Toyota Prius Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi to everyone. For the first time in my life I am actually trying to do research prior to buying a car. I have been enthralled by the Prius for about 2+ years but not until today was I really inspired to get one. I have been reading many of the posts here (but have not had time to read all of them) and am now worried about many of the issues discussed here. I would appreciate your advice. Here is my "profile".

- I am a female (dumb when it comes to cars but I have a greater trust in the toyota salesguy cuz I've bought 3 cars from him) but re: anything technical and what to do about, I'm totally clueless

- I live in the Washington, DC area and commute on I-95 120 miles total a day. I, in essence, spend a great amount of my life in the car so comfort, good speed, excellent acceleration and highway MPG is VERY important to me. My weekly mileage just to/from work is 600 miles (if I did my math correctly). Over the past 5-6 years I have averaged 45,000 miles per year ( a concern when I read about the battery warranty and tires not lasting long)

- I am very interested in doing my part re: the environment but your posts have almost "scared" me away for now. I had actually thought the $20,000 was a "decent" price (my feminity showing I guess) but have not checked out any other options. I am amazed at the person who got such great mileage in his Honda delivering Pizza.....I think I got those facts correctly.

anyway, any advice you all might have would be most welcome. Feel free to email me privately too if you want. it's [email protected].

Thanks so much for your advice in advance....and I certainly hope it was ok for me to post this question. I also hope I didn't mess up any format. I'm not that great with codes and HTML either so I just left the defaults.

Terrie :?:

-
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Comfort? No problem!

I took delivery of my Prius the day I headed home to Houston, Texas from Tuscaloosa, Alabama for spring break. It probably wasn't the smartest thing to take off essentially straight from the dealer on a 640 mile trip, but I can definitely vouch for comfort not being a problem at all. :)

By way of comparison since you're already a Toyota person, it's my opinion that Toyota royally screwed the pooch on the Camry redesign in 2000. (? I think that's the year.) My mom had a 1994 Camry which the whole family loved, and replaced it with a 2000 model. The ride for the driver is ok in the 2000 & pretty bad in the back for a tall person, but I thought it was superb in her 1994. My Prius, on the other hand, is at least as good a ride as her 94 Camry (IMO) in all four seats. Driver visibility in all directions is also good, while I have problems with some seriously large blind spots in the 2000 Camry (mirrors don't cover it, and the door blocks my view for looking with my head quickly). For another comparison - I drove one of the University's Ford Tauruses on a 300-mile trip... it about killed my back.

Since it's probably relevant, I'm 5' 11" riding with the driver's seat all the way back. If I were to grow much at all, there would not be enough leg room for me (I can put my left foot flat on the floor behind the pedals without stretching). There's also plenty of room for my knees under the steering wheel -- I previously drove a 1994 Voyager minivan, so I was used to "captain's chairs" instead of car seats, but the Prius seat does allow me to sit with my feet close to the seat when I'm on cruise instead of stretched out in front of me. This is probably key to why my legs stay comfortable in the car on long trips.

Another thing that may help you from a comfort standpoint is the noise. The Prius is a lot quieter than any other car I've ridden in. It's also one of the things people who have never ridden in it comment on the first time they ride somewhere with me. Most of the time when I'm driving at speed there's very little mechanical noise, only the air rushing around the car. (think of the difference between sitting in the front & back of an airplane) I'm not saying there's a lot of wind noise; I'm saying the rest of the car is quiet enough that wind is all that's left.

I can't help much on the wear part, though. I just had my car in for it's first 7500 mile checkup. Others drive theirs a lot farther than I do.

One thing I've noticed now that the weather is turning cooler (ie. lows below 75!) is what a huge difference using the AC makes in fuel economy. I'd been wondering how in the world some of the people posting here and on Yahoo were getting the comparitively astronomical MPG readings compared to my ~43 in stop & go on a 4 mile commute. AC is the key... I'm getting 52+ without AC now. I've gotten whole 30-minute spans well over 50MPG driving around Birmingham, Alabama with the AC off, which is slightly mountainous compared to my normal haunts. On flat ground during that spring break trip when I first got the car I got 45MPG exactly with A/C on for 300 miles cruising on I-10/12.

Speed? Well, unless you're a fast driver or carry a full 800 pound load, it's got all the go-power you need. I didn't think it was particularly slow when I got it.

You didn't say how long you had the three previous cars you bought. Consider you long you tend to keep a car; the battery warranty may be long enough if you only keep a car for a few years. That leaves you with the tire situation, which I don't have much experience with yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Re: I thought I was going to buy a Prius but now I'm "s

Hi Terrie,

If you are not too familiar with these kinds of forums, you should remember that a person with a problem is much more likely to post than a person who only has to say "I love it". I would say that the proportion of good to bad posts is surprisingly good for the Prius.

It is also worth mentioning that Toyota has fixed some problems: for example, the tires that come with the Prius now apparently are apparently made with a slightly different process, and are supposed to last longer.

Here are what I think are the biggest complaints, and my comments:

0) Tires. See above. I would add, though, that 45K miles probably means that you will want new tires withing a year or 2. People on this forum have replaced the OEM tires with others and have been quite happy.

1) Mileage not what I expected. The Prius is definitely a case where "Your Mileage May Vary". Remember that the EPA figures are not necessarily real life. One can get excellent MPG for stop and go driving, but that does not include making a 5 minute trip every hour. Warmup is the worst MPG for the car. It also does not include going quickly from one house to the next stopping at each one. If you accelerate and stop quickly, you get poorer MPG just as with any car. OTOH, I literally have gotten as much as 50 MPG on a longish drive. I regularly get in the high 40s in the summer, with mostly 15-minute commutes and twice weekly 1/2 hour drives.

2) My battery discharged quickly. Remember that this is the 12V battery, not the special high-voltage battery. The 12V is small and can discharge if you leave something on, especially if you leave the car for several weeks. OTOH, it can be jumped or recharged like any other car if this happens. I have not had any trouble at all, and I have occasionally left the lights on (it turns them off automatically). I do keep my car in a garage and do not turn on the alarm when it is inside.

3) Various problems with transmission/engine/steering: These happen, but seem relatively rare. The early 2001 models had a recall for a steering problem. The engine warning can come on if you don't close the gas filler tightly.

4) Good heavens, the big battery is incredibly expensive to replace! Yep, so is regular engine, or a frame, or a... But you don't expect to replace these often. Ditto with the traction battery. Even in a forum like this, we have seen and heard of very few cases (I'd say none, but I have a nagging memory of one person somewhere with a LOT of problems) of a battery needing replacement. Plus it is warranted for 100K miles or 8 years. But you run through a regular car's warranty pretty quickly too. This may be a risk for you, but on the highway especially you are treating the battery very gently. I'd expect it might last even longer with mostly highway miles.

When I mention these, I don't mean anything negative the people that had these problems. They are bad if you get them. I'm just saying that any car has occasional problems with specific vehicles. Without statistical evidence to back me, but just getting a feel from reading Prius conferences for 1.5 years (and owning a Prius for 1 year) I think the Prius has no more, and perhaps fewer, than most.

I hope this is helpful. If you have specific concerns, ask!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
515 Posts
Re: I thought I was going to buy a Prius but now I'm "s

> concern when I read about the battery warranty
> and tires not lasting long

There is absolutely no reason to worry about the tires. The LRR tires will last about 30,000 miles, if you keep them properly inflated & rotated. Then you just replace them with Non-LRR 75,000 mile tires afterward. It's no big deal.

The battery-pack is expected to last around 150,000 miles. For the average 2001 owner, replacement won't even be a concern until around 2007. Toyota has made a commitment to sell 300,000 hybrid systems per year by 2006. That increased volume will very, very likely lower the price. But for you, that time might come sooner. However, the large number of highway miles may delay the need. 200,000 miles could very well be possible. The average vehicle never makes it that far anyway. If your Prius did (which it should without any accidents), imagine how much money you would have saved on gas. That would make the decision easier.

Personally, I'm planning on upgrading my battery-pack o-so-many-years from now. It's possible one that could hold a greater charge will be available. That wouldn't increase power, but it would allow longer stealth use. The improved technology will cost more, plus a computer upgrade/replacement would be required too. But I think it's worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks

You all have been great and I appreciate it more than you can imagine! Your answers have all been very honest and upfront...and Helpful! I gues I forgot to say that I'm a minivan person (starting way way way back when with the VW vans and then progressing to the Toyota Sienna). The comment about the captains chairs vice car seat. That might be an interesting aspect too.

but, from all your replies I am going to go to the dealer this afternoon and talk to them and test drive a beautiful blue Prius that I looked at yesterday.

Thanks for all your help. I'll keep you posted.

Terrie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
p.s.

Sorry, I forgot to ask:
what is "John's website" that I see referred to
What is "stealth" mode
What is driving like a golf-cart.

At first I thought these were jokes but they recurred too many times for that to be the case.

Thanks again
Terrie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
515 Posts
> What is "stealth" mode

It's electric-only driving without the engine running.

Prius allows you to maintain up to 42 MPH in that mode. The dead silence and lack of vibrance is quite a rush. (Note: Prius is the only hybrid that offers this ability.)


> What is driving like a golf-cart.

It's the same as "stealth".


> what is "John's website" that I see referred to

My website has been described as "the mother of all Prius websites". Take a look, you'll see what they mean. It's rather thorough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
>> What is driving like a golf-cart.
>
>It's the same as "stealth".

I would add that "driving like a golf-cart" means specifically driving slowly with very low acceleration. The car decides when to use stealth mode, and it makes its decision based on how much power you need (i.e. how far down you're pushing the gas pedal, whether you're going uphill or down, etc.). If you creep out from stop signs and accelerate slowly, you can keep it in stealth mode longer. However, it is generally accepted that this will not give you better gas mileage, because if you force the car to use up its available battery power in stealth mode, it will just have to run the engine longer later to recharge it. Accelerate normally from the stoplight and you will quickly get up to your desired speed, then the car can use stealth mode to maintain speed with less battery power.

For similar tips, go to John's website, click "Prius Info" and "Owner Advice 1 and 2". Great stuff there, John!

Douglas (2002 Silver, Wisconsin)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
515 Posts
> I would add that "driving like a golf-cart" means specifically driving slowly with very low acceleration.

That's on a golf-course.

Try watching my cousin drive his own golf-cart on his home's back lot sometime. He flies down the grass a full-speed. It's pretty funny (when viewed from a safe location, of course)!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Buying a 2003 v. a 2002 Prius

Can anyone tell me what changes they've made from 2002 to 2003? Prices I've seen don't seem to make much difference between the old (2002) & new (2003).

Also, posts elsewhere indicated how the wind acts inside the Prius with open windows. I just test drove a Prius and didn't notice any air vents -- can anyone tell me about them? (for example, I live in Fla. but hardly ever use my a/c in my Geo Prism because the vent system is so good at blowing air at me).

Other thing -- I forgot to look inside the trunk. Is it very small? :oops:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
928 Posts
I haven't heard of any significant differences between 2002 and 2003 except color choice. Each region may have adjusted the packages of options they offer. The 2003 model being sold in Japan supposedly has improvements to the engine/motors/battery that give better gas mileage. I think that model will be brought to the U.S. for 2004.

You can get a good wind swirling effect by opening the front and back windows on one side only, about 1 to 2 inches each. That, along with setting the vents to fresh air, works pretty nicely on days that aren't oppressively hot and muggy.

The trunk is just big enough to put the Prius into the compact rather than subcompact class. It's not very deep front to back, but pretty tall top to bottom. So you can fit a decent set of luggage into it if you stand suitcases up rather than lying them flat.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,820 Posts
Re: Buying a 2003 v. a 2002 Prius

Amore said:
Can anyone tell me what changes they've made from 2002 to 2003? Prices I've seen don't seem to make much difference between the old (2002) & new (2003).

Also, posts elsewhere indicated how the wind acts inside the Prius with open windows. I just test drove a Prius and didn't notice any air vents -- can anyone tell me about them? (for example, I live in Fla. but hardly ever use my a/c in my Geo Prism because the vent system is so good at blowing air at me).

Other thing -- I forgot to look inside the trunk. Is it very small? :oops:
The MSRP for a 2003 Toyota Prius is the same as the 2002 Toyota Prius. Same options/accessories (only maybe bundled in certain regions), same car. The exterior color lineup in the US changed - the 2002 Blue Moon Pearl was dropped, and for 2003 Black and Golden Pearl was added. See http://www.toyota.com/html/shop/vehicle ... index.html for more info and pricing ("Build your own"). Do not pay more than MSRP for a Prius. Now that it's an off-the-lot item, you can haggle and can often find the Prius cheaper. 2002s may run a tad cheaper as dealers want to move the old stock to make way for 2003s.

As for vents, the Prius' climate control is very good at keeping you at a given temperature. The one thing to note is that unlike many other cars, a fan speed of "off" on the Prius is really "off." If you just keep the thermostat set to a decent temperature, and the fan speed set to "Auto," you should be fine. You have the choice to run the AC compressor by either selecting the "AC" button, or it'll run if you put the directional control onto windshield/defrost.

Trunk - 11.8 cu. ft. it's more tall than deep. you shouldn't have any problems with a big pile of groceries and the like. Here are some photos: http://www.kluge.net/~felicity/pics/ind ... 22&group=4 (About 1/2 of the books in the bottom photo came out of the Prius trunk.) My mother's Prius with a cargo net: http://www.kluge.net/~felicity/pics/Blu ... 250382.jpg
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top