rainy weather, it seems they handle just fine. Road noise wasn't too bad and the seating arrangement is fine. For some reason, I felt like the base model with no options (prius 2) really felt like a base model. Might be a placebo effect. It is one of the more popular choices, so obviously it's not THAT bad. Purchasing a model with powered leather seats really helps in the comfort department, though may be too expensive for you, I don't know.

The bigger one, I don't like the ergonomics of it on the inside. The temperature control will take some getting used to, as well as having to take your eyes off the road for a fair amount of time, as it's not a standard button. The cloth seats leave something to be desired in terms of fit. Although somewhat comfortable, the leather provides more cushioning. Might be out of your price range.

The c is great for around town and city trips. It doesn't feel as sure footed on the freeway, especially with rain, partly due to the tire size. It is smaller, so the trunk size gets reduced (a lot) so you'd have to keep that in mind...will you ever have to haul stuff that's bigger than a small suitcase? If you need to haul a lot, it's not worth the small prius, even though it is a bit cheaper. If you might not need to haul anything more than a ton of groceries, its a great hybrid for the price. Can't be beat. The seats are not as bad as the normal prius, though I never drove this model for more than 90mins at a time. The other's I've driven for more than 5 hours at a time.
 

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Diehard Rams Fan
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I've owned my Prius for 2 years now & have 27k miles on it. My wife & I both love it. It drives nicely & is very easy to get 48-50 mpg. As you learn how to drive it you can easily get in the mid 50's. It surprises me how much room it has inside too & I love the layout of the dash. It looks so cool the way it wraps around you. I have a Prius 3 model with the JBL stereo, NAV package & solar sunroof. We love how the solar sunroof works. :D As I spoke to Prius owners before buying one they al had one thing in common....they loved their Prius! Another bonus is that the maintenance costs are lower than a standard car, just ask any taxi company! :clap:
 

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The bigger one, I don't like the ergonomics of it on the inside. The temperature control will take some getting used to, as well as having to take your eyes off the road for a fair amount of time, as it's not a standard button. The cloth seats leave something to be desired in terms of fit. Although somewhat comfortable, the leather provides more cushioning. Might be out of your price range.
Any other comments/concerns about the "bigger one"?

I am considering buying a V if and when my wife starts working full-time. There are only 3 regular riders (wife, son and myself) but I wanted to have some extra room in the rare cases when we have visitors, ship larger purchases or go camping.

I know the V is less fuel efficient than the normal, and maybe responds slower to acceleration.
 

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'12 Prius v
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I drive a v and adapted to the controls quite easily at 69 and even prefer the HVAC controls to those of my immediately prior cars (Porsche, Honda). After a month, I don't even look and some of the commonly used controls are duplicated on the steering wheel. I like the feedback you get via the little displays of air direction, temps (inside and outside) and fan speed. When I take all the controls in total including the NAV and audio, I much prefer them to the Avalon my wife drives that is only a year older. It is, to me, a surprisingly easy car to drive.

Is it different from the other cars I've owned? Sure, but then they were mostly different from each other too.

Is it a perfect car? No but then neither were any of the 40+ cars I've owned of probably a dozen makes.

Major pluses I see:
Rear visibility
Windshield mirror at night dims light beautifully
Gobs of little storage bins
Three cup holders in front
Easy fold down rear seats
Reclining rear seats that also slide forward and back
Current mileage display kinda fun
Under rear carpet storage perfect for a few practice golf clubs
6' Xmas tree fits as do all the recycle and trash or 5 freezer Styrofoam boxes
Mag wheels discovered under ugly hubcaps
6'5" sons fit in back seats
Two glove compartments in front of passenger
Oil change 5x cheaper than some cars I've owned, tires 2x cheaper
False leather seats and armrests
You can actually get the EPA mileage in summer
That it doesn't waste display space on a tachometer
MPG 2x my prior CUV

Things I don't like:
Tire noise on concrete roads (Michelin 16" tires)
Worthless card slot to left of steering column
Lack of Daylight Running Lights
Lack of turn signals on side mirrors
Lack of fog lights (I have a three)
Dirt that sticks to rear of car (White car)
Amount of brake dust that sticks to wheels
Wind sensitivity in very strong winds
Impact of winter costs me 2-3 MPG (not really a big deal)
Location of speedometer
 

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I drive a v and adapted to the controls quite easily at 69 and even prefer the HVAC controls to those of my immediately prior cars (Porsche, Honda). After a month, I don't even look and some of the commonly used controls are duplicated on the steering wheel. I like the feedback you get via the little displays of air direction, temps (inside and outside) and fan speed. When I take all the controls in total including the NAV and audio, I much prefer them to the Avalon my wife drives that is only a year older. It is, to me, a surprisingly easy car to .... Location of speedometer
Thanks so much Mike. Great info indeed! I am a bit concerned about the speedometer location as well. But hell, I'll get used to it sooner or later.
 

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I don't own a Prius, but before I retired there were several co-workers who liked theirs so much they bought another. They loved the carpool lane access (varies by state), the mpg, and the low maintenance. Not one of the seven of them disliked their Prius. I say go for it!
 

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It really is all about personal preference and needs. There really hasn't been a "bad" prius made thus far.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you so much, everyone! A lot more helpful than I expected (first time posting in a car forum...didn't expect anyone to reply to my post :) )

@mikefocke, thank you so much for explaining the difference between the different types of Prius's out there. I think that definitely helped me to narrow down what model I will get as well as the pros and cons

@scat1, I would love to hear about the salesman that you know. Willing to drive as far as Tacoma in order to get the best deal. :)
 

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Prius
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Pros:
  • Ultra low emissions
  • Easily 50 mpg (My lifetime is 48mpg and winter here is brutal, staying below freezing for months and several weeks of -20°C/-1°F or colder. My commute is short too (6 miles))
  • Technology (If you want to spend the coin, you can get radar cruise, Heads-up Display and a Pre-Collision System)
  • Space (It's both fuel efficient and space efficient. The Liftback shorter than a Corolla bumper-to-bumper but yet has more legroom and cargo room. The v has just under 60% more cargo space and the c is about 1/2 a size larger than the Yaris)
  • Getting to learn the hybrid driving style and play the mpg game to get the "high score"
  • Low maintenance costs (our 2005 driven in similar conditions to your area with 190,000km still has original brake pads with 50% of it left. My 2010 with 56,000km practically has new brake pads)
  • Utility (all Prius models are of the hatchback/wagon variety allowing you to configure the car to your lifestyle). The 2 larger models also have plenty of storage space in the cargo area under the main floor
Cons:
  • A tad noisy (the c is the noisest, naturally)
  • Small 12V battery (careful not to run it down). The car does have a built-in accessory timer but if you're not careful, leaving the headlights on will drain it fairly quickly
  • On the Liftback, the lower rear window has no wiper and can get dirty quickly in the winter (oil, sand/mud, salt), rendering it useless when you're trying to reverse and use that window. A backup camera helps. The c and v have regular rear windows.

New vs. Used?

It's up to you, really. If you can find a good deal on a lightly used one (1-2 year old) that's well maintained, then it makes sense financially because you will save thousands off a new car. Toyota's basic bumper-to-bumper warranty is a bit short at 3 years/36,000 miles so you will lose 1-2 years if you get a used one. The hybrid warranty is 8 years/100,000 miles (higher HV battery warranty in CA-emission states).

Maintenance:

Same as a regular FWD Toyota car (not truck). 6 months or 5,000 miles. There is a brake checkup to ensure it works properly (given that you don't use it very often). There's no alternator to replace and brake pads should last well over 100,000 miles of city driving (As I said above, our 2005 still has original brakes).

Problems:

No hybrid-related issues yet. Current battery replacement cost is about US$2,000 plus labour for a brand new one. One taxi company up here have had to replace one battery at 700,000km (437,500 miles) but otherwise they've had little issues with their fleet.


Warranty:

I assume you mean extended warranty? We never got any for any of our Prii but it's a personal preference. If it really helps you sleep at night, go for it. I figured it's a Toyota and will be reliable and now that the taxi companies run them, it gives me more confidence because they can't afford to have a vehicle (or multiple vehicles) in the shop because then they're not earning any money.
 

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All the replies posted so far are right on target. I have owned all of the modles of Prius dating back to 2001 and they are all good. The Gen I models such as the 2001 were the poorest of the lot. That said, I have one with 143K miles on it that I just rebuilt the main battery pack and would now drive it anywhere, but you should set your sights on a later model. Fears of main battery issues pretty much evaporated with the Gen II models and I see them all over here in Texas with 225-250K miles on the original main battery and mechanicals-still running strong. The later ones, beginning in 2010 are even further improved, so by all means if you can stand getting 45 MPG or more on every tank of gas, then get a Prius. While not perfect, of the hybrids, and other so called group of high mileage vehicles, these are way ahead. They will also move if you push the accelerator a bit, you will be surprised. They are very roomy and useful, almost a small SUV. Huge backseat that folds down. The only thing I miss at times is they do not feel really peppy, so I drive another car for a day or two and then am in love with the Prius all over again. I can't beleive everyone doesn't own one.
 

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Can someone tell me what the The Fastback model is called by the Toyota people? I am having trouble getting info on it.


  • Prius C - the little fellow, great mileage, cheapest, but smallest
  • The Fastback - the one you see all around
  • The Fastback plug-in - gotta have a charging station for this to make sense and it is more expensive
  • The v - CUV or station wagon, more roomy, less MPG than any of the above, more expensive than the fastback
 

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Venzoid
V6 Venza AWD
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Toyota (in Canada) calls the Prius the "Prius". I call it the Prius hatchback, and the above posters have called it the "fastback" and "liftback". This model has more names than anything else! I think you could also call it the regular prius, since it is the flagship of the group and has millions in sales all around the world.

All the other Prius's have an extension to their name to differentiate them.
 

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I've got to add my two cents here. We, my wife and I, have 09' prius base model. It's hers and she loves it. It gets easy 53 mile to the gallon and with her job of merchandizing she ends up making money when they pay her mileage. I just changed the oil tonight and she has put 85,000 miles on it since we bought it new off the lot the end of 09' and oil and tires is all we've put into it. It performs like any other car on the road, lots of pep and feels sure footed on the road. We took a trip from TN to MI in it with every available space filled with our camping gear and still got 53 miles to the gallon and the trip did not feel cramped.
As far as new or used I look at it like this. Are you planning to keep the car until it falls apart or just a few years and then get something else? I know a Toyota will last as our family had an carrolla in the family for 20 yrs. before my sister finely sold it to upgrade to a vehicle that would pull a trailer. All she ever had to do to it is replace a water pump aside from the usual wear and tear. If you think you may want to get a different car in a few years, I would suggest buying used, but if you want to keep the car for as long as you can I would buy new. We really like ours and would not trade it off for anything else. Toyota really knows how to build quality.
 

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2008 Camry hybrid
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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?

other info:
-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!)

Thanks,

Michelle
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).
 
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