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Hello -

I'm considering one of the new '04s as a daily driver. I test drove an '03 and liked it and I am aware of what's going on with the model change.

But one thing I am going to need to do with the new Prius is to go to the mountains. Specifically, I am wondering how a new Prius would do on a 5 hour drive from Southern California to Mammoth Mountain in the cold and snow with four adults and a hatch full of snowboarding gear, not to mention two to four boards on the roof.

If you are not familiar with the trip, it's a long haul through California's Owens Valley. Very beautiful, but the last 40 miles are a consistent uphill grade from Bishop (el 4100 ft.) to Mammoth Lakes (el 8000 ft.)

I've seen a RAV4 struggle with two people, so I am concerned with all of the cargo, the extra wind resistance from the boards, the cold, and the long grade if this is too much to ask from the car?

Thanks!
 

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bla said:
Hello -

I'm considering one of the new '04s as a daily driver. I test drove an '03 and liked it and I am aware of what's going on with the model change.

But one thing I am going to need to do with the new Prius is to go to the mountains. Specifically, I am wondering how a new Prius would do on a 5 hour drive from Southern California to Mammoth Mountain in the cold and snow with four adults and a hatch full of snowboarding gear, not to mention two to four boards on the roof.

If you are not familiar with the trip, it's a long haul through California's Owens Valley. Very beautiful, but the last 40 miles are a consistent uphill grade from Bishop (el 4100 ft.) to Mammoth Lakes (el 8000 ft.)

I've seen a RAV4 struggle with two people, so I am concerned with all of the cargo, the extra wind resistance from the boards, the cold, and the long grade if this is too much to ask from the car?

Thanks!
Check the Links (Bookmarks) > FAQ's > Mountain/Hill Climbing Ability? folder in the toyota-prius yahoogroup.
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... 010253404/

Sounds like you'll probably want to install snow tires for the trip, though, or have any required chains handy.

No one knows yet how the '04 will be. The reports for the current Prius state that cruise control may not be able to hold speed, don't expect (at least the uphill portion) to have wonderful MPG, but you should be able to keep up with traffic and not hold anyone back.
 

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Take a look at the maximum allowed load numbers and take it from there. A lot of the control problems with any vehicle stem from overload. Most "gross out" long before they "cube out". I suspect four adults and all their gear and clothing might exceed the maximum total for a Prius (and maybe even a Ford Explorer :D ).
 

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Prius Hill Climbing

I;ve got a 2002 Prius and just got back from a trip to the Colorado Mountains. I am unsure your experience will be the same as mine, since I only had one passenger, though our Prius was prettly loaded down with luggage, and the back seat was packed solid with other stuff.

We climbed the grade on I-70 from Frisco (near Breckenridge) to the Eisenhower Tunnel, which is about 5 miles of 6-7% grade at 65 mph. And, the Prius had no trouble at all holding the speed on the hill. The elevation is between 10,000 and 11,000 feet at the summit.

We also drove up Pikes Peak, which is 14,110 feet at the top, with a 12 mile drive of up to 12-14% grade; and the car made it fine up there, too. The average speed is only about 25 mph on this dirt road, because it is a windy dirt road, and there are no guard rails! The Prius did OK, but the "B" gear was not low enough to hold the car back on the downhill drive, and I had to ride the brakes most of the way down. They didn't overheat, though, because I tried not to push hard enough to engage the actual brake pads most of the time, but even so, "B" is not low enough.

I would think that if you can fit the people and gear in the car, you shouldn't have any trouble, especially since the 2004 is supposed to have a bigger electric motor and batteries. However, if you have snowboards on an outside rack, I'll bet your gas mileage will really suffer from the extra wind resistance.
 

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Upon snooping around, I found the Prius is rated for 800 lbs. This means if you're carrying four 150 lb people (yourself plus three passengers), you have about 200 lbs left for "cargo". If your friends are like mine, you might want to leave one of them at home :oops: Adding gear to the roof raises the center of gravity as well as weight.

While the car may handle it OK, you're running close to the margin with four normal-sized adults and their luggage in the Prius. Driving in the mountains on winding roads in snowy conditions adds some additional stress. Maybe too much.

I think your question points out the reason for many SUV roll-over accidents. I can easily overload my Dodge Dakota Quad Cab (1400 lb rated) with four people and a few hundred pounds of "stuff" in the bed, even with its heavy duty suspension, big tires and V-8 engine.

The Prius can probably do what you're asking. Doing it safely is the question.
 
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