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Toyota Prius Test Drive - What Do You Think?



  • maxtestmaxtest Posts: 1
    I recently rented a Prius for a day in Mesa, Arizona. Going uphill on I-17 at 75 mph the car was a little noisy as you would expect from a small car, but performance was good. Cruised through Jerome, Sedona, Flagstaff, etc. before heading in a round about fashion to Phoenix where I finished the trip on city streets avoiding freeways. The computer showed mpg's all over the map. Mpg's, without trying to conserve, for the day was 47. I like the car. The controls on the steering wheel were very convenient and the touch screen was easy to get used to. Its really cool driving through the neighborhood on electric power only. I'm tall and found the car reasonably comfortable. Its a great little car. I just haven't decided to part with the money. It is a bit pricey. Gas will have to hit $10 per gallon before you will save the price difference. Still, I like the car for its styling, comfort, efficiency, and lower emissions.
  • I keep hearing "pricey" but the facts are that the car has great resale and with the extra extended warrantee on the hybrid system you really can't go wrong. About the ten buck gas... Say it gets over three bucks I think you'll see the interest in hybrids driven right back up again. I have a 3 1/2 yr old '04 Prius w/ 56 K miles and can't stop praising the car.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I thought it was over $3 per US gal. in parts of California already. It's $0.99 Can. per litre here in Edmonton. That's the lowest in Can. I'm told (with "normal" discounts, I pay $0.97 per litre). Lets see (calculator comes out), that's very close to US $3 per US gal. I wouldn't be surprised to see US $3.50 per gal. this summer. Probably over $4.00 next year. I don't even want to talk about how much it is in Europe! You'd think it would be hard to keep Prius in stock, the way gas goes up in price. I guess people just have very poor memories.
  • Hi,
    In Western Los Angeles County it is $3.25/gal for 87 Oct regular. It has been well over $3.00 for over a month.
    NOW the driving season begins. It'll probably stay well over $3.00 in this area at least through Summer--maybe permanently.
    That's one reason we bought 2 of the Cars.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    I have driven a 2007 Prius at a dealer in Peoria Ill.I found the car very impressive.Normal acceleration was comparable to my 2006.5 KIA Optima, and the comfort level was even better.I didnt know that battery level would affect the power,so I cant comment on that,but overall my impression of the 2007 model was very positive.
    Reading the comments on this thread however will make me think twice before buying one.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    That is how you can tell what you really feel about this neat little car.
  • I took the Prius for a test drive down a 30-40 MPH winding road, and found its handling predictable with no problems accelerating quickly from slow speeds.

    However, I have heard of two issues that might dissuade me from purchasing this car, and I would like current Prius owners to comment on their own experiences.

    1. Slow acceleration from 40 MPH to 65 MPH, i.e., accelerating to "highway speed."

    2. Loss of traction in snow or gravel causes onboard computer to incorrectly think car is in idle and shut down electric power to steering wheel and brakes.


  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    Thats some interesting stuff.I sure hope that some owners can clear that up.
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    I know I'm responding to a post 10 days old, but . . . I respect those who purchase a hybrid. However, if you do the math, and compare overall cost of operation and ownership, including purchase price, over say - a 5 year period - there are other more cost-effective alternatives for a new car.

    For example, a Corolla, Yaris, Civic, or Fit will be cheaper to operate over that term than a Prius. I'm not sure what the median purchase price is for a Prius, but with the other alternatives, one is already starting with a $8 to $10K advantage over a Prius in purchase price. You'd have to buy a lot of gas to make up for that initial price differential. There's more than the price of gasoline when it comes to calculating total cost of operation of a vehicle.
  • stevegoldstevegold Posts: 185
    My Prius is the best car I've ever owned.
    I live in the mountains of Colorado and have two problems.

    1. It's not a 4WD so when heavy snow falls, I prefer to use my 4WD Subaru Outback if it's not being used by my wife. If she is using it, I use the Prius which has Blizak snow tires, and have never had a problem.

    2. On long, straight, steep mountain passes, like on I-70 to Denver, the battery boost runs out after 5 minutes or so. You are then running only on the ICE gasoline engine which is about half the total power so you can't accelerate past 75-80 or keep up with trucks going that fast. It is worst in very cold weather, with deep snow on the road, and strong head winds. That "perfect storm" has happened to me only once in 3 years. Otherwise the car is fine. A larger engine or "bigger" battery would solve that problem but be less efficient the rest of the time. A turbo booster would probably be the perfect solution.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    Prius is a lot more than just a small car.It is very well equipped,comfortable and even has a certain status value which the ones mentioned do not.A comparably equipped Corolla for instance,would not be all that much cheaper.To get all the equipment standard on the Prius,you would need the very top of the line, and then you would not get the economy of a Prius.I have test driven a Civic and a Corolla, and neither ride as well as a Prius.For me,comfort does count.Someday,I hope to get one.
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    I agree with you on some of your points, but I'm not interested in the "upscale" options of the aforementioned alternative vehicles, and "status value" means absolutely nothing to me. In the USA, I know I'm in the distinct minority with that position.

    Another cheaper alternative is a Camry LE. Certainly as comfortable, and 32 to 34MPG on the highway, and still cheaper if you watch the option list. The Prius is a great car, and a technological tour de force, but not something I would purchase. This is somewhat a paradox, as I'm an engineer, but one who believes in the K.I.S.S theory of design (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    Well...if creature comfort doesn't matter,then you are correct.One of the Rio,or such type would do the job.Price wise the Prius cant compete with a $13 K car.Since my car cost pretty much the same as a Prius,the price would be a wash.
    "32-34"MPG...thats quite adequate,but the city mileage IMO doesn't approach what's on the sticker.My car is rated 24 cty,but I've gotten as low as 12.2 ,so to me thats where you really save with a hybrid,more than on the highway.Consumer Reports rates virtually all the cars of the size of a Camry,at real world mileage ,city,at around 15 MPG.I'm speaking of the 4 cylinder models now,not the sixes.
    BTW we have several friends who have Prius,and in both cases put well 100K miles on them with no problems,so I think the technology is getting quite mature.
  • Since the discussion has gotten off track, I'll let you know that I like the idea of high mileage not just for a cost standpoint, but avoiding the inconvenience. And the rear seat leg room is much better than a Camry. I just want to be sure regarding highway acceleration (also mentioned in a post above) and battery turning off when wheels fail to maintain traction.

    But since you raised it, I'd love a car for 13K for my teenage son that has a good safety record and predictable handling. Your suggestions are....?
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    Hyundai Accent is under 11K at the base level.I would suggest a Hyundai Elantra though it costs a bit more.Its as roomy as my Optima and starts under 14K.There are many others that fit that price range,but the small cars are not as safe in case of accident,as the mid size such as Elantra.
    I hope the moderator doesn't yell at me about posting this on the Prius thread,but I'm just answering your question. :blush:
  • msindallasmsindallas Posts: 190
    I test drove the Prius twice - once in 2005 Aug, and again in 2007 March. Driving experiences are the same. In 2005, I rejected it outright because the dealer wanted a $6,000 mark up over MSRP (that's Toyota of Dallas) - trying to justify it with market conditions and tax breaks. I said "No thanks, I'll keep driving my Camry for a few more years" and left.

    In 2007, they are not asking for mark ups. However, there is more road noise and engine noise compared to my 10yo Camry (4cyl). I still get mileage over 33 driving between Dallas and Houston averaging 75mph and 27-28 in the city. Going to 40/45 won't save me much on gas. The Prius also feels flimsy - like the hood/dash/fender - everything is made of cheap plastic to make the vehicle lightweight.

    I remember - when I bought the Camry, the dealer asked me to lift the hood - "See, how heavy it is? This is how crumple zones work properly, and what saves you in a collision and gets the vehicle stability". The Prius dealer also told me to lift the hood - "See, how light it is? This is the new technology that helps with the great mileage". Now I don't know which is better, having a heavy hood or a light hood! :confuse:

    It's great technology, the dials and gadgets are fun to look at, but I could get into an accident trying to look at the shift of power between different sources and not focusing on the road. Headroom, legroom, hip room, shoulder room - every room is more than sufficient for me. The start button and the 3" shifter on dash are unique, too. The dash has a futuristic look to it, too. The big digit display deep in the dash (speedometer) could be a distraction, and I think the display size for the other meters should be comparable (they are much smaller) so you dont have to squint. The rearview camera is a nice feature while backing up.

    An aside (buying decisions are influenced by dealer reputation, too). A colleague of mine drove her Prius on a gravel road, and something went wrong with the suspension, within the warranty period. The dealer wouldn't recognize the problem, and she had a hard time with Toyota Customer Service to get the problem fixed. She will not recommend that dealership to anybody. Now we drive 12 more miles to the next dealership. :mad:

    I wish some of the more popular, resale-able and reliable cars (like Camry/Accord/Civic) offered the options of Xenon headlight and backup camera, features useful for driving, as opposed to sunroof, designer wheels and surround sound systems. If they did, I would not even consider the Prius.

    Bottom line - If I spend that much money on options for creature comforts like leather seats, sunroof, Xenon headlamps, and not save substantially on gas, the Lexus ES would be a better upgrade for myself. :shades:
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    I just test drove 3 cars (on a rainy day), and was not properly shown any of them, even with vehicles inside the showroom!

    I'll guess which one has a heavy or light hood. I know more than the salesmen anywho. You know me! ;)

  • pmanzapmanza Posts: 34
    Get a Hyundai Elantra if you want a new car for him. It has air bags all around and ABS brakes standard, as well as power windows and locks. The ad cars (around $11,500) are usually manual with no AC or radio, but there is a $2000 rebate right now, so you should be able to get a base GLS auto with pkg 3 (ac, radio, cruise, foglights) for around $14,000. We just bought one for my hubby to use as a commuter car and are very happy with it. If we could afford 2 car payments I would get one for my 16 yr old son also and dump the 14 mpg Explorer he is driving now, but gas is still cheaper than car payments plus higher insurance costs.

    On that note: before you buy, check out what your car ins is going to be for a 16 yr old boy that has to have collision and comprehensive on it. You may quickly decide that an older car that you can pay for in full and carry liability only on is the way to go.

    Good luck and best wishes
  • On Long Island, insurance for a 17 year-old boy driving 5000 miles per year, with $500 deductible through GEICO costs $3500 for a jalopy having little value and $5000 for a brand new Honda Civic LX.

    So the bulk of the costs are to cover the damage he could cause to other people and property.
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