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Will Green Cars Be Exciting To Drive And Enjoyable To Own?

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,891
    What "noise" did you think you heard?

    If your Camry is as noisy as a Prius, Toyota needs to head back to the drawing board. Every little joint in the pavement gets radiated into the passenger compartment. I personally thought the first Prius I rode in was much quieter. Then that was about 9 years ago and I went from a 1990 Camry to the Prius. Plus our roads have gone down hill since then with little to no maintenance.

    Would I drive one running errands? Why not, they have a nice big hatch area to put stuff. Would I head out to the desert or over to Phoenix? Not in a million years. Your blindness to the facts on these attempts at being green is showing.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    You really ought not to be telling people the Prius is noisy.

    It's just not.

    From various sources on the web:

    In general, most family sedans, minivans, and midsized and large SUVs have very good noise isolation, including CR Top Picks like the Honda Accord, Acura TL, Infiniti M35, Honda Odyssey, Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Toyota Prius. Smaller vehicles, such as the Honda Civic and Subaru Forester (also Top Picks), score a step below for noise isolation. The noisiest cars we’ve recently tested include the Lotus Elise and Pontiac Solstice. These two sporty cars rated Poor for noise isolation and were even noisy enough to make listening to the radio a challenge.

    And from an Edmunds review:

    Once under way, though, the Prius rides tranquilly, with a pillow-soft suspension and good sound insulation.


    And:

    Ride quality is generally very good, most bumps and ripples not coming through to the cabin.

    And:

    Toyota Prius
    Besides the superb gas mileage, the Toyota Prius is a quiet vehicle. It starts on its electric motor so there is no churn of a starter motor or engine revving noise. In addition, the aerodynamic car produces little wind and road noise.


    Maybe the one road you took a Prius ride on was a bad one.

    But no one anywhere in any review calls the Prius "noisy."
  • mattandimattandi Posts: 588
    hmmmm, touched a nerve.

    It's relative. That's all.

    Gary compared the Prius to his Sequoia. Found it noisy.

    I own a Saturn wagon. Not exactly a quiet car, and a car do not like very much. I found the Prius more noisy, especially on the highway.

    Others may have a different experience.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,891
    Gary compared the Prius to his Sequoia. Found it noisy.

    Our friend went from a noisy GM PU truck to a noisy Civic to a noisy Camry. So it is relative to what you are used to. Myself I like to be able to hear the subtleties of an Itzhak Perlman piece while riding down the highway at 70 MPH. I like to be isolated from all the noise while in the city as well. While the Sequoia is not perfect, it is better than my Suburban and most other SUVs including my tax man's RX. Part of it are the crappy low profile tires that have become so popular. Give me quiet balloons any day. I think that is why the X5 I demoed was not as quiet as my Sequoia.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Sure, comparatively, any car can be "noisy" when compared to more silent cars.

    But classifying a Prius as a "noisy car" is just incorrect.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    I think Gary's last point kind of gets what he's talking about. There is a good market for vehicles that are that quiet. I understand Prius not being in that category but there's a ton of cars that aren't in it either including all four in my stable.

    I think the fun factor fnor hybrids is coming. The For Fusion Hybrid's write ups indicate a fun potential including essentially a dashboard that makes nailing the best mileage sort of a game.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,891
    I can cherry pick reviews as well as anyone.

    On the road, I found the Prius ride and handling to be hesitant, while the steering was slow-reacting. Acceleration and passing are not the vehicle’s strong points, but it does contend with traffic at acceptable speeds and it can pass slower-moving cars. Performing and riding in a manner one would expect from a sub-compact, road irregularities are felt within the cabin, and there is more road noise inside than I would have expected, but there was never a feeling of instability during my tests.

    http://www.greatcarstv.com/reviews/2008-toyota-prius.html

    Steering feel is artificial, the regenerative brakes are only average, and the ride can get bumpy and noisy. Blame the low rolling resistance tires and the lack of sound deadening to save weight.

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/bottomline/toyota_prius_2009

    There are more complaints of noise than praise for a quiet ride with a simple GOOGLE search.
  • mattandimattandi Posts: 588
    I think the fun factor fnor hybrids is coming.

    I hope so, and I assume we're talking about driving dynamics. There are those who have found some fun factor in other ways. They find the fun in squeezing out the MPG's. With my dad it is a game of one upmanship. Quite a few of his friends have gotten into small fuel efficient cars and brag to each other. Almost all of them can afford to drive whatever they want, but they are gaming each other on this.

    The Prius is not unpleasant to drive. It's just not very exciting. As a grocery getter or around town runabout, it works quite nicely. It takes a little getting used to. When it cuts off at a full stop, I keep finding myself thinking "Gee, I sure hope this thing goes when the light turns green."
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    Sure! A Hemi 'Cuda convertible finished in the Hi-Impact color of FJ6 Sassy Grass Green would be immensely fun to drive!
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Cherry picking reviews does not matter.

    The fact that the VAST MAJORITY of review shows Prius as quiet, as do the vast majority of owners (check greenhybrid.com if not believing me) do also proves the point.

    The Prius is not a noisy car. Found a Swedish test which showed the Prius in the top 10 of all cars tested.

    Keep saying it and you are just passing out incorrect information.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    that all body-on-frame vehicles will insulate the driver from road imperfections a lot more than unibody vehicles, as it is the frame that takes the beating from the road in BOFs, not the passenger compartment.

    As such, gagrice is bound to notice a big difference when transitioning from his truck to a Prius.

    But there will be soon be very few BOFs left on the market, even among non-"green" models, so the BOF frame of reference is becoming obsolete.

    And in this discussion, we are still falling for that fatal flaw in our arguments: the Prius is somehow "all hybrids". It is one car, built until now on a subcompact chassis (that of the Yaris) with the engine from that subcompact. Will it be different beginning with the 2010 model? Yes (to be built on the Auris/Euro-Corolla platform using the 1.8L engine from the existing Corolla).

    Could any automaker out there build a hybrid with COMPLETELY DIFFERENT RIDE AND HANDLING CHARACTERISTICS? Emphatically, yes.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • My dealership has 3 Insights on the ground. None were ready for test drives, however. I would assume that the Insight might handle a bit better than a Prius. My Fit is fun to drive. The front of the Insight looks like a Civic, and the back end is a Prius clone.

    Check out the Insight at your local dealership! :surprise:
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,320
    How does one avoid the reputation of being a Liberal, Socialist, Democrat who believes in GW? :P
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Well, to people who don't even know you, just let them take a long walk on a short pier.

    To people who comment and accuse you of being something you are not, merely say, "I like spending less money on gas and more money on having fun."
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    I suspect that for the short term future we will have to redefine exciting and enjoyable.

    The Fusion and Prius have gizmos to show you how how economically you are driving. Those that get their kicks seeing how much you can squeeze out of a gallon of gas (that would appeal to me) will have fun. Neck snapping acceleration it ain't.

    I suspect that we're just starting to see hybrids that will feel as comfortable as a regular car.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,560
    Just buy a normal car with a "green" powertrain and remove the "green" badge indicators. Nobody will have a clue :P
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    How does one avoid the reputation of being a Liberal, Socialist, Democrat who believes in GW?

    Is there really some type of categorizing of those who buy hybrids as such? I would be of the mind that its my money, I can spend it how I see fit, and I may or may not associate with the labels being given.

    I appreciate those that drive hybrids and the sacrifice they are making for the greater good. Far be it from me to judge them, I am certainly not willing to do what they did at this point.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,140
    Maybe it's a stretch for people to assume it's a sacrifice to drive a hybrid....

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  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    There is that. by the time i'm buying again i could see going to an Insight not because it's politically correct but because I'm a cheapskate.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    ...looks like a dorky Prius knock-off, I'll be staying away. Now, if they make that neat little bullet car like the original Insight, I might show some interest.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    Maybe it's a stretch for people to assume it's a sacrifice to drive a hybrid....

    It just depends on wants and needs. If all you need/want are power windows and a ride to work and back, then for that lifestyle its not a sacrifice at all...well, except for the cost premium over a non-hybrid vehicle.

    As it pertains to this forum, will they be exciting and fun to drive, my answer so far is a resounding NO, and as I said, I appreciate the sacrifice. I have a lot of seat time in a current gen Prius, a fair amount in a current get TCH, and some in a previous gen Prius. Of course, it could just be that Toyota can't make a fun car anymore...
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,187
    "...it could just be that Toyota can't make a fun car anymore..."

    "Anymore" implies that there was a time when Toyotas were fun. I can't recall that Toyotas were ever the choice for "fun." Well, okay, maybe the MR-2 and the Supra were fun. Kinda, sorta. And now there's Scion. I think Scions are supposed to be fun, but since I've never even ridden in one I'll leave it to someone who's at least driven one to comment on whether Scions are fun.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    My Celica is mild fun but your point on Toyotas is absolutely correct.

    Don't suppose anyone's tried an Altima hybrid? I figure I'll check teh Fusion when that appears, It gets good write ups anyway.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,140
    exciting and fun to drive

    People sure get excited about hypermiling and they seem to have fun scrolling through those endless menus on the dash readout checking the various readouts.

    I'm mostly joshing with you, but maybe we need to define "driving."

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  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    "Anymore" implies that there was a time when Toyotas were fun. I can't recall that Toyotas were ever the choice for "fun."

    I was primarily thinking of the cars you mentioned, the 84-95 MR2 (1st & 2nd gen), the Supra from inception till about '86 or so when it became a cruiser, and then again in the mid-90s when it became a psuedo-supercar, the 22R powered Celicas (and the later Celica all-trac turbo, although the Eclipse GSX was cheaper, more powerful, and faster), and the AE86 Corolla GTS, the Toyota fanboy poster child.

    Its been pretty lean the last 10-15 years from Mr Watanabe though at a time when Honda went through 3 Civic SIs, the S2000, RSX, Integra, and even the NSX isn't that far gone (of course, they did kill the RSX, Integra, had a total miss with the Del Sol (high school girls don't care about vtec) but that still leaves a fun Civic SI in coupe or sedan... Even Nissan resurrected the Sentra SE-R and the 350Z, killing the lame duck Infiniti Maxima in favor of the G35.

    That said, look at how sales are tanking for all the "fun" cars and the Camry is a sales leader...as the Toyota marketing guy said at the auto show, the number one selling flavor of ice cream is vanilla.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    It's a good point: we may be seeing GM and Chrysler go away in the next five years, so there go Viper, Charger, Challenger, Camaro, and Corvette maybe. We would still have Mustang and 370Z, maybe an SI or two if Honda stays in that game, but the bottom line is the volume automakers are gradually getting out of the fun car business. I'm sure while they are busy getting even further out of the fun car biz, they will be increasing their "green" offerings by leaps and bounds, so maybe we will have to look to the small automakers for the "exciting" and "fun" cars in future.

    If so we can expect them to get more expensive and perhaps less plentiful, I think. And we will probably see few if any "go green", although Tesla certainly proves the exception to that rule.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    If that happens, well you might still have Porsche and a handful of exotics.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Well, and of course Porsche keeps hinting at (and failing to deliver) a hybrid....

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,891
    I think the Porsche hybrid will be the Cayenne. They would be better served with a diesel as the sister Touareg will be offering this spring. I cannot imagine a 911 hybrid being as much fun to drive as a Carrera.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I cannot imagine a 911 hybrid being as much fun to drive as a Carrera.

    What if it were faster off the line and offered better fuel economy at the same time? That is the case with the Camry hybrid, for instance, vs the regular Camry 4-cylinder.

    Of course the downside is weight gain. But the Li-IOn battery packs are much smaller and lighter than the NiMH packs that hybrids are using today. So maybe Porsche could limit the weight gain by developing Li-Ion for their hybrids.

    I agree with you: for Cayenne and other large crossovers and SUVs, diesel is the way to go, not hybrid.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

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