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Prius C - does it add-up for you?

Discussion in 'Prius c Main Forum' started by kocho, Mar 18, 2012.

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  1. kocho

    kocho Member

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    I've been eyeing the C for some time because we need a third car for city commute, mainly.

    However, the price does not add-up to buy at current gas prices...

    Say I get the Prius C Two. Out the door (with a base price of $21K (MSRP)) would be for me in MD $22,600. Less than a year ago we bought a '11 Honda Insight (then current model year) for $18,200 out the door (base price in the upper $16K range).

    That's roughly $4,400 difference.

    Let's look at 2 scenarios: city driving and highway driving.

    First scenario: city driving in heavy traffic. Suppose the Prius C gets 55mpg in the city and suppose the Insight gets only 35mpg there. With the Insight I usually get over 40mpg in the city if I drive nicely (can get towards 45-50 if I drive really nicely) but just under 40 is more realistic in heavy and nervous stop and go traffic with some airconditioning on and because I do not drive "nicely" - I try to stay with traffic or go a bit faster ;). Say gas is $4. After 100,000 miles I would have saved a bit over $300 by purchasing the Insight. How many years will it take me to drive 100,000 miles in very short city trips (under 20 miles a day)? I'd say over 10 years ...

    Second scenario: highway driving. Suppose the Prius C gets 50 mpg there (note that's over it's rating and likely to not be achievable at speeds over about 60mph). My Insight usually stays above 50mpg on the highway without much trouble (when I drive at speeds under 65 or so mph) and I can get it to 60 if I behave and drive a bit slower (in the mid-50s mph). Even better on back roads with no traffic. So say 50mpg for me too. Guess what - no matter how long I drive on the highway, I will still be $4,400 bucks in with the C (or saved with the Insight).

    By the way, my actual average MPG in the Insight has been about 41-42, with lots of short city driving and I usually dirive on the aggressive side of things. Highway economy compensates, however, hense my mileage is right about EPA estimate. I would guess a Prius C would get me in the 50mpg average with similar driving style...

    So what's your math?
  2. Mister MMT

    Mister MMT Member

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    Did you take into account the loss in value of the Insight? It looks to me it never adds up to replace a recent car with good mileage (like the Insight is) for one that gets even a more excellent mileage. YOur figures show it convincingly. So unless you are in a position to buy cars for pleasure, or you hate your Insight, I don't see why you even should bother...

    My personal opinon, no offense.
  3. Kirkuleez

    Kirkuleez New Member

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    Personally, I think it just comes down to whatever car you like that is fairly economical. I came from a 2010 Honda Fit sport that I only owed $10,000 on and it only had 30,000 miles on it. But I'm willing to pay more for the C just because I enjoy the car and knowing it gets such great mpg's.
  4. B. Roberts

    B. Roberts Hypah Milah! Ayuh.

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    It all really depends on how and where you drive. The c has been getting well over EPA rated MPG. I test drove a c last week, and in the short period I had it in urban/suburban driving it went from an indicated 18 MPG to 49 MPG. After my son took it out, he came back with 69.7 MPG indicated. Neither of us hypermiled this car. In my case I had some mixed periods of stop and go and some steady running. Speeds were 25 to 50 MPH.

    I've noticed that other drivers have had equal results with the c. If we are unfortunate enough to see fuel prices head up to the estimated 5 dollars a gallon level, later this Spring or early Summer (I hope they are wrong about these predictions!), the fuel cost savings would be greater.

    I'm having the same conversation. I drive a perfectly good 2008 Vibe, 5 speed manual (Toyota Matrix clone with the bones and engine of the Corolla) that gets a decent 38 to 40 MPG (I always drive it gently). Will I give up this car this soon, since it only has 14,000 miles on the clock and still looks like new, for the savings potential the c can deliver? Tough choice, even considering that the MPG differences/payback come much sooner if you compare the c and my Vibe.

    A lot of us must be asking this same basic question.
  5. outhouse

    outhouse Member

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    you math is wrong.



    between SF and dixon I averaged 57mpg at 64mph and the car isnt broken in.

    between dixon and Rocklin I averaged 56mph at 64mph
  6. alfon

    alfon Active Member

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    There is very little data on the Prius C and
    the Jury is not in on its feasibility when compared
    to the regular Prius.

    Our Prius with our last fillup was 45.13 mpg, calculated not
    computer generated, and that is not driving in warm 60 degree plus weather with the sunshine and dry roads. This is pouring rain
    at times with temps in the 40's.

    In summer with warm temps and dry roads our Prius
    is averaging in the low 50's, this is calculated
    mpg and not computer generated.

    I would like to know what the Prius C would get
    for MPG's with inclimate weather conditions....
  7. Mister MMT

    Mister MMT Member

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    With due respect for your opinions, the OP's question was "whether the Prius C adds-up for you". I just expressed the opinion that $-wise, in the cases both the OP and the two previous posts put forward, it will not add-up at all.

    BTW, it is interesting for the European person I am, to see the different culture in North America when it comes to buying cars...

    Other considerations may come in play, and why not buy a Prius C if you can afford it and really want it. It may end up making feel somebody better.

    I just wonder whether the hype about super good mpgs will not lead people into spending more money then what is good for them, or what they thought of...But that is of course another matter.

    I guess that's also the point R. Roberts rose at the end of his post.

    Jan
  8. B. Roberts

    B. Roberts Hypah Milah! Ayuh.

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    Economic/ecological values or just satisfying the "I want to drive one now" impulse, could be culprits involved with buying a car like this here in the States or anywhere for that matter. Car buying can be mathematical, emotional or both!

    I really did enjoy the way the c drove (was surprised by the quality of the ride in a car this size) and especially like the economical use of fuel... but in my case... I would be giving up a car that is paid for and, to a lesser degree of importance, the loss of cargo space compared to the Vibe.

    I have an inkling that I will probably end up buying the c. I really like the economy it can produce when it is driven reasonably.

    What part of Deutschland do you hail from, Jan?
  9. LizKauai

    LizKauai First PriusC3 owner on Kauai!

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    I loved the idea of the C and bought it sight unseen.

    Boss said, why spend $$ when your 2006 Prius is getting 56mpg and it's paid for?

    I followed my instinct.
    My 2006 had 105K miles on it and I did not need as large a car just to get back and forth to work.
    I was able to sell it for a good price to a first-time Prius owner and he is very happy with it.
    I now have a car that is everything I expected and gets as much mpg as my moped and has a very small carbon footprint.

    The C works for me.
  10. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) Aspiring Hypocommuter.

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  11. B. Roberts

    B. Roberts Hypah Milah! Ayuh.

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    That's what I like to see in this forum! Great decision and an excellent choice of car.:)
    1 person likes this.
  12. Mister MMT

    Mister MMT Member

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    I'm in fact from the Flemish part of Belgium, live in Kehl on the Rhine, at the French border with Strasbourg, on the other side of the River. That's where I work too! It's my wife who is German.

    Most of you will know the Black Forest and the Alsace Region. That's where I spend most of my free time, hiking and enjoying the good food and wine! To know what I'm doing for a job, just look at my avatar...

    To stay on topic, we also are in the market for a new car. The one we will replace is our beloved Toyota Picnic from 1997 with failure free 215,000 km. My wife uses it for her 14 mile commute to work.

    Well, believe it or not, we are doubting buying a new car, the Yaris Hybrid, would add it up to us. First, why replacing a car that just got inspected and will do without problems another 100,000. Even when its mileage is closer to 25 mpg, it will cost us less. OK, we will nevertheless replace it, because its safety status is now "passé". But we can also get a fully equipped 2nd generation 2009 Prius for 5,000 $ less, and realize we would never recover that just by the slightly better MPG of the Yaris Hybrid, with similar MPG as the Prius C.

    The other consideration is that the 2nd generation is Japan made, the Yaris French made, and that the larger Prius is more comfortable and quieter to drive. We are no youngsters anymore (I'm 61).

    So, if $ count, many people will have to get their calculator and put away their "I want this car" desire. I'm happy to learn that many here just wish to be happy about using even less fossile fuel. That at least, is good for Mother Earth, and our children...

    Jan
  13. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    I think you're comparing different trims and making pessimistic assumptions about the c despite your better-than-headline experience with both Insight price and mileage.



    Insight LX v Prius c Two. MSRP. EPA mileage.
    (Wife a "normal" driver and demands cruise control).
    Prius c is obviously the better deal.

    The Prius c is going to be great leverage to get a deal on a subcompact or compact, especially the Honda Insight.
  14. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    That is what concerns me about this post. The comparison is between one car at high MSRP and another car at a severe discount. This is not an apples to apples comparison.

    The thread topic clearly states this is a personal situation so if someone is able to get one car much cheaper than the other for whatever reason then the math may change but this should I no way be taken as one car will always be a better value than another except in this particular circumstance.
  15. spwolf

    spwolf Senior Member

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    pure numbers never work for new vs old, it is always cheaper to buy after 3 years when it drops 50% in value. but it is always nicer to have a new car :).
  16. Mister MMT

    Mister MMT Member

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    Yes, it's almost always nicer to have a new car, but mind you, the OP's question was one about $ and does buying a Prius C while selling the recently acquired Insight adds up. The Insight will have lost > 30% in value ...

    As I said before, if $ do not count, everybody can please him/herself getting that new car, that new iPad, TV, mixer, etc...
  17. formula

    formula Member

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    I just picked up my C three today. I got 59.1 MPG on the monitor for the first 10 mile trip. lol

    second strip 5 mile. 55 MPG. OMG
  18. p00kienrayray

    p00kienrayray Active Member

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    I think the EPA ratings are underestimated on both cars, so your math is probably off. When I drove the C reasonably, I was able to get 60+ mpg consistently highway or city. Members of an insight forum also says that the current gen insight is underrated, and that it's capable of pulling Prius lift back numbers. And you said it yourself, you drive aggressively. I'm not sure how differently these two cars you're comparing will perform under your aggressive style. Then factor in how much you'll really get for the insight trade and how much you'll really get a C for.

    When trading a hybrid for a hybrid, it's hard to imagine any significant fuel savings that can justify the trade. The only thing that would justify it is if you really like the C's design/feel/appeal/etc.
  19. vinnie97

    vinnie97 Whatever Works

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    Well, I got rid of a 2010 Prius in part because I didn't want to fight with the only dealership within 100 miles to fix the TSB that causes a cold engine knock (misfire) upon startup. Yes, I probably took it in the pants in some respects and I'm also taking a gamble that the c won't be afflicted by the problem (it is fixed in the 2012 Prius liftback). I justify it based on the fact that I'll be avoiding the interstate for the most part.
  20. kocho

    kocho Member

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    Let me clear-up a few things. The Insight stays - as I mentioned, we are *adding* a car as our daughter starts to drive and will inherit the '00 Camry, I keep the Insight, my wife gets a Prius or a Prius C.

    Second, I am comparing actual prices: what I paid for the Insight 1 year ago vs. what I have to pay for a C now. MSRP does not matter - actual retail does.

    As for "different trims", I am comparing a car that has 40/60 rear seat split to a car that has a 40/60 rear seat split ;). The rest of the trim option differences b/w my base Insight and a Prius C Two are of no real importance to me and the split seat is mandatory to have.

    Back to topic though. :focus:

    Good point about depreciation - the Prius will hold its value better. We do keep our cars for a relatively long time, unless they turn out to be really problematic (the Camry has been with us for 12 years now). I owned an '02 Prius for several years until it got to close to 180K miles before I sold it and bought the Insight. After 10 years and close to 200K miles, there will not be that much retail value left in either the Insight or the C and the difference will certainly not be $4K as both cars at that point will retail for about as much... I sold the '02 Prius for under $4K because people would not buy them at the $6-7K KBB values listed and I consider it a good deal for both parties, considering I bought it 3 years and 80K miles before that for $6,5K used.

    If it is any indication of how I drive, I am getting very similar mileage in the Insight compared to what I was getting in the '02 Pirus. Driving my friend's 2010 Prius over a few days, I was getting about 60 on the display (10MPG extra), but as mentioned, the Prius overestimates the actual, so the difference was probably about 8mpg.

    As soon as there are reliable Prius C economy numbers from "normal" drivers, I would be able to do the math more precisely. Of course, then, my numbers are hypothetical, but as you see I have upped the Prius C numbers above EPA where I used near EPA for the Insight (even below for city conditions).

    So my math is actually right, given the assumptions and lack of better information for the actual Prius C economy over several months and multiple tanks of gas used. Why? Simple. On certain trips I have easily gotten 65mpg with the insight, driving back to back with a friend in a '08 Prius (both cars with 4 people in them, back roads, 45 mph speed limit). He also got just over 60mpg on his display.

    So what I am observing is that the Insight is actually very competitive if not equivalent to a Prius on the highway (and I expect it might beat the Prius C there). It lags somewhat behind the Prius in the city (mainly in heavy stop and go traffic) and will probably be even further behind the Prius C in the same conditions.

    I look at this "scientifically": only looking at #s ($$$ and mpg). Subjective factors I leave aside for this discussion, because they vary from person to person. I'm not looking at how these things drive or look or smell or how big they are, because they are virtually identical as far as I'm concerned, with the Insight likely having a bigger trunk space in the rear for real life use (e.g., a half dozen large shopping bags vs. tall narrow tall items that stack-up to the ceiling).

    Now, if there was a car with the utility and relative "fun to drive" factor of a Honda Fit Sport, with the 1.8 liter Toyota hybrid drive, a bit more quiet than either, with the Scion TC rear suspension, and priced at the Prius C level, then I'd forget pure "return on investment" and go for it :D

    Who knows, in a couple of years my daughter might inherit the Insight, and by that time the C will be priced so that its fuel economy would actually off-set the HSD premium...
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