To Prius or not to Prius?

Sorry, I should have edited my post. I’ll try to edit my posts as carefully as I have edited the papers I’ve submitted and had published. I don’t teach English.
It may be possible to get an entire university administration into an Oldsmobile Cutlass. The Cutlass has more room than a Honda Accord and in the Bible in the book of Acts, it states that the disciples all came together in one Accord. Somehow, these 11 remaining disciples must have been able to squeeze into the Accord.

By the way, the institution where I teach is not funded by property tax revenues, but by state taxes and tuitition.

I’m uncertain: are you

(a) Unaware that tire/tyre, like color/colour, has a spelling variant, dependent upon what variety of “English” one speaks, OR

(b) Aware of this, but trying to make some sort of political statement by “hatin’” on the British spelling?

Tires DO age by time as well as by mileage, with two of the determining criteria being ozone% and sunlight exposure. My Contour (owned for several years as an emissions test car that was idled, but never driven) suffered delamination of the tread on old tires with little milage to their name.

I once owned a 1990 Ford Aerostar. The transmission had to be rebuilt and the engine had to be replaced. Fortunately, the Aerostar was on warranty at the time. However, I really liked that Aerostar much better than the three minivans that followed: 1) Ford Windstar; 2) Chevrolet Uplander; 3) Toyota Sienna. I had no major problems with these three vans, but I still prefered the Aerostar over its successor.

Statistically, the Prius is supposed to be very reliable based on owner reports, and you’ll always find negative reports online.

However, I do believe the “smug” factor is influencing some of those reports. Every Prius owner I know has bragged endlessly about their vehicles, and I’d wager some of that carrys over to reporting problems.

We have one in our extended family - a first generation example. Toyota has been very good about fixing many of its problems outside of warranty, which is good - because this car has had several problems that would have been VERY, VERY, VERY expensive to fix otherwise. Even so, its brake system failed prematurely, even with proper maintenance, and Toyota didn’t cover that bill, to the tune of nearly $2,000…

Check other non-hybrid cars of the same vintage and mileage, and then ask yourself if the Prius is worth it. The battery pack is only warranted for 70,000 miles (I think this is still true) and one of the mechanics I use had a Prius in the shop for state inspection that had the check engine light on, so it wouldn’t pass state inspection. The Prius operated fine, and it turned out that the problem was that if the voltage reading in the different cells of the battery pack were not within a certain range of each other, the CEL would come on. The only fix was a new battery pack costing north of $2500.00. That one thing will send all of your fuel savings from owning a hybrid down the toilet in a real hurry.

So ask yourself - Is it worth the risk when other cars that are not a hybrid will get about the same mileage? I hope this helps.

If I were a betting man, I’d bet you are wrong. That is a common putdown to Toyota owners, that they are lying about repairs, and that Toyotas have as many problems as US junk.

That one thing will send all of your fuel savings from owning a hybrid down the toilet in a real hurry.

Actually no it won’t. The batteries last a very long and are warrantied to 100k miles. So if you need to buy one every 100k miles…then it could still be a major savings. But as I said above…it all depends on your type of driving…and you know what your commute will be like in the future.

I read about a guy who bought a Civic Hybrid…His commute was perfect for the car…Then he got a new job and MOST of his driving was now highway.

Mike - that response was blissfully ignorant of the problem psanzone referred to. The vehicle there was working just fine… but because the voltage wasn’t near identical in each cell, it turned the CEL on.

In some states, you simply cannot renew your vehicle registration without passing an inspection, and you won’t pass the inspection with the CEL on. So even with a vehicle running just fine, the owner still had to pay for a new battery just to be allowed to operate the car. That cost blows away their fuel savings.

The one we have in our extended family would have racked up north of $5000 in repairs over 8 years, along with about 2 months spent in the shop… but thankfully Toyota covered all but $2000 or so in repairs… which is still a heck of a lot for a newer car.

I don’t buy the hype that the batteries are constantly needing replacement - but that does not mean that the vehicles are cost-effective.

Back before WW II, the luxury car to own was a Packard. Packard’s advertising slogan was “Ask the man who owns one”. I think that is good advice when you consider a Prius. I don’t own one. I have a friend who has a Prius and likes it. I have ridden in his Prius and have driven it on occasion. That is the only valid information I can give you about a Prius. Anything more that I would say really doesn’t have much meaning. Take the advice of the Packard Motor Company and “Ask the man who owns one”.

The population you reading from is likely less than 5% of owners. And the likely case is a very vocal set. Lastly Prius owners are more internet savvy and the posting gets out.

Misery loves company and these sites are an outlet for them.

Well, speaking from the experience I’ve had with co-workers, there may be some truth to it.

Two co-workers, in particular - one has an 02 Taurus. He can’t stop talking about how much he hates the car. He truly despises it. He says he desperately wants a Honda. But when you ask him what is wrong with the Taurus, he admits it has never needed a repair - he just doesn’t like it… he liked his old Honda better, even though it had needed repairs. Obviously he wouldn’t report a problem with the Taurus, but would he overlook a problem with the Honda that he loved?

But a better example is the other co-worker, who had a 96 Taurus. It needed some minor repairs - a window motor, an idler pulley, and a spot weld to hold a heat shield in place. He despised the car. Said it was “always” breaking down on him. But in 13 years of owning that car, those are the three repairs he had. Meanwhile, he praised his Odyssey, which he said “never” had problems. However, if you pushed him on his story, he told you this:

  1. He really resented the Taurus because the idler pulley failed on him, and left him stranded on the side of the road, which his Odyssey never had done… but then he added “well I now know what that noise is I’d been hearing”… in other words, by neglecting an obvious warning sign, he helped cause that preventable tow.

  2. That Odyssey was far from perfect. He hadn’t paid over $200 in repairs on it (about what the Taurus had cost). But it was on its third transmission, with Honda having paid for the two replacements.

Now, would he be honest in his reports on Consumer Reports? He wasn’t upfront and honest when telling the stories to his co-workers…

I don’t buy the hype that the batteries are constantly needing replacement - but that does not mean that the vehicles are cost-effective.

What I’m saying is…even if you have to replace the battery it can still be very cost effective.

If Toyota is warranting the battery for 100k miles…it’ll probably easily last 150k miles…so if you keep your vehicle 300k miles…and ONE battery replacement…the cost will not offset the gas savings.

"Me, I’ll stick to a manual shift conventional Honda Civic. If I lived in CA and in particular San Francisco I’d go with a Prius. "

I think there were complaints filed against the Prius because the MG1 was not powerful enough to take a Prius up some SF hills in reverse. They reprogramed the cars, but reverse power would be reduced if the gas engine needs to recharge the battery while in reverse.

It is a shame that they killed the Honda Civic Hybrid MT; they actually beat the EPA highway mileage.

I have a brother who bought a 2009, was so impressed after a couple months driving it, bought another to replace his other car. Loves them both. Now, I might add he lives in the Phoenix area. He doesn’t have to deal with snow, ice, cold, etc. I couldn’t say how this car performs in those conditions if that’s what you have to drive in.

That’s a fair statement, Mike…

But absolutely have to have the right driving needs and habits to make it financially responsible… and being able to ignore small problems like psanzone’s referred problem may be critical to getting the finances to work. Thankfully in OH we no longer have to pass an inspection yearly, so that sort of minor problem is not an issue.

In one respect, my driving habits would be perfect for a Prius - 100% city traffic. However, it is only 25 miles per day, 5 days per week, plus a little extra here and there to add up to about 7,000 miles per year. Even at $5 per gallon, I’m better off with a traditional compact sedan - the payback for a Prius vs. a Focus in my case is 12-15 years.

The buyers these cars make sense for are:

  1. Someone who drives a moderately high amount of city miles per year (15,000+, in most cases)
  2. Someone who drives an obscene amount of total miles per year (since the savings on highway mpg is much lower)

You should also look out for people posting the same story on numerous sites.

EVERY car make and model has its horror stories on the net. When I was shopping for a car, I kept seeing the same person pop up over and over again with his story of engine failure in his Mazda6. The usernames were near identical, and the stories were 100% identical. I’d guess 25% + of the complaints I found online about this “problem” were from this one person.

To my knowledge, those people I’m referring to have had zero problems. And one of those is a car with over 80,000 hard miles. Not a bad record for any car.


But absolutely have to have the right driving needs and habits to make it financially responsible.

Agree 100%…and I’ve stated that many many times…The right driving conditions have to exist.