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What is a good replacement for a gen 1 prius?

My 2001 prius that has served me well for the last three years has gotten to the point where I feel I should replace it instead of continuing to pour money into it (HV battery and who knows what else are going, at nearly 300k miles). I really like the size and fuel efficiency of it.

My usual driving habits are a daily 5 or so mile (one way) city commute, 60-ish miles (round trip) freeway a few times a month, and a 800 mile (round trip) trek across the state about once a month. In spite of this being my usual habits, I’ve somehow managed to put 90,000 miles on the thing in the last three years with whatever extra unusual driving I’ve done, such as 8 months where I had a 40 mile (one way) commute, and a handful of extra long drives (southwest michigan to boston, southwest michigan to st. louis).

I drove a rental 2012 civic last weekend and I wasn’t a fan of it. Decent highway gas mileage, but the turning radius was disappointing, and I kept hitting my knees on the steering column, among other things.

I test drove a gen 3 prius (trim level 2) and a prius C (trim level 3) recently.

The gen 3 feels a whole lot bigger than it really is. Nice interior, comfortable seats, lots of cargo room, but the giant center console struck me as really weird, and it was really gadget-y coming from the Gen 1. The ride was smooth and quiet, but I didn’t like how “floaty” the drive felt, and the way that it just doesn’t want to accelerate until I really pressed the gas petal down was really weird. Also, it never really felt like it was going as fast as I was.

The C felt like it was just the right size, and it seemed like it doesn’t have that much less cargo capacity than the Gen 1 I’m replacing. The seats were stiff, but comfortable, and the layout of the dashboard made more sense than the Gen 3, but it was still weird coming from the much simpler Gen 1. The C had a lot more road noise, but the ride was still a lot nicer than consumer reports and various car magazines led me to believe, and the acceleration seemed to be about the same as the Gen 1, so no problems there for me.

Any suggestions for other cars I should look at in the new/recently used compact/sub-compact space, non-hybrid or hybrid?

Besides the Prius C (you can read a long term test of it here:


the Mazda 3 with the ‘Skyactive’ engine would be at the top of my list for what you describe. They also have tested one of those:

Given that you’re doing about 3x as much highway driving as city, I’d say the hybrid might not be your best bet. I’d say the Mazda 3 that texases suggested would be a very good option, and I would consider taking a look at the VW Jetta TDI or the Golf TDI. Those get excellent mileage, especially on the highway and will have plenty of space. My guess is that any of those will be a bit nicer to drive than the Priuses.

Mercedes E diesel – 100+ years of proven technology, great mileage, comfortable ride, stylish, and without the hybrid hassles.

You did you part to save the world. It’s now up to the rest of us. You get a Mustang and enjoy.

Mazda 3 or Prius C,the new prius has evolved so actually you are quite lucky that its similar to the older one,I actually like the looks and reviews,size does matter,you know whats right for you,maybe you considered testing a Fit or a versa as well?-Kevin

Consider a 2013 Ford Fusion or Fusion Hybrid (47MPG City/Hwy).

http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2012/11/ford-fusion-nabs-green-car-of-the-year-award/

Or a Ford C Max

I say check out the Ford C Max which is based on the new Focus. But keep in mind that the Toyota Prius is the safe bet with a proven track record.

1. The ride was smooth and quiet, but I didn't like how "floaty" the drive felt, and the way that it just doesn't want to accelerate until I really pressed the gas petal down was really weird

You need to put it in power mode. I almost got hit a few times in the one we had at work, thinking I had plenty of time to turn and then discovering how crap the acceleration was. Power mode solved it. That said, I wouldn’t buy the car.

I’d drive a whole bunch of different cars and get the one you like. I agree with you about the 2012 Civic btw. It’s a dog. They did an emergency refresh for the 2013 model year, which should be hitting dealerships soon. You might want to check them out.

If you want a hatchback with great fuel economy that doesn’t cost too much, check out Hyundai’s Veloster.

I disagree with anyone who points you away from a hybrid based on the idea that you drive a lot of highway miles.

Highway miles don’t make a hybrid a bad choice - they simply mean you have to drive a LOT, since the mileage difference is smaller.

I’ll also vote against the Prius c - hardly any improvement in mpg over the Prius (actually lower on hwy), and a lot less space. Cheaper? Sure. But just too small, IMO.

If you take your usage at 30k per year, split 25/75 city/hwy, assume $4 per gallon for gas, and a 3% discount rate, then given going prices for a base model C-Max, Fusion Hybrid, Prius, and Focus (with auto, to measure against a standard gas-powered vehicle), you’ll see that all of the hybrids are still expected to save you money over a 15 year vehicle life. The C-Max saves you $3,207 over the Focus. The Fusion hybrid saves you $1,214. The Prius saves you $5,590. All three save about the same amount per year ($926-1016) in gas, with the difference in total vehicle life savings based on the purchase price.

(all $ values in NPV)

Note that I didn’t guarantee 100% identically equipped - a C-Max is a bit more like a Prius V than a Prius, and a Fusion hybrid is likely the best equipped of them all… My point is only that hybrids will still work for you simply because you’re driving so much. Drop your mileage to 15k per year with the 25/75 mileage split, and the NPV of all the hybrids goes negative, meaning you’d be better off driving a standard gas vehicle. With those lower miles per year, THEN you need to be driving more and more city…

SF,must have missed it didnt see were they said the Civic was a dog-Kevin

After test driving a zillion cars, I finally bought a bright orange Prius C today.

@kmccune

I drove a rental 2012 civic last weekend and I wasn't a fan of it.

I was agreeing with this statement, and adding my own opinion.

Good luck with your new ride. I hope you like it as much in a few years as you do now.

Seen one like that yesterday,I like a Prius except for the price(tag seen on a Prius tuesday-ECONUT-Kevin [Civics are noisy and hell on a bad back]

Let’s see, a prius…Nickel mining in one of the dirtiest mining activities in the world, and then the nickel goes from the mine to the seaport. From the Canadian seaport it is shipped to China, made into batteries with little or no enviromental controls. The batteries are then shipped to Japan, installed in your precious little hybrid, then shipped to the US. And then, by the way, where do you plan on disposing of the nickel and cadmium (heavy metal) in an enviromentally safe way???
By a VW TDI and get the same fuel mileage, and an acutally more enviromentally friendly vehicle!

I just hope you can stand the “bright orange” color in a few years… But I’ve always hated orange.