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TX_Traveler's 2010 Toyota Prius

tx_travelertx_traveler Posts: 3
edited September 2015 in Toyota


Howdy, y'all!

Today as I logged my 10,000th mile in my Fuelly app after 9 weeks of Prius ownership, I thought to myself - "Self, that is an awful lot of miles. On track for over 50k per year in fact. I should be a long-term vehicle tester." Alas, because I never made it to Csaba Csere levels of fame in the world of automotive journalism, I started looking for volunteer opportunities. Unfortunately, it turns out manufactures don't just hand out cars to random guys looking to drive them. Never one to give up too easily, I eventually stumbled across these Edmunds reader reviews and figured, why not give it a go? So here I am.

A little about me
I'm a young professional in the Austin Texas area. A creative writer by education, a technical author in semiconductors by trade. Needless to say, writing manuals for consumption by electrical engineers doesn't afford a lot of creative opportunity. I figured this might be a reasonable outlet for such things. My wife and I recently purchased a house about 40 miles from work due to the ridiculous housing market in Austin proper. I am sure you all can do the math, but we drive about 100 miles per day after accounting for any superfluous gettings around. Our love for travel only adds to that. Always a bit of a performance nut, I never thought of myself as a Prius owner, however, it simply made financial sense for us.

A little about the car
We purchased the 2010 Prius with ~53,000 miles about 2 months ago, due to our new commute distance. We previously had a 2011 Nissan Juke that liked to average around 22 mpg. With a 9 gallon tank, and a penchant for premium fuel, we were paying a $25-30 fuel bill every other day at least. We went on the hunt for a hybrid or diesel. After plenty of looking around and researching, we finally settled on this one. Low miles for the year, all the options we wanted, and most importantly, the price was right.

The experience so far
Alright, on to the meat of this thing. The reason we're all here. The pièce de résistance.

Fuel economy
Lets not kid ourselves. Nobody is buying a Prius because they [insert from list].
  • Look cool
  • Go fast
  • Excite your inner child
  • Get all the ladies
No, every Prius ever sold was sold for one reason and one reason only. That magical little 51/48 that gets printed out on the window sticker.

So lets talk about these numbers. Are they realistic? Yes and no. As with most EPA estimates, these numbers seem to be generated under the most ideal of ideal conditions. Your mileage may vary (no pun) depending upon your driving style and conditions. According to my Fuelly app, I have averaged 43.1 mpg with a best of 51 and a worst of 37.8.

Driving experience
All joking aside, the Prius really has reasonable acceleration and is quite comfortable at higher speeds. Here in Texas we have some highways with 85 mph speed limits, where it's not uncommon to see 90-95 mph. I can even confirm that there is in fact a 3rd digit on that digital speedometer. With 134 combined horsepower, the Prius is surprisingly happy cruising at these speeds. The 36 horses and instantaneous torque that comes from the electric motor really shows itself when taking out from a stop.

There are 3 selectable driving modes that the driver can choose from:
  • EV
  • Eco
  • Power
EV is precisely what you would expect. It will run strictly on battery power, so long as you're kind to the throttle and stay under 25 mph. I've found it's great for stop and go traffic, and typically the battery will keep me going until it clears up. Worth noting- it lasts significantly longer when you're not running A/C.

Eco/Power modes are both similar to one another in that they run on combined gas/electric power. However, the throttle response is much snappier in the Power mode. Eco mode feels like the throttle linkage is made of elastic (if this were a car from the days of yore when physical linkages were a thing). By this I mean that it seems to "absorb" the first few inches of pedal movement and hardly react at all, but once the "elastic" is stretched and you continue pushing, it will still give you full power eventually.

Amenities and fit/finish
I wanted to talk a bit about what it's like in the cabin, since that's where I spend most of my time. Surprisingly, for a 6 year old car, the technology has aged very well. It has all of the Bluetooth/iPod connectivity, navigation, satellite radio, etc. that one would expect from any modern car. It seems that the UI/UX aspect of the infotainment center was well thought out. Very intuitive for the most part. The one thing we have struggled with is getting it to switch between Bluetooth connections when there are multiple phones in the car. Probably a case of user-error, but it is not as intuitive as the rest of the system.

In terms of build quality and materials, I am so far impressed. Everything feels well put together. We drive a portion of gravel road to get to our home, and there are a few rattles, but nothing more than I would expect. It's nearly silent at highway speeds. No doubt at least partially a product of its very low coefficient of drag (the 5th lowest on the market at Cd 0.25).

Maintenance and expenses
Lastly, I felt I should include a section on cost. To date, I've not had any unexpected costs.
  • 1 oil change: $48.65
  • 254.5 gallons: $595.54
So that's where we sit today. I'll continue to update as things break (fingers crossed) or other interesting things come up. Thanks for reading!

Comments

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Welcome. The '16s are on my shopping list and I'm looking forward to driving one. Sounds like it's going to be January before they hit the dealers.
  • I intend to drive this one into the ground. Hoping for 300,000 miles or so before replacement. So far, though, they've earned my business. As long as things continue to go well, they'll be on my shopping list too.
  • MarkHolthoffMarkHolthoff Santa Monica, CAPosts: 101
    Great post! I look forward to reading updates about this one. Thanks.
  • ebeaudoinebeaudoin NE IllinoisPosts: 509
    An excellent post! As a former Toyota salesman, I will point out one technical error- there are actually 4 drive modes. EV, Eco, Power and Normal. If the car is in Eco mode and you push the button for Eco again, it enters Normal mode.

    Great write-up! Looking forward to more from your adventures.
  • tx_travelertx_traveler Posts: 3
    edited November 2015
    Howdy y'all!

    Just a brief update... Not much to report, so I'll make a quick list of the important details.

    - Miles:
    68,410 = +4,570 miles since last update

    - Fuel Economy (running total):
    42.9 MPG avg.

    - Expenses (running total):
    2 oil changes = $97.30
    1 Tire rotation = $16.03
    358 gallons = $810.25

    Total = $923.58
    Cost per mile = $0.0625

    - Misc Notes:
    I have a trim piece that tends to continuously come loose under the glove box. I suspect it is an access panel for the cabin air filter. Any minor nudge from a foot causes it to come un-clipped and hang down. It stays up just well enough that I keep snapping it back up rather than fix it properly, so I'm not sure if the clip is worn out or what the cause of the looseness is.

    Another small critique. The reverse camera lens is not a wide enough angle in my opinion. It's quite useful for gauging distance between your rear bumper and the car behind you when parallel parking. However, I find it's pretty much worthless when trying to use it to watch for cross-traffic when backing out of a stall. By the time something appears in view of the camera, it is already behind you.

    On the topic of reversing, I'm also unhappy that there seems to be no way to disable the reverse buzzer in the 2010 model. Any time the vehicle is placed in reverse, the dash buzzer feels compelled to sing you the song of its people. Particularly annoying when trying to back out onto a busy street, forcing you to listen to this beep for the 5+ minutes it takes to find a suitable gap in traffic. After a bit of research online, it would appear that this can be disabled with a "cheat code" (UUDDLRLRBA or something like that) in 2011+ MY cars, but not in 2010.

    To keep things interesting I'll try to include a picture with each update. Here's an interior shot from a few weeks ago on my commute home. Large forest fire was out of control near my home. Unfortunately about 50 people lost their homes. At its nearest, the evacuation zone was about 1.5 miles from us. Close enough to be scary, but luckily we made it unscathed.



    All said, it seems things are pretty good in the Prius world. Cheers y'all!
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