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Earlier this week I had the opportunity to 48-hr lease an '04 Prius while by regular car was in for major repairs. I'm currently # 11 (sigh) on my dealer's waiting list. At the same time, the weather here in upstate NY decided to break some all-time cold records! :shock:

Day 1: morning temp was -11F, with overnight sustained wind chills up to -33F. Car in driveway, pointed away from wind direction, but no garage.

Prius started immediately, no weird warning symbols. I wasn't real clear on how to best-use the cabin heating system, but it was too freaking cold to worry about MPGs. I wanted HEAT! Car ran well, although MPG for 70 mile trip (city & highway driving) was 31.4, with heavy use of heat and defrosters.

Day 2: morning temp was - 8F, with overnight wind chills of -20F. Same parking conditions.

Again, started immediately. Noted the number of stalled cars I passed on way to work. Also noted number of fender-benders (attributed to increased brain-freeze among the SUV crowd). Daytime temps peaked at 20F. Trip milage (city plus constant highway) was 50.2, which surprised me.

Sadly, had to turn car back into dealer and take back my '93 Corolla. This lease confirmed my original feelings. . . can't wait for my 'real' Prius to come in. BTW, wife and kids loved it (kids thought it was 'cool').
 

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Are you sure your temperature readings were in Fahrenheit (F)? We had similar temperature values here in Toronto compared to NY but in Celcius.

Good to see a positive post about the '04 in frigid conditions. I'm still doing my research before I decide to get one.

How fast did the cabin heat up? Does the Prius get its heat from the electric motor, ICE or a combination of both?
 

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The heat kicks in after just a few minutes. We've had a mild winter so far, so those in the NE can probably give you more specifics. However, when the Prius is shut down, the anti-freeze is pumped into an insulated container, and will stay hot for at least several days. When the Prius is started again, the anti-freeze is pumped back to the engine, so there's no cold engine starts. The heat doesn't start flowing to the passenger compartment right away, but I think that as soon as the ICE runs for a few minutes, the heat starts flowing.
 

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The temps were in F, not C. Albany NY tends to get cold periods each winter, but this period (although brief - 3 days) was intensely cold. The schools closed for one day due to the extreme wind chill (my kids were happy).

In regards to the car interior heat, it seemed to me as though the Prius didn't get as warm inside as my old Corolla, but that may be due to my inexperience.
 

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allegro said:
Are you sure your temperature readings were in Fahrenheit (F)? We had similar temperature values here in Toronto compared to NY but in Celcius.

Good to see a positive post about the '04 in frigid conditions. I'm still doing my research before I decide to get one.

How fast did the cabin heat up? Does the Prius get its heat from the electric motor, ICE or a combination of both?
Allegro,

I drive my Prius in SE Pennsylvania where the temperatures have ranged from 4 degrees (F) to 34 degrees (F). In Auto mode the ICE pumps the hot coolant from the "thermos" and, once the ICE is warmed up (usually in a few minutes) the heat blowers come on to warm the cabin.

Last night, I was visiting friends in New Jersey when the weather turned for the worse - freezing rain and snow with icing conditions. Before I left, I cleared the snow off of the Prius with a brush. Once on my way, I used the defrosters which immediately use the blowers to speed up the heating process. I was very pleased with how quickly the defrosters cleared the ice and snow from the windows. Additionally, the cabin was warm and toasty for my drive home.

The roads were in pretty bad shape with many not having been cleared - including I-78! No problem for the Prius, I used "B" mode to slow the car as needed and felt very safe and secure driving in such weather - even in a small car.

In cold weather without the ice and snow I usually use the Auto feature for heating the cabin. With the Auto feature I set the temperature at 72 degrees (F) and turn it back down to 70 degrees (F) or so once the cabin is warm. Using the defrosters (particularly the windshield) speeds up heating the cabin.

The Prius is a great car! :D :D
 

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My Prius sat outside for 5 hours tonight. When I parked, it was 7 F degrees. When I started it back up, the temperature had dropped to 0 F.

The 40 minute drive home consisted of a mixture of roads ranging from 35 to 55 MPH.

I started at 45.4 MPG, dropped to 45.0 during warm-up. A decent amount of heat was pouring from the heater by the time the first 5-minute segment on the Multi-Display appeared. Efficiency slowly climbed as everything became well heated. When I finally pulled into the garage, 45.4 MPG was once again what was showing for the average.

That's just plain sweet. I'm absolutely delighted to be getting MPG that good in such nasty cold.
 

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Best cold weather car I've ever driven

Cold weather operation was my biggest concern about a hybrid, but now I think one of the best arguments for getting a Prius is its performance in cold weather. We have had ours for 3 weeks with temps ranging from minus 20 to 25 above. Nearly instant starts every morning (parked in driveway). Doesn't get as hot as quickly as our last car, but it starts heating sooner, and is very comfortable after 10 minutes or so. Mileage has been great for a Maine winter (39-48). So far, the perfect car.
 

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Would B-mode be most appropriate for cold, slippery weather, as Behmon mentioned?

Unfortunately, my dealer lacked product knowledge when it comes to Prii, and the manual can be a little vague for my liking.
 

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> Would B-mode be most appropriate for cold, slippery weather

Yes. I recommend it, in fact.

Just yesterday I got to test that ability out 3 times.

It really is helpful for controlled braking, where you want to reduce the risk of slipping. And shifting into "B" on-the-fly is effortless. You can do it simply by reaching, then pulling down. Toyota very strategically positioned the shifter for that, so you could activate "B" even when driving attention is at tense levels.

Try it. You'll like it.
 

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john1701a said:
> Would B-mode be most appropriate for cold, slippery weather

Yes. I recommend it, in fact.

Just yesterday I got to test that ability out 3 times.

It really is helpful for controlled braking, where you want to reduce the risk of slipping. And shifting into "B" on-the-fly is effortless. You can do it simply by reaching, then pulling down. Toyota very strategically positioned the shifter for that, so you could activate "B" even when driving attention is at tense levels.

Try it. You'll like it.
I agree that "B" mode is useful in slippery conditions. I've been using it quite a bit latley. However, as with any vehicle, be careful that you don't break your tires loose when shifting. One other thing to note is that you are likely to hear some high RPM sounds using this method to slow your Prius. I think this is the ICE spinning, but others here are far more qualified to explain the technical forces at work. All I know is that it's a little disconcerting at first.
Drive happy,
Moo :)
 
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