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Old 05-02-2005, 06:09 PM   #1
Kneel
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Media's Love Affair With The Prius Is Over

I read this in the long-term update section of AutoWeek, regarding the Toyota Prius. I kind of feel sorry for those people who bought all the hype and waited a year to get one of these things. I would prefer a diesel Jetta anyday, for mileage efficiency.

Seems its charm has worn thin. Minus a couple notable exceptions, most of the staff has grown weary with our long-term Toyota Prius, whose empty promises of otherworldly fuel economy have all but lost the battle with our desire to actually enjoy the act of driving again.

We started out with high hopes for the car, too. After a fairly positive experience in 2001 with our long-term Honda Insight—a limited-use two-seater with meager cargo capacity that managed an impressive 52.61 mpg for close to 15,000 miles—we figured the four-passenger Prius hatchback could only do better. Problem is, we raised our expectations of hybrid performance over the last four years. We would happily trade in some efficiency for a little more performance, or vice versa. It’s called striking a balance, and in this way the Prius simply falls short.

Most on staff feel if we have to endure such wretched driving dynam_ics—numb steering, terrible handling—the least the Prius should do is deliver on a promise of super-duper fuel mileage. The EPA pegs the Prius for a combined 55.6 mpg; that we are getting 42.29 mpg year-to-date means the Prius ain’t cutting it. Any diesel Volkswagen can do that and still be a hoot on the highway—as well as offer the same utility as the hatchback on the Prius.

Or, as one particularly persnickety editor puts it, “I’m a driving enthusiast. That’s why I do this for a living. That’s why I like cars. That’s why I’ve read car magazines since I was eight. [The Prius] certainly goes fast enough in legal terms, but if you like driving, this thing offers no reward whatsoever. None.”

Of course the dissenters remain steadfast in their affection for the Prius, and to its credit, the Toyota has treated us well from a reliability standpoint.

We encountered mostly minor problems during our third quarter with the car, including a torn visor and burned-out headlamp, both of which Toyota repaired, to our pleasant surprise, under warranty. The car had two recalls addressed, one to recalibrate the ECU, the other to reinstall a leaky hood seal. We also took the car in for its scheduled 10,000-mile service call, which included an oil change, tire rotation and cabin and engine air filter change; that set us back $148.02.

However, a month later one editor had an unintended and unfortunate encounter with a raccoon (“not very environmentally friendly of me, I know”), which rendered the front fender flaps and bumper in less than intact condition. Repairing the damage cost $334.59—and five days without the car.

We’re not complaining about a whopping five days sans car; we should be so lucky to have any long-termer give us such little grief. But a recent drive of a Honda Accord Hybrid forced us again to examine our relationship with the Prius: The Honda not only delivers decent fuel mileage, but is the most powerful Accord in the lineup.

That’s a balance we could live with.


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Old 05-02-2005, 06:19 PM   #2
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Re: Media's Love Affair With The Prius Is Over

Quote:
Originally posted by Kneel
Or, as one particularly persnickety editor puts it, “I’m a driving enthusiast. That’s why I do this for a living. That’s why I like cars. That’s why I’ve read car magazines since I was eight. [The Prius] certainly goes fast enough in legal terms, but if you like driving, this thing offers no reward whatsoever. None.”
That pretty much captures how I feel about the car - nice idea, cool gadgetry, but absolutely NOT something I would want to drive (at least, not as my only car). Did you see the story on the TV news recently (I saw it on several different stations) about the idiot in New York who is trying to sell his slightly used Prius for $37,000? He's figuring since there is still a demand and a waiting list for the car, someone out there with enough money who doesn't want to wait, will buy his. I guess actually that makes the person who BUYS the car the idiot, but on the news story the seller came off as smarmy and irritating which is why I consider him an idiot too.
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Old 05-02-2005, 06:23 PM   #3
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Transcript:

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ken Ruck, proud owner of a brand new Toyota Prius. Fully loaded and with a hybrid engine, gas and electric, it gets 55 miles per gallon.

KEN RUCK, PRIUS OWNER: I love this car because, not only is it saving money on gas, but it also is pretty cool.

CHERNOFF: What he'd love even more would be to sell the Prius at a profit of $10,000. Ken, an employee of Virgin Mobil, is advertising on the web to sell for $37,000.

RUCK: I posted the car on Craig's List Web site for $10,000 more than I paid for it, and pretty much every day since then, I've had three to four e-mails offering me not as much as what I'm asking for, but more than what I paid for it.

CHERNOFF: Yes, the Prius is popular. Toyota says the average wait for the car is two months.
(on camera): With gasoline prices near record levels, some people don't want to wait. They want their Prius now. Kelly Blue Book, the authority on car prices, says used Priuses are selling for $1,000 to $3,000 above sticker price. You can find them at cars.com or eBay Motors, but $10,000 above list?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're either crazy, or it's a great car. One or the other.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, maybe he's a better businessman than I am.

CHERNOFF (voice-over): This Toyota dealer says his customers need wait only a month for a Prius, but in New York, he says, anything is possible.

BRUCE EDLEMAN, QUEENSBORO TOYOTA: We're not paying $10,000 more for a car, no matter how great the car is. But there are some individuals who really want the car, and they're like on a quest that they want to get that car, and they'll pay. They'll pay a high, high premium over the sticker price of what the customer paid for it. Probably he will get it.

CHERNOFF: If Ken Ruck gets his price, he says he'll buy another Prius to turn a quick buck, but perhaps only he sees green when looking at his silver car. At the very least, he'll save money on gas as he shows off his Prius.
Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.
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Old 05-02-2005, 06:34 PM   #4
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I also remember how many auto journalists kept talking about how much money Toyota must be losing, by selling a car with such technology for around $20k. They were actually worried that Toyota might be losing money - Ha!! If anything it just illuminated how overpriced many cars are these days.

If I had $37k to spend right now, I would have my order in for a Shelby Cobra GT500 - not a Prius.
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Old 05-02-2005, 10:53 PM   #5
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Wow the dude trying to sell the used Prius is a moron... but there's gotta be a bigger moron out there that will buy it off him

For my money, if extreme mileage was my concern I'd definitely not look to the Prius first, if at all. I've heard its highway mpg is OK/mediocre compared to what one might expect of a hybrid in these days of crazy technology.
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:13 PM   #6
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I like idiots that buy hybrids. They make me smile. why? because its very likely that they will never recover the premium that they paid for that fuel economy.

Lets look at a Corolla vs a Prius, which are basically the same from a functional aspect and have that same mythical toyota quality.

Assumptions:
- looking to own the car for 5 years, the average length of ownership among new car buyers,
- a constant rate of fuel cost pegged at $2.25
- average yearly mileage of 12000.
- same insurance and maintainence costs (which I'd bet are higher on the Prius)
- both vehicles similarly equipped

Corolla:
base price $13,750
35 mpg combined
= 342 gal/year@2.25 = $771 * 5yrs = $3857
Residual value at sale = $8725 (2001 model to make it fair, the prius didnt exist in 2000)
total out of pocket cost = $8882

Prius:
base price $20,975
44 mpg combined
= 272 gal/year@2.25 = $613 * 5yrs = $3068
Residual value at sale = $15105 (subsititute 2001 model)

total out of pocket cost = $8938

So, total cost saved for buying an oh so fuel efficient prius is in the neighborhood of -$56... hmmm. Seems all those eco douches get to pay a premium for their fuel efficient car.

Like I said, I enjoy seeing people driving priuses feeling all smug about themselves, because I know that they can't do math.
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Old 05-03-2005, 02:51 PM   #7
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So, total cost saved for buying an oh so fuel efficient prius is in the neighborhood of -$56... hmmm. Seems all those eco douches get to pay a premium for their fuel efficient car.

Like I said, I enjoy seeing people driving priuses feeling all smug about themselves, because I know that they can't do math


I agree... but you forgot one big expense the corolla doesn't have... battery replacement. But figure a lot of people who drive them are truely enviromental whacko's. They care about mother earth so much that they will sacrifice there dollars to save her.
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Old 05-03-2005, 03:05 PM   #8
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what is funny about the battery replacement is that those eco nuts now have a large, highly dangerous, toxic battery to dispose of...
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Old 05-03-2005, 03:19 PM   #9
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I think hybird technology is awesome. Fuel economy only increase in coming years with even better technology, and emissions will be driven lower as well. I would like to think that hybirds are only the begining step of smarter driving habits. Imagine Hydrogen powered cars using fuel cell techonlogy. Zero emissions and cheap plentiful fuel. Now imagine a hydrogen powered hybird. The possibilities are amazing. Roll your eyes if you want, but realize that the oil age is a mere speck in human technological evolution and its coming to a close, sooner than you think.
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Old 05-04-2005, 01:17 AM   #10
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Yes, hybrid tech. is getting good real fast. There is already a team of performance nuts testing a prius on the salt flats for for racing purposes. I like to the idea of hydrogen cars, but what people don't realize is that it takes coal burning, and other polluint plants to create the hydrogen gas we'd use. And factories create more pollution per capita than cars do. So we need to find an even better way. I think hydrogen will be yet another stepping stone is human tech. evolution, but not the holy grail.
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