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Toyota Prius



  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    ___Mdmetz, I only gave an example of an Insight owner reporting a problem with the resale of his vehicle but did not include the cost in the final equation. Hopefully what is posted below will help all with a true cost of ownership.

    ___For all, here is a breakdown with some reality thrown in ... John is expecting $13,000 from his $20,500 investment (not including the additional state taxes nor the $500 - $600 tax break savings) which is similar to what Edmunds would expect as well. Looking up a clean 01 Corolla LE w/ A/C, Auto, ABS, Power Windows and Locks, Cruise, and AM/FM/CD w/ 60,000 miles on it here at Edmunds gives a residual of ~ $8,420. The 01 Corolla LE with these options went for ~ $14,000 (I don’t know where to find the exact actual new pricing?) not including state taxes. A clean 01 Prius w/ AM/FM/CD/Cassette and Cruise receives a residual of ~ $12,022.00. The 01 Prius went for ~ $20,500 when new. After all is said and done, the Corolla owner lost $5,580 on his 2 yr. old Toyota Corolla LE w/ 60,000 miles. The 01 Prius owner lost $8,478 on his 2 yr. old Toyota Prius according to Edmunds.

    ___In other words, the 01 Corolla LE owner can expect ~ $2,900.00 more residual from his investment than the 01 Prius owner.

    ___As for mileage, the 01 Prius was rated at 45 on the hwy. Getting 48.5 mpg on the hwy is comparable to me receiving 42 on the hwy in the 03 Corolla. 44 #’s in the tires ... I am running 36. As for the 04 Prius’ hwy mileage, 51 on the hwy is a great number of course but I would say for arguments sake that is what you will receive. At 51 mpg over 160,000 miles, the 04 Prius should use 3137 gallons vs. the 03 Corolla’s 4000. At $1.75, that equates to $1,510 over the 4 yr. comparison. Advantage, 04 Prius by $1,510.00.

    ___As for the battery pack, even Toyota’s 04 Prius information shows the 04 Prius’ battery pack good for just 150,000 miles. What good means is anyone’s guess as well if the 150,000 miles is over 10 to 12 years. Over just 4, I would expect it to be Ok at 190,000 +? My assumption here but I do know there is a replacement coming and using the Canadian Taxi drivers 200,000 mile experience over 1 to 2 years as a good comparison. The 03 Corolla? I have the feeling the engine will still be strong at 300,000 given the all hwy miles but I am only guessing? Its not a matter of the voltage regulator’s holding voltage at the wheel motors, it’s a matter of the Prius’ battery pack holding charge, charging in an efficient amount of time, as well as being able to continue to assist the vehicle in all city modes for the phenomenal mileage it is estimated to receive. I have yet to see a true cost for a battery pack replacement but it will need to be replaced at some point and I have a feeling it will not be cheap. Advantage, Corolla but I do not have a cost basis given the estimates of battery pack life as well as the unknown cost of the battery packs themselves. At 160,000 miles, I would say that a Prius is worth less than the Battery pack replacement itself thus leaving the owner with a dilemma. Replace the pack for more than the car is worth or taking it to the junk yard?

    ___A final tally as far as the 04 Corolla and an 04 Prius is concerned ... Advantage goes to the 04 Corolla owner by $5,500 for out the door costs, $2,900 for resale, (- $1,500 for fuel), (+ $350 for sales tax and - $560 in federal tax savings for a total $210 saved). Let us say $6,700 in total. I know there are minor errors here but I am just trying to get close ... Remember, this still does not include the cost of a battery replacement which the 04 Prius will need at some point once past 150,000 miles.

    ___Considering future Hybrid’s, I can’t wait. If the Acura MDX or Lexus RX330 (an RX400 and MDX is scheduled) would have been a Hybrid, I know where my money would have probably gone. If the Corolla was a Hybrid and made sense as far as the economics are concerned, I would own one as well. The problem is that so far, the Hybrid owner for the sake of the environment and/or our oil dependence is getting murdered in the pocket book. I purchased an economy car for economy, not to pay a lot more for the sake of making a statement.

    ___As for fuel prices, the highest I have ever paid is $1.75 for regular unleaded regular in this area. This was just last month. I don’t know if we will have $4.00 a gallon gasoline next year or a more stable $1.30 but if we were to hit $3.00 per gallon, I think this country will be having more trouble with the millions of jobless created from such high pricing and most automobile owners won’t be driving anywhere. At that price, I will be living in my car at work and not commuting except on my days off!

    ___As another data point, I have received an all time high of 32.4 mpg in our 03 Acura MDX 4WD SUV (260 HP motor in a 4400 # vehicle with ~ 1,500 #’s of people and cargo) yet its hwy rating is just 23. You can read more about this here: . Anyone with an instantaneous mileage readout can achieve better than EPA estimates IMHO with a few fuel savings tips and tricks of their own. It’s to bad the government didn’t mandate instantaneous readouts in all vehicles. The US as a whole would more than likely have a much bigger congestion problem given the lower speeds everyone would be traveling but overall, I can bet we would achieve an instant 3 to 5 miles/gallon increase no matter the vehicles driven including Expeditions, Excursions, Suburban’s, Yukon XL’s, and Hummer’s!

    ___I only posted to this thread because kpoeppel posted what I thought was misleading information in regards to the true cost of ownership of a new Corolla vs. a new Prius. I am all for the Prius as a technology demonstrator but until those Hybrid costs are more aligned with an IC based economy car, the 04 Prius won’t be sitting in my driveway in the foreseeable future ... I am however considering a low mileage 01/02 Insight w/ CVT if one becomes available in my area sometime soon. I want to try and receive 90 + mpg as well ;)
    ___Good Luck to you all.

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
    ___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
  • The Prius is not the cheapest way to get from point A to B. But remember that not all of its additional cost is due to it's hybrid powertrain. The Prius also comes standard with lots of features and accessories. I compared the Prius to a *similarly equipped* Corolla (see message #270 on page 15). To get a Corolla with as many features as a Prius comes standard, the price comes to about $17k. The total cost of each for 150,000 miles (the distance each car should go without needing major components replaced) was about the same. The Prius costs $3k more up front, but saves about $3000 in gasoline over the automatic Corolla. As for the tires, I think the Prius also uses Goodyear Integrity tires, so the tire costs should be about the same. I do all the math in a spreadsheet program so I can keep it up to date easily. For the gas mileages, I took the average of the city/hwy rating. For someone who does mainly highway driving, the Prius will not save as much like xcel said.

    As far as depreciation, what the new-car buyer loses the used-car buyer gains. So in an overall economics sense, depreciation does not add to the cost of either car. I also checked some used-car websites, and the 01-03 Prius' seem to be holding their value...I was hoping for a bargain!

    Maybe hybrid technology will be offered in economy cars when it becomes cheaper.
  • See page 122 of the "Is it time to buy a hybrid?" discussion, message # 2409. I did an in-depth comparison of the 2004 Prius to a 2003 Camry and 2003 Corolla. I couldn't find data for the 04 Camry/Corolla at that time. I wanted to have an idea of the cost of adding the hybrid powertrain alone. From what I gather from the comparison, the Prius powertrain adds about $3000 to the cost of the car. It nearly makes back this amount in fuel savings over 150,000 miles.

    So I guess it's a time-value-of-money issue...and a "do I need the power windows, locks, bells and whistles in my new car" issue...and a "will the battery pack fail before 150,000 miles" issue...and a "do I want to trade it in for something new in a few years" issue...etc.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Here's what I see:
    Initial Purchase Price:
    Camry LE: $21K
    Prius: $22-23K, depending on equipment
    Corolla LE: $18K loaded. (Leather, the works)
    Advantage: Corolla LE

    EPA Mileage:
    Camry: 26/30
    Corolla: 28/34
    Prius: 58/49
    Advantage: Prius

    tax credit:
    Camry LE: $0.00
    Corolla LE: $0,000.00
    Prius: $516 net gain
    Advantage: Prius

    Trunk space:
    Camry: 13-15 Cubes
    Corolla: 12.5-13 cubes
    Prius: 17 cubes (It's a hatch!!)
    Advantage: Prius

    Camry LE: $1200
    Corolla LE: $800
    Prius: $0.00
    Advantage: Camry LE

    Grand Total:
    Camry LE: 1 Advantage
    Corolla LE: 1 Advantage
    Prius: 3 Advantages
    Any questions? Please post.
  • dainadaina Posts: 11
    I'm from the greater vancouver area.

    Can dealers only sell certain models that they like and not the others? 'cause I visited a dealer and they said they would not carry the new prius. Do they really have the choice?
  • depends on the market demand in that area. They do have control on what they order and sell in their area. I'm sure there's a dealer in Vancouver that will accept an order for a 2004 Prius. Who would pass a chance to have a decent profit by just ordering a car for a waiting buyer.

    One thing nice here in Southern California (aside from the weather), there are over a dozen Toyota dealership within a hour's drive. One of the biggest, Longo Toyota, may have a 2004 model just for test drive purposes only.
  • dainadaina Posts: 11
    Yeah, but where can i test drive one?
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    probably Carson Toyota. Their inventory is huge, I've heard, so they'll probably have an 04' prius at intro time for testing.
  • in Canada, only Prius-certified dealerships can sell
    a Prius. (They need to have a specially-trained
    maintenance tech on staff, among some other things.)
    (US used to be like this, not any more, sadly...)

    I'll ask over in the Canada-Prius list that I know
    about, see if there's a particular dealer in your
    area to go to. In the meantime, you should call around...

    I've read that the Vancouver taxi driver with a
    Prius (322,000+km (200,000+miles) on his first 2001,
    traded in for a 2003) has a 2004 on order now.
    Yellow Cab #15 in Vancouver, BC. If he's got one
    on order, he must've ordered/bought it from somewhere...

    Note that it'll be at least mid-October before a
    2004 Prius is at a showroom for a test drive, though.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    A prius certified dealer has a mechanic who is up to scratch on how to maintain, fix, and service a Prius and that same dealer must have at least one dedicated salesperson to the Prius model. All the dealers in my area are Prius Certified.......
  • pb17pb17 Posts: 33
    Can a diy'er do any maintenance on the Prius? Oil change, etc? Does the electrical/battery system require any maintenance? How about the engine?
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    I change my own oil (synthetic, of course) and the oil, engine, A/C filters. That's pretty much it. I'd do spark plugs too, but they haven't needed changing yet.

    In fact, the only other thing that needs to be done under the hood is changing the engine & invertor coolant. Owners can do that themselves too. But the steps for the invertor coolant are rather lengthy, not difficult though.

    That's it for propulsion. The electrical system itself requires no maintenance at all, ever.

    I assume there's a fuel filter, but no mention of it is made in the 120,000 mile schedule. So it apparently either rarely or never needs to be changed.

  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Kpoeppel:

    ___You can barely option up a Corolla LE to 17K even with a Sun Roof, Leather, and Side air bags ... (all of these luxury options or not even available on the Prius). Than again, steering wheel controls and the LCD display cannot be ordered with the Corolla either. With the Prius, you pay MSRP. With a Corolla, you pay $100 to $200 over Invoice.

    ___Total Cost of Ownership to 150,000 miles? That is where the Prius quickly goes South. I have yet to see the price of those battery modules, but the price of $2,000 to $5,000 has been mentioned. The 1.5 L Prius engine will probably need as much maintenance or more as the 1.8 in the Corolla so there is going to be a huge disparity either with the battery replacement or the resale at 150,000 + in the case of the Prius. How much will it cost you? If you were a prospective buyer of an 01 Prius and it had 150,000 on it, what would you pay knowing Toyota says the batteries need replacement right now?

    ___The Prius saves $1,500 with gas at the highest price of all time as posted above. For a hwy commuter like me, $3,000 is extremely unlikely. The Prius cannot break even economically no matter how many miles you drive it unfortunately.

    ___As for depreciation, you bet it is going to cost the new purchaser dearly. Buy a new 04 Corolla or buy a new 04 Prius. You lose a far larger amount on the Prius no matter the savings in the mileage department.

    ___Now how about this for out of the box thought ... Since the 04 Prius’ 1.5 L motor is responsible for the 04 Prius’ hwy mileage, why not just build it without the electrics? Could Toyota tune it for 90 + HP like the 93 HP of the Honda Civic Hybrid instead of 78 yet still achieve 12.8 seconds to 60 matching the 01-03 Prius’ acceleration? This non-Hybrid Prius would probably weigh 50 - 150#’s less than the 03 Prius with the loss of the electrics and would cost ~ the same as the Corolla yet release the same emissions as the Hybrid Prius on the HWY. In fact, it would probably cost much less given that it is made from a std. 1.5 L IC engine, std. CVT or manual drive train, std. interior/exterior, and without the LCD. I don’t see the 01/03 Prius owners screaming about the lack of acceleration so why not? It would have the same emissions for the HWY commuter, same or better HWY mileage given the small losses not incurred in the extra drive train motors, and the interior/exterior appointments of a Corolla only costing much less? I would purchase that vehicle given the 04 Prius Hatchback’s size, the now much less expensive price, same HWY emissions, a std. IC low TCO, as well as great HWY mileage of 51 MPG +! Than again, if the VW TDI’s had a decent rep for quality and low emissions and the US had clean low sulfur fuel available to all, we wouldn’t be talking the Hybrid’s.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
    ___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    If you love your Corolla so much, why not buy a fleet for your business? It seems like you have a landscaping business and Corollas can be bought en masse. (Aka Cavalier style, in fleet)
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Jchan2:

    ___I don’t love my Corolla either. It’s decent but I would rather have a $15,200 relatively high end economy car that received 50 + on the hwy instead of just 40. I am just debunking the thought that there is an economic payoff for Prius owners vs. a Corolla owner at this point in time given what you and others have posted to date.

    ___As for my Landscaping business, what are you talking about? I use trucks for that.
    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
    ___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Since the 04 Prius’ 1.5 L motor is responsible for
    > the 04 Prius’ hwy mileage, why not just build it
    > without the electrics?

    Since fewer & fewer people are actually able to use highways at highway speeds, that's why.

    Gas wasted by commutes delays is a very real problem that shouldn't be ignored.

    Heck, even on my way up to northern Minnesota the cruise can't be set until after about an hour of driving *AFTER* leaving the cities. Traffic is so heavy that constant speed isn't possible. Every slow down and speed up results in a benefit provided by the electric drive.

  • Please understand that I am not telling anyone what to do with their own money. I'm sorry if my posts came off that way. I am not trying to tell anyone what kind of car they should buy. I was just trying to give the Prius a fair comparison since the fact that it comes standard with many options makes the hybrid system appear to cost more to the consumer than it actually does.

    As far as the battery, I acknowledged the possibility of the battery needing replaced after 150,000 miles. That is why I only did a comparison out to 150,000 miles. If the Corolla lasts beyond 150,000 miles w/o needing any kind of major repairs than it is the clear winner for holding it's value past 150,000.

    As far as the Price of a comparable Corolla, I got my numbers and options from, the same place I got the numbers and options for the Prius. I just checked, and a 2004 Corolla LE automatic with option combination #2 (no moonroof) costs $17,105 including destination and handling. The Prius costs $20,480 with destination. These were the MSRP's, one might get a big discount on the Corolla. Unfortunately, dealer discounts are highly variable and hard to quantify, so I had to stick to the MSRP's.

    Gasoline costs over 150,000 miles:

    2004 Corolla (automatic) mileage: 29/38
    Gas consumed if city miles: 5172 gal.
    Gas consumed if hwy miles: 3947 gal.
    Fuel cost @$1.60/gal if city: $8275
    Fuel cost @$1.60/gal if hwy: $6315

    2004 Prius mileage: 55 avg.
    Estimated city: 59 mpg
    Estimated hwy: 51 mpg
    Gas consumed if city miles: 2542 gal.
    Gas consumed if hwy miles: 2941 gal.
    Fuel cost @$1.60/gal if city: $4067
    Fuel cost @$1.60/gal if hwy: $4706

    Costs to buy and fill with gas over 150,000 mi:

    2004 Corolla LE
    (with option combination #2):
    city: $25380
    hwy: $23420

    2004 Prius:
    city: $24547
    hwy: $25186

    So the prius saves about $800 if all city, but costs $1766 more if all highway.

    It was never my intent to demonstrate that the Prius is the cheapest car one can clearly isn't. A base Corolla with standard transmission is much cheaper. A base Echo with standard tranny is cheaper still. My point was to try and see if the Prius hybrid system makes up it's extra cost in fuel savings. To do this, I needed to compare *similarly equipped vehicles*. According to the numbers above, the hybrid system in the Prius pays for itself in the city, but not on the highway.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Kpoeppel:

    ___I am not here to tell anyone what to drive either. What I did do is pick up an 03 Corolla for $150.00 over invoice in July of last year. Picking up a Prius for $150.00 over invoice is all but impossible from my reads and questions posted here in the Prius forum. Using MSRP on a Corolla no matter where you live would be nuts but there are those that don’t know how or cannot bargain through Costco, Sam’s, there local Credit Union or whatever ...

    ___Secondly, I own that 03 Corolla LE w/ Auto and receive ~ 41 mpg on average. At $1.60/gal over 150,000 miles, I use 3658 gallons and pay $5,853. If I owned a Prius, I would use 2941 gallons over the same 150,000 miles and pay $4705. In other words, I would save just $1150 for a car that cost more than $5,000 more out the door even after the tax deal and another unknown large expense for new batteries at 150,000 miles. You wouldn’t buy a Corolla with 150,000 miles if you had a $2,000 to $5,000 engine to replace yet you say many would purchase the Prius with the same mileage knowing what we know about its battery replacement date. You simply have to consider the Battery replacement when considering TCO. If you don’t, you are vastly understating the TCO of an 04 Prius in comparison to a Corolla. What it comes out to be is an approximate $10,000 advantage over 150,000 miles in the case of a new Corolla in my case. Less for those that have more city travel but in the end is the same. The TCO of the Prius is much higher.

    ___And finally, as far as using cruise, I travel I94/I294/I55 in the Chicago area for my daily commute. I use cruise each and every day to maximize mileage. As long as traffic is moving, I receive what appears to be the best mileage at ~ 30 mph w/ the torque converter locked up and practically idling along at 1200 to 1300 RPM. Now I am wondering if you know what Increase/Decrease/and Resume are actually used for? Except for maybe L.A. and N.Y., there isn’t much worse than what we have to drive through here in my locale.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
    ___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Increase/Decrease/and Resume

    At a rate of several adjustments per minute, they quite simply are not convenient. Traffic is too heavy for that most of the time.

    Don't forget, time of day (literally within 15-minute windows) can have a huge impact on vehicle density.

  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi John:

    ___This is where I would tend to differ. I have the Instantaneous graph and mileage readouts in the MDX and watch the differences with and without cruise. There is an ~ 2.5 mpg difference and the only way to get the extremely great mileage in it is with feathering of the cruise. You remember your trick going up and down hills? The MDX acts the same way and I have used it in both the Corolla and X for the same reasons. Miles/gallon.
    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
    ___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
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