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I am considering placing my "order" for an '04 Prius. To those of you who have taken delivery, I am looking for general comments about your happiness level with the car. I know about the wait and such and have taken that into account. What are your thoughts??
 

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Ecstatic seems to be the general concensus, I lean a bit more toward euphoric with episodes of giddiness. There are a few detractors out there that are only ridiculously happy, but I suspect they're always hard to please and wouldn't admit ecstasy if they had it.

Ok, back to a tad of reality. This is NOT a car for everyone. But, it is a great general purpose family car if the size and features fit your needs. I honestly don't think there is another car on the market in the mid-size class I would be happy with. Not b/c there aren't some great cars (Accord, Camry, Acura, BMW, etc), but b/c they don't offer me anything particularly special. If not for the Prius I'd probably have replaced my Expedition with another SUV (maybe not, but it's complicated by whether I'd have had to sell the Expedition or not).

This car drives quite nicely. It has some amazing technologic features that make it feel like a luxury car in many ways. It does not have luxury accomodations as regards the seats and interior or spaciousness. But it's pretty comfortable.

My main qualms have been with the driver's seat. I'm 5'10 1/2 and just can't find a comfortable driving position for my right leg. I think a drive over 3 hours would be pretty uncomfortable and as it is I'm concerned I'm going to develop some chronic knee discomfort due to the twisted position I find myself holding it in when driving. Don't expect 55MPG and that will increase your satisfaction as well...some will achieve that, but I think 50mpg combined is more realistic.

If you're not in a hurry I'd give very strong consideration to waiting for the '05, I think it will have some significant improvements and added features, though probably at an added premium. Still, I'd have paid more for integrated XM radio, 6-way electric driver's seat, leather interior and an EV button. No promise that all or any of those will be available in the '05, but I'd bet they will.

Find someone that has one, or rent a TRAC vehicle for a week and drive it. I think you'll be amazed and impressed.
--evan
 

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markincolorado said:
I am considering placing my "order" for an '04 Prius. To those of you who have taken delivery, I am looking for general comments about your happiness level with the car. I know about the wait and such and have taken that into account. What are your thoughts??
Mark,
I've had my '04 a little more than a month and am extremely pleased with every aspect of the car. Not only is it an amazing feat of engineering, it is remarkably comfortable and fun to drive. Perhaps most surprising to me is the excellent fit and finish, which equals that of any vehicle I've ever owned; I was expecting a less refined vehicle. If they were readily available I would buy another one tomorrow, if only to eliminate haggling each morning over who gets to drive the Prius.
Drive happy,
Moo :)
 

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Evan:
You raise the same point about the seats that I did in another thread with Oldfox. One of several things Toyota should add to the Prius is power seats with the standard adjustments. Do you, or any of the other long-timers on this site, have a Toyota contact who fields such suggestions, complaints, etc.
JBF
 

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JBF said:
Evan:
You raise the same point about the seats that I did in another thread with Oldfox. One of several things Toyota should add to the Prius is power seats with the standard adjustments. Do you, or any of the other long-timers on this site, have a Toyota contact who fields such suggestions, complaints, etc.
JBF
I wish I did have such a contact...of course they would have probably changed their phone number and e-mail address by now if I had!

I recieved a survey last week that allowed unlimited comments about suggested improvements and complaints. I went into detail about the driver's seat--I feel it should go back another 2-3" (plenty of space behind for that), that it needs more thigh support, that there needs to at least be an option for seat-bottom tilt if not full 6-way adjustment. I keep reading about 6'3" guys who can't believe how comfortable it is and comparing it to their old Mercedes and such. I don't understand that at all. I still own my Expedition, that seat is very comfortable, has great thigh support and I can drive it for hours and hours on end (and have done so) without discomfort. Even a drive into town I find myself scooting around in the seat of the Prius fighting for a comfortable postition for my leg. It usually ends up rotated outward at the hip with the knee flexed while my heel rests on the floor to the left of the pedal and the ball of my foot on the pedal itself. Eventually, however, I begin to feel the stress of that position on my knee and I put my leg in a more vertical position with my heel directly in front of the pedal and my entire foot on the pedal (instead of just the ball). However, my thigh is off the seat in that position and I have to hold my leg up using my hip muscles. Eventually that gets tired too and I end up back in position #1.

I don't know if these other tall folk have a better constitution and don't mind the torque on the knee or what, but it just gets old after a while. For short trips it's no big deal and I've gone 2-3 hours at a time without severe or intolerable discomfort. I do not want to drive cross country in that position though. I'd actually like to find some sort of seat cover or seat bottom that extends the front of the seat forward and adds some support for the thigh at the front of the seat. I think that's all it would take to make it more comfortable.
--evan
 

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Evan, What changes do you think would be incorporated in the '05 that weren't put into the '04?

My Toyota source (general manager of one of the regions largest auto dealerships) said that he expects the '05 to be identical to the '04 except for the VIN. His "take" was that the car is new and very successful and they can't make enough of them to satisfy demand and are losing business because of it. That, he thinks, is reason to freeze the design for a while and produce cars ASAP. He said he thinks that as the cars come down the conveyor belt at some point on some given day they will change the model year on the VIN plate and keep on chuggin' as fast as they can and still meet their quality goals.

If there were trully some safety issue or the like, Toyota would incorporate a fix, mid year but I don't think that is what you meant.

I can't flaw his logic regarding concentrating on making cars rather than allowing changes that might slow production when introduced. Of course, Toyota will do what Toyota will do and we can like it or lump it as regards the Prius. With multiple buyers available for every car they ship. there isn't much incentive to do anything that would have a ripple effect on production numbers.

I should think that when manufacturing capacity catches up with demand and they have some excess capacity that would be the time to fold in any pending changes. I guess this would make '06 or '07 a more likely time to make significant changes if there are any pending.

Surely the feeding frenzy won't last past the '05 model year, especialy since other models will be available as hybrid from Toyota and others as well.

:D Pat :D
 

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patrickg said:
Evan, What changes do you think would be incorporated in the '05 that weren't put into the '04?

My Toyota source (general manager of one of the regions largest auto dealerships) said that he expects the '05 to be identical to the '04 except for the VIN. His "take" was that the car is new and very successful and they can't make enough of them to satisfy demand and are losing business because of it. That, he thinks, is reason to freeze the design for a while and produce cars ASAP. He said he thinks that as the cars come down the conveyor belt at some point on some given day they will change the model year on the VIN plate and keep on chuggin' as fast as they can and still meet their quality goals.

If there were trully some safety issue or the like, Toyota would incorporate a fix, mid year but I don't think that is what you meant.

I can't flaw his logic regarding concentrating on making cars rather than allowing changes that might slow production when introduced. Of course, Toyota will do what Toyota will do and we can like it or lump it as regards the Prius. With multiple buyers available for every car they ship. there isn't much incentive to do anything that would have a ripple effect on production numbers.

I should think that when manufacturing capacity catches up with demand and they have some excess capacity that would be the time to fold in any pending changes. I guess this would make '06 or '07 a more likely time to make significant changes if there are any pending.

Surely the feeding frenzy won't last past the '05 model year, especialy since other models will be available as hybrid from Toyota and others as well.

:D Pat :D
Pat,
I think those are good points, and his assesment may be dead on. But I'm not sure I'd bet on it. The survey I got sure seemed honestly interested in hearing about suggested improvements and innovations, it also delved into some of the more personal issues about why I chose the Prius and my priorities.

But, if pressed, as to what would change in the '05 here's what I think:
1)Add XM Radio as dealer option
2)Add leather interior option
3)Add 6-way electric seat (or possibly mechanical if that would be significantly lighter and allow the NAV to still fit beneath--that would be an issue--placement of the current under seat items)
4)Maybe an MP3 option or audio in--perhaps a wholesale renovation of the radio system...not sure about this, but I think they regret not having it as an option/feature this year.
5)Maybe 16" wheels, at least as an option....there were a couple questions on the survey about that and it's available in the EU so not much reason t think that would be difficult.

As I write this I wonder if maybe they'll have the current Prius with few if any upgrades (other than the XM dealer option), and then offer a Prius LX or something like that with leather, electric 6-way seating, all the other BC package features, 16" wheels, etc...at a price tag closer to $30K. Maybe wood dash and such. I think there's a market out there for it.

My best guesses would be the XM and a 6-way seat. I don't think the EV button is going to happen in the US in the near future.
--evan

Please realize this is my pure 100% conjecture, i have no evidence or facts to support anything, I'm just pondering and guessing based on my personal experience and my impressions from others and what I derived from the survey.
 

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Evan, I'm sure all the options you mention would sell real well. Would the cost and effort of setting up to do that detract from makiing and selling more Prii? They should be guided by the bottom line and their best guess of future demand.

Now regarding their best guess of demand... They didn't do so good on guestimating the demand for the '04 Prius in general and especially with the Nav system.

Time will tell. If I had to lay down $ and state my position, I'd vote for little or no change until well into or past the '05 model year. My persoanl pref would be of course to get the goodies you and everyonel else finds so conspicuous by their absence. A more adjustable driver's seat would be a good place to start for a small incremental improvement.

:D Pat :D
 

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patrickg said:
Evan, I'm sure all the options you mention would sell real well. Would the cost and effort of setting up to do that detract from makiing and selling more Prii? They should be guided by the bottom line and their best guess of future demand.
They're already making/selling the Prius with the 16" wheels--no adaptation needed for that. They already have plans for the XM and the computer/audio system already shows settings for it, that can't be a signficant addition. The 6 way electric seat would probably be produced by a 3rd party--all they'd need would be specs for the rails and airbag system and instead of the standard seat you install the electric--can't be very complicated. Leather--it's leather and very simple to make leather upolstry exactly the same size as the cloth and put it on instead. The JBL stereo could be upgraded easily by JBL or by another manufacturer, probably with minimal effort to add audio input jacks for MP3 or whatever. Wood trim might be trickier, but maybe not.

I think the things I mention could easily be integrated. Whether they will or not I can't say, but I wouldn't be suprised.
--evan
 

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markincolorado said:
I am considering placing my "order" for an '04 Prius. To those of you who have taken delivery, I am looking for general comments about your happiness level with the car. I know about the wait and such and have taken that into account. What are your thoughts??
If you order a new Prius in the Denver area, I suggest trying Burt Toyota, specifically Joe Stutesman. I ordered mine from him via Internet Sales and he offered me the BC package for $600 less than MSRP w/ 6-8 weeks delivery time. He was up front and honest with me, which I appreciated.
 

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gdrst/mark, Be sure to check in with us again when you get your car and let us know how well it matches what yo actually "ordered."

Evan, I agree with you entirely in concept, except for how easily the change can be accomplished internally. They'd have to cut down another of our forests to get the paper to document the change.

As a similar example... I wanted a particular pickup with extended cab and no bed. The maker sold cab-chassis versions with standard cab. I tried to get them to sell me a pickup, complete in every detail to what they sold with extended cab EXCEPT leave off the bed. It would have been virtually impossible to get and would have cost significantly more than buying the whole truck and paying someone to remove the bed and throw it away. I bought a whole truck and sold the bed.

I was reminded of the Jack Nicklson movie "Five Easy Pieces" where he tries to order rye toast at a Howard Johnson's. It wasn't on the menu so the waitress wouldn't do it. Eventually he ordered a BLT on rye, toasted, hold the bacon lettuce and tomato.

I realize a one off custom request is different from a mass produced option. There is significant effort involved in adding options. They are selling cars as fast as they can make them, as is. How could it , in the current feeding frenzy environment, benefit Toyota to dilute their efforts and offer even more options? They can't deliver the ones they have on the books now. It is quite likely that the popularity of the Prius will insitgate extra cost options but I would guess that won't happen for a while untill after the feeding frenzy either dies down, gets satisfied, or build capacity catches up.

At the current time the delay between deposit and delivery is so long I may not see MY Prius until so far into the future that new options might be offered. I say MY Prius lightly as dealers don't really order Prii for customers. They just get an allocation and folks with deposits down get a chance to take whatever shows up. Given this WEIRD state of affairs, trying to introduce/order a car with more variables in its configuaration doesn't make sense. If there were 27 way power seats with vibrating heat masasage, 33 disk CDs and microwave snack heaters OR WHATEVER, in todays NO ORDERS JUST ALLOCATIONS reality, it would just add to the confusion and reduce the likelyhood of getting what you want.

I wish it weren't so, but that is what I see, currently. Hopefully it will get a lot better real soon so you could, in fact, actually order your car and get it the way yo want it. Unfortunately that is not the current reallity.

:D Pat :D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
efusco said:
Ecstatic seems to be the general concensus, I lean a bit more toward euphoric with episodes of giddiness. There are a few detractors out there that are only ridiculously happy, but I suspect they're always hard to please and wouldn't admit ecstasy if they had it.

Ok, back to a tad of reality. This is NOT a car for everyone. But, it is a great general purpose family car if the size and features fit your needs. I honestly don't think there is another car on the market in the mid-size class I would be happy with. Not b/c there aren't some great cars (Accord, Camry, Acura, BMW, etc), but b/c they don't offer me anything particularly special. If not for the Prius I'd probably have replaced my Expedition with another SUV (maybe not, but it's complicated by whether I'd have had to sell the Expedition or not).

This car drives quite nicely. It has some amazing technologic features that make it feel like a luxury car in many ways. It does not have luxury accomodations as regards the seats and interior or spaciousness. But it's pretty comfortable.

My main qualms have been with the driver's seat. I'm 5'10 1/2 and just can't find a comfortable driving position for my right leg. I think a drive over 3 hours would be pretty uncomfortable and as it is I'm concerned I'm going to develop some chronic knee discomfort due to the twisted position I find myself holding it in when driving. Don't expect 55MPG and that will increase your satisfaction as well...some will achieve that, but I think 50mpg combined is more realistic.

If you're not in a hurry I'd give very strong consideration to waiting for the '05, I think it will have some significant improvements and added features, though probably at an added premium. Still, I'd have paid more for integrated XM radio, 6-way electric driver's seat, leather interior and an EV button. No promise that all or any of those will be available in the '05, but I'd bet they will.

Find someone that has one, or rent a TRAC vehicle for a week and drive it. I think you'll be amazed and impressed.
--evan
thanks for your input ! I lean more and more toward doing the actual order!!
 

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Is it that Americans don't pay attention to machine manuals and violate their vehicles, and this is the reason the 01-03 models in Europe saw a fold down rear seat, but America didn't, and that Japan and Europe have an EV for the 04 models and America doesn't...anyone? :?
 

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i have to agree with you..... many many many posts are for items that seem to be basic in the owner's/user's/operator/s manual.

i hope to know enough to get it home, then settle down with an extra large pizza and the manuals for a nice long read. i still don't expect to really know enough about many options for several days (weeks)..... with all of the talk of modifications/self-fixes and dis-assemblies, i have to wonder.


i pride myself in not going to the dealer with my other cars unless i have to (even change my own oil). BUT NOT WHILE IT's STILL UNDER WARRANTY.



i agree with you

i may adjust tire pressure though

sid
 

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nmpriusman said:
Is it that Americans don't pay attention to machine manuals and violate their vehicles, and this is the reason the 01-03 models in Europe saw a fold down rear seat, but America didn't, and that Japan and Europe have an EV for the 04 models and America doesn't...anyone? :?
I'm not sure I understand what you are saying. Are you saying that Americans are being given dumbed down versions of the car because we can't handle complicated things like folding seat backs? Or is it that we are being punished for not properly studying the manuals?

Toyata dealers could be supplied with tests for candidate buyers to pass prior to being allowed to purchase a Prius. Why not loyallty oaths where you'd promise that you wold not perform unauthorized mods? It wouldn't make any difference whatsoever as all Prius cars shipped to the US would still be sold, essentially immediately. Now, as regards the (EV) button, I might have to agree with you there. That would be pretty hard for a lot of folks to grasp. Apparently the "B" position on the shift switch exceeds the understanding of many users, even among the ranks of Toyota sales staff.

Elaborate on your theme please, fleshing out the sketchy details or lack thereof.

Thanks in advance,

:D Pat :D
 

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rumors

nmpriusman said:
Is it that Americans don't pay attention to machine manuals and violate their vehicles, and this is the reason the 01-03 models in Europe saw a fold down rear seat, but America didn't, and that Japan and Europe have an EV for the 04 models and America doesn't...anyone? :?
supposed word from a Toyota exec. for
the fold-down rear seat absence in
the US was because of the extra
structural weight needed to compensate
for the folded seat backs (would push
the Prius into a different weight
category for testing purposes).

rumor was more that they couldn't
have a battery in the passenger
compartment (what would happen with
the seats folded down). but, since
the 2004 has the folding seats, guess
that rumor is squashed.

The rumor on the 2004 regarding the
EV button in the US is that there's
some EPA regulation that the user
cannot defeat emissions control
equipment or modify the fuel type
from the OEM version without proper
paperwork, which wasn't filed. Who
knows if this rumor is correct, as
the one for the rear seats wasn't
correct.

Another rumor I've heard for the lack
of EV button in the US is that becuase
of the long warranty on the hybrid
system in the US (compare to Australia,
for example), that the long discharges
of the battery would not be a good
thing for battery life and the
warranty would not be a good offer
from Toyota's standpoint. It could
also be that prolonged battery use
would require the engine to run more,
and not as cleanly, therefore losing
the SULEV/AT-PZEV emissions standing.
 

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I traded my '03 Lexus IS300 in for one and I'm glad I did it, what does that tell you? :wink:

markincolorado said:
I am considering placing my "order" for an '04 Prius. To those of you who have taken delivery, I am looking for general comments about your happiness level with the car. I know about the wait and such and have taken that into account. What are your thoughts??
 
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