Toyota Prius Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm seriously considering an '06 Prius, no extra packages. No Prius available here to test.

I have a very steep gravel driveway which descends to a creek bridge then up the other side. I'm sure I can get up the other side, as it is less steep, and the road bed is fairly firm, although rough. Going back out I have a very steep short climb, with some loose gravel (less on the steepest bits, as it gets flung off). I can't get much of a run at it as it is too rough. Better to pick my way.

I can get in and out with a Corolla without any trouble, but the rear wheels sometimes scrabble a bit where there is a patch of loose gravel or a bump, going out if I'm careless. It's not ALL loose gravel - spotty.

I saw this thread on the subject, about failing to negotiate such conditions, which made me wary:

http://www.priusonline.com/viewtopic.php?t=6015

Any thoughts out there, besides rebuild the driveway (expensive undertaking, and it doesn't hold up for long)?

I know better tires might help.

I don't expect to get out in slick or snow conditions (rare here - S. NM) & have a 4WD for that.

Thanks, Charlie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,161 Posts
Tires would be the answer. The Trac is a bit sensitive to protect the transmission and the motors from over-reving. But the car has great torque at low speeds because of MG2. Torque without grip though is useless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
What happens if you stop on an icy patch - when you try to start again, I mean? With a tradl tx, you would burn through the ice & start moving. No traction & Prius wheels won't turn. Carry sand?

C
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,161 Posts
Oh the wheels will turn. Then stop. Then turn again. Then stop. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Just take it easy, applying enough accelerator to start moving, and be consistent.
On pure, slick ice, sand would be good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the tips, DanMan.

Seems the Prius is unsuited to the northern climate with several months of ice and snow, as well as to gravel roads for any distance and speed. I'd be interested in comments on winter driving from Northern owners.

Surprisingly there are a lot of Prius on the highway between Santa Fe' and Los Alamos; the highway is well-maintained in the winter, but the towns at each end less so. I wonder how those Prius are going to manage in the winter? Even conventional vehicles frequently have problems.

My wife is presently living in Santa Fe' and working in Los Alamos: I plan to give her my 4WD for the winter.

This is an area where people are much more "green" in attitude and wealth than elsewhere, which explains the popularity of the Prius: I wonder if the winter will temper their enthusiasm.

Charlie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,873 Posts
Have heard of "zero" problems with a Prius in civilized portions of the north . It will go anywhere another type of car will go with no problems.
As to the type of driving you are speaking about they are exactly the reason for owning a SUV. Not only for practicality but for safety. With one, you would never have to fear road conditions that other cars and trucks are functioning on. (Plus your driveway) I would never consider giving up something like this just to get something that gets great MPG.
Plus, with the incentives being thrown around today a well equipped SUV can be had for several thousand dollars less than a Prius. At least that's a couple thousand for gas!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Zero problems in the N is good news, Hyperion. I'm just now doing a search on winter driving.

My pair of Ford Broncos get 15 mpg: no longer acceptable. If I'm going to swap I want highest milage possible, for lowest possible investment. Prius is a pretty good buy in '06.

You are right about a SUV, but lower milage than Prius (a true suv) will never come close to offsetting its cost. I have really appreciated the Broncos for their versatility (one tows my camper). I'll keep that one for when 4WD is needed, and hope the Prius will successfully serve as the primary driving car (town, cross country).

I studied my driveway some more, in view of Dan's comments, and I think it won't be a serious problem. I wanted some assurance before committing.

The Prius is so different, it deserves some thought about performance in adverse/unanticipated conditions.

Thanks, Charlie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,434 Posts
If the gravel is fairly well packed and not extraordinarily steep I don't think you'll have a major problem.

But you have a good reason to rent a Prius before buying one IMO. Keep it for a week, try it on your road and your commute and make sure you're going to get what you expect.

Remember, also, the Escape/Mariner Hybrid option. It certainly won't completely replace your Bronco for heavy duty jobs, but it will let you drive in the winter snow and still get good gas mileage--not Prius Mileage, but it may give you a decent compromise on cost/mileage/versatility.

A final consideration would be to get rid of both broncos and get a Highlander Hybrid as it likely could replace the Bronco for utility and toughness in all seasons. But they are pricy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
cgraham said:
I saw this thread on the subject, about failing to negotiate such conditions, which made me wary:
Charlie,

I saw that same thread just before embarking on a 600 mile trip to Ontario, where our destination was a summer cottage on Pt. Abino nested atop a hill with a very steep gravel driveway leading up to a level parking pad next to the house.

We have a 2005 Pkg #5 with stock tires, so after seeing this thread I was a little concerned about making it up the hill. I was also a bit worried that I might get up too much speed, blast across the parking pad, fly off the cliff just beyond it, and land in Lake Erie!

As it turned out, I didn't need to worry at all about the Prius getting up the hill...the real thrill came the first time we had to drive back down! It's one thing getting used to a car where you can't see the hood. Now we're pulling up to the head of this driveway, which viewed through the windshield might as well be a sheer drop-off! Of course, we soon found ourselves zipping up and down effortlessly for the rest of our visit, but that first time down felt just like being in the front car at the top of the rollercoaster facing the first plunge!

It just happened that we traveled up and back with another couple who drove their 2004 Corolla. We were each able to negotiate the driveway with equal ease, so I'd expect a Prius to handle your driveway about the same as your experience with the Corolla.

By the way, we averaged just under 53 MPG in our stuffed-to-the-gills Prius (no roof rack), while our friends averaged around 36.

-Harry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Another Steep gravel driveway

Thanks for the helpful comparison, Sandman (and to those that preceded you).

I wish I could follow the earlier advice to rent a Prius - none around here. I have made contact with an owner I have not met who is going to let me view her Prius this afternoon. I don't know if she will let me drive it up my driveway......

I'm increasingly confident I won't have a problem if those OEM tires stand up to the wear.

Don't drive on the beach, or fall asleep at the wheel! There has to be a good reason for that handle!

Charlie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
afternoonnap said:
If you want to see how a Prius does even further north, see http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/ly/jamesbay.htm
Afternoonnap,

Welcome to the forum! I'm a fairly new member myself, although I lurked this board and PriusChat for several months before buying our Prius in July.

Although our visit was limited to the very tourist-heavy southeastern corner of your Province, we had a wonderful time and managed to see a fair amount of the countryside and some of the smaller communities near our cottage such as Crystal Beach, Ridgeway, and Ft. Erie. We also drove up the QEW a bit, but only made it as far as St. Catharines. We hope to see Toronto and points north when we're able to visit again.

-Harry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Seaside Harry said:
Welcome to the forum! I'm a fairly new member myself, although I lurked this board and PriusChat for several months before buying our Prius in July.
Thanks. I've been lurking off and on here and pc since March, but couldn't resist posting that link.

I only had a few days of lurking before buying my Prius, since I was forced into a sudden car purchase when my previous vehicle was totalled by an 18-wheeler (no serious injuries fortunately). Didn't start out looking for a Prius, but wanted a car with stability control. Believe it or not, in Canada the Prius was the cheapest way to get a Toyota with stability control! I was lucky to find exactly what I wanted on the lot at a dealer in Toronto, so I didn't have to wait at all. I guess someone must have ordered it and then cancelled.

Glad you enjoyed visiting Ontario!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Happy ending:

I found a Prius owner, who generously alowed me a test drive, including my driveway. No problems negotiating it very slowly and cautiously (hey, it wasn't my car). The front wheels scrabbled slightly at the steepest point (a faster approach might eliminate that.) The owner didn't even wince.


Prius: I'm impressed!

Charlie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
traction issues in winter

I live in Ontario, CA and have a sloped driveway that reaches its steepest just before it meets the street. In both last winter and what we've had of this one I've had quite positive experiences with the traction control system. Sometimes I've had to stop at the top of the driveway in snowy conditions, to wait for a break in traffic. When I re-accelerate the control system "creeps" me from one bit of firm footing to the next, independent of the position of the gas pedal, without lots of tire spining. It is very important, however, to anticipate that this will happen in situations where tire slippage is possible. One shouldn't rely on uninterrupted acceleration to zip into a small gap in traffic. Punching the gas may result in a series of pauses as traction control turns power on and off to the wheels in response to slippage. Don't start accelerating without taking into account it may take longer to make your move into traffic than you might have anticipated in a non-slippery situation.

In winter highway driving situations I've found the Prius quite simular to other front-wheel drive vehicles I've owned. The only time I had trouble was once when I tried to start after having parked in about 8" of slippery untracked snow. I found the car almost completely unresponsive to the gas pedal as I tried to start up, because the wheels were slipping and the control system just decoupled them. What I found intersting, though, was how well the car responded to just a mild shove from a helper. As soon as it began moving the least bit, traction control seemed to put the right amount of power into both wheels to move me away smoothly. So I think the only tricky situation in winter is getting from 0 to 1 mph when both front wheels are on a very slippery surface. A bit of sand should be a good substitute for that initial shove by the person who helped me.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top