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Toyota Prius (First Generation)



  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Fuel additives will affect things, but your situation seems pretty extreme. My first question would be how are you calculating the mileage? I know this sounds remedial, but I've heard all kinds of similar stories where people don't do this right. If you are calculating it correctly by taking the total miles driven divided by the number of gallons you put in, you need to talk to the service DIRECTOR at your dealership. Often, the service writer will not be as "in touch" as the director is.

    If you don't have success with the Director, take it to another dealership if you can before proceeding further. Without progress, your next call is to Toyota to ask for their intervention. Call 800-GO-TOYOTA.
  • engin2engin2 Posts: 8
    Hello Prius Owners, what's the waiting time for an order going in till actually receiving your new car?

    Thanks for your help........Engin2
  • I love my prius, but I've had two flat tires since I bought it in February. Has anyone else had a similar problem?
  • hyde6hyde6 Posts: 4
    To nhthomps: my Prius had all four tires in need of replacement at six months into owning the car. The paperwork says Firestone covers the replacement in full for the first year.

    I just called Firestone. They say that only applies if I bought the tires directly from Firestone. They also say the tires died because the car is really heavy with the weight of the battery. Does this mean I should buy the next set of tires from them so they'll be covered under the warranty, rather than from a discounter like Costco, on the grounds that I should expect them to die fast? Meantime, this may be part of why you had your flat tires. Good luck...
  • hyde6hyde6 Posts: 4
    A correction: it was just the back tires. But to make clear: that means Firestone refuses to honor any warranty on any new Prius tires. I called another Firestone place and got told the same thing. The Toyota dealership told me to bring the car in to them, THEY'D replace the tires and bill Firestone.

    You'd think Firestone had had enough P.R. problems lately to learn not to go around dissing their customers like this.
  • I have read that the warranty is not from Firestone but from Toyota. Have you tried to submit the receipts to Toyota? It is part of their road hazard warranty on their new cars. I have read on other prius' boards that they received money back with in a month after submitting their claim.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    The tires are warranted through Bridgestone/Firestone, not Toyota. The warranty is pretty basic though and just warrants against defects. There is no treadlife warranty, nor are road hazards covered.
  • I have just placed a tentative order for a Prius. I am concerned about a few things: 1) people have posted that tires have been problematic; please elaborate if this is a general problem with the car or if just one person had bad luck; 2) will purchases made in 2002 (that's when mine is supposed to arrive) qualify for tax incentives? the Toyota website said that purchases made by Dec. 31, 2001 would qualify for a $2000 tax deduction (rebate?), but there is nothing about 2002 puchases; 3) how long will HOV restrictions in VA be lifted for Prius owners; how can I know that the law won't change next year (or next month for that matter) that would take away this benefit; 4) does anyone know if Prius owners are exempted from personal property tax in Virginia?

    Thanks for any information anyone can provide. These are answers we need before deciding to make this important purchase.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Here in VA, I think the HOV benefit runs until 2004 or 2006. I can't remember which. As with any law, you are at the mercy of the legislature, but I honestly doubt there will be any negative changes. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they extended that when it does come up for renewal. Virginia is having troubles complying with clean air requirements and anything they can do to encourage more hybrid sales will be look upon favorably.

    Hybrids are not exempt from the personal property tax. If current budget plans remain in effect, all cars will escape this tax on the first $20K of assessed value by next year. The current elections could impact this pretty heavily. Early seems fairly committed to keeping the current schedule but Warner may have other ideas.
  • Let me clear up the confusion about exactly how the Prius is allocated to the customers by Toyota. Toyota does not build this vehicle to spec based on each individual customer's order. When you place your order, all you have done is reserve a vehicle. It is produced the same as any other conventional vehicle in that they are assembled in batches of colors & different configurations of equipment, then shipped to the U.S. & matched with the customer's order. That is why some are taking delivery within 30 days & some as long as 6 months. Therefore it is impossible for a dealer or salesperson to track an order & anyone who tells you they can is delusional. The dealer is not aware until the vehicle is placed in their inventory as sea stock, which means the vehicle is about 2 weeks away from being in the dealership. I contact my distributor several times a week & find out what is coming in & assist them in matching my customer's request so that nothing falls through the cracks. Our dealership has assigned myself as the Prius Account Executive & one of my jobs is to make certain that my customers receive their orders in a timely fashion. The date you receive your owners manual & calculator means nothing. Your best bet is to find a dealer that sells alot of these cars & has someone on staff that is knowledgeable & has a vested interest in making certain the orders are matched.
  • Consumer Reports compared Toyota's hybrid Prius with its conventional Echo. Prius has been around (in Japan) since 1997, and Echo is an economized version. A base Echo sells for $10,525, and a Prius for $20,520. The difference in miles per gallon found by CR's drivers? Three miles per gallon (41 vs. 38).

    Is that all you get for your money? CR also tested the Honda's hybrid Insight, another $20,000 machine, and got 51mpg. It seats two and weighs 1820 lbs. Testers at got the same, after over a year of ownership. Total U.S. sales in its 18-month history are a miserable 7,500 units.

    These "mass market" mpgs are lower than what you find on "enthusiast" Web sites. That's because those intrigued by the technology (like this driver) do their best to see what it can get. In fact, you can get much more mpg out of both conventional and hybrid cars if you try. When we look at this subset, Prius owners average around 45mpg and Insighters around 62 (mine shows 69.7). But this group is much more obsessive about mileage than, say, SUV owners.

    So if you're an average Joe driver, it's pretty simple. Would you pay twice as much for a car that gets you three more miles per gallon?

    Of course not. But the hybrids are chic and politically correct. And no American auto company needs a bit of PC more than Ford. So, after helping to spend our $1.5 billion in the PNGV, they announced last week that they're going to stuff hybrid technology made by Toyota (!) in their Escape SUV. That's gratitude to us taxpayers for you.

    How much gas will this save? Consumer Reports got 17 mpg out of their Escape. Analogizing to the Echo-Prius comparison, expect an 8 percent increase in fuel economy for average Joes, or about 1.4 mpg. For this saving of about $100 in gas a year, you'll pay a premium of several thousand dollars, because Toyota's not going to give away this technology to Ford. In fact, this is where they will recoup some of their substantial Prius losses.

    Escape from Automotive Reality
  • dsgechodsgecho Posts: 89
    Prius and echo the same- bologna!!
    I have owned both vehicles and the echo is the base version@$9995. Nope- not even power steering. No AC [you appreciate this best in Aug. in TN]. But it is a wonderful car for the price and definitely has Toyo workmanship. Prius- power everything, AC,ABS, alarm system,much quieter overall,etc.I think echoes with all options get into the $15000 range but still do not have near the standard equipment that the prius does.Over a period of driving each several thousand miles you see the Prius gets consistently 10 mpg above what the echo does in the same situation generally. So this story of the echo/prius comparison is getting old. They are NOT the same cars and do the research properly to know that or do not write or post a review- please!
    Nashville, TN
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    This is not a valid comparison. Even if one were to factory order an ECHO and wait 3 to 4 months to get one with ABS, you would pay a bit over $15K and you still wouldn't have alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, power windows, power mirrors, keyless entry, or engine immobilizer. You would not have nearly as nice or quiet of a ride and the back seat would be smaller. The seats are not as comfortable and the ECHO lacks some of the insulation that makes the Prius feel like it does. You also would not have your first 3 years of maintenance paid for, nor get road side assistance.

    CR is a decent information source, but this is a flawed comparison of costs. To get to the amenity level of the Prius, you would need to compare it to a Camry LE at about $21K and you would still be lacking a few things but would have a larger car.
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    BUT, Toyota wanted accurate testing in the real world by ordinary people to perfect their technology.
    I agree that the Prius is a MUCH nicer sedan than the ECHO. I just wish Toyota would offer an LE version of the ECHO with Cruise, the nicer seats, nicer interior, and extra insulation of the Prius but keep everything else as is on the ECHO.
    Many people prefer a vehicle without the extra cost of PW, PDL, keyless entry, alloy wheels, engine immobilizer, etc.
    BTW, my wife and I prefer the seating height of Prius, ECHO, and Sienna over any other Toyota from Corolla to 4-Runner. We felt the Tundra seats were not high enough off the truck floor to be as comfortable as the height of P,E, and S.
    Again, let me THANK YOU for all the excellent data you provide. I just get to know a nice Toyota salesman here locally, and he is gone next time I go in: Tarik who let me test drive the ECHO. Bob at another Toyota/Dodge dealership. Terry at same dealership where Tarik was. Based on our experience, you are a rare salesman who has built up a customer base with satisfied buyers who will buy from NO ONE else but you. Selling vehicles is a very difficult job and it takes a very special person to satisfy both customers and dealership owners.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Wow. Thanks for the compliment. I know how difficult it is to find a good salesman because I have been a manager and have tried hiring them. The problem with the really good ones is keeping them. Every dealership is looking for these guys and heavily recruit them. As a salesman, we are always looking for a store to match our style and that is a real trick.

    Now, as to your question about Toyota's looses on the Prius, I can only parrot what I have read in the Automotive News. Toyota is very tight lipped about such matters but current speculation is a $4000 loss on each Prius sold once development costs are amortized. Toyota expects this technology to be around for a while and have a van coming out in a couple of years. By that time, battery costs should be down and development costs will be much lower so I'm not crying over Toyota's purported losses now. I'm just looking forward to the future.
  • kaz6kaz6 Posts: 331
    When I was looking for a new car I was very keen on the Prius. I love the styling and the technology. However, I am not able to spend that much on a new car. Aside from the intial costs, there is the anticipated costs down the road i.e. battery replacement.
    I now own an Echo and it is definitely an apples to oranges comparison. As far as the money one would save w/higher gas mileage; I don't think that is the sole reason for buying a Prius. If money were no object I'd have gone for the Prius but the Echo is great in its own way.
    Has anyone had to sell their Prius? I wonder what the real-world resale value is?
    And yes, Cliffy is a great source of info!
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    We haven't had one come through for a few months now, but the last ones we had sold for MORE than MSRP. It seems people were willing to pay to have it now, rather than wait.

    I have one customer who was offered $30K by her boss for hers. He was desperate to shave 30 minutes off his commute by using the HOV lanes and was willing to pay for it NOW. My customer turned him down and yes, she believes he was serious.
  • I am still not convinced that Prius is better than the Echo
  • carleton1carleton1 Posts: 560
    Prius has far more content but as with you, I will not buy new technology and would get the ECHO instead of Prius if we got a new sedan.
  • Thanks for your comments carleton1.

    I priced the Echo at $13,925 (Edmunds) loaded with all the options I saw on the Prius which retails for 19,995 (without delivery).

    I appreciate the feedback that Prius has some upscale features not found or available on the Echo - alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, engine immobilizer. - But these are only worth say several thousand dollars. Consumers Report and the Cato article do appear to be making an imperfect comparison.

    The Prius's 70 horsepower is far less powerful than the Echo's 108 hp engine. This is a highly relevant difference.

    BTW, there is no comparison between the Camry with 157 horsepower and the Prius at 70 hp. I drive 300 - 400 miles a day on business travel and there is no way the Prius could do this comfortably with only 70 hp.

    I believe those consumers wishing to buy the Prius owners benefit from the statement they make about conservation and protecting the environment - which is fine. But there is no way the mileage benefits can justify the higher price for the Prius in my opinion. And eventually I would expect Toyota to charge to real price it takes to produce the car - such that they will not incur huge losses on this concept.
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