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Toyota Prius



  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > but I would think this would be a concern?

    The Classic Prius clearly proved there is absolutely no need to be concerned.

    I drove my 2001 through 3 Minnesota Winters without any trouble whatsoever. After sitting outside for the whole day in sub-zero temperatures while I was at work, the engine fired up every time. And unfortunately, I had lots of opportunities to try that. (The walk to the Prius sure was cold.)

    It didn't have the thermos. All the thermos does is provide heat for the catalytic-converter and warming you sooner. That's it.

    Having a 201.6 volt battery-pack, capable of powering the car for several miles, makes starting in the cold a whole lot easier than vehicles with only a small 12-volt battery.

  • rpgolferrpgolfer Posts: 157
    hybriddriver- Where in Northern Ca do you drive? (me-SF Bay Area)

    Hans000- 800 ft elevation difference in San Jose? Do you commute from Hwy 17/Hwy 9? Where would you find such an elevation in the valley? Mt. Hamilton?
  • To bbridgewater and others having ordered their Prius prior to December and the MTCOY award:

    I am getting pretty tired of playing the waiting game. I ordered my MSilver Package 4 on October 18 from Superior Toyota in Johnson County (suburb of KC), Kansas. At the time, a senior salesman said I was about 17th on "the list" and could expect delivery between the end of the year and early January. That was fine with me.

    Subsequently, I have checked back in with Superior 3 or 4 times - alternating my questions between clarification of the dealer's allocation practices and Toyota's provided information about the Prius and its allocation practices (I have used advice from this forum, including trying to get a port arrival date/VIN number, asking for regional inventory/scheduled delivery, etc.) no avail. They seem to know nothing and be willing to say even less.

    My Prius is now supposed to be here "end of January - we hope".

    I was hoping that anyone in the same situation might come forward and share their experiences with information gathering, dealer promises (or lack thereof) and any tips on gaining visibility to the allocation practices of Toyota in general, and Midwest dealerships in specific.

    I noticed someone ordered a Prius in O'Fallon, IL in November and took possession before the new year. The details of your transaction are VERY interesting to me. As are those of others being kept in the dark.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    I ordered my Prius with package 3 in mid-November from a dealer in the Twin Cities. At the time, the sales rep said it would be 4-5 months and told me exactly where I was on the list--he even showed me the list. That was fine with me because the lease on my Grand Caravan isn't up until the end of May. He recommended that I be flexible on color choices, and I gave him 3 choices, in priority order, which he put on my order. He also said that I could move up on the list depending on what colors and packages they receive--the dealers don't have control over that. He did tell me that at the time I ordered, they were getting about 55% package 3's but he also said the package mix could change. Now, this dealer is the 5th largest in the Chicago region and get around 10 Priuses per month. From what I've read here, some dealers get only 2-3 per month. I believe that the sales rep (and also his partner) have been very up front with me throughout the whole process. I stopped in during the holidays to check on where I was on the list, and the sales rep's partner showed me the list and said that I might get my car as early as February but more likely March-April. April would be best for me. I'd rather get it after the snow season anyway--a little less salt on my new baby.

    BTW, I saw a Prius parked at the supermarket last night--blue. Looked like it had been washed recently. Very pretty color in the lighted lot--can't wait to see it in daylight (it's my #2 choice after Tideland Pearl).
  • cat42cat42 Posts: 2
    Just wanted to thank those who took the time to respond to message #2153 on the Prius vs Forester (kayak, bikes) topic (talleyid, john, little_pogi, juice). I appreciated your perspectives.

    I opted for the kindest-to-the environment option and ordered the Prius, as I believe my conscience will rest easier driving it. As John indicated, carrying a bike in the cargo area isn't a problem. And both Yakima and Thule say they anticipate developing a roof rack (it would help if they receive additional requests if there are others who anticipate occasional need for a rack!). The majority of my driving will be without a kayak atop, and I expect that the Prius will do fine for those occasional boat transports.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I expect that the Prius will do fine for those occasional
    > boat transports.

    2004 is likely the year I finally get a light-weight canoe. I've been wanting a really good one forever. So once the Prius is finally paid off, I'll probably be able to get it.

    Anywho, it will be riding on top of my Prius... I'm just not sure how yet. It looks as though I may be able to get away with just using the foam holders. I can't confirm that until the temperature warms up quite a bit... like 70 more degrees! It's -3 F right now.

  • Backy - the part I left out of my dealer story was they called one night in late December and "offered me the chance" to take a Tideland Pearl w/ Pkg 7 that someone backed out on. We went in and saw the car in showroom lights (they had it parked in their hot-special-car-must-see area). It was a nice color, rather light in the spotlight - and we liked the exterior a lot. The problem for us was the interior ivory. We have a dog who loves to get muddy and a kid we take out on weekends who also loves to spill things! Also the #7 (side air bags and VSC) was something I didn't want to pay another $1200 for.

    Anyway, my dealer HAS been good about calling when something like this comes up. I didn't mean to make it sound all bad. Just wish there was more visibility to the process...
  • Thanks for posting your experiences, finestack and backy. My dealership, Jim Norton Toyota in Tulsa OK, seems to be helpless and unable to get much information. In fact, my salesperson suggested I might consider buying a different car - Corolla or Camry - from him if I can't wait. That just made me mad. I liked hearing that you went in to see exactly where you are on the list - I'll try that this week.

    I've considered looking for a Prius in a bigger market, perhaps the Dallas or Houston areas, since they would be relatively easy to get to on a one-way plane from Tulsa. Is there anyone out there who has experience with Toyota dealerships/Prius buying in those areas who might recommend a dealership?

    Anyway, tomorrow a gracious friend is driving me to my parents' (3 hours away)so I can borrow a vehicle until my Prius arrives, or until my folks want it back, whichever comes first.
  • geogirlgeogirl Posts: 24
    Please see my reply to you in Toyota Prius 2004 forum.
  • geogirlgeogirl Posts: 24
    Have you seen the gray interior? I, too, thought that I would get the gray interior because of kid spills and dog, but the gray is just as light as the ivory. I ended up with the ivory and now have ordered custom seat covers that are being made. They should be done next week and are suppose to accomodate the side air bags by having a flap where the air bags come out the side of the seats. They cost about $130 for both front seats and headrest and $120 for the rear seats, armrest, and headrest. This includes shipping. The name of the company is Great Covers - they have a website. As they are local, I am having them install mine next week. I'll let you know how I like them.
  • Thanks geogirl for the seat cover tip. I am definitely interested in hearing how yours turn out - as my dog is dark brown and the kid, well, will be a kid! Maybe my perception of ivory has something to do with personal preference, too. I've always been partial to shades of black, white and gray.

    When this car finally arrives, $300 seems like a great deal for some peace of mind on keeping it looking good!
  • boxfanboxfan Posts: 180
    We have a Subaru Outback that gets about 19-20 mpg in a mix of city/suburb and highway driving. This represents about 80% of the combined EPA mileage of 24.5 (22 city/27 highway). If I had a Prius that performed similarly, i.e. 80% of the combined EPA rating (55.5, 60/51), then I could expect to get about 44 mpg, which seems to be the range of what many have reported here, and which some people seem to think is scandalously low. I suppose it would be disappointing to get less than 40, as a few people have reported, but from my perspective, the real-world performance of the Prius sounds pretty reasonable.
  • This is in response to Finestack's post. The details of my transaction, as best I can recall, are as follows:

    On November 7th I put down my deposit with Newbold Toyota. Our salesman said that he thought they were probably due an allocation and things should proceed smoothly. If there was a list at that time he didn't make me aware of it.

    Aprx. a week later he said that my "order" had been acknowledged by Toyota.

    About 2 weeks after that he said the vehicle was showing up on their "list" which they post in the dealership. I apologize but I didn't note what this computer report was titled.

    Later he notified me that the vehicle was scheduled to go to port that day. Throughout the process he gave me estimates but made sure I understood these were basically guesses because of variables during transit. He said I would probably get my car before the end of the year.

    He called me on Dec. 20th and said the car had arrived and would be prepared for delivery on 12/22. This is when I picked up the vehicle.

    I still don't pretend to understand the allocation system, etc., completely but fortunately for me I "ordered" a vehicle and received what I ordered (Driftwood Pearl #9).

    IMO if Toyota would just make this information available and clarify the process it would go a long way in lowering the frustration level we've all experienced or are experiencing!
  • Here is another seat cover option that I saw mentioned by someone in one of the discussion groups (maybe I'm participating in too many!). These appear to be a nice option.
  • Thanks for your details - they'll help when I call (again) and follow up today!
  • I also drive in the SF bay area. Mostly from Oakland to Livermore and back.
  • hans000hans000 Posts: 19
    I got into that state (not sure how) once in the first day. The weather wasn't freezing but raining. The parking brake light kept on regardless of parking break itself. Shift stuck in "N". Every button frozen... except "P": I got out of it by accidentally pressing "P"!

    I haven't seen this since then -- more than a month now. "First day syndrome"? Software bug?
  • hans000hans000 Posts: 19
    It's east San Jose/Milpitas. It has 1 mile of about 10% grade. Going up (30 MPH) is about 15 MPG. Going down has battery charged from 1/3 to just full.

    Yesterday drove on Santa Cruis Montains. Had battery going down to 1 bar while going up. The bar color changed to purple. No noticeable performance change (35 MPH) but engine kept buzzing charging the battery. Going down had battery charged full FULL. Then had highway 65MPH _on battery only_ for 5 minutes.

    ========== rpgolfer wrote:
    800 ft elevation difference in San Jose? Do you commute from Hwy 17/Hwy 9? Where would you find such an elevation in the valley? Mt. Hamilton?
  • dc8527dc8527 Posts: 12
    Each green symbol represents 50wh of regerated energy equivallent to a 50w bulb burning for an hour. Think about the headlights of any car. They must be hundreds of watts, at least. Getting a car to move needs far more energy than that to light up some bulbs. How many watts is equal to one horse power, 750? I would have to revisit my phyicics books to be accurate.
  • I placed my order with Jay Wolfe Toyota in Kansas City Mo on Sept 17th for a driftwood BC #9. I was told to expect delivery anywhere after Thanksgiving and most likely in December. I making numerous emails, and hearing "When we here something, we will let you know." On Christmas day I sent out an email to every Toyota dealer in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma to check if they had any BC packages coming in. I received a few responses with AM packages that they had or were due in shortly. A couple of days later I received one from Doenges Toyota of Bartlesville OK that they had a black BC that no one wanted on their waiting list and wanted to know if I was interested. I jumped on it. I was not crazy about black and wanting to wash it so often, but beggers can not be choosers. They expected it to be ready for pick up at the end of January. I learned last Monday that they would get it this last Wednesday. I picked up my new baby Saturday morning. The black looks really nice and it seems to make the car to look larger.
    Just do a little networking like when you are looking for a new job. Check with other dealers, they do get cars in that no one will want that are on they waiting list. It seemed to be the dealers in smaller towns that get them, not towns like KC.... I would still be waiting on Jay Wolfe Toyota. Enjoying my new baby. Take a few hours and hopefully it will work for you also in finding your car.
    By the way, you will enjoy it. The owners of where I work actually came from our headquaters to look at the car. They loved the styling and room. They were really impressed the keyless entry and start.

    Good LUCK

    Smithville, MO.
  • umpireumpire Posts: 12
    Had my first test drive in an '04 Prius (Package 3) yesterday. Here are my observations and reactions:


    1. Quiet! Had a nice quiet ride even at 70 mph. We sat at a stoplight, and my son wanted to know if the car was still running.

    2. Handling/Ride. Very responsive and zippy in traffic while still providing a fairly smooth ride (every bit as good as or better than my VW Beetle).

    3. Controls. Very easy to reach, even those on the screen. I like most of the controls on the steering wheel or column. Took me awhile to understand the cruise control, but once I did it worked well.

    4. Room. Nice room in the backseat for even my 6'1", 190-lb. son. I am sure I can get all three kids in the back. The hatchback area is roomy, also, and the 60/40 split allows one to carry bigger items.

    5. Clean Lines. Both interior and exterior are clean and functional. The controls on the steering wheel/column help in this regard. Aesthetically pleasing vehicle.

    6. Mileage! Duh! :) But this is the major selling point for the car, and it is effective. I would spend about half what I currently do for fuel.

    7. Warranty. I drive many miles, so the 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the hybrid parts is comforting.

    8. Smart entry/ Smart Start. While the model I drove did not have this option, it is one of the best aspects of the Prius. My model will have this feature!


    1. Seats. While the seats are comfortable, I have a long torso and my head comes perilously close to the roof liner. It would be nice to have seat-level adjustors. Also, I adore leather seats and would love to see them on the Prius. They add weight, I know, but I simply like leather.

    2. Rear View. It's not good to begin with, and with the split, it's difficult to see. The trade-off is more storage in the hatchback, but I hope Toyota can come up with a design that adresses both.

    3. Acceleration. While the acceleration is not too bad (one must expect less), the car is loud when accelerating hard (from ramp onto interstate). This was the only driving noise that bothered me.

    4. Steering Wheel. While the wheel is responsive and the controls are great there, it was too far away from me when my legs were at the perfect distance. It would be worthwhile to have a telescoping wheel (if it doesn't already).

    5. Reverse. What is with the backing beep? Is there a way to disable that? It might be acceptable if it beeped three times and stopped, but the continuous beep is annoying.

    6. Roof liner. Was floppy. Made that way or just a problem with this particular car?

    Overall, I was impressed with the car, and am looking at ordering one soon. The dealer (Green Toyota in Springfield, IL) said I would be guaranteed the color and package I wanted within 5-6 months. They require a $500 refundable deposit. The salespeople were helpful and not pushy at all.

    Good experience with this test drive!
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Thanks you for the postives, they obviously speak for themselves...


    Seats... The earliest models always lack certain nice-to-haves features. Toyota has already hinted that more will be added in later models.

    Rear View... It's probably your height. I don't have any problem whatsoever seeing. The top-sections shows everything quite clearly. But then again, I'm just an average 5'8" height. That's the beauty of HSD, you'll find it later in a vehicle more suited to your particular needs.

    Acceleration... Not must to say about that. It's normal for that engine design (different pumping cycle) and it fortunately only lasts a few seconds.

    Steering Wheel... Did you experiment with the tilt?

    Reverse... Yup, that (thankfully) can very easily be disabled!

    Roof liner... Can't help with that one. No one else has ever mentioned that. Perhaps it got whacked accidently and is now loose.

    Best of luck with the wait. Hopefully the increased production volume in the second cycle for this model year will help reduce the wait... at least some.

  • Have heard from a half-dozen similar incidents. In all, pressing the P (park) button seem to free each from the "neutral state." The service folks that I spoke with during my frozen state didn't suggest this.

    And while I spent Monday at a Toyota dealership where they did a series of diagnostics, they found no codes, and they called California to discuss what happened but did not hear any suggesttions back. Would be nice to know the cause/prevention.

    Meanwhile, something for the FAQ's: When frozen in neutral state, try pressing Park.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I completely disagree with John1701a's statement (#2774)
    > that " ..early models lack certain nice-to-have features" it
    > just doesn't have any foundation when you consider they
    > provide GPS, VSC, Xexon lights, Smart Entry, Homelink and
    > other advanced and luxury features

    Since I'm just repeating what was in an early press release for the new model, you can't disagree with me. Toyota said it.

    And all along, Toyota has been working to create a new category of vehicle (remember, to increase marketshare). So the logic of applying a "traditional feature list" doesn't make sense.

    More will come later, plain & simple. What those options are really doesn't matter, especially since the product they are selling has no dealer storage overhead whatsoever. Talking about a good cost reduction strategy.

    More later.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,909
    IMO the lack of a seat height adjuster was a cost decision, not a weight decision--I mean, how much weight would a manual seat height adjuster add? Not as much as the huge center console or the optional SABs/curtains I bet. I think Toyota put in features that it thought would add flash (e.g. Smart Entry and Start, voice navigation) and provide safety (e.g. ABS/traction, VSC, side airbags/curtains, HIDs) while they left off more mundane features to keep the price under the magical $19,995 figure, so they could say, "Look, we didn't increase the price over the previous Prius!".

    But to be fair, the seat does adjust more than just forward/backward--the seatback adjusts for rake, and the headrest is adjustable for height. It's still a lot more comfortable to me than the seats in some cars that have a height adjuster, e.g. the Corolla.
  • galootgaloot Posts: 13
    Just for the fun of it, I visited Jay Wolf's web site. It appears that they have the car you ordered for sale. Of course that doesn't mean they really have it. Maybe they are just taunting you for buying someplace else. Good luck with your black Prius; I'm still waiting. My dealer says they will call when they know something. Sound familiar??
  • umpireumpire Posts: 12
    I am only 6' tall, but my torso is very long (I have a friend wo is 6'4" and our heads are about the same height when we sit down). The seat level adjustor would be wonderful to have for comfort and safety.

    I did fiddle with the tilt, but that didn't make a difference--the steering wheel still seemed too far away.

    I have wanted a hybrid since they first came out, but they never built one big enough to fit my needs--until now. It will be interesting to see what optional/standard features will be available on future models. My feeling is that one will be able to drive a hybrid Lexus with full amenities.
  • mnemkomnemko Posts: 6
    First, I want to extend a thanks to John and to his opposing voice Midnight Cowboy for their dedicated and knowledgeable posts, although I wish they would respect each other more--both are well-intentioned in their own way. I've also appreciated Backy's comments.

    Now my question. I do a lot of driving at 75 and 80, and even at 85 or 90. Does anyone know how the Prius performs at those speeds: noise level, ability to accelerate, gas mileage?

    Thank you.
  • I have seen a number of '04 Prius driving up I-95 at super-legal speeds (85mph+). They seemed to buzz right along.

    My concern would be stability with the narrow tires at high speeds. Your traction would not be as good as with a car sporting 225-series tires. Also, I'm not sure how the brakes hold up under such high speeds. Acceleration may be another weak point. Passing at 80mph requires a bit more planning and a steady nerve. It can be done though.

    From a physics standpoint, gas mileage decreases exponentially above 70mph. The drag increases quickly above 70mph and your mileage will begin to suffer. I'd guess you'd get an average of 50-52mpg at 70mph, but decrease to low 40's above 85mph. Any owners have numbers to back me up?

    My advice would be to not drive so fast, save some gas, speeding tickets, and your sanity.
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