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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy,

Through the wonder of the Toyota Rent-A-Car system, I am driving a base model 04 for 3 days or so. I had test driven one fresh of the truck about a month ago, but the experience was less than ideal for judging the utility of this vehicle in daily life. So, I am dropping about a hundred bucks for the chance to live with a new Prius for a few days. And there are a few advantages to living in pickup/NASCAR country in that there seems to be a better availability of new ones, at least for now. They don't stay on the lot long, though.

Anywho, on with the test drive so far:

Overall, I am very impressed with the car. It has adequate power - more than I expected, and way more than a hybrid Civic- and feels generally solid and well put together. After getting used to the unfamiliar control system, it is not a problem now. Handling is adequate and not a minus. The car is tossable and plows pretty predictably.

I don't need to be sold on the concept, but I also need it to be liveable and tolerable and it definitely is.

Now the questions/concerns:

1. I drive to work on mainly interstate-like roads. While cruising with the CC set at 70-something, I notice that sometimes the steering will twitch and pull briefly to either side. It seems to be to the right more often than left. It also seems to be possibly associated with the regen braking kicking in while coasting briefly. Is this common?

2. There is a LOT of wind noise at higher speeds coming from the joint between the roof and top edge of the windshield. Is this common, or just a problem with this car?

3. The seat is just a little flat for my taste, but not a big deal.

Thanks for any info....
 

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Holicow said:
Now the questions/concerns:

1. I drive to work on mainly interstate-like roads. While cruising with the CC set at 70-something, I notice that sometimes the steering will twitch and pull briefly to either side. It seems to be to the right more often than left. It also seems to be possibly associated with the regen braking kicking in while coasting briefly. Is this common?
It may be that a) the tire pressures are not properly set. If you have a chance juice them up to 42f/40r--there should be a differential of 2lbs. front higher than rear in any case. b)There may also be an alignment issue, that is not uncommon. I'm sure you won't have a chance to correct that during this rental however.
As far as a pulling with the regen braking that would be VERY unusual for this car and of concern if it's reproducible and not just due to road irregularities. Most people have been very impressed at how little drift there is with braking.

2. There is a LOT of wind noise at higher speeds coming from the joint between the roof and top edge of the windshield. Is this common, or just a problem with this car?
I tend to notice a lot of wind noise with cross winds, but very very little with direct head on wind. This car is designed to be very slippery in the wind and it would be unusual to have any that way. There is a bit more road noise in this car than many, hard to stop that.

3. The seat is just a little flat for my taste, but not a big deal.
Join the club! That's by far my biggest complaint, the seat is just not very comfortable, offers little to know thigh support and is not adjustable. I could deal with the limited leg room if there was thigh support.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, efusco, for the response.

I agree there may be some alignment issues which may account for some of the straight-line instability. The steering wheel is also not centered, so, at the least, the toe is off. I have not had a chance to check the tires.

I mentioned that the regenerative braking may be involved because I noticed on the energy display that it would switch on very briefly while cruising/coasting and seemed to be at the same time that I feel the twitch. I am referring to the lighter colored lines moving from the wheels to the electric motor. If this is not the right term, let me know. I'm new to this.

On the wind noise, it is definitely wind noise from the roof. I looked and there is no obvious problem with the windshield joint. I wonder if some extra sealer or something would help. Perhaps it is just this car.

Lastly, on the seat: If the bottom were adjustable slightly it would help. It seems a bit high, and especially flat. Angled with the front edge just slightly higher would make a big difference, I think. This is probably modifiable :wink: .
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Correction:

Actually I don't think it is the braking that may be associated with the twitch. After closer inspection at slower speed (not trying to look at it at 75 mph, which i don't think is a good idea) it is the assist from the electric motor I am seeing, not the braking.
 

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I concur with your observations as well. I'm looking for some seat covers that might help the seating situation - no luck yet. I have also noticed that breaking does tend to push the wheels straight - probably because of the torque being exerted on the drive shafts by the regenerative system. No big deal if you expect it but a big surprise if you don't (ala breaking during a sharp turn or maneuver). I'm hoping that the Japanese front lip spoiler and rocker valences might improve aero-efficiency.
 

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Not enough experience with the old prius to comment on seat comfort, I'm comparing to an Expedition which basicly has a lounge chair!

That bar on the rear-view is an non-issue after about 3 days of driving, the view is much better (esp. low angle view) than almost any other car I've driven. The visibility was even better after tinting the windows b/c of the decreased contrast of the glass.
--evan
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I had to turn it back in today. It's back to my regular wheels, I guess...at least for now.

I got used to the seat, but I would consider some sort of modification if I got one.

I averaged 41 to 47 mpg according to the computer on my usual commute, which is 32 miles, and 80% interstate at about 75 mph (don't tell the local law).

I had absolutely no problem merging and keeping up with interstate traffic, which was one of my main concerns and reasons for the rental.

Tell me this: How do you avoid obsessing about the energy management and fuel consumption with all that info right there ready for any unsuspecting victim of OCD? :wink:
 

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Holicow said:
Tell me this: How do you avoid obsessing about the energy management and fuel consumption with all that info right there ready for any unsuspecting victim of OCD? :wink:
It's like moths to the light! It's hard not to pay attention. I rarely use the Energy screen any more except when trying to hone my sense of touch for 'coasting'(no regen and no power to wheels). The Consumption screen I keep on most of the time just to get sense of how the car is doing...since the weather has been gradually cooling here it's been interesting to see how it/I do. I also use it to try to find my best driving style and the best compromise b/w acceleration/speed traveled and MPG. Since the weather and driving conditions have been so dynamic it's really kept me on my toes.
--evan
 

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Discussion Starter #11
How about this:

Does anyone just get in and drive this car without thinking about the mileage/efficiency/batteries etc.? Is it possible?

Can you be satisfied knowing that it is the cleanest and most efficient car around and not be compulsive about getting 2% better mileage? Can I?

In other words, I am looking for less stress in my life. Being more green would help that, but I don't want another focus of obsession. I must admit it is interesting and fun in some way to see how high it can go....
 

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Holicow said:
How about this:
Can you be satisfied knowing that it is the cleanest and most efficient car around and not be compulsive about getting 2% better mileage?
I too do not need any additional stress. Though I plan to "play" with the mileage and employ some of the tricks I have learned in these forums, I will mostly be satisfied that the car is green and just be a safe driver. Let the others rake in the high mileage and just know you could too if you wanted to. :wink:
 

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Ok Guys, here's the irony of the whole thing. I think driving the Prius is one of the most stress free things I've done in a long time. And that is due, in part, to the effort to get better gas milage. I find myself being more patient, less aggressive and more calm in general. As I mentioned above I don't really stay on the Energy screen much b/c I found myself watching it so much and trying for stealth and such. With the Consumption screen I just glance over from time to time to see what my last 5 min. milage was, make sure I'm doing OK on that, maybe see what some certain driving condition is doing to my momentary milage on the bar graph.

Now you're thinking, this guy was a calm driver to start with....not so. First, you can probably judge a bit about my personality from my posts here. I'm a Type-A by any standard. I drove my Expedition very aggressively and enjoyed beating the light and passing anyone going less than 5mph over the limit. There's something about realizing that you gain so little by driving like that and losing so much.

You can, most certainly, just get in and drive. I find myself doing that more and more. I've even argued that for this technology to truely go mainstream that the energy and consumption type screens will have to disappear and people will need to accept that they can just get in and drive and forget that the car is a hybrid at all--except when they go to the gas pump. That may not, necessarily, be true, but I think you can understand my concept.

Again, to refer you to the 2004-group, many people were recently commenting on how Zen it feels to drive the Prius, you just sort of feel more calm, less pressured and more relaxed just enjoying the vehicle and getting where you need to go without the need to prove anything to anyone else on the road.
 

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OCD

After awhile, I think most people probably just view the mileage bars like the speedometer. Just like not-speeding is part of responsible driving, getting the best mileage becomes second nature, too.

And, the engine/motor/battery graphic gets old in a hurry. About all it is good for is impressing newbies.

It's just a car, or rather a Toyota. A great lcar that gets great gas mileage!

Toyota deserves a lot of credit for building good, dependable cars. I've had several GM autos, and after I bought a Camry in 1998, I'll never go back to the Big-3.

Since 1998, all I've done to the Camry and 2002 Prius is put in gas, and add/change fluids and tires. The last couple of Chevy's I had should have come with a parts discount card. I was working on them a couple of time a year. I just got tired of everything breaking, all the time. It was always one car or the other. The only way I could keep ahead was the lifetime warranty on replacement parts through Checker, Autozone and Pep Boys.

No, it's Toyotas for me from now on. Now, if they just build a big block V8 that would tow a big boat, that had the Synergy Hybrid system and got 50 mpg, I'd be lined up for another Toyota!
 

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Re: OCD

Phoenix said:
No, it's Toyotas for me from now on. Now, if they just build a big block V8 that would tow a big boat, that had the Synergy Hybrid system and got 50 mpg, I'd be lined up for another Toyota!
YES!!
Lexus LS will have Hybrid Synergy Drive system on its V8 supplying V12 smoothness but good mileage within two years.
 

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Evan - I thought I was the only one to feel this 'sense of peace' when driving my Prius, but I hoped there were others. There is something definitely going on with the Prius that never happened with any other car I owned, and I've owned a lot over the years. When I took my son for a drive right after I brought it home he remarked how peaceful the drive was. Maybe the fact that the Prius pollutes very little, and glides through the air with little resistance gives it a little tie to nature and that's what is coming through.
 

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I've often remarked the past year driving my 03, that is was like "driving a video". I'm in love with the quiet, often driving without even the radio on. The 04 seems even better, one slight bummer today, my wife told me the check engine light came on after one week. Checked the gas cap, didn't see a problem there. Called the dealership this evening, I plan on taking the car in tomorrow morning. Never have had a check engine light on the 03, but did have the brake problem which by the way is fixed, and now driving like a dream.

Geno
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Behmon said:
... I will mostly be satisfied that the car is green and just be a safe driver. Let the others rake in the high mileage and just know you could too if you wanted to. :wink:
I like that mindset. I wish I could say I could do that. Maybe I can if I try real hard. No, Wait, that's stressful too....

I'm just doing this for sake of argument, really.

Somebody needs to come up with a name for this Prius "sense of Peace" thing. I will admit that I felt it too in my short time with the car, which is a good thing given my general Type A approach to commuting.

efusco,

that was a big leap from an Expedition to Prius! The physician parking area at my hospital is full of hulking SUV's and 4x4 extended cab pickups. My current car (03 Passat) is already somewhat of a misfit there, but I would love to shake it up even further with a new Prius. :wink:
 
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