A Prius For Me-us!  

vrec_dawn 41M
854 posts
8/1/2006 4:43 pm

Last Read:
8/2/2006 6:13 pm

A Prius For Me-us!

So, after napping, and feeling better, I decided, what the hell, I'd go visit the 'local' (by that I mean back in Madison, which is an hour drive from my home) Toyota dealership to see about test driving a Prius, a Matrix, etc. And see how long the Prius waiting list was. And such.

What an experience!

At first I hated the Prius. I mean you hop in, and it's like entering a freaking space ship! It's not a damn car. It can't be. The 'dash' items are all digital readouts pressed up against the windshield instead of sitting right behind the wheel. No analog. And no readouts for temp, pressure, etc. It's uber-simplified. And all of the controls (AC/heating, stereo, trip info, etc.) are from a touch-screen computer monitor! You literally shove the remote lock/unlock device into a socket as the 'key' and then press a big 'on' button to start the car! And don't even get me started on the transmission column! Freaking loony! Yoiu have to use it to believe it! And you're sitting up way higher than a car normally positions the driver. Even before you drive one inch you're already either in techno-heaven or really freaked out. And once you start driving it, it's only weirder from there!

That was my first impression. I was freaked beyond belief! THIS was the car everyone raves about! ___ that!

So I test drove a Matrix next. That was a lot like a normal car. Even though the two cars are on the same frame, in almost identical bodies, they're just totally different drives! I almost felt like I was driving my own car again, and I love how my car drives.

So I was in love with the Matrix and put off by the uber-green 51MPG hybrid that is the Prius. Which was a bummer.

Well, so the sales dude and I are talking and hashing out concepts of down payment and monthy bills, and throwing out the cost of gas added onto the cost of the car itself to show the true difference in monthly payments. And I'm back to thinking the Prius might not be so bad. 51MPG compared to 34MPG can make a notable impact when you're driving almost a hundred miles a workday. (And I don't even want to mention the 15-20 that I'm getting with my car right now!) And all the time in my mind I'm thinking to myself, yeah, but that 51MPG is a theoretical hybrid-intensive laboratory-faked number that really only works when you do a lot of stop and go driving and no one will ever see. My highway miles won't get close to that. I'll be lucky to see 45MPG.

So then he goes and checks with his manager with a brainstorm. He won't even tell me what it is. His manager okays it. So he tells me. They let me test drive a used Prius home and back. (Which, as I said, is an hour away. So that's a TWO HOUR test drive!)

Like an idiot, I said okay. (I say like an idiot, because I'm exhausted, sore, and totally drained. The last thing I need to do is spend more time driving!)

Okay, so it actually wasn't such an idiotic thing to do. In truth, it was awesome!

At first, yes, the Prius left a very frightened and put-off taste in my mouth because it was just so DIFFERENT. BUT, after two hours of driving it, I started to really like those differences. It took some time to adapt, yes, but once you adapt you almost wonder what the hell people are thinking not making more cars like this. Honest!

And during the whole two hour test drive I let the onboard computer monitor my fuel usage. So what was my average MPG usage over what would be extremely close to my typical daily commute? With a ton of highway miles? 57MPG. I shit you not. My actual real-world use, while testing out acceleration, braking, and handling and all around not driving very economicly, still got me 6MPG over the sticker rating. Doing the speed limit of 55 helped, I'm sure. But I even had the AC and stereo blasting the whole time!

And because the car is almost in body the same as a Matrix, it means it has almost the same cargo room. The only physical differences is that the back slants back down instead of staying flat up there like a wagon so the 'hatch' is less tall, and the front seat doesn't fold down to stow REALLY long items or use as a table. (Yes, you can fold the front passenger seat of a Matrix into a freaking table. Why not on the Prius? Dumb not to use the same technology there if you ask me, since you could. Maybe I'll but a Matrix's seat and do my own upgrade. ) And, of course, unfortunately, the Prius seat backs don't have the plastic protection that the Matrix has, because the Prius is a 'high class' car where looks count, where as the Matrix is a student-aimed workhorse. But drop cloths (or, again, stealing parts from a Matrix and doing my own ugprade, as they're the same damn size, shape, mounting, and everything) should do.

So yeah. With that difference in MPG, and as much driving as I do, it actually comes out to within about $30 more a month to step up from a stripped-down no-frills Matrix with power-nothing, to the heavily-feature-laden uber-shiny geek and green pleasing Prius. For most people who don't have my long commutes it probably won't come out nearly that close. But for me, it makes a world of difference. And that's with CURRENT gas prices. What are the odds that they won't get WORSE?

So anywho, after my test drive, I was sold on the Prius. The only problem is, there is a waiting period. I'm on 'the list'. They tell me that with luck I should have my very own shiny new Prius by mid-September. And if, by that time, I scrimp and save, I just might be able to have enough of a down payment to actually afford it! Wow. Never in my life have I even been able to afford a 'new' car! And now this! I'm so hyped! Too bad that means I can't afford a new bed or fixing my closet yet. Damn.

And here's one to laugh at. Right now, that used Prius that I got to test drive the crap out of? Its sticker price is three grand OVER what this year's brand new price is! And that's a two year-old model with over 20-thousand miles on it. How's that for resale value! Right now these cars are so in demand that people are paying that much over sticker price on used ones.

So anywho, that was my day. I drove back and forth and back and forth after getting the ____ kicked out of me and my car. I'm sore, totally exhausted, and probably not going to catch up on any email or blogs tonight as I just plain crash. But I'm on the list to get a shiny new car that I'm really excited about!


8/1/2006 5:17 pm

Have you done any research on the cost of replacing the battery on a hybrid? If you plan on keeping it for just a few years, then it may not be an issue. However, if you are thinking 4 or more years it may be. Some of those batteries are 4000.00 and up. I've read a few articles about this subject and how people were shocked at the replacement cost for a battery. They just assumed it was like any other car battery, but no so.

vrec_dawn replies on 8/2/2006 6:06 pm:
It's covered under a fairly long waranty, the newer models have better batteries than the first ones, and from what research I've done, the only battery deaths I could even find are extreme environments and people who fiddle with the electronics and tax the battery harder than stock. So I'm not worried. But even if it does post-waranty, it's still a small price to pay for such an awesome car.

druidrocker 63F

8/1/2006 5:48 pm

it looks like it could be a merry christmas - I'll cross my fingers - but what's that about the new bed

vrec_dawn replies on 8/2/2006 6:08 pm:
Unfortunately the new bed may be on hold. Which sucks. But that's life. Besides, the air matress isn't so bad.

Iwakura16Eyes 38F

8/2/2006 9:19 am

*in her best Napolean Dynamite voice* LUCKY!

no... seriously... if V-Dub started making hybrid Beetles or Jettas--I'd so be there They make Bio-Diesel, but still....

vrec_dawn replies on 8/2/2006 6:11 pm:
Yeah, I wish they'd do a diesel-electric hybrid. I wish they'd sell hybrid recharge solar panals on the roof as an option to recharge in the parking lot. I wish Toyota would freaking use the hybrid engine and tranny of the Prius in the Matrix since it's the same frame! But oh well. Wish in one hand...

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