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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all etc...

I have an opportunity to pick up an 03 Prius for an awesome price... extremely low miles.. only 6000 miles on the odometer...

Some people are telling me to take a pass and get an 04 through 06..

Is it really worth the difference in cash (prolly $10K)...

anyways... looking for opinions from prius owners...

also want to hear experiences from those who have towed... I want to pick up a hitch so I can tow my dirtbikes... anyone here have any experience with this?

?
 

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Owning an 04 after passing on the "classic" for several years I can say in my opinion the differance is night and day. I looked and drove an 03 along with the Honda Insight and decided they were both interesting and yet still "gimmics."
The 04 however is very close to being a standard size, performing car. For the latest technology in the world (we're talking "drive" system) you have to accept it in a mid-size economy car. And you have to accept it as it comes with a speedometer and questionable fuel guage. (period)
Most all info available indicates "NO TOWING". There are trailer hitches available and possibly a small "bike" trailer would be OK but the hitch was designed to accept bicycle racks and towing capacity would be extremely limited.
Go for the 04 or newer and forget any type of trailer unless the distance is no greater than a few miles.
This is of course just "one" opinion!
 

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Well, the 03 is a good commuting car especially if you can get it at a great price as you've said. Neither versions can tow. The hitches you see available are only meant to have bike attachments and not trailers.

If you prefer a classic (no pun intended) sedan look, then the Classic model is the way to go. Note that our versions didn't come with split folding seats so you're stuck with ~11cu ft of boot space.

With the newer model, it's much larger with interior volume close (but not quite) to that of the Camry. The exterior footprint, however, is Corolla sized. You do get more toys and goodies if that's what you're after, as well as more safety equipment.

What else would you like to know?
 

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If you are buying one just to save gas mileage and you aren't necessarily needing it to be a mid-family sized sedan and you are using it as a commuter car and daily driver and don't necessarily need to store mass items in the trunk and want to save money in the price difference....

I'd say go with the 2003.


If you want a little bigger room on the inside, foldable seats and more storage space and newer 'cool' technology and don't mind paying more to get these options...

Go with the 2004.



Either way, if you want to tow dirtbikes... I would suggest looking for a different vehicle as these aren't really designed to be tow-ers. Or maybe you could probably buy a cheap beater vehicle to haul your dirtbikes and also purchase the 2003 and still be less $$ than a 2004, and then some. Another option, but that kind of goes against the idea of desiring the Prius...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks.. keep them coming.. fellow on a nnother site said he regularly tows his 1300lb handyman trailer with his 04 and that it infact outpulls his ford 5.4l .. he says prius would have no prob towing bikes as they weigh far less than 1300lbs.. he said he even went to the scales and weighed the treailer in cuz he couldnt believe how well it pulled.
 

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It's really a liability issue more than anything else...if something in the car breaks and they know you've been towing things, you'll probably have more trouble getting them to honor the warranty.

That said, I'd go with the 03 if you are just looking for a solo-commuter car to get around in that you don't need much trunk space for. The bells and whistles are incidental for both...no real big difference in radio sound quality that I can hear. The nav system on the 05 is nifty, but again, the aftermarket Garmin unit I use works just as well.

I traded my 02 for an 05 mainly because I really needed the larger space in the back for hauling my full-size electronic organ around...there wasn't enough space in the trunk of the 03 and while I could haul it around in the backseat, it was a big pain to shove it in and out of there all the time and I ended up often scratching the vinyl on the inner doors, which decreased the tradein value. I'd definitely recommend the 05 if you want space to carry stuff.
 

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Well, the guy who is pulling a trailer with his Prius might be risking the transaxel. Power is transmitted to axels via a multilink high velocity chain, starting at the PSD and going to the final drive gearing. It is strong, however I don't think it was designed to pull a trailer and its contents.
 

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Like Hyperion, I checked out the classic model and decided to wait for more room. I love that I can throw my people-powered bike in the back, or pack all the stuff my kids need to move them to college.
 

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markincolorado said:
gee Hep, I never thought you were that old...bet you like the ease of entry and exit with the Prius! 8)
I just have unusually old children! The Prius is a great family car, and a safe one for when I have to turn over the keys to the young drivers. :)
 

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It would be nice if the used classics were priced much lower than the new model, but they aren't that far back. Pound for pound, you probably are getting less value in the classic. Not quite as good mileage, considering the size, but some have gotten real close. Can you imagine the mileage we'd get if the same drivetrain in the new model was put in the classic body?
Then consider the standard features in the new model, which is a whole lot more than a fully equipped classic.
But a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush, which is why the classics still have high resale value.
 

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2003 Prius: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/18608.shtml EPA city/highway/combined 52/45/48
2005 Prius: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/20934.shtml EPA city/highway/combined 60/51/55

In my experience, the MPG is about the same for both vehicles. Maybe a handful better for the new design, but not much. (lifetime for my 2001 is 45.9MPG, lifetime for my 2004 is 49.0MPG. big whoop.)
http://www.greenhybrid.com/compare/mileage/ shows the Classic at 45.0 with 36 reports, 2004-? at 48.1 with 325 reports.

US 2001: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?a ... leID=16705 4 reports, 46MPG average (42-48 range)
US 2002: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?a ... leID=17634 46.5 average, 40-58 range, 5 reports
US 2003: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?a ... leID=18608 42.3 average, 41-43 range, 2 reports
US 2004: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?a ... leID=19813 26 reports, 47.4 average, 34-61 range
US 2005: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?a ... leID=20934 49 reports, 48.4 average, 36-59 range

Both the Classic and the 2004-? Prius are SULEV.

All warranties will transfer with a Used model.

Tax deductions/credits (depends on your state) can only go to the original purchaser (not available on used vehicles).

Neither car is rated for towing. The wording on my extended warranty is rather clear that it is void if you tow (if you tow more than the owner's manual says, which says not rated for towing). That's not to say that some people have towed small, lightweight trailers slowly and for short distances.

(I do like the suggestion of getting a beater for the handful of times that you may tow. Do you always bring your loaded trailer to work with you or out on errands such as shopping?)

I so suggest that at minimum you sit in each one, preferrably take a test drive in each one...

If you are tall, or often take tall passengers with you, you might be more comfortable in the Classic. Although both models have the same headroom specs (particularly for the rear), tall people tend to hit their heads on the sloped roof of the 2004-? Prius (but not have problems in the Classic). However, the 2004-? Prius has more rear legroom.

Personally, I like having my cargo in a separate compartment (and not flying at me in a hard-braking incident), so I prefer a sedan = Classic. The trunk/boot is lockable, too. (No lockable storage in the 2004-? Prius.) The folding rear seats is helpful in the 2004-? Prius for longer items, but there are simple instructions on the web to remove the rear seat in the Classic if needed. The space inside of the trunk of the Classic is deceptive - it's very deep, and will hold more than you think (much like the interior passenger space!)

The 2004-? Prius is a little quieter than the Classic. When I drive my husband's 2004 I easily find myself speeding, as the sounds of the cars are different... Because of that, the 2004 feels more powerful, not that there's anything wrong with my 2001...

Turning radius on the Classic is much smaller than on the 2004-? Prius. U-turns are much more fun in my 2001! ;)

Here's the old preliminary 2004 Prius specs compared to the 2003 (listed as C/G) http://pressroom.toyota.com/photo_libra ... s_prelim_s You'll have to check the Toyota website for the updated 2004/2005 specs, though. (not all that far off...)

Classic Prius is a compact sedan, comparable to the Corolla, but the 2004-? Prius is a midsize hatchback design, comparable in size to a Camry.

The only "goodies" I can see on a base 2004-? Prius as compared to a base Classic Prius is cruise control is now standard, there are buttons on the steering wheel, and you replace the standard cassette deck with a standard CD player. (You can easily add cruise control and a CD-player as accessories on the Classic.) The electric AC on the 2004-? Prius, compared to the belt-driven AC on the Classic, is mostly a wash in MPG (since the engine will just have to run to power the battery, as opposed to running to directly power the AC). The on-screen buttons for the 2004-? Prius' climate control can be confusing and distracting as they're softbuttons on the MFD, as opposed to simple tactile dasboard dials on the Classic. (You also have more Auto control (fan direction) on the Classic. The shifters are different, but... A few more storage areas on the 2004-? Prius (like an extra glove box), too...

MPG tricks are slightly different between the two (coasting and electric stealth points).

However, if you want more options on your car (like Navigation), then hopefully the 2003 that you're looking at already has that installed, as is the 2005 that you'd find on a lot/order... (But some people prefer a 3rd party portable Nav unit anyways for either...) Same thing goes with the side air bags for each.

Just be sure that the great deal on the 2003 with 6000 miles isn't because it's a salvage title. You loose all warranties with a salvage title. Otherwise, they're still selling near new value. (Retail value from kbb.com in my area for a 2003 base Prius with 6000 miles is $19840. New MSRP for the 2003 was $19995. Private party sale for Fair is $15,230, Good is $16,605, Excellent is $17,630)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
wow! thanks for all the info!

basically I don thave a lot of towing needs, but I do have several motorcycles and I would like to be able to tow our dirtbikes up to the trailhead and or take the sportbikes to the dealer if something goes wrong... the periodic trip to the dump is also needed so I think the towing shouldnt be a problem...

I'm still considering the cost difference in the mileage and the extra cost of the vehicle vs purchasing a fuel efficient other smaller car ie: civic or something else etc...
 
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