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Getting the Most Out of the Toyota Prius: Driving Tips



  • Thanks very much. I thought I was just obsessing. I absolutely love this car and the advice available in this forum. :)
  • jerry24jerry24 Posts: 3
    i have a 2005 Prius which has not given me any trouble in the 2 1/2 years I have owned it. But I recently had a problem and wonder if anyone can help. I was parked on a steep downhill driveway. When I tried to back uphill the electric motor was not strong enough and nothing happened when I pressed down on the accelerator. I had to keep my left foot on the brake to keep from rolling forward into the garage door. The gas motor finally kicked in after pumping the accelerator a few times. Was I doing something wrong?
  • stevegoldstevegold Posts: 185
    When in reverse, the Prius can only use the electric motor. There is no direct connection between the gasoline engine and the wheels in REVERSE as there is going foward. When you stepped on the gas, the gasoline engine generated a boost of electrical energy to power the electric motor in reverse. It's an interesting situation that I've not run into. (It would be hard to start backing up a steep hill with a manual transmission). I think you did the right thing. I'll ask my Toyota service manager the next time I see him.
  • laurasmithlaurasmith Posts: 1
    I live in the California Sierras at about 4000'. I have a twenty to thirty minute drive to work. I go up about 700', then down 700' on a winding road at an average of 35mph with only a few stops. It does get cold in the winter.

    Does anyone think this typical daily driving falls within the "optimal" range to get 48 mpg? I have read that the optimal range is 30-60 minutes at 35mpg with few stops in warm weather.

    I want to go hybrid, but don't want to waste my time/money!
  • sharon22sharon22 Posts: 28
    I'm wondering the same thing -- I live on a mountain, drive 20 mins. downhill/uphill to work 10 miles away. Rarely drive highway. Will I ever really recoup the expense of a Prius living on a mountain, driving short distances and only once a month (if that) highway miles? I am on a waiting list for pkg. 2, but . . .
  • semenzatosemenzato Posts: 28
    We and our Prius live in the Oakland Hills at about 1000'. Almost every destination (except a nearby grocery store) is at or near sea level, so we go up and down the hill a lot. We still get about 45mpg, with a fair amount of driving in the flats. The hill is steep enough that we use the B gear (engine brake) and typically the battery gets fully charged about 1/2 way down the hill. On the way up we drive at 30mph and 15mpg.

    I think the Prius does quite well with a lot of short ups and downs, and less well with long steady climbs. But we also have an Odyssey, and when I use it for short trips up and down the hill I get 16mpg. I would think just about any car will get worse mpg in the mountains.

    Another data point: when we drive the Prius to Lake Tahoe we get about 40mpg on the way up, and 50mpg on the way down. This includes a long flat stretch between Oakland and Auburn, where the climb begins.
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    This discussion is about driving the Prius and getting the most out of it. The posts on battery pack life have been moved to the Toyota Prius Hybrid System Questions discussion and you may continue there.


    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • laughen59laughen59 Posts: 10
    I should be getting my 2008 pkg. 3 next week. Can you explain the B gear, how and when to use it? The dealer didn't explain it well and I don't get it.
    Thank you.
  • eprupiseprupis Posts: 30
    The "b" gear is an engine braking gear---similar to a lower gear on a stick shift or automatic. Only use it when descending long, steep hills. The cruise control will be disabled by its use until you restart the car.
  • tommtomm Posts: 31
    Barb - just don't use the B drive - no need and it uses too much gas/engine. Got my '08 3 weeks ago - on a whim - after I saw the golf cart, shoes, hats and clubs fit beautifully, I traded in my luxurious Audi A8 - havn't missed it yet. Averaged 48 MPG since new (a few hundred miles on it when I bought it). I do miss the tilt function on the driver's seat - I feel a bit too pitched forward - but getting used to position.
    Good luck to all those lucky enough to have one - heard they are now selling over sticker - and you can't get one! Tom near Boston
  • semenzatosemenzato Posts: 28
    Tomm---are you sure the B drive uses more gas? I don't believe so. It just uses engine friction to help slow down the car when going downhill, but I don't think any gas goes into the engine in those circumstances. It's true that you can forget it in B when you no longer need it, which isn't good, but between that and overheating the brakes (or at the very least overusing them) I think driving in B longer than you should is the lesser evil. After all, directly saving gasoline is not the only goal. Think of how much gasoline goes into building those brake pads (and in the cars of workers that produce them and install them etc.).

    Congratulations for switching from an A8 to a Prius. It's hard to believe that you won't miss the A8---but people around you will like you better for your effort.
  • peakoilpeakoil Posts: 8
    (I accidently sent a blank message before I wuz dun. Sorry)
    A couple of weeks ago I entered the freeway and tried to engage my cruise control, but it wouldn't go on. After fiddling around a bit, I thought of the B drive-maybe I accidently had it in B, something I almost never do. I pulled the shifter to the left and down, and, sure enough, I had been in B and now I wuz in drive and I set the cruise. So I think you don't have to wait until you start up again b4 you can use your cruise.
  • laughen59laughen59 Posts: 10
    Thank you for your reply Tomm.
  • fseaverfseaver Posts: 13
    Its in the manual for 2008 REGULAR
  • haulbackhaulback Posts: 1
    I live in Boise, Idaho and travel ~50 miles (round trip) commuting between town (2750 ft) and our home at 3500 ft. There are multiple hills and downhills in my commute and I would say my average speed is around 43 mph (top speed 60, low speed 5). We have had the Prius for 2 years and approaching 36000 miles. Oneway commute is 35 minutes. Winter driving is ~48 mpg and Summer is ~ 52 mpg.

    Bottom line:
    We love our Prius! It is not a waste of money. It's fun to drive, comfortable, well designed, and roomy.

    Be advised in Winter snow driving, use a good tire as in the Michelin Ice-X or Bridgestone Blizzak. Learn to "feather" the gas pedal as the Prius, once it breaks traction and spins, will momentarily shut the engine off (self protects the electric motor). If you start to spin, let up immediately on the gas and ease it on (counter intuitive, I know). This only occurs on our very steep drive (20%+ grade on ice).
    Overall, the car is an excellent snow vehicle on plowed roads.
    Best of luck.
  • vinnynyvinnyny Posts: 780
    Whatever you do, please keep that thing out of the left lane. You're really not saving the world from its oil dependency when you block traffic. Also, pulling off some of those Obama Biden stickers might reduce drag enough to save a gallon of gas every 100 years.

    Sorry for intruding in your forum, but I just drove 1000 miles and spent most of it stuck behind slow-moving Toyotas in the left lane...
  • Are you for real, Toyota's run as fast as any cars. Check out NASCAR. :) :) :)
  • vinnynyvinnyny Posts: 780
    Prius is running in NASCAR now? Damn, the world might be ending...
  • Vinny , Prius is not running in NASCAR, but if they were they would really save a lot of time on pit stops as they would not need any. ;) ;) ;)
This discussion has been closed.