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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I rented a Prius for 24 hours today so that I could get an idea of whether or not I wanted to plunk down the money for one or not. I'm sure some of what I will say is going to annoy some, though that isn't my intention.

The car has almost 3900 miles on it now. I'm not sure what package it is...no nav system that I've discovered and the interior is grey with a red tint to it that I don't care for.

This is what I've experienced so far...

The good:

I've travelled somewhere around 70 miles, and I think the average fuel economy is in the mid-upper 40s. I'm usually pretty easy on the gas as it is and I find I'm even more so with this. I find that it suits my driving style pretty well. So chalk up great fuel economy. That's about 20 mpg over what I'm getting in my Daytona.

I've mashed the pedal to the floor to see what the car do in a merging/rapid start situation. The car accelerates much more rapidly than I expected, though the engine protests to much for my liking. (Yes, I know it's not meant for that kind of driving.)

I liked rolling through the drive through on electric power.

I like the ride so far. I've read that the seats are a problem for some. I haven't experienced that so far, though admittedly, I haven't put that many miles on the car at one time. Still, I find it very comfortable.

Quiet. I looked down and saw I was rolling along at 75 mph and didn't realize it.

Lots of storage. Plenty of places to put stuff. I unloaded my brother's Alero into it as I was coming back from home and it swallowed everything and had plenty of room to spare.

The bad:

I really dislike the MFD. I just hate touch screens in any application. I'm sure that the wheel controls would help alleviate that once I got used to them, but I question the durability of it and find it a distraction.

Minor nit-pick. I don't like the clock. It's too small and I was in the car a full 15 minutes before I actually realized that there was a clock in the car. Of course, I was watching the road most of the time.

Personally, I'd rather have analog gauges than a digital dash.

The switch from electric to gas isn't as seamless as I thought it would be. The car seems to shudder when the gasoline engine kicks on while driving through town. Very annyoing.

Cruise control doesn't function correctly. I've managed to get the resume function to work exactly once. I find I have to accelerate myself, then use the 'set' function. I imagine this is just something that isn't working correctly since the car is so new.

While the ride was nice, I don't know if it was my cup of tea. I like something that is a little more of a driver's car. There didn't seem to be a lot of feedback.



First impressions:

A very nice car, though I'm not sure I'm willing to put nearly $30K into one.

I'm going to drive the car around a bit tomorrow before returning it. I hope to put another 50-75 miles on the car on some back roads where I usually drive and see how it behaves there.
 

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Hi Chris...

And welcome to the forum! I traded from a 2001 SAAB 9/5 and so far I love this car.The hatch back is very usefull.
Once you get used to this car, the milage should be in the mid 50's (check the tips and tricks thread).And having the engine stop in traffic and at traffic lights is awesome too,it's almost erie at first and I would think the engine had stalled.Going 653 miles on 12 gallons of gas with a 30 dollar tab is great too.Not to mention the low emissions of the car.
You are very smart to rent one! I had 3 sold from under me because I wanted to test drive before I bought.(I ended up with a base model for 21,800 in June)Good luck!

Regards,Ed
 

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I've had a 2004 and a 2005 (and have a 2006 coming for my wife). I adore the Prius, but I don't think it's God, if you know what I mean.

The only time I notice any shuddering is occasionally when I come to a stop/shutdown, never when the ICE kicks in while in motion.

I use the cruise control a lot, but never seem to use the Resume function, so I can't comment on that. The other functions work fine, and I like the stalk and its placement better than the steering wheel cruise buttons on my wife's Accord.

You can leave the MFD off and pretty much control everything off of the steering wheel. The top display will show you status of climate temp, radio station, etc. I think you'd get used to the clock pretty quickly.

I don't really notice anything negative about the handling, but I'm almost 50 and don't drive like I used to. (That said, I've been unsuccessfully lobbying my wife to let me buy a C6 vette for those sunny Sundays.) I pretty much consider the Prius a great commuter machine, but it also is fine for hauling stuff, taking on vacations, etc.

If you don't want NAV, you don't have to spend anywhere near 30 grand. You could be well into the low 20's and still have a lot of nice features like SKS.

The things I don't like are: blind spots on A pillars and, to a lesser extent, at the rear sides; it's a bear to clean the inside of the windshield, and it needs it frequently, perhaps from plastic outgassing; "upgraded" JBL stereo is crappy. Would also like heated leather seats, but that can easily be added aftermarket, and I might never get around to it, as the stock fabric is pretty darned good.

Rob
 

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To me it seems as if you might be describing the Honda Civic in the points you made that state what you are uncomfortable with in that particular Prius. No MFD, Analog gauges, bigger clock, a little peppier, etc... Maybe you should go check out the Civic Hybrid to compare?
 

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Prius...

The shuddering is normal. Sometimes when stopped, if the battery is full and all green, the generator/starter spins the engine with no fuel, no spark to bleed off excess charge. Or it'll spin the engine for other reasons I know just a little about (expelling excessive fuel or vapors?)

Anyway, it becomes unnoticeable with more miles as well. It's weird, but normal...for this car anyway. It has way too many computers that are monitoring EVERYTHING (even your pulse, just kidding), and it does things to keep things in order, keep things running clean and efficient.

Plus, there are times the engione runs just to keep emissions low (hot engine much cleaner), at the expense of burning fuel. Really amazing if you look closer at the technology...or just drive it!
 

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Christopher said:
Cruise control doesn't function correctly. I've managed to get the resume function to work exactly once. I find I have to accelerate myself, then use the 'set' function. I imagine this is just something that isn't working correctly since the car is so new.
The resume function only works if you don't drop below something like 35 or 40 MPH. If you stay above that, it functions like you would expect. If you have to slow down too much (like stop and go traffic or toll boths), the resume is deactivated. I assumed that this was a safety feature rather than a defect. I'm guessing they think people will forget what the set speed is, and hit resume from a stop, speeding up more than they expect and crashing into someone. I don't know this for a fact but I could see that as a possibility. It's kind of like how they don't let you see the phone number in caller id when the car is moving. Both are a bit overprotective and a bit annoying.
 

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Re: Prius...

finman said:
Sometimes when stopped, if the battery is full and all green, the generator/starter spins the engine with no fuel, no spark to bleed off excess charge.
Is this really a known fact? I have seen this posted before but I have had my 05 for 25,000 miles and I have never experienced this. I have gone down big hills (including the Colorado Rockies) and have been completely charged. The only time the engine has come on at a stop, or "spun up" the engine at a stop is when the car itself is cold and it is cold outside.
 

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An observation on your observations:

Most of the good things - mpg, acceleration, quiet, storage - will give you enduring satisfaction. Many of the bad things will cease to bother you once you're used to them: You'll learn where to look for the clock, you'll often be able to bypass the mfd with the steering wheel buttons (though not entirely), you'll stop noticing the engine shudder (which you'll find is hardly noticeable once the car is fully warmed up), and you'll come to see the wisdom of the digital dash. (Since you can't gauge your speed from the car's sound, the way-in-front-of-you design enables you to check the speedometer without re-focusing your eyes.) The ride, on the other hand, may bother you either more or less over time.

Of course, buying a car is a very personal decision. If you're not comfortable plunking down that much money for a Prius, you're not. But I'd also point out that Prii are available for much less than 30k.
 

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Christopher!

I am posting from Austria, Europe representing our 600 Prius owners (very small number). I traded in my Mazda Millenia 2,5 V6 for the Prius and cut my gas expenses right in half - actually by more than 60 % sind my avergae for the first 2,5 months runs around 52.

I could have bought (as most Europeans do) a nice strong Diesel (not just TDI, every car manufacturer in Europe sells more Diesels than Gas engines). But I just love the quietness and smooth running of this car. The CVT like (it is not a CVT though) runs just like a sowing machine (without any harsh movements from 0 to 170 km/h).

About cruise control: I use it a lot - more than 90 % of my driving. Since you can put it in starting 40 kmH (25 mph) I also come in touch with the resume button a lot and it works just fine unless you drop below 25 mph. Maybe the European version runs differently but I never had problems regarding this matter.

The Prius in Austria ranges from 26 to 30 K (Euro of course). You can get a much bigger car for that price here but not one which is cleaner, less pollutant and energy saving than the Prius. It saves on every mile you drive.

Walter
 

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whatever...

Just last week, coming up to a stoplight on my AM commute of 8 miles, the engine is off, I'm coasting, doing the regen thing for at least a mile.

Temps have been in the 40s, heater has been on for 5 minutes (bar graph indicates I've been driving for 5 minutes).

I then turn off the heater and pull up to the stoplight with all green on the battery charge.

As I sit therre for 3 minutes or so, sometimes longer, the engine will "buck" and "sputter", spinning and seemingly trying to start. But the system is trying to lessen the 'fully' (real-time only 80%) charged battery. I'm sure I read it somewhere here or on PriusChat.
 

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I have never had the engine sputter and not actually come on. I have had similar experiences to yours but the engine actually started. Also the temp outside had to be cold and/or the car had to be not fully warmed up. In your scenario you had only been driving for 5 minutes and some of that was coasting, possibly with the engine off. In that case, I would say that the engine (and all of the coolant) were not completely warmed up and the engine was trying to come on to warm up for emissions reasons, but didn't start for whatever reason. I would expect that you would have had this same behavior even if you were not fully charged and wouldn't have it if you had been driving for a half hour or so with temps in the 70s or above.

Acutally I would say that the car spends most of its time not warmed up if your commute is only 8 miles. My commute is 40 miles each way and I see a definite difference in how much the car starts up at stops in the first 5 miles and the last 5.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm been sick all day and I am beat, but I'll try to make a coherent update.

I turned the car back in today after having put 119 miles on it and averaging 46.3 mpg according to the display. (This is in contrast to the Sebring Convertible I'm driving now. I've put about 60 miles on it and am averaging 27.3 mpg according to the nav computer.) I took the back roads partway back to the dealership. I started of driving very conservatively, then decided that it'd be better if I drove the car the way I normally drive. Pretty soon I was zipping down the roads at 60 miles an hour.

I like the car, though I'm not sure if I want to spend that much money on a car, and the Prius didn't scream to me that I needed to jump on the bandwagon. I was uncomfortable enough when I took out the loan for my Daytona 6 1/2 years ago for $6500. Not that I couldn't pay for it, I just don't like owing that much money.

To be honest, I felt like the car was a novelty, and while I liked driving it, I don't know if I'd be happy with it on an every day basis. I'll think over it for the next few days.




I'll try to answer some of the questions/comments made.


While I know I could get a Prius for much closer to $20K, I don't think I'd be happy with it. I'm a gadget freak and would want them. I just don't think I'd be happy with what I would see as a stripper/base model.

Regarding the cruise control: That may be the way Toyota designed it, but in my opinion, that's a flaw. It's bad enough that on most cars the cruise turns off when the car is shut off, but for the cruise to forget what it's set at because you slow down is just plain unforgiveable in my book. Cruise usually doesn't engage below a certain point, but I've never seen this "feature" on any other car and to me, it's, well, stupid. I just can't think of any other word for it. To me, that makes the resume function pointless in my dailing driving. If it is, as someone mentioned, Toyota thinking their consumers will forget what the cruise is set at, it says to me that they think they are incompetent behind the wheel. Now, having said that, I imagine I'd get used to just hitting the 'set' function instead of resume function. (Sorry if that sounds like I'm griping about something minor. It just seems that with all the things that are right with this car, they got something so simple so wrong. In my opinion, anyways.)

I've drove a Civic hybrid a long time ago, and I do like the dash better than the Prius, but I recall that didn't like the car as much overall.
 

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Quote: "The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast terrible inbetween. But there is still time to make a difference. And I intend to do just that."

Good luck in whatever you decide, but I think you'd best live up to your signature, above, if you purchased a Prius.
 

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As my pop mumbled through his dentures whenever I was on the fence on decisions, "Eat your dessert before your teethes fall out!"

If you got the itch, go for it. Like you, I've never had a car just jump out and say "Buy me." Even after the sale I would question "What the hell did I just do?" while driving off the lot - be it a car or motorcycle purchase.

However, I've used the geeky built-in Prius toys enough that I would miss them if they weren't there. As for me, I will never own another car without a NAV system built into it. That damn yacking woman stuffed up under the dash has spoiled me I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Eek! The nav system talks? I have visions of my father's old New Yorker and the voice saying, "A door is ajar."

Is there a voice override on the system so you can turn it off? My current GPS simply beeps at you when it wants to alert you to a change in course. Of course, it's a fairly simple system, relatively speaking.
 

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She doesn't speak unsolicited, if that's what you think. Only when you ask for guidance or use a voice command.

I believe you can turn off voice guidance, but I don't think you'll really want to once you start using it.
 

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On Cruise control - I did not even know we had a Resume,
because of the way I drive...

If the speed limit is 35, I accelerate to 39, take my foot off the gas,
and hit Set when the car is on full electric at 37.

But that is just me.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
To be honest, one of the big problems I have with getting a Prius is the cost. Not that I think the car is too expensive or not worth the money, just the cost. I was laid off 2 and a half years ago and have recently returned to work after retraining. Because of the schooling and other factors, I had to move in with friends and the more I spend on a car, the less I have to get out of here.

I could get a base model, but I really don't think I'd enjoy it, and driving enjoyment is one of those things that's I don't like to compromise on. It is something though that I'd consider. (the car, not the compromise.)

The second, perhaps more relevant issue is that I've received some bad news about my current ride. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to wait until I'd be able to get one before I need to replace it. The jury is still out on it. :(
 

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In that case, a used Corolla would be your best choice. They get decent mileage for an ICE only car, and plenitful enough to keep the prices down. Total cost of ownership includes aquisition cost minus resale value at time of disposition, plus cost of fuel, plus cost of maintenance. You can also include cost of insurance, but unless you have something exotic, insurance is generally the same for most cars.
 
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