time for a new Prius ... or .... ?

gellchomApril 23, 2008

We love our Prius -- a 2003, which was the second year they were available, I think. My husband drives that car.

But now it's time for ME to have a new car and pass the faithful Volvo on to the kidz. (A Prius and a Volvo: guess our politics! ;-) )

My first thought was just to get another Prius. I like the new ones with the hatchbacks and some other nifty features even better than ours, and I believe they get even better milage -- is that right?

But my husband reminded me that there are several other hybrids out there now (there were only the Prius and the 2 Hondas back then). Plus I was wondering how soon all-electric will be available; does anyone know? And I bet you all know about other fuel-efficient options.

Note: We do NOT need or want an SUV. In a few weeks we will be empty nesters, and we rarely tote huge loads. We live in Columbus, which is FLAT and although we get snow, it's not a snow-belt city. We never go off road. No long commutes to consider. It has been kind of nice having the larger Volvo for those few occasions when we need a lot of space, especially for storage, but that's not very often; we can always swap with a friend as we've done before or rent a car or van once every year or two.

Also: I know that there are many who will point out that the dollar savings aren't worth it. So I want to stress that although saving money is of course great -- esp. with gas now over $3.50 -- that is NOT the only reason we like a hybrid. We are concerned about the environmental costs, as well as the political costs, of reliance on oil. So please, please, don't turn this string into a long back-and-forth argument about the bottom-line dollar comparison of hybrids to lower-cost cars!

(And, yes, we are also going to try to walk, bike, and take the bus more, too.)

Thanks in advance for your recommendations, information, suggestions, and advice.

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gary__

From an environmental standpoint, imo, all cars run really clean these days. So you go all electric, where's the electricity to charge it up coming from, a coal or natural gas fired plant? Sounds like you do minimal driving so you're impact on the environment or the oil industry is minimal no matter what you choose. Go try out them all and pick the one you like the best. I wouldn't scoff at a 30 mpg+ non-hybrid vehicle either if it were me. A lot more to go wrong with a hybrid, plus they cost more up front.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 10:34PM
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gellchom

"A lot more to go wrong with a hybrid"

People say that, but I don't get it. We haven't had any particular trouble. The one time we had a problem with anything having to do with the hybrid technology (out of town, of course), the nearest Toyota place fixed it within an hour, and the total cost was under $100, parts and labor.

I wish I could say the same about the Volvo! Actually, it has been fine, too, especially considering its age. The problem with a Volvo is how expensive it is to replace parts. My neighborhood mechanic works so much cheaper than the Volvo dealership it's a joke, but if I ever need major parts, he still will have to buy them from Volvo.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 10:27AM
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jlhug

I love my 2004 Prius and would buy another one in a heartbeat.

I'm not as sure that I'd buy non-Prius hybrid. It appears to me (and I'm not an automotive expert in any way) that the Prius was designed from tires up to be more fuel efficient while the other hybrids were designed as traditionally powered cars that had a hybrid system added as an "afterthought".

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 7:36AM
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johndeere

Sounds like you have had good luck with the Prius you now have.I would go for the same.What kind of mpg do you owners of the Prius get?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 8:47PM
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gellchom

I ordered a Prius.

To answer johndeere's question: we have a 2003 Prius, which was advertised as getting 50 mpg. A year or two later, they improved them to 60. Then the industry changed the way it reported MPG, and Toyota also started making the Prius heavier, so now Toyota says they get 48.

Our experience: unlike regular cars, which usually get better MPG on the highway than in town, the Prius really does, as advertised, do at least as well in town as on the highway -- because the battery recharges when you brake to stop or slow, I believe. But here is what REALLY makes a difference in a Prius (and for all I know, in any car): the length of time you are driving at a stretch. We live in a near suburb; it is only 2 miles to my husband's office and only 8 minutes to downtown. We very rarely have to drive more than 20 minutes at a time; many days no more than 10. And the first 5 minutes the mileage is always the worst. So our mileage isn't as good as most other people report (especially with a pre-2004 model): about 42 or so, usually. But when we are in northern Wisconsin, and it is at least 20 minutes to ANYWHERE, we consistently get 50-52.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 10:49PM
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dreamgarden

Several people I know have Prius's. One has a Honda Civic hybrid. They average between 45-57 mpg.

Edmunds.com has plenty of user info about hybrids in their forums.

A link that might be useful:

Toyota Prius Forums & Discussions
townhall-talk.edmunds.com

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 4:05PM
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ky114

If you are going trade every five years, you can get about anything and it'll be reliable. If you want something you can keep if you aren't in a financial position to trade every few years, I'd want something without the complexity of a hybrid.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 2:59PM
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bonebloodyidle

On paper (recycled of course), the Prius is a very frugle vehicle but you have to know how to drive it frugally to get the benefits. If you don't have the expertise you can obtain a far better mpg from a small diesel. However as there is already a Prius in your household I guess you have, through trial and error, found the particular way of getting the most out of it.

Why not get a Shelby Mustang? If anyone asks you what car you have you can honestly say, hand on heart, that a Prius graces your driveway. The fact that it shares it with a thirsty, gass guzzling tarmac-shreader need not be divulged. Here we are having a very wet and cool June because not enough people drive Range Rovers. LOL!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 7:17PM
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ky114

Of course, you should also include a bumper sticker for the Mustang that reads, "My other car is a Toyota Prius."

A friend who works at a nearby Toyota dealer tells me there is currently roughly an 8 to 12 week wait for a Prius, so obviously they are appealing to many people in the marketplace. Virtually any inexpensive non-hybrid economy car (Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cobalt XFE) is going to be cheaper overall to run than a hybrid, and might arguably be better for the environment due to lack of a large battery pack and the potentially longer lifespan of a non-hybrid, but people buy things for many different reasons, and there's nothing wrong with that.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 7:50PM
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