2009 Toyota Prius T-Spirit 1.8 Hybrid from UK and Ireland

Summary:

A great car that happens to be a Hybrid

Faults:

The only thing that has gone wrong has been the boot gas struts - sorted FOC by Toyota. That's why I deducted 1 point from the reliability!

Possibly a bit harsh, especially since they were looking dodgy when we bought the car.

The only other issue has been a slight hesitation and a drop in power on some (rare) occasions. We recently had the recall done on the software for an issue that sounds similar to this, and so far the car has been perfect since.

Obviously there has been many recalls, including one on the brakes completed by the dealer prior to us collecting the car last year. I can't comment on that, but I do know I'm happy with our Toyota and how the brakes work.

General Comments:

Forgetting for a minute that this car is a hybrid and everything that goes with it, on its own merits as a car and nothing but a car, this is very good. We like the fact that there is so much interior space for a car of its size. We love the technology with the sat-nav, rear view camera, self parking, heads-up display and all the nerdy bar charts and graphics on the dash.

We love the fact that it does around 49-52 (UK) MPG on petrol - which is about 7p a litre cheaper than diesel at present. That's driving it normally, which to be honest is not quite eco driving - we're always in a hurry and drive like it too. On a long and gentle run we can average 65 MPG with a bit of effort.

We love the smooth transmission with its total lack of gears and clutches - don't believe the journalists and well-meaning Toyota marketing people who'll tell you it has a CVT - it doesn't, or at least not like the well known versions that use a band and cones. It's official name that the engineers use is Power Split Device. We love the quiet motorway cruising and the near silence when making your way along an endless traffic jam. This is a relaxing way to drive. Even better, when stuck in such a jam you get to sit back and enjoy the fantastic Bose stereo.

Running costs are also incredibly cheap. It's been the cheapest car we've owned, helped by the very cheap dealer service costs. Given the reliability of the hybrid batteries (most of them, at least), the lack of a clutch, proper gearbox, high pressure fuel systems, turbo chargers, diesel particulate filters and dual mass flywheels, we're expecting long term costs to be much lower than the equivalent turbo diesel too. Fingers crossed, so far so good. OK it has an extra motor and voltage converters, but these should hold up and be relatively cheap to fix compared to the raft of expensive faults a modern diesel can suffer from.

What's not so good? It's not powerful enough. Even if you really go for the kickdown, it's not going to keep up with the average 2.0 turbo-diesel. For a 1.8 petrol, it's OK, and that's just about acceptable.

It also suffers from a rattly interior. Annoying, but not the end of the world. The doors are pretty tinny too. You can tell where they've shaved off weight, that's for sure.

The Toyota hard-disk based audio system is also a nightmare to use, despite having such a great sound quality. The sat-nav interface is reasonably user friendly though.

I'd definitely have another, possibly a Lexus version if my wallet allowed it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th March, 2014

10th Sep 2014, 11:50

Update from the original reviewer:

We're nearing 48k miles with the Prius now. A few times my wife noticed it seemed down on power and noisy when running at idle during the warm up period.

The Toyota dealer couldn't find anything wrong. Whilst they had the car, they installed the latest software for a recall and that appears to have solved the problem, unless it comes back with the cold weather...

The car had another MOT recently and passed without any faults at all, as you would expect I suppose. Toyota dealer prices for a major service were surprisingly cheap too.

Now we've had the Prius for nearly a year and a half, we can't really see ourselves going back to diesels or regular petrol cars. The Prius is just great; 50-70 MPG in the real world and it hasn't cost us a penny in repairs.

The only real downside to Prius ownership is the odd random bit of aggression from other (anti-hybrid?) road users. This varies from pulling out on us at the last second - possibly assuming we're really slow, to outright road rage, maybe a Prius owner is seen as a left-wing do-gooder middle class wimp and therefore an easy target for yobs?

One guy did everything he could to try and provoke me with incredibly close tailgating, then overtaking with a hairs breadth from the offside mirror and finally stamping his brakes in front of me repeatably. I still have no idea why he did that, I was driving completely normally at the speed I would drive in my other car, a Ford Mondeo. I didn't brake or pull out on him or drive slowly, or anything that might provoke someone looking for a punchbag. Very odd - I just ignored him and turned off onto another road, grateful that my kids didn't notice this madness.

Interestingly, in the Mondeo I've never had that kind of aggravation in nearly 3 years of ownership - driving in exactly the same kind of way, i.e. normally!

For that reason, if we do decide to buy another hybrid in the future, it might be an Auris or Yaris as they aren't obviously hybrids to look at.

2009 Toyota Prius Touring Gas / electric hybrid from North America

Summary:

Saving me $. New best friend!

Faults:

High $$ offer from a dealer forced my reluctant sale of my beloved 93 Volvo 240. I looked at what I was willing to buy with no $ down. I wanted what I valued in my 240 and great gas mileage.

I looked at several makes, but decided on my 09 Prius. It was a lease return in nice shape and loaded. The price was below trade in value. I have had nothing go wrong, but admit it's a different experience than I am used to.

General Comments:

Driving it makes me smile!

I put a K&N air filter in, which makes a modest increase in get-up-and-go (had one in my 240 - made a noticeable difference!).

I am big guy, and the Prius is very comfortable, with a sensible driving position, and is GREAT on gas!! Already realizing the $$ savings from my 240.

I read others reviews, and I am happy to say I am not experiencing the brake problem thing. My 240 was slow and VERY reliable. Feel like it prepped me for the Prius, which feels very quick & nimble by comparison.

Mine is loaded with JBL stereo, sat nav, Bluetooth phone, xenon lights etc, so it was nice to not feel like I compromised on an "econo-box".

My only "complaint" is that my 240 felt like it was carved from a solid block of Titanium. At 19 years old it looked brand new. Even the interior was in great shape. I know because of weight reduction the Prius is different, but admit missing that solid "class" feeling.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th April, 2012

14th Apr 2012, 06:44

I am also 2nd owner of an '09 Prius (1st owner traded for update of same vehicle). Velour front arm rest & console cover material was worn thin, so I removed them and had them redone in matching leatherette - newer products must be examined closely to detect from the real thing, yet much easier to work with, and more economical. Have had numerous comments of how it up-grades the appearance & feel of the interior. Just a suggestion.

15th Apr 2012, 21:09

If you're still making payments on it, how is it saving you money?

28th Jun 2012, 19:33

Great minds!!! I COMPLETELY agree. I went online and found Katzkinz. They did my center console & armrests in a supple black leather. It really upgraded the appearance. Everyone says it's something Toyota should offer. I am NOT a fan of leather seating, but that cloth console felt SOOOOO cheap. Cheers!

28th Jun 2012, 19:38

...On gas! The 240 was $210-$240/month in gas. I averaged $250-$750/year repairs - not bad for a prestige car with > 220K miles.

Although I am financing and have full coverage insurance, when I consider the certain upcoming maintenance on the 240, gas expense vs. projected resale of the Prius, and maintenance savings (my brother has an '08 with > 89K miles on it, only running cost has been tires, oil/filter change!), it is DEFINITELY saving me $$$$$$$$$!

20th Jun 2013, 19:42

Because I gotta drive something to get to work!! My last car was more $$ for maintenance, gas and insurance! Owned > than 1 year, and already have saved $$ vs my last car!