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Should I buy a used Prius?

Dear car friends,

I’ve been shopping for a used Honda CRV, 2007. But they’re really expensive: $17000 for 40-50,000 miles. Maybe I should get a Prius? The used ones are cheaper and get so much better gas mileage. I’m interested in Safety and Reliability first, then mileage, then amenities. Is it crazy to get a Prius after all the recalls?

Many thanks for advice.

Ask how long the battery pack is guaranteed to last, then find out how many thousands of dollars it will cost to replace the battery packs.


If a Prius is an option, how about a used Fit? Or Civic?

A used Prius could be OK, but more likely has been traded because the previous owner had some issues with it. Also, as mentioned, there is no certainty how long the battery will last, since you don’t know the car’s history.

You can buy a new Hyundai Accent or Honda Fit for the same amount as a used Prius that’s a few years old. That will give you good gas mileage, good reliability and low operating cost, and you don’t have the $3000 battery replacement bill to contend with.

In other wors, a used Prius is OK if you personally know the ownmers and know they have maintained this vehicle by the book, and it has turned out to be not a lemon.

Forget about the accelerator/brakes panic. That would never stop me from buying a particular car.

Thanks for the suggestions of the Accent or Fit … My concerns are with safety because of the size of the Fit. I’ve been driving a Honda CRV and feel relatively safe in it … I wouldn’t mind a smaller car in terms of what I can carry in it, etc. but I’m worried about going to a smaller car because of all the big cars on the road.

I’m kind of surprised that a Prius would be that much cheaper than a similar CR-V-- they used to hold their value extremely well. Maybe between the economy, the recall hysteria and the (relatively) lower gas prices the bottom has dropped out of the used market for these.

The bottom line with a Prius, new or used, is that they’ve proven to be extremely reliable for a piece of new technology, but because they are more complex, there’s more to go wrong. To put it another way, with a normal car there’s pretty much two expensive components that can fail-- the engine or the transmission. On a Prius, you’ve got those, but you’ve also got a battery, a generator, and inverter and an electric motor, any of which will also be very expensive potentially car-totaling repairs. While the track record of the Prius and hybrids in general has shown that none of these components are very likely to go out, there is still more risk of a major expensive repair than with a conventional car.

It should also be noted that you only really get the benefit of the hybrid system if you do a lot of stop and go driving-- if you do mostly highway driving you’ll be disappointed with the mileage you actually get.

Prius is likely reliable but also very expensive & complex to fix.

As far as recalls nothing really wrong with getting a car after addressed. Better than many car makers who hide out and wait it out. Toyota is ready to correct defects now.

Have you considered a RAV4?

NIce thing about most priuyses is that they have always been dealer maintained due to the complexity of the system, so you can usually fget a full service readout from any (toyota) dealer.

“Forget about the accelerator/brakes panic. That would never stop me from buying a particular car.” A rather cavalier attitude, wouldn’t you say?

That gives credence to old saying, " There are bold drivers and old drivers, but very few old bold drivers."