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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't gotten my Prius yet - I'm waiting for the '06 - but I've heard that it rides fairly low to the ground, and the air dam in the '06 might even be lower than the '05. Since I live out in the country, on a dirt road, I'm wondering if it would be possible to raise the car a couple of inches (perhaps with different shocks?) through the dealership, and not have that modification void the warranty.
 

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THe Prius is not a car for dirt roads. Between the low ground clearance and the TC, you will probably not be happy.
 

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Where are you?

I took my Prius to Nebraska for a week earlier this year, and most of the gravel roads were okay. (The county maintained, two-lane-wide, 50mph farm roads.) A few were really nasty, causing the traction control to bring me almost to a stop, though. And one tire disintegrated on one road, but I think that was a fluke tire failure, not something specific to the road. (Although I'm sure it was made worse by the gravel.)

But as long as it's well-maintained, it shouldn't be a problem.
 

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Do you have a hundred mile commute each day that would push you to a high MPG vehicle? You are obviously concerned about road clearance. Maybe another vehicle would be more practical.
I can't imagine any way of raising the suspension of a Prius and there doesn't seem to be any after market offered.
I'm sure any modification like this would have some effect with the warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Raising the Height

I live in southern Arizona, and have a 95 mile r/t commute, so, yeah, a high mpg car would save me some dough. The gravel and dirt road I live on now isn't too bad, so there shouldn't be much of a problem now. But in about 2 years I plan to move to a spread that's around 5-6 miles off the pavement - and that road can get a bit nasty after a monsoon. Maybe then I'll trade for a hybrid suv or pickup - if they start making some that get high mpg. The ones the manufacturers are making now just seem to be more powerful, so they sacrifice fuel economy, and the relatively small increase in mileage just doesn't seem worth the extra cost.
 

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You've already done your homework and your conclusions are absolutely correct. It would be nice and might just happen that Toyota may put the Prius synergy system in one of their lighter pick-ups rather than going the route they went with the Highlander. Of course, then the factor would be the much higher price tag than that of the standard pick-up.
The Ford Escape is 6 or 7 thousand less than the Highlander but it's fuel performance does not make it any more viable as an economy car.
If fuel prices don't return to the mid 2 dollar range in the next few weeks as forcast we just might see a return to lower horsepower and more fuel efficient engines being offered in the car market. From the present advertising it seems every one is still in the horsepower race.
For the present the Prius seems to be the only hybrid car made with fuel economy as it's best asset. I'm not all that familiar with what Honda is doing.
Right now Toyota is pushing their Corolla on national TV with the statement it gets 41 MPG and that's only four MPG less than what I have been averaging with a year and a half driving my Prius. You can get one of those along with Toyotas reputation for reliability for many thousands less than the Price of a Prius. Not sure about their ground clearance however.
 

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"Corolla ... gets 41 MPG and that's only four MPG less than what I have been averaging"

This is the Corolla's EPA rating, not the real-world measure. AS with 100% of cars on the road, the two are not equal. Hyp, you know this is an apples vs. oranges comparison.

I would say the Prius is not a good buy. In only two years, the time that depreciation usually hits hardest, you'll be selling the Prius. You will not have recouped the (you with me here, Hyp?) higher purchase price in gas. I would say wait to buy any car until you find the combo of mpg and off-road capabiolity you need. Buy used, or lease for now.
 

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As you point out Phil, Toyota is nationalally advertising 41 MPG for the Corolla which is it's sticker EPA. The Prius says 60 and 51 EPA and I continually see owners here proclaiming mid fifties and sixties. I've never beaten 45 with mine but I expect these same posters would equal that 41 advertised by Toyota on the Corolla.
And when I get tired of driving the Prius I will be purchassing another car which I will enjoy driving. Driving to me has always been an enjoyable part of life and fortunately driving only 7500 miles a year, the price of gas is not a priorty. My impression is that aside of the Prius the future of the hybrid movement is doomed unless the cost of the vehicle can be reduced. The price of gas won't force the industry into going the hybrid way. Only the scarcity of gas could.
As far as the SUV, I certainly don't need one for off road but if you've ever experianced a New England winter you would know that the 4 wheel drive is excellant for getting out of unplowed driveways and into unplowed parking lots (that alone would save me 35 bucks a storm) and is a super vehicle for backing the boat down a wet launching ramp and getting it back out. I'm afraid with the Prius I would first have to check out it's floating capabillity.
And Phil, lest we forget, all SUV's including Toyotas have a full set of instruments.
 

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Another perspective in this price differential...

Compare an economy car of the 1970s to today.

In 1970, you got a generally cheap car, paid around $2500, and did without:
- disc brakes
- independent rear suspension
- radial tires
- air bags
- EFI
- catalytic muffler
- ABS
- crush zones
- stereo
- carpeting
- padded headliner
- heck, even a back seat in the old Chevette!
Options were limited, and in many models you couldn't get A/C from the factory.

Sure, prices are higher today, but so is the expectation of the buyer. Perhaps the expectations of buyers in a few years will include hybrid drive for better mileage and fewer emissions.

Do you quantify the cost of fuel injection anymore? Catalytic converter? Front disc brakes? Or do you accept the overall higher price to have these features built in?

Might become that way with hybrids in a few years.
 

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Re: Raising the Height

cowboy said:
I live in southern Arizona, and have a 95 mile r/t commute, so, yeah, a high mpg car would save me some dough. The gravel and dirt road I live on now isn't too bad, so there shouldn't be much of a problem now. But in about 2 years I plan to move to a spread that's around 5-6 miles off the pavement - and that road can get a bit nasty after a monsoon. Maybe then I'll trade for a hybrid suv or pickup - if they start making some that get high mpg. The ones the manufacturers are making now just seem to be more powerful, so they sacrifice fuel economy, and the relatively small increase in mileage just doesn't seem worth the extra cost.
Well, the Ford Escape Hybrid is designed to maximise mileage, as opposed to the Toyota Highlander and Lexus 400h, which are more performance oriented. (The 400h is VERY performance oriented, while the Highlander is about 50/50 performance/mileage.)

But, Toyota's (and the Ford) hybrids really aren't 'great' on the freeway. I'm assuming you have a short dirt road, slightly longer country road, then long freeway drive at 75+? You'd probably be better off with a high-freeway-mileage car like the Volkswagen diesels, or (not sure of the dirt road usability,) the Honda Insight 2-seater.
 

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KTPhil said:
Another perspective in this price differential...

Compare an economy car of the 1970s to today.

In 1970, you got a generally cheap car, paid around $2500, and did without:
- disc brakes
- independent rear suspension
- radial tires
- air bags
- EFI
- catalytic muffler
- ABS
- crush zones
- stereo
- carpeting
- padded headliner
- heck, even a back seat in the old Chevette!
Options were limited, and in many models you couldn't get A/C from the factory.

Sure, prices are higher today, but so is the expectation of the buyer. Perhaps the expectations of buyers in a few years will include hybrid drive for better mileage and fewer emissions.

Do you quantify the cost of fuel injection anymore? Catalytic converter? Front disc brakes? Or do you accept the overall higher price to have these features built in?

Might become that way with hybrids in a few years.
Let's not forget power locks, windows, brakes, steering, and automatic transmission. My first 2 cars (72 corona and 87 corolla) did not have power windows or locks, the 72 corona didn't even have power steering.
 

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hyperion said:
Common, let's not get carried away. My 58 Buick had all that have been mentioned except for a catalytic convertor disc brakes and fuel injection.
There must have been a Japanese car built with some of these standards.
Your 58 buick had Anti-Lock brakes and air bags?

Rob
 

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DanMan was speaking of Coronas and Corollas. And common! I was just asking for a little common sense, not "picky, picky." "" Read"" the darn posts. I meant that an awfull lot of cars have been equipped with "most of this stuff" for a lot of years. I just named the one I knew about, I'm sure you could find a hundred others! It is well known that 58 model anything did not even have seat belts unless you bought them from JC Whitney and put them in yourself. (air-bags, wow.) But power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, auto transmissions, and power convertible tops go way, way, back. That 58 Buick even had an accurate fuel guage and a working set of instruments. And no flashing pips or warning lights on the fuel guage. When the needle got to "E" you were walking. And I never heard of anyone ...... " running out of gas."
 

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"But power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, auto transmissions, and power convertible tops go way, way, back."

In an "economy car"? C'mon!
 

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Actually back then, the Japanese cars were slow to add the latest techs.
I had a 1988 Honda Accord I bought from my boss when his lease was up, that still used a carburator. They had a fuel injection model, but it was the next grade up. LXi versus LX. I don't get why injection wasn't standard by then.
 
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