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Toyota Prius



  • Hi all, a new lurker here. Don't have a Prius yet but a hybrid will be my next vehicle.

    Felt compelled to write after seeing the .cnn news story link dgrayson posted in his message 2097 in which GM's Lutz says hybrids make no sense. This stupid comment, from Detroit which has always maintained that it only builds what the consumer wants, betrays Detroit's head-in-the-sand mentality. .htm

    Yeah, the improved fuel economy may not pay for the premium of a Prius over an Echo, etc. However, one key overlooked virtue of the Prius is its SULEV emissions rating. Cleaner cars are good news for anyone who breathes. Some of us place a value on that.

    And, to complete the formula, some of us understand that while we only pay $1.50 per gallon at the station, we pay much more in taxes to support the Pentagon and pay more dearly in lives lost protecting the supply of that $1.50 gasoline.
  • dc8527dc8527 Posts: 12
    On Jan 6, 2004, the Prius test expert of EPA (from wrote, "Toyota has told us that the 2004 MY Prius
    (which was redesigned) should achieve fuel economy levels closer to the estimated values."

    In mid December 2003, a Toyota rep at 1-800-331-4331 said, "Toyota engineers are investigating into the low MPG concern of cold climate. They will have an answer about mid January."
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Greenfuture:

    > one key overlooked virtue of the Prius is its SULEV emissions rating. Cleaner cars are good
    > news for anyone who breathes. Some of us place a value on that.

    ___The fact is that SULEV/PZEV capability can be made available for just a few hundred dollars on many automobiles. The following list should help show you what is available in this regard. In some cases; it is a particular model of the car in question …

    03 Dodge Ram CNG
    03 Ford E250 Econoline CNG
    03/04 Ford F150 CNG
    03/04 Ford Focus
    04 Honda Accord
    03 Honda Civic Hybrid and GX - CNG
    01-04 Honda Insight
    00 - 04 Nissan Sentra
    03/04 Toyota Camry
    01 - 04 Toyota Prius
    04 Volkswagen Jetta
    03/04 Volvo S60 and V70

    ___There are probably more but these are just what I could find with 10 minutes of searching … and some that I knew about off the top of my head. Even GM will begin to release PZEV rated automobiles in late 04 early 05 … That is if you can believe them?

    ___The manufacturers have simply decided it wasn’t cost effective to install the necessary and slightly more costly HW to make the automobile in question meet the more stringent emission protocols. Probably because the US/Canadian/European consumer would not/does not know about it or has not demanded it for the small amount of additional outlay … Take a look at the Toyota Echo as one example of where even Toyota decided it was not cost effective :(

    ___As for the OT Pentagon commentary, why don’t you take a look at the amount of oil imported into both Europe and Japan from the Middle East vs. what the US imports as an example of how your tax dollars are being spent. Kind of sucks, given we pay the Japanese for high R&D expenditure automobiles, the American manufacturer doesn’t receive a dime, yet the American manufacture employs hundreds of thousands more employees here in the states who pay taxes to pay for all that military … Kind of a circle jerk although Ford is moving things along at a relatively rapid pace into the realms of Hybrid’s and cleaner automobiles. If they could just get their fuel efficiencies up, then I would have hope for them and our own jobs over the longer term :(

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Hello - just a quick and gentle reminder to stay on track (let us not digress to the middle east/oil issue) and cut the personal attacks. As we are all aware and as stated in the Membership Agreement:

    "You understand that the content within Town Hall is based on individual opinion and experience, which may vary significantly from one person to the next. does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any Posting or other content in Town Hall..."

    It is good to get your experience and opinion into the is good to question others experiences and opinions. Let's keep it civil.
  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    Don't quite understand the point you are trying to convey "put out a lot of fluff and BS when you have no idea what the answer is". It appears that you don't particularly like the Prius or the people who do. Toyota didn't spend millions/billions of dollars on this type of technology for the heck of it. Although still in the infant stage, this is the future. Companies that refuse to accept this fact will be left far behind. Or, like Nissan they can buy the technology from Toyota. The richest will get richer. Aggravating... isn't it?
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > The inpreciseness of the Prius amazes me.

    It's an ANALOG gauge. Even if it capacity didn't change due to temperature, all you'd have is ten blocks to work with. There is no precision with that at all. How's that different from a traditional vehicle? No precision there either.

    That's why you use the gauge on the PUMP instead. Then you know PRECISELY how much gas is being sent to the tank.

    Taking the DIGITAL readout for distance and the DIGITAL readout for gallons, you get PRECISELY what the efficiency was.


    You are trying to make Prius different. That won't work though. You fill up when the "Add Fuel" message is shown. It's not difficult.

    One thing that people tend to forget is the fact that rapid filling of the tank can cause an inprecise "full" indication, shutting off the pump too soon. That's true for ANY VEHICLE, not just Prius. But since Prius has a bladder too, it is more likely to happen with it. So, always use the slowest pump setting.

    By the way, here in Minnesota, the pumps are especially tempermental in the winter. They tend to shut off prematurely using the fastest fill speed. It's a pain, especially standing there in the cold, but using the slowest really does help.

  • hans000hans000 Posts: 19
    Wonder if yours doing the same.

    Before interior getting warm (set to 75C, outside 50C), the AC (heat pumping?) kicks in and out every second or so, generating a faint shudder. It's noticeable at stop lights when ICE is not running. It feels like an earth-rumbling truck stopped next to you.

    It could be the AC compressor turning very slowly. The shudder goes away after a few minutes when interior is warm.
  • dc8527dc8527 Posts: 12
    "As for the "advertised MPG", read the fine print. It says the temperature must be between 68F and 86F. We are obviously drastically below that ideal zone right now. All vehicles suffer in the cold; it is nothing new for Prius."

    John, I got the 04 Prius brochure from the shelf in a Toyota dealer's showroom. The fine print does not exist there. Where did you see it?
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > The fine print does not exist there.
    > Where did you see it?

    Look on the window sticker. It makes the YMMV disclaimer, lists the variance ranges, and refers you to the testing website for further information.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Now if "1" means there is 3-4.8 gallons left depending on
    > how cold it is or isn't then the whole accuracy is skewed.

    It's called a NON-LINEAR gauge.

    So that behavior is actually completely normal. Each block does not represent a consistent unit. It varies based on level. This provides greater detail on the high-end.

  • dc8527 (apologies to those of you who have seen this information ad infinitum):

    The following excerpt is from and details how the MPG estimates are made:

    "The test used to determine the city fuel economy estimate simulates an 11-mile, stop-and-go trip with an average speed of 20 miles per hour (mph). The trip takes 31 minutes and has 23 stops. About 18 percent of the time is spent idling, as in waiting at traffic lights or in rush hour traffic. The maximum speed is 56 mph. The engine is initially started after being parked overnight. Vehicles are tested at 68 F to 86 F ambient temperature."

    I purchsed 10/31/03. I averaged 47 mpg in November and 43 mpg in December. Last week we hit 60 degrees in Northern Ohio. I drove a 60 mile round trip over gentle hills with few stops and averaged 61 mpg (by display). Thus, as mentioned many times before, the fuel efficiency estimates are NOT incorrect; they merely estimate fuel economy given certain specific driving conditions. I find that when I duplicate those conditions, I get VERY similar results. Moreover, the economy of my non hybrid car is similarly sensitive to driving conditions (see message 1392).
  • "So that behavior is actually completely normal. Each block does not represent a consistent unit. It varies based on level. This provides greater detail on the high-end."

    As a 2004 Prius owner with 2700 miles on the odometer, I concur that this is the way it works. On a long highway trip over Thanksgiving, I marked down the miles at which each block dropped off for 3 tanks of gas. There was no linear relationship.

    As for the issue of "reserve," if someone wants to siphon out my tank when the MID tells me to add fuel they are welcome to do so but frankly I'm content to assume it's empty and fill up long before that point.

    Per MidCow:

    "Here is what I speculate is really true based on a fully expanded bladder and a 3 gallon reserve
    10 bars= 11.01 gallons to 11.9 (completely full)
    9 bars = 10.12-11.01
    8 bars = 9.23-10.12
    7 bars = 8.34-8.23
    6 bars = 7.45-8.34
    5 bars = 6.56-7.45
    4 bars = 5.67-6.56
    3 bars = 4.78-5.67
    2 bars = 3.89-4.78
    1 bars = 3-3.89
    0 bars = 0 (true empty) to 3 gallons (safety reserve !)
    This a linear scale! "

    Indeed, that is linear but that is not the way the Prius works.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Please provide the facts.

    That's simple.

    For my classic Prius in the summer (my most thorough data source), the top blocks represented the first 310 miles of driving. The bottom blocks represented the following 100 miles.

    The middle clearly did not represent half and the removal of each block accelerated (less miles each time) as the tank level decreased.

  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    I don't see what all the fuss is about the gas gauge. I can't ever remember owning a car having an extremely precise measurement of fuel. What I do is quite simple, when the last bar flashes I know I have a conservative amount of time to get fuel. Since it's been SO cold here, I usually fill up when I have two-three bars remaining.

    I continue to trust John's information since I believe it is extremely accurate. I don't believe he's on a crusade to disseminate misinformation as some seem to believe. I still can't understand why people frequent this forum that have virtually no interest in the Prius. THOSE people should GET A LIFE.
  • Has anyone used a Siemen's S56 with Bluetooth? Any problems with installation? Did you get your phone book transferred? John and others say to just follow the NAV Manual but I'm not too used to technical instructions.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I don't believe he's on a crusade to disseminate
    > misinformation

    I couldn't. They nit-pick every little detail I mention. And they'd get away with it sometimes if it wasn't for my detailed online logs & spreadsheets. That makes it easy to look up the supporting data I need.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Someone mentioned there was one today, but didn't include any detail all.

    That was no big deal for me. I just started taking apart the back of the Prius until I finally found something that looked like it could be a release. I shut the hatch, crawled inside from the front, and pushed it. Yup! That was it.

    From inside the hidden storage area, remove the tiny black panel on it's side near the hatch, and poke your finger through that into the metal casing. There's a tiny metal button. (Toyota definitely wanted to make that inaccessible from outside.) Pushing that pops the hatch open.

  • I am 16 and alot of my friends think it is funny that i have a 04 prius but we all enjoy it. For anyone out there looking to buy, I fit 4 ffotball players plus me the other day . It has a very spacious interior. They werent extremely comfortable but for a 15 min ride it was fine.
       I have had my Pkg 9 2004 prius since October 17 and i believe I had the first green Pearl colored prius in the USA anyways i have put over 3,000 miles on it. I love it and for anyone interested my TOP SPEED was 102 mph on the 105(freeway in LA) at night. IT HAS POWER. When I got the car I also got a new cell phone with Bluetooth Wirless capabilities. BUT the connection cuts out every other 5 secs.WHY?? Without using the bluetooth and just the phone in the same place it works fine,,,So it is not the phone..Anyone else with this problem???
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Sorry, I don't have any experience with that phone.

    I do with the Sony Ericcson T610. So I created an illustrated document showing how to do the setup. Now I'm working on one to show how to do the phonebook transfer too.

    The Prius part is easy, and the same for each phone. You do that first. Then play with your phone's Bluetooth options until you find an "ADD" or "DETECT" device option. When it does find the Prius, it will prompt you for the password shown on the Multi-Display. Then you'll probably need to select a "CONNECT" option to complete the setup.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I fit 4 football players plus me the other day

    How many cheerleaders?

    > connection cuts out every other 5 secs.WHY??

    Not sure. Mine works fantastic.

    What kind of phone do you have? Some of the older ones actually require a firmware update to work correctly.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    105? :oO

    Take it easy, you have to have the car in control to be able to avoid obstacles. Like fallen pom-poms.

  • If any one cares I bought my 04 prius In October with package 9. The color is the green-silver one(It is my favorite color for the 04 prius aside from black).And for your information tehy called me on the 16 said that "he has one coming do i want it?" w/o deposit. No one else went to TOYOTA OF ORANGE everyone else is on a huge waiting list for the LA dealers. NO list at my dealer.
    Anyways We went in friday night and we paid cash and drove it home 1 1/2 hours later.I wrote the check for $28,500. There was no over-list price. Just the amount on the sticker and taxes. I love my car. AND my dad is getting the toureg this weekend you could check my post there too.
    Oh and all my friends refer to my car as "Hybrid"
    Ex. "Let's take hybrid out to lunch today"
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    So you wrote the check for $28,500? And you're 16. Can I have a loan?? ;-)

    My 15-year-old son thinks the Prius is pretty cool also. He gave it a thumbs-up when we went for the family test drive, before I ordered it. That may be partially because the alternative to the Prius is a mini-van or a mid-sized station wagon. But I think he likes the techie flavor of it (he's something of a computer geek) and the swoopy styling. Our first color choice is the Tideland Pearl (that's the color of yours, right?). I haven't seen any of those on the road--does it really look green? In pictures it looks more grey.
  • Yes, it wasn't my signiture it was my fathers. My prius is the Tideland pearl and it is silver-green in the sun and silver-gray at night. It is a GREAT color. And if i were your sun i would go with the prius too.
    I dont know how much you are willing to spend and how short of a leash you will keep your son on but I have used the Navagation system more than 50 times and i would have been lost 10 of those times without it. I really recommend it, all of our cars now have it. I just need it because Idrive alot and LA is just so big and i have alot of friends that live in different places. It is so much easier to reach them with the Nav system, it has saved meover and over. You will love the car backy with or without the nav.(but get it you wont regret it)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    Just package 3--side bags/curtains and rear wiper. But at least my son has a cell phone, in case he gets lost when he's turned 16 and is out driving on his own. We also have the trusty Hudson's Street Atlas--worked pretty well for me for 30 years, and it costs a mite less than the nav system.

    Glad to hear the details on what Tideland Green looks like--I think I'll like it.
  • cat42cat42 Posts: 2
    I'm on the verge of a decision between the purchase of a 2004 Prius or 2004 Forester XS and could use perspectives from others. I'm struggling with the tradeoffs: (1) The incredibly well-engineered, efficient Prius appeals (big time) to my environmental conscience, and my desire to "put my money where my mouth is." However, (2)The Forester would do a fine (better?) job carrying a sea kayak (16 ft) with gear (paddles, dry suit, etc) and/or a bicycle, and with the greater clearance, would handle gravel roads better overall (not speaking of majorly rutted, "off roading"...just standard gravel roads, logging roads in the Northwest, etc.)

    Neither Yakima or Thule make a kayak rack for the 2004 Prius, although Yakima says they may in the future if there is enough demand. Looking at the profile of the Prius, I wonder if it will even be possible.

    If Yakima or Thule discover that a kayak rack is possible to design for the Prius, I realize that carrying a kayak will significantly reduce fuel efficiency, and that's okay...95%+ of my driving will not involve a boat or bike, so on the occasions that it does, I'll tolerate reduced efficiency (as long as the car tolerates it).

    John1701a, your website shows your bicycle rack on the classic Prius; have you tried it yet on the 2004 Prius? And by the way, thank you for your website -- it's really helpful.

    I would welcome thoughts from anyone regarding the possibility of occasional transport of bike or boat on the 2004 Prius. Thank you!
  • m4ethm4eth Posts: 101
    I too am deciding between the Forester and the Prius...two different built for strapping bikes and boats and the other HIGH TECH GREEEN for sipping fuel...but I live in a region where my primarily concern is icy roads in winter but main driving habit will be IN CITY driving so MPG is the major concern.

    I'm divided between the Forester with a proven ALL CONDITION SAFE operation record (excellant crash ratings) and the Prius a FAIR WEATHER machine (built for the road)with unknowns because it's so new.

    Would like to know what folks are getting on their new 04's for mainly IN CITY driving??? Prius specs state 60 city so I assume in northern climates that would be reduced somewhat because of temperature.

    Thanks, for any input you can provide.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > John1701a, your website shows your bicycle rack on the
    > classic Prius; have you tried it yet on the 2004 Prius?

    Sorry, Minnesota Winter has delayed my bicycle rack research. Test fitting one on a car covered with road-salt & sand in temperatures well below freezing is just plain out of the question.

    Instead, I'll be waiting until March and taking advantage of the usual start-of-the-warm-season sale prices to get a rack that fits on back.

    Realistically, I don't plan on using the rack a whole lot, since 2 bikes will fit inside fairly easy if you unclip the front tire off.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > the Prius a FAIR WEATHER machine (built for the road)
    > with unknowns because it's so new.


    This is WINTER #4 for me. My classic was exposed to -13^F driving and my 2004 exposed to -2^F last week and will again next week. And two summers ago, I did some driving in temperatures just above 100^F.

    "FAIR WEATHER" is clearly not accurate.

    > Would like to know what folks are getting on their new
    > 04's for mainly IN CITY driving???

    What does "IN CITY" mean?

    If that means, no faster than 30 MPH with very frequent stops and trips no longer than 15 minutes, then the question is warrants a basis of comparison. Traditional vehicle performance under those conditions totally sucks, they get significantly below the EPA estimates. So I myself would like to know what they actually get (vague data hints at below 20 MPG). A 2004 Prius will typically deliver around low 30's in those extremes.

    If your "IN CITY" definition is suburb driving (the 35 to 50 MPH range) with occasional stops and trips longer than 15+ minutes, you're MPG will be pretty sweet... mid to upper 40's in the winter and upper 50's in the summer.

  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    I left the house at 6:45 this morning, OAT was 2 F. and booted up the Prius. Amazing how you don't even hear the typical crank of a starter. I took off nice and slowly and headed to the highway and cruised at 70-75. Battery meter NEVER appeared different than if it were 50 or 60 degrees. I think the Prius handles the cold BETTER than a conventional car! Heck... I had heat cranking in 7 minutes or so!! When I got off the highway (17 miles) I was at a light with engine off (as usual) and 9/10 green. Simply AMAZING!!
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