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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'll be purchasing a new car sometime in the 12 months. I am considering a Prius. I test drove one when they first came out, but had recently purchased my first Daytona and just couldn't bear to part with it. I was laid off 2 years ago and returned to school. I'll be finishing my program in about 3 months and expect to be working before I finish up.

The other vehicles I am considering are probably not typical of a normal Prius buyer, though I since I haven't frequented this forum so I don't really know. I'll be waiting for the Dodge Charger to hit the streets, but I've pretty much narrowed it down to a Magnum/Charger RT or a Prius. Seems like they're pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum to me.

I stopped by the Toyota dealership yesterday in the hopes of checking out a Prius. They had 2 used ones sitting in front of the dealership. The sticker was $22K and change on one and $24K and change on the other. There was a third one around the corner that I was able to take for a 20 minute test drive priced the same as the 2nd one. All three cars had under 20K miles, and was told that they were pretty much base models with no options. He said that they had 2 others, but they were sold earlier this week. The salesman told me that the price of a base Prius was higher than a new one because I could drive one home today instead of waiting for a new one.

Overall, I liked the car. I don't think I'd buy one on the basis of a 20 minute test drive, though. The motor was a little louder than I remembered from the test drive I made took several years ago. I forgot to reset the trip/mileage counter when I started, but the 4 miles or so I drove after I reset it and it registered 43 something. Since most of that was on the highway, I was pretty impressed. On a really good day, I get 30 mpg with my Daytona on the highway. Normally, it's around 28 mpg on the highway. So I was pretty impressed.

I guess I'm looking for feedback from Prius owners and have some questions.

1) For those who have the navigation system, how do you like it and do you think it's worth the cost.

2) Has anyone installed a sunroof in one? Is it possible?

3) What kind of real world gas mileage are you getting?

4) Can any Toyota dealership service a Prius? I seem to recall that they could only be serviced by select dealerships. Is this still the case? Was it ever the case? If so, how numerous are these dealerships? How about stuff like oil changes, etc.

5) How reliable is the Prius. Is there any problem area I should be aware of?

Anything else I might not have thought of?

I appreciate any information you folks would be willing share with me.

Thank you.
Christopher
 

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1. [Navigation] Love it. At two times of crisis (about a week apart) the nav system came through for me. Will never buy a car w/o one again

2. [Sunroof] dunno

3. [MPG] uh see below, or for a tank by tank, my spreadsheet http://home.cfl.rr.com/njfiorello/priuslog.xls My daily commute is 75 miles each way, almost all highway (if there's no traffic)

4. [Service] The short answer is yes... The real question is can they do it right... From the sound of it your dealer has sold more than one... See if you can find an owner in your area who's had service done.

5. [Reliability] Toyota has almost always been known for reliability, but the technology is still new enough to be in the 'not all the data is in' category. I'm almost to 25,000. My Prius reported a bad O2 sensor at 300 miles, but that could be for lots of reasons. Since it's been fixed, everything is peachy.

6. [Other] I woudn't buy from your particular dealer because you make it sound like he's jacking the price.
 

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Hi Christopher...

1) For those who have the navigation system, how do you like it and do you think it's worth the cost.

{ I find the NAV system quite accurate, within 100' of my entered destinations. Also, I note it shows many private drives and roads. The verbal responses are sometimes amusing and somewhat unrelated to my verbal request... this is why I named the NAV lady "Ernestine" after Lili Tomlin's telephone operator character. I also note that if you select one of 3 offered routes to an entered destination and change the route enroute, the NAV system adjusts to your change in about 1 to 2 city blocks and modifies her instructions and route mapping. }

2) Has anyone installed a sunroof in one? Is it possible?

{No sunroof experience...}

3) What kind of real world gas mileage are you getting?

{My actual mileage is ~45 MPG mixed city driving and ~52 MPG freeway extended at ~70 MPH. I use the cruise control whenever feasible (it gets MUCH better mileage than I can with my foot) I plan to change to synthetic oil at 10,000 miles which reportedly can increase my mileage a bit. I note increasing mileage as the Prius "limbers up" and expect future improvement.}

4) Can any Toyota dealership service a Prius? I seem to recall that they could only be serviced by select dealerships. Is this still the case? Was it ever the case? If so, how numerous are these dealerships? How about stuff like oil changes, etc.

{Any dealership CAN service a Prius, but sometimes you must inquire to find one with well-trained, experienced Prius Techs. It is *NOT* necessary to have your Prius serviced at the same dealer from whom you buy it. How many dealerships is somewhat dependent on WHERE you live...}

5) How reliable is the Prius. Is there any problem area I should be aware of?

{All cars have problems, and the Prius is a very advanced car from the technical standpoint; however, Toyota has a strong/long warranty: 8 yrs/100,000 miles on the Hybrid elements (150,000 miles in California); overall 3 yrs 36,000 miles bumper/bumper; and I believe 60,000 miles on the drive train. Many of the problems reported in the Prius forums online are minor, and I note that most postings aren't complaints per se but seek information on Prius features or post drivers' experiences with their Prii.}

I have ~9,100 miles on my Prius and have had very minor issues - dash dimmer switch re-connect, free replacement of the NAV DVD, ECU reprogramming (free), hood gasket replacement (free) and ordinary service - 5,000 oil change/tire rotation. I enjoy the quiet ride and particularly the SE/SS (now SKS) smart entry/smart start feature. I find the smoothness of the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) great and power equal to or exceeding my '96 Camry 4-cyl - plenty peppy for all occasions.
 

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The only specific question of yours that I can answer is fuel economy with my 2004: 45+ MPG doing almost exclusively short commuter trips, and more than 50 MPG on trips longer than about 10 miles.

Presumably you've seen and driven the 2004-2005 version, which is much different than the 2001-2003 (bigger, faster, more options).

Did you ask the dealer how he came to have some used ones? Prius owners are usually so fanatically happy with them (as I am with mine) that they would not sell them after only 20K miles.
 

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Chris.....Welcome......
In the amount of time it took you to write all this.......you could've easily found all these questions already answered here. I suggest you read a bit.
Most of what your asking is either objective personal pref. or cost issues.

- Some peeps love the nav....others can't justify the cost. I didn't really ever see the need to have a cell phone when I had obviously gotten along without one for years.....but now that I've had one for quite some time....I can't see being with out.

-Sunroofs have been and can be done for a price!

-Your mileage may vary

-for the small amt of service required.....(due to the fact that P* utilizes it's components much less than normal vehicles)......by the time you need service.....most Stealerships service depts should be up to speed!

-how reliable..........95% owner satisfaction!
 

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bshef said:
...-Sunroofs have been and can be done for a price!...
Welcome to the boards, Chris.

My understanding (perhaps mistaken?) is that sunroofs are not on the Prius for two reasons: aerodynamics and temperature.

Prius was designed in a wind tunnel to minimize drag. Driving with a roof open would screw that up. As for temperature, the sun beating in on the interior of the car would increase the temp inside, using more energy to cool the interior. (The former reason I find easier to accept than the latter.)

You know, of course, that the Prius in 04 and 05 is quite a bit different from the 01 through 03 model. The engine technology was changed, as was the design. Perhaps, since you said you drove one some years ago, you drove the earlier design.

Some call the 04/05 the "second generation," although that's not entirely correct. More like 3d or more, since the Prius was in Japan first, and no doubt had test models, as well. Others call the 04/05 the HSD version (Hybrid Synergy Drive). To me, the earlier ones are notchbacks, and the new ones are hatchbacks! :)

The hatchbacks are somewhat larger, classified as a mid-size, and have somewhat different features.

The wait for a new Prius is not as long as your dealer may be telling you. Shop around. Look on the 'boards. The supply has increased lately, and you may find a brand new Prius for not much more than the dealer's quote for a used one.

Buy one and join the family! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for the welcome. I stopped reading the forum shortly after registering because I knew it was going to be some time before I was going be be able to get a new car and I didn't want to be reading all about the car and realize it wasn't going to happen. Since I test drove the car yesterday, and hope to buy within the next year, I figured I'd come back and see what the folks in the know had to say.

The car I drove was a 2005.

I know that most of what I asked was subjective, but that's pretty much what I'm looking for. How people like the car. I'm thinking of moving to an area where the Toyota dealership told me that the closest service for them was about 125 miles away.

I've got a GPS unit mounted in my Daytona that gives turn by turn instructions, but you have to load the areas you'll be travelling to into memory. It's pretty good, but I was wondering if it would be worth the extra money to have one integrated into the car. I was curious as to how user friendly the nav system is, or if most people with it never really used it.

I did ask if they marked up a new Prius like they did the used one and he said no. I was also told there is about a 9 month wait for one. I figured that there was a wait and wanted to get an idea what it was. I imagine people are paying pretty close to sticker for them, though I do need to look into that.

The salesman I talked to when I first looked at them was off yesterday. Seems like a pretty good guy and I've talked to him a number of times in the intervening time.

I can attest to the use of synthetic. I started using it in my Daytona and was able to document a 10% increase in gas mileage. Unfortunately, those records are on an old computer and I never transferred them over to my new one.
 

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I love my Prius! The other car I was considering was the Acura RSX Type S, which is also kind of diametrically opposed.

I wondered about sunroofs, too. I'm sure it is physically possible, but the roof of the Prius is shaped for aerodynamics and I was told a sunroof was not advisable because it would tend to decrease mileage. Don't know by how much... the nav system sort of makes up for it, though!
 

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8) Hello Again, Christopher....

About "6 months wait" - Increasingly, you can find Prii in dealer inventory, some at (even below) MSRP without the "added features" (translate HIGH COST/HIGH DEALER PROFIT) some dealers like to include. When it's "time" to seriously shop, try the "For Sale" sections on the Prius forums and eBay where some dealers post. If you don't have a trade-in problem and are willing to fly and drive your new Prius home, even now you can find a good buy in a new Prius. If you continue to "haunt" the Prius forums, chances are you will know more about the Prius than your salesperson does.

HAPPY HUNTING :)
 

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"The salesman told me that the price of a base Prius was higher than a new one because I could drive one home today instead of waiting for a new one."

don't be fooled. waiting 3 or less months is not worth 2000-4000 dollars
 

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Because you mentioned the other cars that you are interested in, I'll throw my 2 cents worth in. There is no instrumentation at all in this car. You'l never know what the engine is turning. Nothing but idiot lights for the cooling and oil systems. With the display off and driving as you have been since you have started driving, cruise 65/75, rapid acceleration when entering freeways and from stop lights your average milage will run in the mid forties. (not too shabby) but it will take a long time to realize any savings from a car that averages thirty. Sunroof! If you check out the roof which is concave for lower drag you could squeeze no more than a 12 inch wide one in and in the year I.ve been on this net I haven't heard of any installed. You would think that this car would be ripe for aftermarket items like instruments but since everything is run by computers there are none adaptable. Only things added are mudflaps and things for show.
I've seen zero evidence of a Prius mechanic or even a Toyota employee who has purchased one of these cars and if you go for new, regardless of the warranty on the car I would advise an extended one because of the completely new technology used. This especially if you want to sleep nights. These run from 750/950 dollars for seven to eight years.
The car should be reliable as that is what Toyota has going for it.
You haven't mmentioned where you are located but in the east, south, or north, with a little "finger walking in the phone book" you can usually find one in less than a month and sometimes a week. All at MSRP
I've had mine a year and am happy with it, but it is smaller than I am used too, and is not the savior of the auto industry. Try to maybe borrow an owners manual for a weekend (it will take that long to get through it) from a local dealer but if you are really interested and want to do further research pick one up on "E" bay for about ten bucks. The service manuals for this car are about three times more complicated than the owners manual. In fact I should add that the service manuals for the Prius come in three volumes, eleven inches thick and weigh twelve pounds. Seeing them will convince you of the value of the extended warranty. The manual for the 2005 Lexas in the other hand is one volume, two inches thick.
The car is unique, and until production is upped considerably you will own something a little different than your neighbor, and it is a great conversation piece!
As for service I believe every Toyota dealer in the US was obligated to send at least one of their mechanics to Toyota college fore training on the car. Hence the 800 number in the owners manual to call for the nearest dealer near you if you have a problem. Thats the only solution for you with some of the idiot lights illuminated.
 

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I'm surprised the dealer was so shifty with you. It's hard enough to sell a car as it is; you'd think he'd WANT to give it to you for a fair price vs. pushing for a couple extra dollars commission. Though with the Prius in such high demand now, I guess I could see where he's coming from...not that it's right to do that to you.

I agree about the sunroof. With the climate control, you don't really need one, and a sunroof would defeat the purpose of maximum gas mileage the Prius was built for.

I got a model without the NAV system; as the monthly payment for the BC was somewhat over my allowable monthly budget...especially when I added the extended warranty and GAP insurance. I'm hoping I can install a portable NAV system in a few months.

Mine is new and currently only has 100 miles on the odometer. But I've still gotten over 45 mpg on it. There are ways to maximize that number that I haven't done yet (synthetic oil, tire pressure, long vs. short trips, etc.) that I'm sure many people have already posted about here.

As for who can work on a Prius, check with local Toyota dealerships and make sure they have Prius-certified mechanics working there. Also if you travel, make sure to check the dealerships both near and on the way to your destination. I happen to be extremely lucky in that the dealership near me has a very highly rated Prius mechanic who never disappointed me on the 2002 Prius I used to drive. But I think every Toyota dealership within 200 miles of me has at least one of them working there...I happen to live in a pretty congested urban area where Priuses are in high demand, hence the SHORTER wait to get them...they chose my area first to fill the backlog orders, and now wait for a custom new one is only 1 month.
 

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1) Nav system - LOVE it. This is despite that I am one of those people that rarely "needs" it, as I can pretty much find my way anywhere. But, it's really nice to have. The only drawback I've found is that there are SOME places that the guidance won't guide you to. It'll show you the location on the map, but you have to figure out how to get there. Not a major deal, just be aware of it, if you drive outside of a metro area.

2) Nope, and I don't know of anyone that has. I sometimes think it would be nice, but I usually hate wind noise, so I probably wouldn't use it, anyway.

3) 45-50mpg, but I have a weird short commute that includes a long steep hill, and doesn't give the engine time to get to optimum temperature. If I were on flat land, I'd probably get 50-55. One of the teachers I'm with just bought one last week (straight off the lot, no wait) and her hubby immediately drove it from VA to Key West. He reported 60+ mpg for the trip!!

4) Yes, but make sure the folks there have been trained to work on them. Fortunately, my area has 3 dealerships that have reasonably good service departments. One of them is less than 2 miles away.

5) It's a Toyota. Love it. Love it so much that the local paper did an article about it with a big pic of my hugging my Prius. Seriously.


Go for it! You will not regret a Prius. I refer to it as my little spaceship. I especially love messing with people who don't know about the Smart Entry/Smart Start.... hehehehe I walk up to it and wave my hand and say, "Open Sesame" and watch as their jaw hits the floor.... Yeah, I'm evil, but it's fun. ;-)

--Bonnie
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I live in Southeast Michigan. The dealership I stopped at is in Ann Arbor. The salesman I was talking to isn't the guy I usually talk to. He did say that Ann Arbor is a little different than the general market. From talking to him and previously, the guy I normally deal with, I get the feeling that the waiting list is longer in Ann Arbor than other markets. Which makes sense when you consider the kind of town it is.

Thanks for the link to the sunroof info. I'm not terribly concerned about the sun shining in the car or any hit in mileag the car might take with a sunroof. It woudl still be significantly more than I'm getting now. I'm more interested in being able to open the top up for the air.

I not too worried about savings over what I'm getting now. The way I've been thinking of it is this. If I buy a car, the payment is going to be fixed. With a car that gets good gas mileage, the amount I spend on fuel is going to fluctuate less with fluctuating gas prices.

I'm not really big on racing away from the stoplights. I think my driving habits would be well suited to the Prius. I generally accelerate moderately and start slowing well before the light. This isn't to say I've never planted my foot to the floor or come up to a light rapidly, but 95% of the time I'm a pretty conservative driver. I just like having the power available when I need it.

There's one big thing I don't like about the Prius, and I'm not sure if it's a deal breaker for me or not. While I dislike the lack of instrumentation, it seems that most cars nowdays are moving in that direction. Both my Daytonas have a full instrument cluster. The Magnum has a speedo, tach, coolant and fuel gauge.

The thing that really bothers me though is the touch screen. I prefer my radio and climate control to have buttons I can actually push. I guess maybe that's a minor nit to pick for some, but I like the tactile feel of an actual button. There were controls on the steering wheel, and I didn't have time to get used to them, so I might get past that, but I just don't like touch screens and I'm not sure the steering wheel buttons would cut it for me. I guess I like a more conventional layout with controls easily reachable on the center console. I don't remember seeing them on the car I drove.

I suspect that some may criticize that I am looking at a RWD vehicle, particularly where I'm living, but again, it's not something that greatly concerns me with the stability system available. I had a chance to drive a Magnum for a week while my Daytona was in the shop last summer. I put over 1100 miles on it and just fell in love with the handling characteristics of the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
SnakePuncess said:
1) Nav system - LOVE it. This is despite that I am one of those people that rarely "needs" it, as I can pretty much find my way anywhere. But, it's really nice to have. The only drawback I've found is that there are SOME places that the guidance won't guide you to. It'll show you the location on the map, but you have to figure out how to get there. Not a major deal, just be aware of it, if you drive outside of a metro area.
Does the nav system only cover major metropolitan areas then? I'm wondering how it would behave on cross country trips into relatively rural areas.

3) 45-50mpg, but I have a weird short commute that includes a long steep hill, and doesn't give the engine time to get to optimum temperature. If I were on flat land, I'd probably get 50-55. One of the teachers I'm with just bought one last week (straight off the lot, no wait) and her hubby immediately drove it from VA to Key West. He reported 60+ mpg for the trip!!
That's pretty nice and much more than I'm getting now. I think the Magnum RT is rated in the mid 20s on the highway.

4) Yes, but make sure the folks there have been trained to work on them. Fortunately, my area has 3 dealerships that have reasonably good service departments. One of them is less than 2 miles away.
That's one of my concerns. Not sure where I'm going to end up after I finish my internship, but if I don't stay in the area, Flagstaff is tops on my list.

5) It's a Toyota. Love it. Love it so much that the local paper did an article about it with a big pic of my hugging my Prius. Seriously.


Go for it! You will not regret a Prius. I refer to it as my little spaceship. I especially love messing with people who don't know about the Smart Entry/Smart Start.... hehehehe I walk up to it and wave my hand and say, "Open Sesame" and watch as their jaw hits the floor.... Yeah, I'm evil, but it's fun. ;-)

--Bonnie
I've heard of the Smart Entry/Start, but I'm not sure what it is.

I've got to say, I'm really a Mopar guy. I just like their styling and I've had pretty good luck with the ones I've had. Started with a couple of Chevies, had a Mitsubishi, then inherited a Plymouth. I wrecked it with 220K on the clock and finally got a Daytona which was the car I've wanted since high school. I've now owned my Daytona daily driver for 6 years. In 2000 I finally got my dream Daytona, an '86 Turbo Z with T-tops and 5 speed and a turbo.
 

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you'll love the smart key system. You just walk up to the car with your fob in your pocket and touch the door handles to unlock then you start the car with a push of a button without ever touching the fob. The same can be said for stopping and locking the car

1) I don't have the nav so I can't comment on that

2) I really wanted a moonroof on my next vehicle but even though the Prius doesn't have one, I'm still a happy camper

3) I got 701kms on my last tank (33 litres at Cdn$30). My friend's complaining about $40 fillups (not full tank since his tank is 65 litres and it's $1/litre for premium fuel so I'm guessing he's pumping ~40 litres per fillup)

4) Any dealership that sells a Prius can service a Prius
 

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Christopher said:
From talking to him and previously, the guy I normally deal with, I get the feeling that the waiting list is longer in Ann Arbor than other markets. Which makes sense when you consider the kind of town it is.
I didn't find any dealer in the Pasadena area that pushed to sell above MSRP. Most dealerships had high turnover and a fairly steady influx with 2-6 cars on the lot. I couldn't get color choice, but I was able to get a pretty good deal on my trade-in for taking a car that was on the lot. I work at an institute of higher education and there are half a dozen Prii just in the lot I park in! I would expect other university areas to be similar.

The thing that really bothers me though is the touch screen. I prefer my radio and climate control to have buttons I can actually push.
The radio has physical buttons also, and the climate control can be worked from buttons on the steering wheel. There ARE things you can do only with the touch screen, but not very many, there are enough physical switches that if the touch screen conked out you would still be able to cope until it got fixed. For example, you can control the temp the cllimate control is aiming at, but you can't control the fan speed from the steering wheel. On mine, you can also control some of these things by voice. I thought I wouldn't use that, but I actually find I like being able to turn the radio on and off without taking my hands off the wheel.
 

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As far as the sunroof goes, I really couldn't understand the lack of one. It was almost a deal killer. Here in SoCal I've always had sunroofs and it was really nice to be able to crack them to draw out the heat.

Now that I don't have a sunroof, I can't say I miss it. One thing to remember is the AC in the Prius is electric and works extremely well. I have never had to turn the fan past halfway. The car cools down rapidly. I have a Tideland, which while I'm sure would be cooler than a black one, still gets pretty hot here in the California Sun.

BTW: I went from an Infiniti G35 Coupe (285 HP) to the Prius and haven't regretted it for a minute.

DGStan
 

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One thing to note, if the screen conked out, you could change the temp, but you wouldn't know what temp you changed to! Only way is to go to max cold, then press your way up.
 
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