7th Aug 2008, 02:20
@5th Aug 2008, 13:42.
Since you are a Consumer Reports expert you probably already know that CR are mixed in their opinion regarding hybrid vehicles: They generally concluded that you need at least 5 years of ownership and the federal tax credit for the numbers to add up.
Regarding consumer satisfaction measurements; these numbers usually reflects new car satisfaction (after 60 days or 12 months) and doesn't say anything about how a car works in the long run.
Regarding reliability numbers; these are average figures. I don't deny that new Prius models are quite reliable, but it is still a fact that there are many serious problems in the first generation Prius. That's probably the reason why Toyota extended their warranty on new vehicles. We'll see if the new generation Prius is any better.
7th Aug 2008, 10:55
Let me say that I too was at one time one of those "Prius haters" a few years back, simply because I didn't like the hype these cars got, along with what appears to be a cult car adopted by then liberal elite. Me and my Wife inherited a 2002 Prius after her Father passed away.
Since then, I've learned a lot about the cars. Ours is the first generation, which was supposedly the model that was problematic. We haven't had any problems in 70,000 miles so far, which isn't to say that I'm still sold that the car will last as long as my older Toyota with 220,000 miles, but so far, so good.
Secondly, in regards to fuel economy, the consumption is extremely reliant on the driving habits of the owner. If you drive a Prius like a hot rod, you'll get at best mediocre fuel economy. We're talking 40-45MPG. However, if you drive more conservatively, you can get as high as 55MPG. We drive 40 miles each way to work, mostly freeway. At a constant speed of 55-65MPH, we get approximately 50MPG. If I drive 55-60, it gets as high as 54MPG. That's 100% higher than my four cylinder Tacoma that gets around 24-27MPG. For as much as we drive, this saves us around $45 a week in gas. Thus to me, that's fairly impressive.
Lastly, everyone talks about the batteries, how they will fail, and how dangerous they are for the environment. Well, if you remove the main traction battery - the large 250 volt battery that drives the motors, there is a sticker on top that says that Toyota will pay you for the old battery. So you simply take it to a dealership and they pay you for the entire unit. Additionally, there are surprisingly few of the batteries actually failing. This car spent the first 5 years in Northern PA, which gets COLD in the winter. Now it's out here in California where it gets very HOT. Again, the battery holds up fine. I've also found that there are numerous salvage yards that have used units with warranties for $500-$600. Not bad.
So for me, I don't think the cars are bad, and frankly, they do what they're meant to do: deliver good fuel economy at a reasonable cost.
11th Aug 2008, 11:49
In regards to the last two comments, the commentator referring the the 80's when you could buy a diesel VW Rabbit or Dodge Omni, well back then the restrictions on emissions was far less strict than they are today. The US has an emission standard that is roughly 6 times higher than in Europe where turbodiesels rein supreme. Hardly any of those vehicles are legal in the US.
There is the possibility that VW might be bringing their latest bluetech diesels here, but just like every other manufacture, these come with a premium price due to the additional technology required to make them "clean". The methods right now includes a newer fuel atomization process using piezo-electric injectors and various afterburn exhaust treatment systems that involves urea, hence requiring a new tank that has to be filled under the hood. This exhaust process reduces overall efficiency by 15% or more. So with the additional costs of having a diesel engine and the loss of efficiency, the more simplistic, more efficient diesel engines of the 80's aren't as viable. Hence the only current solution that is available at typical prices are hybrids, with Toyota and Honda first to make them available.
The second and latest response concerning how inefficient regenerative braking is, well the Prius doesn't simply use brakes alone to regenerate power. Braking is a generic term here, and the Prius regenerates electric power anytime you let your foot off of the accelerator. On a typical car, braking and coasting doesn't recoup any of that energy. Your engine will run slower, hence use less fuel. But in a Prius or other hybrid system, this energy is actually used along with the advantage of using less fuel per lower engine speeds.
The Prius also has a continuously variable transaxle, which also makes better efficient use of torque. Additionally, all of the power systems are engineered to use less power. The AC, heater, and other systems are low power. In the newer Prius, a large "thermos" holds hot radiator fluid for 2 days. A LOT of energy is wasted heating the engine up to efficient combustion levels. Having the thermos greatly speeds that process up. It also uses low friction, low profile tires. If you add all these little things up, it equals better fuel economy. As in 50MPG for the old Prius, and 55-60MPG for the newer model.
A new one comes out in 2010, which is the same time the Volt comes out. I'm interested to see how the Volt works and would be curious to see how well it sells. But one thing is for sure, and that is that hybrids and alternative drivetrains are what we have to use from here on out.
31st Oct 2008, 21:31
I have owned a 2008 Prius since April 2008, and have driven it 10,000+ miles to date (Oct. 2008), and have found it to be very reliable and a fuel efficient car.
There are just two things a wish it had - 3" more in width and more lights on the controls.
Although it is rated 48 city and 45 road, I found this to be just the opposite. In the city, I get 49 - 52 and on the road, 54 - 62. I should mention that I drive a little slower than in the past. Usually on the road, if the speed limit is 65, I drive 58 to 62. In the city I stealth drive a lot, which helps. I have found that the mpg does decrease when it gets cold, but all cars do.
Both my wife and I think the car is great, and will buy another when the plug in battery charge comes out.
As far as some comments I read about the battery needing replaced after two years, this is not true. If you check, the battery is under warranty for 8 or 9 years or 100,000 miles. Toyota would not give such a warranty if lasts only two years.
29th Apr 2009, 05:17
I rented a philly car share Prius, and I fell in love with it, and at the gas station it only cost me $11.00 to fill the car, who knew I was green?
The seat-belt buzzer is a pain, but I remember it is there to remind me that I did not buckle my life saver.
It is a great city car with tons of space, and I love the way it looks, it is easy to drive and parking is a breeze, and when I tell my 74 year old aunt I'm renting a car, she says get the baby blue Prius, who knew she was green?
The brakes on the Prius are the best, the car can stop on a dime, and might I add I feel like I am in a big car when I drive the Prius.
I am smitten with the 2010 Prius, and cutting all costs to get one. Take care and buy a 2010 Prius.