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Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by jeff, Nov 5, 2003.
Has anyone bought or driven the new 2004 Toyota Prius?
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To answer your questions: no, I haven't bought or driven the car.
However, although I think we should embrace moving away from the current automobile engine makeup, I think there's an inherent lack of enthusiasm of the US public for 'new' powered vehicles. I personally am fearful of buying one because of the lack of knowledgeable repair facilities, lack of long-term reliability statistics, lack of re-sale, etc., etc., etc. Too many unknowns just yet.
I am a Master Toyota Technician, and yes I have driven them.
I don't know if you want an opinion from an insider, but I will tell you everything I know.
They are a little strange to drive the first time, but overall, not too awfull.
Thanks, just two questions. Is the Prius quiet inside the car or is there a lot of tire noise and is the ride smooth or bumpy? The car is going to be used for commuting between Phoenix and Los Angeles. I'm interested in the car for its great gas mileage.
The Prius is very quiet. When the gasoline engine shuts off, as it will occasionally. it is silent. At stop lights there is zero sound. The tire noise is normal for a car this size and configuration. Tire noise is basically the result of tire design. The Goodyear tires seem quieter than the Dunlops.
The car is well damped. It's ride quality compares favorably with the Camry. The car is approximately 800lbs heavier than the Corolla which gives it a feel of a larger car.
One serious caveat in regards to fuel economy. You will not achieve the 50+ mpg rating on the window sticker. 35-40 is a more reasonable number. The 50mpg rating is achieved only with turtle-like acceleration and no a/c. Remember also, the Prius gets better fuel mileage in town than it does on the highway. The highway mileage is not the Prius' strong point. The Prius uses deceleration and stopping to generate the energy to recharge the 700 volt battery system. On the highway, the car performs more like a normal car. There is no regeneration of electricity so the gasoline engine does more of the work.
The brakes take some getting used to because of the regeneration capacity of the system. The car is over-engineered, which is a Toyota trait when they introduce new technology. I have worked on very few, and 90% of the complaints revolve around fuel mileage. One other point that the salesman will not mention is that you cannot check your mileage the old fashioned way. The Prius has an expandable fuel cell. The tank does not fill to the same capacity every time. The cell expands and contracts with temperature and vapor pressure. The volume changes constantly and is very sensitive to ambient temperature at fill up. As such, the method of dividing mileage by gallons is a waste of time.
If your commute involves a lot of highway time (Phoenix-LA) I am not sure you will see the real benefit of the car. I believe if you commuted from Long Beach into L.A. you would get a much bigger benefit. The starting and stopping of bumper to bumper traffic really keeps the electric motor fully charged and running at peak efficiency.
Just my .02
thanks for indepth report. I guess I'll keep looking for the ultimate commuter car.
If California allows these hybreds into the High Occupancy Lanes, then I'll get one. My commute is about 45 minutes on a good day. At least 25 of those minutes are the approach to the Bay Bridge. If I can use the HOV lane, I can cut 20 minutes off the commute.