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Toyota Prius (First Generation)



  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Use the "Helpful Links" box on the left sidebar of this page to find's just published "Spin Around Town" with the 2002 Prius.

    What do you think of editor Neil Dunlop's review?

    Sedans Message Board
  • Good comments on battery replacement costs. That is why I suggested to the Toyota rep at Annual Auto Show that Toyota should offer an ECHO LE model where the ECHO interior would be of similar quality to that of the Prius.
    The Honda Insight is too small to be a serious competitor to the Prius. Same with Honda CRX-HF and the Metro.
    CR often ignores important details in auto testing. Amusing to me that the small Passat with very poor rear visibility can be their #1 rated family sedan.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    The battery pack, if replaced in total at today's prices would cost about $8000. Fortunately, they are modular so the chance of having to replace all of them at the same time is small. There are 32 individual batteries back there. Also, those batteries are warranted for 8 years or 100K miles, whichever comes first.
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    I really like idea behind the Prius but the mileage and price premium isn't that compelling. If I were to get a Toyota Echo which is $6,000 cheaper it would take me a LONG time to recoup since the mileage between both vehicles is negligible.
  • The "Spin around town" review of the Prius complains about the cassette stereo being a bit behind the times. I think it's really more a matter of wanting to make money on options rather than being low-tech. After all, the radio system is one of the few factory units that uses the RDS system.

    It's now possible to keep the high tech radio RDS system, and add CD/MP3 capability too.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    Here is a web site that has tips n tricks for you Prius owners and thanks !
  • toyotas1toyotas1 Posts: 134
    I wish GM, or Ford, or Chrysler, or Nissan, or VW could do that.....
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    We're looking for any woman who has recently bought or driven a hybrid car.

    If you fit this description and care to share your input on the subject, please contact Kristen Gerencher at or Jeannine Fallon at by noon EST Tuesday, March 19.


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  • This is in answer to tax questions that appeared here. I don't know if there were any substantive replies, so I'll just say this. I am not a tax consultant. But if you want some interesting reading, see publication 535 from the IRS. Specifically, page 46 - "How to Claim the Deductions", and go to your tax attorney for professional advice.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    Don't forget tonight's Town Hall Chat, 5-7 pm PT/8-10 pm ET. Tonight's topic -- Why my next car will/won't be a hybrid.

    Hope you can make it!

    Roving Host


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  • silly1040silly1040 Posts: 48
    Does anyone have a current update of how long it's taken to order your 2002 Prius?
  • milt9milt9 Posts: 1
    Had a problem with your my wife's 2001 year Prius. One morning we went out and the 12 volt battery was near dead. Wouldn't start! Called Toy emergency road service and the guy jumpered it to start(Good service!). Took it in to Toy (got a free loaner Camray) and after several days they reported that they couldn't find the problem but hinted it might be due to frequent short trips no recharging the little battery (Car has only 3800 miles on it since Feb. 2001.). This after they're replacing it on Feb 13 (Warranty. The service manager said they had four others cars awaiting back order delivery of replacement batteries at that time.) Since I have been taking daily voltage and mileage readings on it, keeping a log. Voltage varius significantly (12.4 after sitting two days to 13.1 volts right after a trip.)

    I believe this battery just provides power to the computers, security system, lights and radio, when the engine isn't running or the car isn't moving. (I believe the motor-generator powers these functions then). Wish I had the circuit diagrams.

    The car maximum allowable has a shutdown loss of 30-40 milliamperes. This P shows 9-12ma, except when one time at Toy when they got a 49ma reading.

    The 12 volt battery is small like a motorcycle battery. It is a gel type, which I guess means it won't slosh around acid on turns.

    Methinks either 1) the battery is not being charged properly, or 2) it has an intermittent larger shutdown draw that has only shown up once at Toy.

    30-40 ma continual draw seems tiny compared to the size of the battery and the fuses used.

    Now Toy says if the car is left for more than 4 days the 12 v battery should be disconnected. Rediculous!!!!

    Anyone else have this problem?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363 can't relay experiences, but I have to agree that the statement that the "battery needs to be disconnected if the car sits for more than 4 days" is patently absurd. I would love to hear someone from Toyota engineering comment on that assertion.

    Given how many owners use hybrids, this would be a real show-stopper if true. I have certainly not heard anything like this from the Honda side of the fence...
  • After a relatively disappointing test drive of the new Honda Civic Hybrid automatic two weeks ago, we thought we'd give the Toyota Prius one last chance. Even though we first test drove the Prius last year, we now had a solid competitor to compare it to.

    The Prius only comes as an automatic, and that is what we test drove yesterday.

    Having owned my Honda Accord for 17 years now, I have to admit I'm biased towards Hondas, but facts are facts. The Toyota Prius outperformed the Honda Civic Hybrid in two significant areas where we found the Civic lacking: Where we were less than thrilled with the Civic Hybrid's acceleration, the Prius took off up an uphill freeway entrance ramp with punch and pep comparable to any other compact economy car. Where Honda only offers the Civic Hybrid in three limited and boring colors, the Prius comes in at least six colors, including a nice navy color we thought would be a good pick for my girlfriend who is now a vice president of her environmental engineering firm, and something a guy like me wouldn't be embarrassed to drive as well.

    While quirky and unconventional, the interior of the Prius is also more aesthetically pleasing than the two-tone Civic interior. The dash mounted automatic shift lever takes a little getting used to, as do the digital readouts and touch screen computer, but so what? When most people still think you have to plug these cars in at night, what's wrong with educating your passengers as they ride. The Prius' interior also makes you feel as if you're in more of a luxury car than you actually are. The Civic Hybrid's interior makes you feel as if you're riding in just another Civic. The only advantage that the current Civic Hybrid has over the Prius right now is that the Prius wheel wells may be too small to accommodate chains.

    Even though the word on the street is that the Honda Civic Hybrid standard version has better acceleration than the Prius, and Honda promises better exterior colors in the future, we don't have time to sit around and wait for Honda to get their act together. We're buying a Prius next week.

    Chris Thatcher

    Postscript: The Sierra Club's magazine "Sierra," published an article in their May/June 2002 issue (p. 64) where they compared the performance and environmental impact of a Toyota Prius Hybrid to a GMC Yukon SUV in a side-by-side road trip of over 700 miles in Florida. The Prius costs $20,450, the Yukon costs $35,552. Over the identical distance, the Prius achieved an overall gas mileage of 44.5 mpg, while the Yukon only achieved 16.3 mpg. The Prius used 16.24 gallons of gas during the entire trip, at a cost of $22.84, while the Yukon burned through 43.01 gallons, at a cost of $60.21. The Prius only produced an estimated 308.56 pounds of CO2, versus 817.19 pounds for the Yukon.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 329
    And if one wants, there's still the option of getting winter tires. That isn't really that expensive an option, when one considers the longer life you get out of the corresponding 3-season tires. I don't know about Blizzaks, but certainly Michelin Arctic Alpins are very good tires on snow, ice and wet surfaces.

    Prius owners would probably see a fuel economy drop, but chains wouldn't help fuel economy very much either - kinda high rolling resistance there, I think.
  • Is absurdly false. A couple Facts for you all.

    1) I own a '02 Prius
    2) The 12 volt battery is very small in relation to a normal car battery.
    3) The 12 volt battery DOES NOT START THE CAR.
    4) The 12 volt battery only powers the computer and the anti-theft system.
    5) If you leave the car for long periods of time the 12 Volt battery will probably have enough charge to allow a start after at least a month.
    6) The 12 volt battery can be jumped like any other car.
    7) Go to yahoo_groups and read the Thousands of owners comments and problems and likes and dislikes in the prius groups.


    steve d.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    And I have several questions. Has anyone put close to 100,000 miles on one yet? It will only take me 3 years (less if the winter is dry) to do that.

    How does the car handle in the wind? I saw the reports in Edmunds about their Insight, and since I often have to deal with high winds, I wouldn't get one.

    How comfortable are the seats for long trips? I found out a month after I bought it that the Tacomas have very uncomfortable seats if you have trips over an hour. Since my commute usually takes an hour and a half, comfortable seats are very important for me, and something that is hard to judge during a test drive.

    I was impressed with the acceleration getting on the freeway, but the test drive was on totally level ground (no hills around the dealership). I would have to drive a freeway that goes up a long, steep mountain at freeway speeds. My 4 banger, 5 speed Tacoma often passes Honda Civics and Metros on the steep parts, only to have them "blow my doors off" when the freeway levels out. Would I be stuck in the slow lane with the Civics, Metros and 18 wheelers if I were driving a Prius?

    Thanks for all your information!
  • I have view some of the discussion on this group and find the same myths rolling around that have been dispelled many times over at other sites. The most informative site is the Yahoo-prisu-groups site (sorry about the constant ads), but myths which I saw here like the NIMH batteries will start dying in a year and their huge Chrysler car is better for the environment? well anyway obviously a Chrysler fan wrote that one.

    At least the main battery pack is warrenteed for 8 years and 100,000 miles - which is pretty good and it is designed for at least 200,000 miles which is better. Actual real world experience shows no change in that battery pack after many owners having 40k and more miles to date - on US cars. Owners in Japan have had their cars for almost 3 more years now and we have not heard of any problems to speak of with the main battery pack.

    The car is a steel car and will probably rot out long before the battery pack dies (at least in the salty areas of the country).

    So that is just for one myth.

    The other myth is about pay back time versus something like an Echo.



    Was that loud enough?

    Anyway - sure you can also buy a Volkswagon Diesel which matches the mileage or even does better than the Prius, but it is FILTHY to your lungs and our world..

    Myths, myths , myths..

    Someday I hope people realize that we all can do something about our environment and probably should be individually doing something.

    It is surely known that our current government will only help the industries that pollute much to our demise.

    sorry bout the politics..

    steve d.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Thanks for the info about the batteries - I was concerned about that to a certain extent, but also with the CVT and how well it holds up in general.

    I am not cross shopping the Prius with a little, miserly car, such as the Echo, because of my commute - I don't want to crawl up the steep portions of the freeway going 45-55 mpg when others are going 80.

    I'm really interested in economy but not at the expense of everything else. My one way commute is usually an hour and a half, covers 75 highway miles, varying from slow-n-go to 75-is-too-slow, and (going home) almost 6,000 feet elevation gain. I need something that I won't burn trannys out every year (I did that with a 4 banger Nissan auto pickup), that can go up steep freeway grades at 65 or more, and that will be comfortable to ride in for long periods of time (something my Tacoma isn't). My gas bill is a large portion of my budget, so lowering it while being more comfortable than I am now is the most important thing for me. And what is wrong with that? If I buy a Prius it will because it will meet my transportation needs - otherwise I won't buy it, no matter how much better for the environment it might be.

    It does seem at first glance to meet many of my needs. I know it won't meet all of them, but I have another vehicle that can handle those times when the Prius can't get out of the driveway. I really have a thing against shovels and chains at 4am...
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Posts: 541
    I finally had a chance to drive a Toyota Prius (it's my brother's NEW car).

    First of all, the instrument panel does take a little getting used to because it's not in front of you like a normal car. Also, the shape of the Prius may not be to some people's liking, either.

    Anyway, what pleasantly surprised me was how much low end "pep" the Prius has. Getting onto the freeway was almost as good as my own Honda Civic HX CVT coupe, thanks to the CVT-like transmission on the car.

    The first few days my brother has the car he reported fuel mileage of 47 miles per US gallon, not bad considering part of his commute is on the freeway.

    I would not be surprised that a more powerful variant of the hybrid drive system on the Prius ends up on the Corolla within a few years.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    Rumor has it there will be a hybrid Matrix in 03, tell me its so !
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    Matrix hybrid for 03 was on the above web site when originally posted but your correct not any more and no I'm not loosing it (grin) easy come easy go, I like the Matrix/Vibe if only they didn't use gas like its going out of style (maybe it is) rfruth in Houston
  • miltkomiltko Posts: 15
    In response to msdickerson's comments on my Prius battery problem, first, I see you don't yet own a Prius. Without power in that little gel battery the Prius won't start. Been there! Done that! I know that the motivating force for starting the Prius is the 308v battery and the motor, but -- but, if the 12v battery is dead, you're DEAD in the water. Had to call a tow truck. Stevens Creek Toyota (San Jose CA) couldn't find a problem.

    Since then nothing. I have read the 12v battery voltage daily or better and it's swang from 12.4 to almost 15 on a 2 place digital voltmeter. Seems to be more contact resistance or temperature dependent than due to discharge/recharge. However there appears to be a small run on these 12v batteries, based on back-orders for same.

    The purpose here is to keep outr ear to the ground on problems; not to blast the other guy as an idiot.
  • miltkomiltko Posts: 15
    All right I was wrong. You do say you have a Prius. Try disconnecting the 12v battery and then starting the car. No computer. No starting relay (it only clicks on a weak battery). No wheeels!

    I've thought of tieing two 6 volt lantern batteries together for an emergency jumper over the aux battery for my wife but stopped upon realiztion that that would be screwing with her warranty. Better to call the free Toyota road service to jumper her on some lonely night in a dark parking lot. No, she has no cell phone!

    My wife loves her little Prius but she borrows my Camry if she goes somewhere at night.

    The emergency backup battery is a ggod idea. It can't be much load to power the computers and close a start relay. Why hasn't Toyota thought of that? Even if they have no bugs in their wiring, machinery, or software, any battery can go bad. (Reminds me of years ago when Toyota ignition transistors failed you dead and Toyota had a recall to replace all of them.)
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 329
    Well, I don't know the form factor of the Prius' battery, but there are a few automobile batteries made with a reserve. Thus, even if you have a dead short that drains the rest of the battery overnight, you can physically switch the battery to the "reserve" and start it up.
  • ckringckring Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Prius with 20K miles on it.

    A Prius should work well for you except for the 6000' elevation gain. Any hybrid system will pull from the battery during peak periods. If your load factor requires sustained peak power you run the risk of draining the battery and then having to crawl home in turtle mode. It depends upon the actual route - is it straight up or are there flat stretches?

    I'd recommend test driving one over your commute before buying. If the battery stays charged as you go up the hill the Prius should be a good car for you.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    While there are straight stretches on my route home, the last part of it is all pretty steep. I think that if I can swing a test drive home I should because I have doubts about the battery charging. The last 10 miles has one short stretch that is level and another short downhill part. The last 2 miles is all steeply uphill. Before that it varies - some steep with as many level spots.
This discussion has been closed.