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Toyota Prius



  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    Read on one of the Prius boards that someone with a brand new Prius was t-boned by a Suburban at ~35 MPH. They walked away with a few scratches. Prius wasn't tested yet by the institute. They probably couldn't get hold of a car to test. LOL.
  • I too was considering the Prius (and Civic Hybrid) but the demand, "market adjustment" (not going to pay over MSRP for any car), and lead time caused me to look for other cars that were also considerably fuel efficient. I was trading in a Corolla in which I got 36-38mpg on the hwy, but the car just wasn't comfortable on trips over 2 hours (as is the case with most cars in that class). I ended up buying a 04 VW Jetta GLS TDI (turbo diesel, 5 speed) which is rated @ 38/46mpg for about $1500 cheaper than sticker.

      I have observed 44mpg in my mixed driving (75%city/25%hwy) and on a recent trip with a tank that was 100% hwy (80mph) obsevered I'm quite impressed with the mileage I receive, considering diesel is approximately $0.15 cheaper than 87 octane. Also having had experience with diesels in the past (had two @ over 300k miles) I know that you can run these things practically forever and they have less emissions than gasoline cars in 3 out of 5 greenhouse categories and tied in 1. I just wanted to let you guys know about this alternative (comes in Jetta, Golf, Beetle, and Passat) as well, some people just can't wait 9-15 months for a car. (for info on emissions, etc, you can visit

    Whichever car you decide to go with, whether it be Gasoline, Hybrid, or Diesel.....I hope you have the best of luck with it.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    VW diesel is a good alternative, but Volks Wagon has had an continue to have reliability problems, especially electrical. Also the Diesel oil changes are very expensive, $100. And I am not sure what the 2004, maintenance schedule is but it seems previously the timing belt needed to be changed every 40,000 miles. In the Houston area the new 2004, 100hp, TDI Golfs are still not available. Toyota and Honda are much more reliable cars long term. The acceleration of the Volkswagon TDI is interesting, 177 ftlbs low end torque at 1,800 RPM and max RPM of 4,000. Different driving style.

    What VW does offers is sporty ride, excellent brakes and handling, excellent safety features and a variety of features other cars in its class don't have , for example, truly automatic head lights, DRL, and heated side mirrors. Super economy cars like the Prius don't offer these same features in the US.

    If only VW and Audi were more reliable!
  • 2005 prius for sale now. Stealth is when operating on battery only.
  • I think it just boils down to personal preference.....I think that the VW TDIs will give you more engine life than anyone's gas powered engine (total gas power), but I do think that apples for apples...we'll say Corolla, Civic, Sentra, Jetta 2.0 gas..that the Japanese gas cars will be more reliable overall long term.

    As far as the maintainence goes...Oil changes are $45 (at my particular dealer) and the schedule on the diesel is 5K miles, 10K miles, and every 10K after of the primary reasons for the higher price is that the diesel requires synthetic oil. Let's say..for arguments sake, that the average oil change for TDI is $60 and the average for gas engine is $20...well, it is recommended that you get 3 oil changes (every 3k miles) in the gas for every 1 (every 10k miles) you need in the diesel, so I think that it evens itself out. As far as the Timing is scheduled to be changed at 90K miles (2004 model start checking condition @ 60K miles, dunno data on the 2003 and older models)...where as the gas engine is only checked at that mileage.

    Yes, the TDI is a little different driving style than a gas engine...but with it's beefy torque, my TDI (100hp, 177 lb-ft, 5 speed) takes off as quickly as my 1998 Corolla 1.8 (120hp, 122 lb-ft, auto)...not saying much, but it does allow me to get out into traffic. :)

    I think that you're right about some of the things that VW offers the TDI's that aren't offered on other "super economy" cars, and I think that I'll be happier in the long run with the comfort level of the Jetta (frequenty make trips from outside of Chicago to Atlanta and central Iowa to visit family).

    I, too, would like to see the day when VW/Audi rated up there with Toyota & Honda in reliability. Had 102K on my Corolla when I traded it and never had any major problems.....I've also had 3 Nissans that pushed 200k and beyond (84 Sentra sold it at 180K, 88 Maxima was totalled at 274K..yes that is 274K, and 91 Sentra sold it at 198K) they are another manufacturer that I am a big advocate of (I also take pretty good care of my vehicles).

    I hope that nobody thinks I'm in here Toyota bashing, because the "Yota" was an excellent car for/to me....and I would recommend them to a heartbeat. I just posted about the TDIs for those who need a car post-haste and maybe weren't aware of them.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Great information and response. I think the TDI is a good alternative, In fact I had decided to buy a 2003 5-speed GLS Golf TDI with monsoon radio in July 2003. Didn't have heated seats or skid control. We had talked about invoice and when I went to sign the papers, they wanted $300 over and I walked. I subsequently read all the TDI forums and Prius forums and Honda hybrid. I decided I would wait and see about the 100hp TDI Golf, but they didn't show up and I was apprehensive about reliability.

    Oh Yeah the came back and offered it at Invoice, but I didn't buy. I also got answers from the VW service manager that didn't match VWs recommended maintenance schedule. I also have never owned a diesel and I am used to higher performance and it would have been a sacrifice. I am still waiting and putting 30k miles per year on my car.

    Thanks again for your informative review of the TDI Jetta. I really like the utility of a hatchback: best choices now Prius (NO MANUAL SHIFT) , Mazda 3 hatch, Honda Civic Si, VW Golf TDI, RSX- Type S. I took a test drive in a Focus SVT upgrade radio xexons, leather; the salesman gave me the keys. Unless you got on it it was slow, $5,000 off MSRP at the time. Good radio is important to me: VW excellent, SVT excellent, Prius: good, Mazda: poor, Honda: very good.

    Lots of trade offs in mileage, reliability, features and cost.

    As foggy as houston is every morning heated mirrors are important. I also like automatic lights, adjustable seats and MANUAL TRANSMISSION. The Prius doesn't offer some basic fetures and then offer things like Smart Start, Smart entry. Doesn't make sense unless Toyota got the marketing and engineering design departments mixed up.

    VW has one of the best rides and best feature sets of any car out there. Maybe it is the German engineering.


  • Yeah..I initially walked away from the car I bought too....orginally didn't come off the sticker far enough..and obviously didn't do their homework on their trade info (or thought maybe I hadn't). They called me the next day and met my offer no stipulations....and since I had offered it and I'm a man of my word....I bought it.

    The Cold Weather Package is nice (I thought they offered it on the Golf too) with heated front seats, heated spray nozzles and heated mirrors. Living in extreme northern IN (80 miles east of Chicago and 10 miles from the MI border) it will be helpful come next winter (heck I've even used the heated seats in the past three weeks.)

     I haven't had any chance to see how the traction control system (ESP) works...although I do like the fact that you can disable it with the push of a button (like OD on an auto transmission).

    I looked at the Golf..but decided on the Jetta because I have a 3 year old and 2 year old and leather interior is important for me (easier to clean and resists stains better). One of the drawbacks to this particular car is the amount of room in the rear's fine for my kids with their carseats...and teenagers, but I wouldn't want to try and put 6' adults back there...I don't know if the Golf has more room or not.

    The Monsoon sound system is very nice....It's much nice than the MACH audio system in the 1998 Taurus SHO that I had (talk abouot a car that was an electrical nightmare.....had it in the shop 13 times in the first 12 months I owned it for electrical problems..traded it in 2002 for a Galant ESV6..which I still own..with only 13K miles on it).

    I haven't driven the 3...but I always liked the looks and size of the Protege. Think it had the most passenger space of cars in it's class.
  • rpgolferrpgolfer Posts: 157
    Hi gang,
       I reached 3k miles on my '04 Pkg 9. I used 10/30W (what the local dealer uses for our mild climate in the SF Bay Area) and I remember what John1701a recommends is to refill only to a level 1/4" below the full mark on the dispstick . I came up with a good idea when refilling your oil. I scratched a line on the dipstick 1/4" below full and now I have a consistent level to fill to.
        What freeway speeds do you all prefer to drive to get reasonable and optimum mpg? Sometimes I come up with 43 mpg and then again the next tankfull will get only 38 mpg? Is this normal?
  • azstanazstan Posts: 74
    I thought this discussion was:

     Toyota Prius: Prices Paid and Buying Experience
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    The Prius has heated side mirrors.

    And now, back to our regularly scheduled topic...
  • aligrataligrat Posts: 5
    I just picked up my silver package 9 on Earth Day! It was almost 6 months to the day from when I ordered it. Wanted to clear up one thing I said earlier - when it finally got down to the numbers the dealer kept insisting the Homelink mirror was not part of package 9 (contrary to the brochure and website). It was listed as an extra $299 charge. If you notice this extra charge and are buying a package 9 hold to your guns. I finally called 1-800-GOTOYOTA the number I got from this discussion (THANKS Sylvia!)and the gentleman at that number assured me it WAS included. When the dealer finally called me back and gave me the hard numbers it had magically disappeared as an extra charge - he said there are still some "glitches" they are working out. But I had my backup reference# from my call to pursue it if I needed to. I am absolutely totally in love with this car. Let me just reassure those of you still waiting - it most definately is worth the wait if this is the car you want.
    P.S. Galoot - have you gotten yours yet?? Would like to hear from you.
  • galootgaloot Posts: 13
    Congratulations, sounds like it is worth the wait. Yes, I'm still waiting. I will certainly post my final experience when I get one.
    Speaking of Earth Day; we were in Knoxville, TN this weekend and attended an Earth Day celebration. There was a Driftwood parked there that belong to the state of TN. It really looked nice. Still not seeing very many on the road.

    Have fun with yours!!
  • My wife and I test drove the car and loved it. I told the salesman that other dealers were asking for a $3000 premium and had a 5-6 month waiting list. He claimed that they were only charging MSRP and had no waiting lists. Their policy was first come first serve at every weekly allocation they received. After waiting two months for the color and package we wanted, we showed up at the dealer first thing in the morning to close the deal with our salesman.

    Here's what happened. They had a bunch of other Prius customers there in the showroom with all the other salesman. Our salesman fills out the sales information and requests my wife's Driver's License to Photocopy. He starts to write up the sale and shows the price of the car to have a $3000 premium. We dispute it and he insists that he informed us of this at the test drive. He lied. 2 hours later after 2 sales managers had tried to push the premium on us they tell us that the color and package we wanted was already sold and we should hurry up and decide on a different color and pay the $3000 or we wouldn't get a car. We asked for her License to be returned and walked away disappointed.

    The dealer created an artificial frenzied auction type environment to extort the $3000 dollars from each and every customer. Customers that had become strongly attached to the vehicle after waiting months for it. They claimed they had no choice but to ask for it based on supply and demand. Yet during the negotiations they offered us a white car for $1000 less. The night of the test drive they offered us a gold prius for $1000 off. Clearly the $3000 premium was something the dealer charged as they saw fit.

    This is a terrible way to treat customers. Had they told me about the $3000 upfront, they knew I would have walked away to look for another dealer and would not get attached to buying the vehicle from them.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    You're right, it is a terrible way to treat customers. Are you going to complain to Toyota about them?
  • phaworthphaworth Posts: 20
    They are charging $3000 over MSRP in the Fresno, CA area. You can get a car right away.Jump in front of everyone on their waiting list. This is bad business on their part so please do not pay over MSRP. There will be enough cars available sooner then you think. Lots of #9 packages seem to be available. I guess they might finally figure out that some of us do not want the fully loaded car and are willing to wait.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    ...If any salesperson (or manager) "offers" you something for a later time - get it in writing.

    On my recent Lexus purchase we agreed on a "MSRP - $x" price. My salesperson gave me her card with that written on the back of the card and signed.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    I moved a discussion out of the archives on this. You can find it in News & Views at Hybrid vs. Diesel. Please post your comments on this topic in that discussion. This is for Prius prices paid.

  • maramara Posts: 3
    I had same experience shortly after getting car. Last I saw it I had opened door 2x just to put some things inside (and did not notice anything amiss) and then went away. When I came home about two hours later, a neighbor told me that the car was running. And it was. I had not turned it on that day. The dealer told me I must have left it on from when I returned home the PREVIOUS NIGHT and it must have been running all night. I felt very foolish but I also always doubted this - mostly because I don't see how I could not have noticed it running the two times I opened the doors earlier. Because of my uncertainty about what really happened, I deactivated the smart key system and no longer use it even tho I paid extra for it. If you find out that this was NOT just "human error" on our parts and is really a defect in the smart key system, I would very much like to know and will of course share any new info I get with you.
  • rpgolferrpgolfer Posts: 157
    Hi gang,
       I've read your stories of davidnj1 (#2870) and mara's experiences. May I suggest this: When you exit the vehicle for the night/day whatever push the lock buttons on the outside of the car (front doors/hatch). If the "key" is in the car or the car is running doesn't the car give you a "beep" if something is not right? I too, worry about leaving it running or it starting up by itself for fear of $$$ and also carbon monoxide build-up. Any other near-miss stories out there than can be shared?
  • At my service appointment today, I complained about the gas gauge. I filled up when just one mark was showing (should be 10% full -- haha), and it took 7.0 gals. If 90% = 7 gals, then 100%=7.7 gals rather then the owner's manual number of 11.8 gals. That's a huge discrepancy.

    The service manager told me that the reserve was 3 gallons! Adding his 3.0 to my 7.7 gives 10.7 gals as the estimated capacity. Due to bladder contraction/stretching and inexact fill-ups, this could be correct.

    Does anyone know what the "reserve" really is? I have searched my owner's manual without finding it.

    The service manager also predicted dire consequences if I ran out of gas. He said that it would "be very expensive." He suggested that the bladder would get crumpled and would take many tanks of gas to stretch back to full capacity (how is this expensive?) and that the fuel injection system would have to be reprimed. Isn't the pump in the back? Wouldn't it be self-priming?

    Does anyone know what the real consequences of running out of gas are? Has this happened to anyone despite the huge reserve?

    I don't like the idea that I only roughly empty my tank by 1/2 before filling up again -- especially on long trips.

    Real information about the gas gauge and tank will help me considerably and may be useful for others too.

    Thank you.
  • little_pogilittle_pogi Posts: 149
    Remember, this is not your typical ICE installed in your Prius. You must have gotten used to the old system wherein that needle indicator pointing at E means a near empty tank. Toyota engineers must have a good reason why a fill-up is needed when another 3 more gallons is still in the tank. I wouldn't push my luck or see what happens if I run the car untill its empty. Besides 350 miles in between fill-ups is just about any average car will need to go for another fill-up. I'm happy with what I have and there is no need for a layman's explanation on the fuel system.
  • little_pogilittle_pogi Posts: 149
    While driving around the Los Angeles area the last couple of days, I saw 2 car carriers with 4 and 6 new Priuses in it. In each of the last 3 weeks, I also saw a 04 Prius parked in the local Toyota dealer close to my home. Prior to that, it used to be 1 car in 2 months. Looks like a lot of people are finally getting deliveries of their orders. Unfortunately, dealers are still putting mark-ups on new orders.
  • klemmercklemmerc Posts: 3
    I suggest that you visit the dealership in West Springfield on Route 5 and ask for the sales manager - a very straight forward guy. Unfortunately, they are experiencing a 12-14 month wait and may not take your order either.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    It is a problem with the Prius and has been discussed ad infinitum in this forum. To make excuses for the bladder and the inaccuracy of the digital fuel gauge is hilarious, see #2907 for an example. Toyota has a problem and they don't want to address for fear of lawsuits for mistating the capacity.

    While not the best solution, one posed by a Prius Expert, John1701A is to assume you will always have a usable 9 gallon capacity. Then take your average miles per gallon and multiply it by 9. Since most people are getting in the range of 45 mpg , then this equals a range of 405 miles. Just remember to reset your trip odometer.

    Rumors are that Toyota is addressing the problem and will fix the gas gauge issue with the 2005 or 2006 model.


  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Every vehicle has a different gas tank "reserve". My Grand Caravan has a reserve of about five gallons, or 25% of capacity--about the same percentage as the Prius. I don't see any complaints about this being a problem on the Caravan boards here. It's a design feature of the vehicle. It was strange when I first realized the big reserve that van has compared to that of other vehicles I've owned, but once I knew how it worked I took it in stride. And yes, there IS a significant cost to running out of gas, with an ICE vehicle at least, as I found out one day when I did something stupid with the Caravan.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    There is no reserve with my CR-V. When it the needle hits "E", it has 1.5 gallons left. The needle continues down below empty. I've never gotten all the way out of gas, but I did make it to .5 gallons left in the tank one time (put in 14.75 gallons). I feel certain that if I let that needle go all the way to the bottom (as it is seen with the ignition off), it would cough and the engine would die of gas starvation.

    Toyota should fix the Prius gauge. People should know how much gas they have left. That is what trip computers and fuel flow meters are designed for.
  • quasar4quasar4 Posts: 110
    There is no reserve with my CR-V. When it the needle hits "E", it has 1.5 gallons left.

    Er, correct me if I'm wrong...but if you have 1.5 gallons left when the needle hits "E," then don't you have a reserve of 1.5 gallons??
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    When the needle hits "E", it is not finished; it continues on down. This is not a "reserve", it is an accurate fuel guage. I would define "reserve" as meaning that the guage hits bottom and there is still gas left. Perhaps some people are meaning they still have gas left when the needle hits "empty".

    When I see the needle at a certain point, I know almost exactly how much fuel is remaining. The issue is that with the Prius, there is uncertainty. Amazing. A really high tech car that comes with a surprise at the fuel pump (and I don't mean the MPG) - it's like a lottery to try and predict how much fuel the car will hold regardless of what the guage says when you pull into the gas station...
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    I was using "reserve" to mean when the little gas pump lights up, I have five gallons of gas left. It seems to me the "issue" brought up about the Prius' gas gauge is not its inaccuracy, but its pessimism. From the posts I've read over the past six months, it seems pretty consistent that the low-fuel warning comes on at about 3 gallons left in the tank. As long as the behavior is predictable, it should not be a problem for the owner. If the low-fuel light comes on one time at three gallons, another at five, and another at one, then it is a problem.
  • quasar4quasar4 Posts: 110
    When the needle hits "E", it is not finished; it continues on down. This is not a "reserve", it is an accurate fuel guage. I would define "reserve" as meaning that the guage hits bottom and there is still gas left. Perhaps some people are meaning they still have gas left when the needle hits "empty".

    I believe that in a traditional sense and in this context, the word "reserve" means that you have some amount of gas left after the guage reads "empty" As I'm sure you already know, "empty" on the guage is just an arbitrary mark that tells the driver "hey brainiac, you better get some gas in this thing soon before you drain the tank dry and strand yourself."
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