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I am currently planning on buying a new car within the next few months. I haven't really narrowed my search down yet, but the Prius is one of the cars I am considering. I would greatly appreciate it if a current Prius owner could give me some input as to why they chose the Prius over other vehicles? I am also wondering what feature about the car has been most beneficial/what owners enjoy most about the Prius?

-Lindy
 

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Why we picked a Prius

Lindy: Here (in no particular order) is why we picked the Prius.

Background:
- My wife and I are "empty nesters" and wanted to get back to one car.
- My wife's commute involves a large number of surface streets.
- I am employed as a computer programmer. (See "Reasons" for why this is significant. ;) )

Reasons we decided on the Prius:
- Extremely maneuverable on city streets. (Small size, easy to park, excellent turning radius.)
- Excellent visibility
- Good mileage for the type of driving we typically do. (Lots of "stop and go".) So far we are seeing about 46mpg (as measured by the display) for our driving pattern, and we are extemely pleased. By the way, we also looked at the Honda Civic Hybrid, and this city mileage is what attracted us to the Prius vs the HCH.
- High "geek factor"... touch screen, "drive by wire", advanced electronics, electric/gas drive (This line item is what initially drew me to the car. :) )
- Low emissions
- Lots of nice extras included ("set and forget" cabin temperature, remote door locks, anti-theft system)
- One time tax write off. ($2000 reduction in AGI)
- Found a great Toyota dealer who was patient and low pressure.
- Dealer is easy walking distance from where I work. Means I can take wife to work, drive to dealership for service, leave the car there for the day and pickup when I'm done at work.
- All service free for 1st 30000+ miles. (Including oil changes!)

On the "con" side, our list was:
- No split rear seat.
- Small trunk (Issues for us given this is our only car.)
- You do pay a premium compared to buying something like a Corolla with similar options.

Hope that helps. (I'm sure everyones list will be a little different, but these were the issues for us.)

Wayne
 

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Just a few more minor "con" points:

- You MUST bring it to a certified Toyota Prius service dealer. Your previous "trusted mechanic" will not be able to work on this vehicle. Service quality at different locations remains a question mark

- Original tires included with the vehicle will require replacement at 30,000 miles

- Resale value of this vehicle is another question mark until probably 2010 or 2011, when the original Prii start wearing out.
 

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paul16451 said:
Just a few more minor "con" points:

- You MUST bring it to a certified Toyota Prius service dealer. Your previous "trusted mechanic" will not be able to work on this vehicle. Service quality at different locations remains a question mark

- Original tires included with the vehicle will require replacement at 30,000 miles

- Resale value of this vehicle is another question mark until probably 2010 or 2011, when the original Prii start wearing out.
Well, for most maintenances, you can have your local mechanic do it (or do it yourself). You only really need a Prius-certified tech if there's something wrong with your car...

But, since the Prius comes with the first 5 regularly-scheduled maintenances free/complimentary, why not go to the dealer for those? 3 years/37500 miles at 6mo/7500mile intervals.

Canadian maintenance schedule can be found on the http://www.toyota.ca site.
US maintenance schedule (regular duty) can be found here: http://www.john1701a.com/prius/prius-maintain02.htm
 

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Not everything needs to be done at the dealer. I have a local EDT handle tires and alignment. I also had a local glass shop repair a windshield chip.

But things like tune-ups are best done by the dealer because they have the equipment needed to keep the emissions in spec. This has been a trend with many recent cars, but my understanding is that recent laws make it again possible for independents to get the necessary equipment. The high cost means they'll be reluctant to get it for low production cars like the current Prius. If we're lucky, the '04 model Prius test equipment will work with our model, and the higher production numbers will encourage more independents to support the Prius.

Without specific Prius training, independents should not work on the high voltage systems, but these aren't likely to be things that need frequent work.

Body work, brakes, shocks, drive train, 12-volt electrical systems, and steering are all things independents can work on without special training. But they are working hard to get you used to bringing your Prius to the dealer for service, so it's psychologically the dealer's business to lose.
 
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