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Toyota Prius



  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    It's fairly easy to argue that Prius comes close to break-even at the 150,000 mile mark.

    Eliminating the Multi-Display, Aluminum Rims, and Automatic Climate-Control would lower the cost by over $1,000.

    At what point does the $$$ number-crunching become senseless, where it's so close that buyers simply don't care?

    Some people aren't interested in saving only a few hundred dollars. And that point, they're more interested in tiny details, like how the vehicle physically feels when sitting in it.

  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi John:

    ___$1,000 isn’t going to cut it as it is not enough to close the gap. You have already stated you expect to take a $7,500 depreciation hit on your 60,000 mile Prius yet saved ~ $400 in fuel over an imaginary 01 Corolla owner. According to the Edmunds Used Car Price guide, the same imaginary clean 01 Corolla owner takes a hit of ~ $5,500 at trade in time. Also according to Edmunds, your used but clean 01 Prius w/ 60,000 will fetch just $12,021 as an average so your estimates are ahead by another $1,000 over what Edmunds says your Prius is worth?.

    ___Would you mind also telling me what you paid in State tax for the purchase of your $20,500 Prius vs. what I would have had to pay on an 01 $14,000 Corolla? Here in Illinois, I would have had to pay an additional $422 for the 01 Prius vs. the 01 Corolla. The Federal Tax break was worth a bit more than that so I would have saved another $100.00 in total. How did you make up the $2,000 - $3,000 depreciation gap with $400.00 savings in fuel and $100 in tax benefit? Take it out over 150,000 and it gets worse due to the battery replacement.

    ___Again, the only reason I got involved in this thread is because someone was estimating the TCO of a Corolla vs. a Prius without using a good TCO comparison.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
    ___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
  • One can't assume that there will be no discount on the Prius after more than, say, six months or so after the debut of the 2004 model. All markets are regional -- and in the case of the region in which I live (southeastern Virginia), 2003 Priuses have been advertised at invoice, plus the $399 or so "processing" BS fee tacked on to cars so they can be advertised more cheaply. Corollas are advertised at about $400 under invoice plus "processing", but the discount for the Prius significantly decreases the cost differential for this assumption. Single-occupant hybrids are allowed to use the HOV lanes in Virginia, which isn't enough to overcome the truck culture around here (and would make no difference to drivers in other areas of Virginia, as the only HOV lanes are here and in the Washington suburbs) but may very well increase demand for Priuses and make the price differential significantly larger in metropolitan Washington.

    Moreover, the actual TCO is also dependent on region. The difference in fuel consumption is much higher for city drivers than for highway drivers, certainly; but one also has to take into account the fact that EPA tests are conducted at an assumed 68°F (if I remember correctly). A highway driver in the South or Southwest may see a larger difference than one in the Northwest, as the air conditioner on a 2004 Prius will make use of the electric generation capacity otherwise unused during highway travel and thus have little or no effect on performance and fuel consumption; whereas a highway driver in a car with an engine-driven air conditioning compressor will see a noticeable performance and mileage decrease when it's 110°F in Phoenix or 90°F and humid in New Orleans or Miami.

    If total cost of ownership is the only criterion when selecting a car, however, a more-economical and even more heavily-discounted Echo would be a better choice than either a Prius or a Corolla, and a gently-driven one- or two-year-old car would be a better choice still. Most new car buyers in prosperous countries have other considerations in mind -- everything from room (the 2004 Prius offers room for four passengers that's comparable to a Camry, although the tapered rear means the back seat is noticeably more squished for five), to acceleration and handling, to styling, to social signifiers. Although the percentage of MSRP (and probably actual street price) retained by a BMW 3-series at resale probably exceeds that of either a Corolla or a Prius, the absolute depreciation cost is higher, and the cost of fuel consumed and maintenance after the included maintenance period will certainly be higher. People still buy them, though, because the driving experience is better and because BMWs have a certain cachet -- both qualities for which substantial numbers of buyers are willing to commit their loan or lease dollars. Environmentally concerned buyers will feel the same way about the Prius, especially since the driving experience of the 2004 model will be far less of a sacrifice compared to other choices than was that of the 2001-2003 model; and there will be a certain "geek chic" associated with the high-tech, lower-impact design.

    So, yeah, for one buyer in one situation for whom only one aspect of a car makes any difference, the 2004 Prius doesn't rate as highly as a 2004 Corolla. Granted, conceded, etc. A single-occupant Prius would consume more fuel per passenger-mile than a Suburban with five occupants in it, too. It's not really a blanket criticism to be leveled at the car, though; it's more akin to someone saying that they really want an all-black interior and, because the Prius doesn't offer it, it's off the list of prospective cars.
  • xcel,

    I was making the assumption that both cars would only last 150,000 total. I did acknowledge that if the Corolla is likely to go further than the Prius w/o needing major repairs (like battery replacement) than the Corolla would be the better choice. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the life of the battery pack. It's "expected life" (whatever that means) is 150k -200k miles. Not wanting to be optimistic I took the lower number.

    I did not say anyone would want to buy a used Prius with 150,000 miles on it. I wouldn't either. I assumed that both cars would need major reapairs or a trip to the junk yard after 150,000 miles. This may not be a valid assumption. Like I said, if the Corolla will go further than 150,000 miles w/o needing junked/major repairs, than my TCO comparison breaks down. I acknowledge your point regarding that.
  • xcel,

    I have only owned used cars so far, so I am not familiar with the ease or lack of ease of paying less than MSRP. Like I said, I had no way of quantifying the price a person would "really pay" for a vehicle. Likewise, I had no way of knowing the mileage a person would "really get," I just went by the EPA estimates. My conclusions are only as good as the numbers that go into it, and if the numbers I see on are not accurate, than my conclusions will not be accurate either.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 428
    Wayne : Welcome to the board.

    1st of all Prius-2004 comes half way between Corolla & Camry in passenger space and luggage capacity, so comparing Corolla with Prius-2004 is not a fair comparison.

    Its almost like comparing Corolla to Echo.

    Also you are taking highway travel alone for mileage, but most of the people do 50 : 50 for highway and city and drive only 12,000 - 15,000 miles / year which means 10-12 years to do the 150,000 miles.

    Better work out the TCO of both Camry & Corolla and take the average and then compare that figure with the TCO of Prius-2004. Now you will get the ROI.

    Lastly with a hatch gate, we can shove in a big TV box / washer / small piece of furniture into Prius-2004 and we cant do this in Camry / Corolla.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > You have already stated you expect to take a $7,500
    > depreciation hit on your 60,000 mile Prius

    Taking the data from a *FIRST* year model sold here in a market that as a whole doesn't have a clue how hybrids work is hardly a representation of what to actually expect years from now.

  • I really doubt that the vast majority of the actual purchasers of the new Prius will buy it based on a reasoned ROI analysis. I am not. I am buying it because I think it should be fun to have something new and different, and, oh by the way, it gets great gas mileage. It is really fun for me to see the extensive analysis to the closest penny you all have attempted on the ROI as compared to another vehicle. I believe that John Q Public will simply look at the mileage (be impressed), ask themselves if they like the car, and if yes, be willing to pay a little more because they want it. If they don't like it, they will probably not buy it inspite of the mileage. All this evaporates though if gas gets close to $3.00 per gallon.....and any ROI becomes a no brainer to John Q Public.....
  • The responses I've gotten about dealerships in
    the Vancouver area, so far:

    1: bought at the New Westminster dealership, serviced in Langley. White Rock dealership is also selling them.

    2: West Coast Toyota (Maple Ridge) has options and pricing info for the Canadian 2004s. (more info than what's on the Toyota Canada web site...)

    good luck!
  • One other consideration is the optional features. In the last year, my list of the absolute essentials has grown: in my next car I feel I must have (a) head-curtain airbags (they reduce injury in side-collisions by almost 50%, according to a new study), (b) skid control, (c) traction control, since I drive in wet conditions a lot, and do about 500 miles a week rain or shine. I can't get features a, b, or C on a Corolla, but I can get all of them on a Prius--therefore, for me the two cars are not really comparable. I can get all three features on a Passat, Camry or top-level Accord, but in each case I'd be paying as much or more than for a Prius. So... for me the Prius is not really much more costly than the viable alternatives--and the hybrid concept excites me more.
    Still ... if anyone knows of cheaper cars that have these three features, I'd appreciate the info, thanks.
  • adp3adp3 Posts: 446
    I want a Prius because I like to make it with hippie chicks.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    the prius is clearly a pure image car. A Camry/Corolla/Echo/Scion is clearly the more economical car to own. Buy hybrid trucks, GM has some comin out in a few years.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Mdmetz:

    ___From the many discussions on the 01/02 Prius’, most are still purchased at MSRP. I was glad to see someone located a Prius for Invoice in the Virginia area but asking the many Prius experts in this forum, the best I have heard of was $500 under MSRP. With the 04 being produced in limited quantities, what do you think the price is going to be in 6 months? The older much less desirable 01/02 Prius went for MSRP over its entire production so why wouldn’t the 04? In the case of the Corolla, $200 or less over invoice is more common than a full MSRP purchase in my experience.

    ___As for regional differences, I might also assume both vehicles are affected by the temp’s in their respective locale. I just received 41.3 mpg over a 622 mile in total commute in the Corolla and the A/C was on 80% over this last stretch. I would assume John’s 01 Prius would receive 48 on the hwy under similar conditions?

    ___A BMW 325? Comparing a BMW is not in the cards. Has the Prius ever been marketed as a sports sedan? An advanced economy car yes but a sports sedan, no? With 12.5 seconds to 60, I think we all know the answer to that question.

    ___I don’t know if Geek Chic will be the answer to sell Hybrid’s for Toyota. Eventually, it all comes down to TCO for the type of car it is. In the case of the Prius and Corolla, the 01 to 01 direct comparisons show which costs more. The average family in the US cannot really afford a $20,500 + economy car but can afford a $13,000 - $15,000 one. When the Hybrid’s cost just $17 to $18K, I will be in line for one as well.

    ___And to wrap, I didn’t create the initial Corolla/Prius comparison post. Once posted however, I wanted to make sure some facts vs. myths were brought to light.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Yerth10:

    ___Thank you for the welcome ... I usually don’t get too involved in the Edmunds forums given the format lacks VBB features similar to where I normally post.

    ___Edmunds has a great spec guide for all to compare the differences between the various Toyota automobiles. The real reason I wrote off the Echo was that it received the same hwy mileage as the Corolla with much less performance, less luxury, and far fewer amenities.

    ___Here is some more info as to the sizes of the 03/04 Corolla, 04 Prius, and 04 Camry.

    03/04 Corolla

    Length: 178.3 in. Width: 66.9 in. Height: 57.7 in. Wheel Base: 102.4 in. Curb Weight: 2590 lbs.

    Front Head Room: 39.1 in. Front Hip Room: 51.9 in. Front Shoulder Room: 53.1 in.
    Rear Head Room: 37.1 in. Rear Shoulder Room: 53.5 in. Rear Hip Room: 46.2 in.
    Front Leg Room: 41.3 in. Rear Leg Room: 35.4 in. Luggage Capacity: 13.6 cu. ft.
    Maximum Cargo Capacity: 14 cu. ft. Maximum Seating: 5

    04 Prius

    Length: 175 in. Width: 67.9 in. Height: 58.1 in. Wheel Base: 106.3 in. Curb Weight: 2890 lbs.

    Front Head Room: 39.1 in. Front Hip Room: 51 in. Front Shoulder Room: 55.3 in.
    Rear Head Room: 37.1 in. Rear Shoulder Room: 53 in. Rear Hip Room: 51.6 in.
    Front Leg Room: 41.9 in. Rear Leg Room: 38.6 in. Luggage Capacity: 16.1 cu. ft.
    Maximum Cargo Capacity: 16 cu. ft. Maximum Seating: 5

    04 Camry

    Length: 189.2 in. Width: 70.7 in. Height: 57.9 in. Wheel Base: 107.1 in. Curb Weight: 3142 lbs.

    Interior: Front Head Room: 39.2 in. Front Hip Room: 54.4 in. Front Shoulder Room: 57.5 in.
    Rear Head Room: 38.3 in. Rear Shoulder Room: 56.7 in. Rear Hip Room: 54.1 in.
    Front Leg Room: 41.6 in. Rear Leg Room: 37.8 in. Luggage Capacity: 16.7 cu. ft.
    Maximum Cargo Capacity: 17 cu. ft. Maximum Seating: 5


    ___The first thing most should notice is the size of the Camry in comparison to any of the above. Except for head room and exterior height, the Camry is in a whole other league with greater room in almost every dimension by comparison. Saying the 04 Prius is a mid size car is rather cagey given it’s the Hatchback that receives its midsize classification because of its cubic ft more than likely vs. the actual size of the interior/exterior as shown above. What would a Corolla hatchback be rated as? The current Corolla is already 3” longer than the 04 Prius and only 1” thinner?

    ___Second, the 04 Prius received a large bump in rear leg room probably? due to the hatchback design. With the 03/04 Corolla being longer by 3.3” yet having lesser rear leg room, that seems like a reasonable assumption.

    ___Jchan2, I am looking at all the next generation Hybrid’s for my next vehicle. Being a Landscaper, a Green machine (ULEV-II/SULEV/PZEV) does have its benefits and I cannot wait ... Our 03 MDX is rated as a ULEV II and given the mileage I receive from it, I am very happy as you can well imagine :)

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Lexus RX400H. Starts at $40K however, so you may just want another Corolla.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    has all those incentives working for you too. My area offers $800 cash or 0.0 APR for 36 months.
  • pb17pb17 Posts: 33
    Are sunroofs out with the Prius? They could manually operated to save weight.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Jchan2:

    ___Many Acura MDX owners including myself are following the RX400 info as it’s released. Unfortunately, the RX is a much smaller vehicle in comparison to the MDX so most are waiting for the MDX Hybrid instead. It will probably be released in 05 instead of 04 however :(

    ___As for the Corolla, I already own an 03 LE w/ Auto and won’t be looking for a new one for another 200,000 – 240,000 miles or more ... Unless a real deal comes along that is ;)

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Here's Honda Hybrid portfolio:
    Civic Hybrid
    Odyssey????? (06-07)
    MDX????? (05-06)
    NSX Replacement: (06-07)
    RDX (Luxury, active lifestyle CRV) (06 at the earliest)
     Here's Toyota:
    Sienna Hybrid (05,06)
    Whatever Toyota plans, I'm sure there's more.
  • The comparison edge will truly depend on the needs of the individual customer. The Prius will have its niche and I think it will be very successful. Functionality has never been a feature of a hybrid vehicle, but it is now for 2004.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Ford Escape Hybrid
    Lexus RX400H
    Toyota Prius
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Eventually, it all comes down to TCO for the
    > type of car it is.

    Since when? Solara is a specialty model of Camry. Why can't Prius be thought of the same way, especially since it already fits the criteria?

    Personally, that's the way I prefer it too. The hybrid versions of Camry & Corolla will likely be toned down quite a bit, concealing the technology rather than giving you all the goodies like Prius does.

    > Camry is in a whole other league with greater
    > room in almost every dimension by comparison

    Ahh... both front & back leg room is *GREATER* in Prius. And dropping the seats it Prius gives in much *MORE* cargo space, especially when you consider how much more practical the extra height is.

    > The current Corolla is already 3” longer than
    > the 04 Prius

    The hybrid system takes less room than a priustoric engine in a traditional vehicle, so of course it shorter.

  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi John:

    ___The 04 Prius is an economy car isn’t it? That being said, I don’t see any other Toyota models available in a hatchback. I would love to own the 04 Prius or an 04 Corolla hatchback or station wagon w/ the Prius’ 1.5 L engine alone without the electrics and LCD for $15K or less given that is ~ what it should cost minus the Synergy drive? 51 or more mpg w/ SULEV ratings (on the hwy anyway?) and at a cost all of America could afford.

    ___The Camry is bigger in almost every other dimension by quite some margin. If you think otherwise, your 01 Prius is only a bit smaller than the 04 Prius and ~ the size of the Corolla (interior only). Now go sit in a Camry and you know it’s a larger vehicle. Remember when they made the Corolla and Camry station wagon’s? Even an economy car like the Ford Focus station wagon has a maximum cargo capacity of 73 cu. ft. w/ Luggage capacity of 35 (double that of the 04 Prius). Kind of makes the 04 Camry and Prius look like clown cars but in reality, we know it’s still a compact and it isn’t even a comparable automobile given its poor build quality and much lower EPA mileage estimates.

    ___Something else I wanted to add to the conversation as well. Given the new Lexus LS430 supposedly has a Cd of .25, why doesn’t the new Prius or any of the other Toyota economy cars have an even better Cd? That new Lexus flagship looks like a brick in comparison?
    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > The 04 Prius is an economy car isn’t it?

    Clearly, a quality comparison is needed. Just looking at the fabric alone you'll see that Prius is much higher quality... not something you'd find in other "economy" cars.

    > you know it’s a larger vehicle

    How? The numbers don't support that.

    > Given the new Lexus LS430 supposedly has a Cd of .25,
    > why doesn’t the new Prius or any of the other Toyota
    > economy cars have an even better Cd?

    Check the price tag. Lexus is owned by Toyota. Better costs you more.

  • tag9tag9 Posts: 39
    >>The 04 Prius is an economy car isn&#146;t it?<<

    Well, considering you can load the thing up with DVD Nav, HID headlamps, 9-speaker JBL audio w/6-disc CD changer, keyless entry, Homelink universal remote, VSC, etc. and, as a result, run the MSRP close to $26k, I'd have to say, "not exactly".
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Tag9:

    ___Good Point. Do you remember the Cadillac Cimarron? A lux economy car that was just a Chevy Cavalier underneath with a few more luxury amenities?

    ___Adding any/all of those options to an economy car based Prius still makes it an economy car with that many more options. Should Toyota start adding all of the above to the Echo and Corolla as well? Would HID&#146;s and a NAVI setup make the Corolla something more than an economy car? Than again, you can load up a Corolla with a Sun Roof, Leather, and Security System making it an Economy car with even more options as well.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • tag9tag9 Posts: 39
    >>Would HID&#146;s and a NAVI setup make the Corolla something more than an economy car? Than again, you can load up a Corolla with a Sun Roof, Leather, and Security System making it an Economy car with even more options as well.<<

    One can get leather (such as it is), sunroofs, and security systems on a number of, well, let's say low-priced cars. It's much more difficult, though, to find economy cars that offer the likes of HID's, NAV's, and premium audio systems; those features are (usually) only available on more expensive vehicles.

    My point is that Toyota seems to be marketing the Prius to a somewhat different audience than buyers of plain vanilla economy cars; there's some kind of prestige factor going on here.
  • --I really doubt that the vast majority of the actual purchasers of the new Prius will buy it based on a reasoned ROI analysis--
     i agreed with funpilot. i didn't purchase my '02 prius because of the ROI factors. i traded in a '00 mercedes wagon because i hated sitting in traffic for 45-60 minutes each way on my comuting route (washington dc rush). i bought the prius because i could take the HOV lane alone and cut down my commute time to 15-20 minutes each way.

    "The size class for cars is determined by measuring the interior volume as described below. ....
    Two-Seaters Cars designed to seat primarily two adults
    MInicompact Less than 85 cubic feet of passenger and luggage volume
    Subcompact Between 85 and 99 cubic feet of passenger and luggage volume
    Compact Between 100 and 109 cubic feet of passenger and luggage volume
    Mid-Size Between 110 and 119 cubic feet of passenger and luggage volume
    Large 120 or more cubic feet of passenger and luggage volume
    Small Less than 130 cubic feet of passenger and cargo volume
    Mid-Size Between 130 and 159 cubic feet of passenger and cargo volume
    Large 160 or more cubic feet of passenger and cargo volume


    The passenger volume reported on [] is an estimate of the size of the passenger compartment. The luggage volume is the size of the trunk or, in station wagons and hatchbacks, the cargo space behind the second seat.
    The interior volume is measured using SAE Recommended Practice J1100 as per EPA Fuel economy regulations, reg. 40 CFR 600.315-82 "Classes of Comparable Automobiles." Automobile manufacturers calculate the interior volume of their vehicles and submit this information to EPA.

    The SAE procedure calculates interior volume from many height, width and length dimensions inside the vehicle, including head room, foot room, seat width, etc. The trunk volume is typically determined by putting many suitcase sized boxes in the trunk and adding up the volume of each box.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 428
    Wayne : Based on your posting in #329, I found that Prius-2004 is
    * bigger than Corolla-2004 in nearly 5 factors like Front shoulder room, Front leg room, etc
    * Smaller than Corolla in 2 factors - Front hip room & Rear shoulder room
    * and same in 2 factors - Front head room & Rear head room

    In exterior - Prius-2004 is short in length but more in width - so 1:1.

    With this we can come to the conclusion that Prius-2004 is bigger than Corolla-2004.

    You should take into account that we can put a 25 inch TV box, washer, etc in Prius-2004, but not in Camry.

    3 days ago I bought a coffee table (4 feet wide), it just did not go into the trunk of my olds-cutlass which is slightly bigger than Camry.
    Had it been Prius-2004, it should have moved like a piece of cake.
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