2009 Toyota Prius T-Spirit 1.8 Hybrid from UK and Ireland
A great car that happens to be a Hybrid
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.
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
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.