Need advice NOW!

I need advice on a used car purchase. My wife just pulled up to my office with a used 2005 Prius with 37,000 miles. This is being offered by a dealer with the remaining warranty in effect. Basically 2 more years and 23,000 miles on the cynergy system. They are asking $22,000 for it. New ones can be purchased for $27,000 if you want to wait 3 months. Is the used vehicle worth it??? She wants to buy now…

IMHO not worth it financially in any shape or form.

However this is your wife, I think I heard something like happy wife equals happy life…

Uh-huh or, “if momma ain’t happy, nobody is”.

However, the Prius has built quite a reputation in the reliability field (or so some people claim). I don’t know that much about them to voice a sensible answer.

You can check the latest edition of Consumer Reports.

Do a carfax on it to make sure it hasn’t been crashed, etc. Surprisingly low miles…

Just in my opinion-NOPE. I wouldn’t do it. I know some people like them but the only thing they are good for is mileage in traffic. They are under-sized, under-powered, and high tech which means high repair/maintenance cost. For less money or the same, you can get a Camry or something similar that gets nearly as good mileage, is more versatile, comfortable, and will have a higher resale value. You can get new iron now for 0%-2% in whatever color you want with a 50K warrenty. Just not cost justified, plus if you ever have to get cut out of one, you have to watch the high voltage wire running through the things.

The bumper to bumper warranty on a Toyota is only 3/36, so that has expired. The powertrain warranty is 5/60, I think this is what the dealer is referring to, so if non-powertrain items break you have to pay for it. A new Prius will have the full warranty and hopefully no hidden issues. I don’t think its worth 22k, but that’s only my opinion.

Good luck,

Ed B.

I have a good friend who has a Prius that is either a 2005 or 2006. At this point, the Prius has 56,000 miles with no problems. There are 4 of us that take turns driving to a band rehearsal–25 miles round trip. I find the car comfortable and it will hold 4 people and our instruments–2 French horns, one trumpet and one trombone. I’m 6’ 2" tall and I am comfortable in the back seat. I’ve driven the car on occasion and it drives well in my opinion.

I can’t comment about the price. Back in 2003, my wife wanted a Toyota 4Runner which we purchased. At the time, I wasn’t sure that was the vehicle to buy, but it has gotten us through some heavy snows where a car wouldn’t make it, and the gas mileage is better than most SUV vehicles of the same size.

They are under-sized, under-powered, and high tech which means high repair/maintenance cost.

Everything I’ve read about them…they have MORE then enough power.

As for high repairs…BULL…High-tech does NOT mean higher repairs…In fact in this case…there should be LESS repairs. In fact the repair records for these vehicles are far better then almost any car out there. The electric motor should last 10-100 times longer then ANY internal combustion ever made. The regenerative braking system means less wear and tear on the brakes. Overall…maintenance should be LESS (and proven so far to be true) then a conventional vehicle…this includes all other toyota’s.

I want to echo what MikeinNH said. The Prius is actually a roomy car, especially when you consider the outside dimensions, and Consumer Reports has found it to extremely reliable, i.e.–“MUCH better than average”.

As to its power, the Prius accelerates to 60 mph in the same time as the following vehicles:

Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner (NOT the hybrid version)
Dodge Grand Caravan
Hyundai Elantra
Mazda 5

The Prius accelerates to 60 mph faster than the following vehicles:

Jeep Wrangler
Jeep Patriot
Honda Pilot
Honda Fit
Hummer H3
Toyota Yaris
Hyundai Accent

It is fine to criticize, but it is important to get one’s facts correct before making those criticisms.

None of those vehicles are particularly quick. As a matter of fact the vehicles listed are about the slowest vehciles you can buy. The Pilot is faster than the Prius. 9.7-10.5 seconds Vs. 8.1-8.6 seconds. The Fit is faster to 60 MPH by about a second. The H3 Alpha with the V8 will blow it’s doors off. The Prius’s accleration also dependent upon the battery being charged, should the battery become discharged (from going up a mountain for example) then the performance drops off significantly until it is charged back up. I’m not saything it happens all the time, but it is a possibility.

Blue book lists the car as having a value of 21,900 (gooc condition) 23,175 (excellent condition) for a private party sale. Sounds like the asking price is reasonable.

Take the car to another dealership(within a reasonable distance) and have them perform a used car inspection on this car. If that inspection comes up clean, then it’d be worth it, if not, pass on it. I wouldn’t put much faith in CarFax like someone mentioned, it can be a waste of money if you rely solely on the report.

I also agree with Mike. Personally I would not buy one, but only for reasons relating to me and my use of a car. I also don’t think it really is any great winner as far as mileage and the environment. Not that is it bad, just not as great as some seem to think. However it appears that the did an outstanding job on developing the technology and producing a viable car with very very few new technology problems. I am impressed.

Aren’t there some expensive electric steering concerns with the Prius?

None of those vehicles are particularly quick

No one ever said the Prius was quick…Just that it’s NOT underpowered. You want underpowered…Try one of the first Caravans with the 4-cylinder…or the 80’s series s-10 with the Anemic 2.8l V6.

Personally I think it is a lot of hype for what people think they are buying but buy what you like. That’s why there are different models out there.

But why would you pay $22K for a three year old car with 36K on it when you can buy a new one for $27? If you are going to run it to 100K, you will put 63,000 miles on it for a cost of 35 cents per mile. Buy a new one and you will put 100,000 miles on it for a cost of 27 cents a mile. Whoever just traded it put 37,000 miles on it for 14 cents a mile. Makes no sense. Buy a new one whatever you want, drive it for 30K and sell it for $5000 less as long as there are still desperate buyers.

I’ve driven my share of underpowered cars, My state-provided work car is pretty anemic (2001 Ford Taurus wagon w/ 3.0 Vulcan) I’m supposed to be getting a new(er) Crown Vic P71 as a replacement soon. When the transmission went south on my Bronco I was forced to endure a Chevy (Geo) Metro for two days. When I went out west for a ski trip last year I rented a Dodge Caliber (a terrible car). While I have never driven a Prius. I can say that I have raced one in the stoplight grand prix . I was driving a 1974 Triumph TR6. Which has about 105 HP stock. Ours has triple Webers, has been bored out to 2.7L, roller rocker arms, and a slightly more aggressive cam. So we’ll call it 130 HP. After the first 10 yards the Prius was behind. By today’s standards the TR6 is not very fast. Yet it was quick enough to dispatch a Prius.

I believe what Bing meant was not higher repair and/or maintenance but higher repair/maintenance COSTS. There is a certain amount of truth to this.

I am not going to say to buy or not to buy but I certainly hope your wife did not tell the dealer she loves the car or show any kind of happy emotion. On a “normal” car that would reduce your negotiating (spelling) power, although on this car you will not have much leverage since these cars are selling like hotcakes.

Yup! These problems can cost a couple of thousand $$ to repair.