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Prius "must-haves" vs. "frills"

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Main Forum' started by drumslinger, May 20, 2010.

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  1. drumslinger

    drumslinger future hybrid owner

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    The lease on my SUV expires in six months, and so I am researching new cars, including the Prius. This forum is an invaluable tool, because the information comes from you, the real users and owners, and not some corporate sales brochure. Here is what I've come up with so far, and I welcome any opinions, pro or con.

    I started at the top with the Prius V and all options, then asked myself "do I NEED this or WANT it." The first option I looked at was the ATP. Now, I've been driving for over 40 years, and I can parallel park with the best of them. When I am driving, I pay attention (no texting or holding cell phones, etc.), so I don't need my car to keep me from drifitng out of my lane. I use cruise control all the time, but I don't need the car to "take over" (applying brakes, etc.) if IT thinks I'm too close to the car in front. I suspect the ATP was developed for those folks who grew up multitasking and think they can talk, text, apply makeup, or whatever and still drive. Relying on your car to correct poor driving skills/habits is risky business, in my opinion. As a result, I decided ATP was not for me.

    Now, do I NEED foglights and 17" wheels, with slightly better handling at the expense of a harsher ride? 'Nuff said.

    Next up, leather heated seats. I've had them, but they didn't turn me into a convert. Cloth seats are just for me. Has anyone gotten cloth and wish they had sprung for leather?

    Then comes the infamous NAV system. It seems many of you have negative opinions about it (not accurate, etc.). I question the idea of spending $2,000 for something that my $200 portable one does very well. And, I can take it with me when I rent a car. Unless I hear a convincing argument to the contrary, NAV is a no-go.

    And a sunroof with a fan? Every sunroof I've ever had has leaked, and the noise overhead, even with the slider closed, outweighs any benefits. As for the fan cooling the interior? Not a big selling point for me. How long does it take for the car to cool down once you get in and roll down the windows? Seconds? A minute?

    Finally -- and this is both personal and practical -- I see no reason to pay for XM service. This would apply to any car, not just the Prius. I have a lifetime subscription to Sirius and intend to install my radio and car kit somewhere in the Prius. Has anyone done this?

    So, what I appear to be gravitating toward is a Prius III. It seems to have all I need, including Bluetooth. But, I am still open to ideas and can move up to a IV or V, if convinced.

    Thoughts, opinions?
    1 person likes this.
  2. markderail

    markderail I do 45 mins @ 3200 PSI

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    Base + Premium is the "must". Everything else is frills.

    On some of the packages you might like the frills - like the touring w/17" wheels - for the comfort, since you are used to a certain road handling with an SUV.

    Canadian & US packages are quite different, but share one thing in common. Customization.

    Use the Toyota website to "build" after choosing a model, then there's another TAB that allows to pick & choose options. Those options vary depending on the model.

    IOW, you could have a base+premium with the better seats, w/o having to go to the touring (and paying extra for larger wheels and LED headlights).

    If you live in the snowbelt (you do), don't get the solar. However, do GET the remote engine starter (separate buy at F&I) you won't regret. It's expensive because it requires a FOB, but man you won't regret. Think crippling summer heat or ice storm.

    I also do window tinting, paint protect, tissue protect, 3M clear bra & sides, Sherlock.
  3. New_Yorker

    New_Yorker New Member

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    I do not disagree with you, but I own a V with all the trimmings because much of it is paid for by others, and I intend to keep the car till it rusts away from the northeasts salt laden winters, so I opted for all the things I could just to make the car more enjoyable over time, and less basically boring to drive. I thought the Dynamic cruise was not something I'd like, but it makes driving long distance less stressful. Heated seats in 20 degree farenheit New York winters, and remote start so I don't have to get out there to warm them, heavenly. Blue Tooth cell hands free works superbly. The Lane Keep Assist is more like a video game to challenge your ability to stay in the exact center of the lane, definitely NOT a necessity. Same with parking by robot. But the 17" wheels add a lot, and the car doesn't ride bad, in fact it rides better than my 2007 Prius did. Fog lights are mostly useless, but could be helpful under a really dangerous fog when you shouldn't even be on the road.

    The Nav system is different, and I would not say bad, just different than all the Nav systems I have owned. It takes using it for awhile to become familiar with how it functions, but is better than my garmin 660 which has grown old but extremely familiar and comfortable to use. I have sworn at the new Nav system a few times, but mostly because I didn't read the "War & Peace" rival that is its operators manual.

    No matter what I hope you truly enjoy the Prius, I never expected to, and I'm on my second one. I will probably always drive one. Best of Luck !
  4. stream

    stream Senior Member

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    To use your words, you don't need any options available in any car.

    The question is, what do you want in you car? Only you can answer that.

    I have a Prius V w/ nav. Did I need the options that came with it? No. Did I want them? Yes!

    I've been fortunate enough to drive some terrific cars, so the improved ride feel with 17" wheels and more direct steering were important to me, and the improved illumination of the LED headlights were a must for me, since I've driven cars with HIDs for a long time. I much prefer leather seats to cloth (and leather steering wheels to plastic), and want a good sound system in my cars. And while I don't use the nav system very often, the rear view camera is very useful (given the limited rear visibility), as is the touch screen. The other options (Bluetooth, self-dimming mirrors, Homelink, etc.) that come with the V vs. the other models are items I've had in previous cars for years and found useful.

    Also--agree with you regarding ATP. A lot of money for very little functionality that I'd ever use.
  5. chrisj428

    chrisj428 Active Member

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    Personally, I like toys & buttons. So, I checked every option box available. However, I recognize everyone's needs are different. :)
  6. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    Sounds like you've already picked the correct car for yourself, a III. You don't need any convincing from us.



    Yet you use the cruise control all the time? The DRCC is designed so you don't have to mess with the cruise control stalk all the time, allowing you to focus more on the road. You have to operate the steering wheel at least once every 15 seconds in order for Lane Keep Assist to work or it'll cancel, so you pretty much need 100% concentration anyway. We V with ATP owners make the joke that our cars drive us to work while we read the newspapers but that's only a joke.
  7. dmvp

    dmvp Member

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    Like you, I weighed the pros and cons of all of the models as well, before my purchase. And, like you, decided the extra money for a model 5 was not worth it, as I wouldn't use many of the features provided.

    Unlike you, however, I opted for the model IV solely for the lumbar support and leather seats. I was SO happy to have heated seats this winter...love me some warm buns. :) And I think leather seats just look so much cleaner in years to come. I finally felt like I was in an "adult" car, having the leather seats. LOL

    My model IV doesn't have the Nav, because I have a TomTom to use when I don't know where I'm going. The other added benefit of the IV vs the III is the SKS opening front, passenger and rear hatch. I know I've read about many people that were unhappy that their fob only opened the driver's door.

    So, those are MY thoughts, and a few things for you to consider.
  8. cossie1600

    cossie1600 Active Member

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    If you can afford it, buy the nicest one you can get. As a general rule of thumb, options dont add anything to resale value. I have a II and love it. I only added 17" rims and leather seat covers to compensate
  9. drumslinger

    drumslinger future hybrid owner

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    Thanks, everyone, for your input. It helps.

    Denise > Did you get the sunroof? I don't know what SKS stands for, but I figured out from the context that it's like remote keyless entry. That's something to keep in mind.

    Does anyone have any experience with Safety Connect? Is it worth it? I am used to OnStar and the peace of mind that comes with it, so I was wondering if Toyota's version works well.

    Glen
  10. ALS

    ALS Member

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    I went with the III because I couldn't justify the additional expense of the IV and V.

    Must haves is the hands free Blue Tooth phone.

    I've always had bad luck with leaking sunroofs when the car aged a few years, so that was one option "I" didn't want.

    The Nav is way over priced, Solar roof again an expensive play toy.

    Although the back up camera would be a nice option.

    The Technology package is something I just couldn't justify for the expense.

    I didn't opt for leather because my other car has leather and I like cloth seats better.

    This is only my opinion go with a III or IV with a sunroof and leather upgrade if you want it. Sunroofs and leather are nice options to have when it comes to trading the car.
  11. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    I went with the Technology Package (Canadian model) because I wanted power lumbar support, heated seats (a must in Canada!), a moonroof and radar cruise control (lotsa trips to the States).

    After reading the title (and before reading your post), I figured a II or a III is really all a person needs in a Prius. However, given the way the US packages things, I'll convince you to move up to a IV for a few reasons:

    1. Driver seat lumbar support. The old Prius' seats were adequate at best. The lumbar adjustment was one thing I missed from our old Camry and it helps with my back support

    2. 3-dr SKS (Smart Key System). II and III models only have it for the driver's door. IV models include a sensor for the front passenger door and rear hatch. This means you can walk right up to the hatch with your hands full and just press the electronic hatch release and it'll unlock and open the hatch at the same time rather than having to go to the driver's side first or fishing for the remote in your pocket and pressing the UNLOCK button twice.

    3. Heated seats would be nice in NJ, would it not?


    The other things are bonuses. The water-repellent front glass will help keep your front side windows clear during rain and snow storms, the auto-dimming mirror w/Homelink is useful if you carry a remote for your garage or apartment gate.
  12. geeter

    geeter Member

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    Save the cash and buy something else with the money. Even the II is nicely equipped. A $100 garmin GPS and a $40 bluetooth speaker will do the trick.
  13. Eoin

    Eoin Active Member

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    As had been pointed out, there is a big difference between what we need and what we want. I spend 3 hours a day in my car and I want all the bells and whistles. Remember what Lear said -

    "O reason not the need! Our basest beggars
    Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
    Allow not nature more than nature needs,
    Man's life is as cheap as beast's. Thou art a lady:
    If only to go warm were gorgeous,
    Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st,
    Which scarcely keeps thee warm"

    We could all opt for the basic version. Women could all get by with 2 pairs of shoes, too.
  14. stream

    stream Senior Member

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    That's what I meant to say... :p
  15. Smirv

    Smirv AkA: Ryan

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    I did the same thought process when I was purchasing one. I was also fortunate to see the difference away from the dealership. I bought a III and my dad bought a IV. He bought it because he has a bad back and also he is accustomed to the leather that he had in his last car. I really didnt see the need to spend the extra money for it. The cloth and seats in mine are very comfortable. I think the bluetooth is a need, its very convienent to continue driving without having to play with your phone. As far as seat warmers go, IMO they are overrated and uncomfortable. I think the auto-temp works just fine. I use my faithful TomTom for the NAV and in hindsight I think it was the right call. $2000 NAV pkg. or $200 TomTom? The TomTom works just as good if not better and is just as convienent.
  16. Eoin

    Eoin Active Member

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    I think I will wait until next January before I comment on the value of electric seat warmers.

    As for the solar roof; I tell my friends that my new car is powered by the sun. They are very impressed.
  17. geeter

    geeter Member

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    Except a few pairs of shoes don't cost a few thousand dollars....................

    My II was easily 6 or 7K less than a IV. Maybe leather seats and nav are important to some. But for those of us who have owned cars with manual windows, no ac, no power steering, etc, a Prius II is just fine. And there is nothing mechanically different from a II to a V.
  18. Eoin

    Eoin Active Member

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    I still have a 1995 Tercel with no air bags, no A/C, no power windows. It has never failed me in 15 years. I will be sad to see it go...

    As for the options, it really just depends on how much you want to spend and how much you drive. An extra $5,000 sounds like a lot, but I keep cars for 15 years, so it is an extra $333.00 a year for greater comfort and convenience. That's $27.00 a month. It costs me about $200 a month just in bridge tolls to get to work. So the cost is not significant. I reason not the need.
  19. drumslinger

    drumslinger future hybrid owner

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    It looks like my butt and back will decide between the III (w/cloth) and IV (w/leather), when I test drive. I don't care about a tushy warmer. And the Nav is out; my Navigon works fine.

    Thanks, folks. You are helping me a lot.

    Glen
  20. markderail

    markderail I do 45 mins @ 3200 PSI

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    You can get a lower package, then add-on the better seats, w/o having to move up a package - thus cheaper.
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