I’ve had a 1999 honda CRV for 5+ years with no problems–except I’d love better gas mileage. Should I buy a Prius–new? I never bought a new car … but this one sounds amazing. EXCEPT–WHAT’S UP WITH THE BRAKE PROBLEMS? Is it an urban myth that the Prius has major life-threatening break issues? Or is it real? Poor safety is a deal-breaker for me–even if it gets 50+ mpg. Advice very much appreciated!! Thanks.
I Would look into battery lifetime expectancy and replacement cost.
And, you should bear in mind that the major gas mileage advantage of a Prius or other hybrid is only achieveable if you do mostly urban driving. Once you are at highway speeds, a hybrid has very little advantage in terms of gas mileage–certainly not enough of an advantage to offset the higher purchase price of a hybrid.
Also, during the winter, the gasoline engine has to run virtually 100% of the time in order to produce heat for the cabin. Once the gasoline engine is running full time, the mpg advantage of a hybrid is essentially gone.
You should really look at conventional economy cars in addition to hybrids.
Look at the Honda Fit, the Nissan Versa, and the Hyundai Accent. They cost FAR less than a Prius and may actually get gas mileage equivalent to the Prius, depending on your usual driving conditions and the climate in your region.
What have you heard about brake issues? What generation Prius are they related to? My brother has owned one of every generation Prius to date and they have all done well in San Diego. They have improved the transition from braking by regenerating electricity then moving to the traditional braking. It is smoother in each generation of the Prius, but has never been a safety issue to my knowledge.
Many Prius owners in hilly areas report excellent brake pad life as much of the braking is done by regenerating electricity and recharging the batteries when you slow down. If the Prius is the right size car for you and you like driving it I won’t worry too much about the braking systems. You’ll have a new car warranty as well.
The brakes work a bit differently, since they first activate the regenerative braking using the electric motors before using the actual hydraulic brakes. I’ve heard that they are a bit unnerving to the uninitiated, but the owners quickly get used to it.
I looked up some articles on it, and the problem seems to be in the way the regenerative system works. For slight the moderate braking, the regenerative system is used. BUT, if there is a problem, like one article mentioned hitting a pothole while braking, and another mentioned ice, the regenerative system kicks out, and the braking effect disappears. Panicked drivers, who believe the brakes have failed, stomp the brakes, and activate the hydraulic brakes and the ABS system if the tires try to lock up.
Another article, this one in a forum, had a guy with intermittent problems with the regen brakes kicking in and out and just not being reliable due to a computer glitch.
In all cases, the hydraulic brake system wasn’t a failure, and the cars never failed to stop once the hydraulic brakes were used. But, the pedal has to travel further to use the hydraulic brakes because of the way the regen brakes work.
Are you willing to pay $20k or so to double MPG? Seems hardly a reason the get a new car when you have one that works well at the moment. I would wait till you have a better reason to move on.
I think you should go to a dealer and take a test drive in a Prius to see how you like it and how the brakes work. I have a good friend that has a Prius and thinks it’s wonderful. He has made 1500 mile trips in the car and averages about 50 mpg on the road. I’ve driven the car and haven’t noticed anything unusual about the brakes. My friend has over 60,000 miles on his Prius–I think it is a 2006. The institution where I teach has four 2009 Prius cars in its fleet. I don’t know how they are working out, but they are used for highway travel. You are the one who will be driving the car.
My brother has owned one of every generation Prius to date and they have all done well in San Diego.
That statement doesn’t seem to bolster confidence in it’s reliability. It’s only been around since 2001 and your brother has owned 3 of them. Why does he keep buying a new one…What’s wrong with the old ones??? Is he putting 50k miles/year on them???
I’m NOT saying the Prius isn’t reliable…I’m sure it is. Everything I’ve read says it is…but just that your brother keeps buying a new one after only 2-3 years seems suspicious. I have a different definition of reliability.
My brother is an early adopter of all things technical. He has is an engineer with a doctor’s degree from RPI. He has invented lots of stuff. He worked on reentry heat shields many years ago, curved mirrors for focusing sunlight for power generation, and now has several patents on solar energy products which is builds and sells.
All his previous Prius’s are nearby. 1 is driven by his son. Another by an employee of his company. One was sold by his son to a neighbors college age daughter who works in his business on breaks from college. He knows the current status of each of the Pruis cars he has owned. He also bought one of the first Highlander hybrids that was sold in San Diego. All these hybrid vehicles have been very reliable, no battery issues, and I rode in the older 2nd generation Prius a few months ago and as a passenger if felt rock solid.
While there have been a few reports of unusual braking behavior with the 2010 model, it doesn’t sound like a major problem. Read more about it here:
Test drive one. Battery is warranteed for 8 years, 100,000 miles, unless it’s California, which is 10 years, 150,000 miles. While mileage is down at highway speeds, I got 54 mpg on a long highway trip, 2 months ago. 57 mpg is obtainable in city/traffic driving. This with my 2010 for three months. No problem with brakes.
If you do a lot of urban driving, you should get one.
You don’t have to buy a Prius to get better gas mileage. A Corolla or a Civic will go a lot farther on a gallon than what you are driving now…
Clearly VDCdriver has no experience with a Prius.
A Prius will get better MPG in urban driving than on open interstate. So what if one only gets 45 MPG at 70 MPH on interstate and 50+ MPG commuting?
A Prius will consume more fuel in the winter than in the summer. Then engine will run more when the heater is on than when off but there is nothing preventing you from turning the heater off when the engine is not being used to pull the car. Even when the engine is running the Prius sips fuel.
You should always look at everything on the market. Then buy the one that amuses you the most. I think I traded UP (my Prius continually amuses me) from a 2000 Avalon XLS (bought new, excellent but boring car) to a 2007 Prius (also purchased new). The Prius cost $5000 less than the Avalon, not counting 7 years of inflation.
If poor safety is a deal breaker then I ask you how you think your prius would hold up in an accident against any SUV? I have been down this road before and there are too many large vehicles out there with idiot drivers for me to justify owning a small prius. If I was single with no family who relied on me then maybe I would own one.
When braking lightly only regen is used until one slows to 7 MPH. Then the friction brakes are phased in and the transition is not perfect. It feels about the same as an automatic transmission downshifting. Others have wrongly claimed the brakes “grab”.
Having driven many different vehicles the past 35 years, the brakes on every single one has been different from any of the others. The Prius isn’t that much different. If you always brake hard the Prius brake feel is no different than anything else, its only different if you brake lightly.
The brakes on my 2001 Sonoma are a fright if it hasn’t been driven for a month.
Conversely the brakes on my 2008 F-250 SuperDuty Powerstroke are the model of perfection. Always perfectly predictable.
You can say that for ANY small vehicle…not just a Prius.
Try a diesel. I was getting 38 mpg (UK) out of my 335d (3.0 litre twin tirbo diesel) in a mix of urban and freeway. Add in 0-60 of 6.1 seconds and 155mph now that was really amusing! But seriously I don’t know if the smaller european diesels are available in the USA but some versions of the VW Polo, Mini D, etc. will crack over 60 mpg and still a hoot too drive. As ever try before you buy. But modern diesels are quiet, refined, punchy and frugal.
If I understand correctly, you have a car which is paid for, and running well.
Strange things are happening in the economy.
Contemplate what a mess you would be in if you lose your job? Especially if you must borrow money to pay for that car, but even using up limited savings could be a bummer if you need the cash to live on.
There can be other issues besides gas mileage to think about when buying a new car.
For most people, gas is not their primary expense on a car. Unless you commute 70 miles a day.
Do you want better gas mileage for it’s own sake or to save money? If you want to save money, keep the CR-V until you start to develop problems. If you need to get a loan to buy the Prius, the cost of ownership is even higher. BTW, how many miles do you have on the CR-V?