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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-04-2006, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Default My first Prius test drive!

Test drove a blue 2005 Prius that was a rental car at the local dealer. The salesman wasn't very knowledgeable and his English wasn't that great, but my main point was to actually drive the car! Seems odd, because his card says "Assistant Sales Manager".

My 2000 Saturn LS-1 feels like a tank compared to the Prius! The brake is quite different on the Prius, it doesn't require as much force. After test driving and then getting back into my car, the break felt weak. I just got new front brakes to boot.

The front panel display wasn't what I thought it was. I thought it was over towards the right above the center console, but it was right in front of me. It also appeared to be magnified which made it pretty easy to read. I had a problem, though, because I thought I was trying to turn on the headlamps, but when I did that, the display blanked out. The salesman wasn't any help on what I was doing wrong with the headlamp control. I switched it back to see if I could get my display back, which it did. It didn't feel right driving with no speedometer.

Very roomy looking interior, more so than my car. Visibility out the rear isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Acceleration is impressive. Somehow, even with my car, it seemed superior. I was having trouble not going over 65 MPH on the highway.

The car does feel floaty, but that's not too much of a distraction to me. We do have a nasty wind storm right now. Road noise was minimal and it was interesting to come to a stop and have everything shut down.

The heater was running a little bit, so even with my attempts to just drive on battery only up to the next light, the engine still wanted to kick on. It would take some time to master driving this car optimally.

Was thinking about renting one for at least a few days, or a week, to really get a good feel for it. There is certainly a worlds difference from looking at photographs, and walking up to a window to look inside, versus actually driving it.

Overall, quite impressed.

Prius: silver 2006 Package #8.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 01:08 AM
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The speedo going out at night was probably because the rheostat (aka dimmer switch) was set in its lowest position.

2005 Tideland Pkg B
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Default Prius Test Drive Experience

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Originally Posted by Tideland Prius
The speedo going out at night was probably because the rheostat (aka dimmer switch) was set in its lowest position.
Oh really? The "assistant sales manager" guy with me didn't seem to know what was wrong or show much interest in helping me figure out the problem, so I just turned the lights back off. It was the only way I could think of to get my speedo panel back! I think I could do a **** of a better job demoing a Prius than he did.

Another thing out of wack was the back of the driver seat was sloping too far back and I couldn't figure out how to get it up straighter. I tried to pull the lever up on the left side, but it didn't work and I was trying to drive which is not a good idea to keep fumbling with it while driving. I never like to get into a car without everything adjusted properly, but didn't do such a good job in this case.

Reminds me of my first experience in driver's ed. Twenty year veteran police office was my instructor. After practicing going forward a few feet, then backing he says "Ok, I want you to take us out now." I was thinking, but I don't know how to drive! You want us to go out on a public street after only learning how to move forward and back!? Needless to say, I only went about 10 -15 MPH in the 25 zone on my first trip.

I would imagine anyone who rents a Prius, but has never driven a hybrid before, might have a little learning curve with the power button, how to park it, and how to turn it off again.

I can see how much of a potential distraction the "energy monitor" is while driving. I was trying to see what it was showing me, but couldn't spend too much time on it.

Prius: silver 2006 Package #8.
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"Another thing out of wack was the back of the driver seat was sloping too far back.."
************************************************** *****
Lifting the lever on the left side of the seat should have allowed the spring loaded seat back to move towards vertical as you lean forward. A fully adjustable power seat would be nice but Toyota obviously didn't think so. I'd guess that a power seat will be available in forthcoming models. It's a common complaint by people of non-average size.
The panel lights (speedo.etc) have an auto-dim feature when you turn on the head lights. The dimmer switch (roller wheel) is just above your left knee. If you roll that wheel to the top you pass a detent that switches the panel lights (and info display) to a daytime setting It's a must-use for times when it's not really dark but you want the headlights on.
Too bad you got untrained saleman. There's lots of little things that you might not figure out for yourself for a long time. For example: If you don't like the Reverse Beeper, it can be turned off but it's a tricky little operation.
That "floaty" feeling at highway speed is something you get used to. In my case, after leaving a heavy SUV, the Prius took some driver adjustment. The electric power steering + rack & pinion has zero free play so it's easy to over correct. Tire pressure also affects the straight line stability.
As you noted.. the brakes are very good. The Prius will stop about as quickly as any car I've owned but it has slightly different feel under the foot.
Good luck with your research. It's a neat car with very few faults.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 09:42 AM
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When I was ready to drive my new Prius home from the dealer, I asked him what one suggestion he would give me. "Be aware the brakes are more sensitive." Good advice. Now when my daughters drive my car they comment on the lighter touch the brakes require. Everthing else you mention from panel switch, dashboard light, rear view, and seats all become second nature after a while. Even that little gear shift and Power button has come in handy for me recovering from shoulder surgery. Not much pressure or rotation required.

Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Evander (immortal guinea pig)
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