A Perfect Storm of Doubt

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by The Electric Me, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    For nearly 8 months I’ve been part of, lurked and observed within Prius Chat, The introduction and release of the 2010 Prius, and of course tons of information about Hybrids, Electrics and 1st and 2nd generation Prius. This site has been great. It’s a great place for information.

    I was of course thinking about The Prius before the release of the new 2010. When I originally started lurking around this site, it was to gain information about the 2nd generation Prius. I very much debated getting a 2009 or waiting for the 2010. The lure of the availability of a sunroof, no gas bladder, beltless engine and supposed gas mileage improvement a long with supposed improvement in seat comfort and adjustability made me wait. Even though I liked the 2009, I knew if I purchased and the 2010 was a homerun, I’d kick myself forever for not just waiting. So I waited.
    A euphoria came to Prius Chat with the commercial release of the 2010. I scoured and read many of the posts from happy new owners. I figure most people love their new car when they first drive it off the lot. I further thought that if that person is dedicated enough to be a Prius Chat member it was more likely that initial impressions were going to be overwhelmingly positive in favor of The Prius, and I wanted some real world feedback. So again, I waited.

    A small darkening of the sky.

    The first "problem" that was popularly reported was with the vertical cargo net. The inability to install it without it pulling the panels in the back. Albeit a minor problem, the type you’d expect with a new redesign, I was disturbed that such an obvious fit and finish flaw would make it to commercial release. Still it seemed that Toyota was moving towards a fix and/or owners were initiating their own fixes to a relatively simple problem.

    Storm Clouds.

    Without typing paragraphs of back information, we all know Toyota’s problems dealing with "unintended acceleration" and floor mats. Without getting into specific debates about specific issues, I was ultimately surprised when Toyota stopped selling their own floor mats for the Prius. Calling for removal until a solution could be reached. Further surprised when they recommended Zip Ties as a safety precaution/solution. I was now imagining a new car inwhich I might not be able to have a vertical cargo net and/or properly fitted Toyota floor mats. Again, not "end of the world problems" but disturbing.

    Yep, it’s a Storm.

    Then I read posts about "grabbing brakes syndrome" or owners having intermittent spells when suddenly The Prius brakes would jerk and grab when trying to reverse. This I followed with great interest. To me this is a very serious problem. In a crowded parking lot I think this problem could create a very dangerous situation. As far as I know today, there has been no admission from Toyota that this is a problem and no movement towards resolution. With most experiencers of the problem just living with it.

    Batten down the hatches!

    The biggest problem, reported by new owners and many, many of them, seems to be with rattles and squeaks within the new dash. People I recognized as strong supporters of The Prius and among those to buy early, were posting numerous threads about The 2010 Prius being a rattle trap. Again a disturbing fit and finish problem. Not something that in the past you heard about any Toyota. Now I was imagining a significant investment into an automobile inwhich I might not be able to have a cargo net, floor mats and would sound worse than my 17 year old Honda. Individually? Minor problems, as a whole are they revealing a trend or ugly truth about The New 2010 Prius?

    The Perfect Storm or "It’s not going to let us out".

    Now I see posts about the NHTSA tracking reports of brake "problems" with The Prius. Along with some owners admitting that they feel when they hit a pot hole or slick surface the lag between regenerative braking and standard braking results in a feeling of loss of braking power. At this point, it’s a few reported cases and perhaps more just a "feeling" that is created when driving. But again disturbing to a potential owner when he reads from current owners that "Yes, they have felt that feeling when braking".

    The Radio is out, and I’m adrift.

    Too much information can sometimes make things more difficult, and maybe that is where I have guided myself. But another concern I have since following "alternative" automobiles and Hybrids is that it certainly feels to me like we are on the cusp of big changes within the genre. The most readily on the horizon would be "plug ins" and Lithium Ion batteries. Whose adoption and implementation I think significantly changes the entire hybrid landscape. However it shakes out, it seems clear that change is coming.

    I am not wealthy. Therefore, for me, I cannot afford to buy a 2010 and find myself in 2-3 years with a vehicle with a "poor" quality reputation and already behind the 8 ball in terms of battery technology and or function compared to a plug in or "Lithium Ion" Hybrid. I’m speculating but I think it is a possibility that it could become the truth.

    So where am I? I still "want" to want a Prius. But I find myself with growing concerns in regards to what seems to be a growing list of problems both admittedly minor and in some cases potentially very serious. I find myself daydreaming about smaller sports car like Prius Hybrids with Lithium Ion batteries and/or upcoming Station Wagon sized Prius. When I read posts about fit and finish problems? I find myself at looking at VW Jetta Sportswagen TDI Diesel and taking stock around the neighborhood of which stations sell diesel and which do not. Some days it seems unburdening to imagine myself with an ICE Honda Fit.
    Analytical patience can be a virtue, but also a curse. At the very least it seems my patience is going to cost me $400 dollars more if I do end up with a 2010 Prius as the economy along with the realization that "The Hybrid For Everyone" is becoming "The Hybrid For Nobody" evidently has Toyota less concerned about the competition. So Prius Chatters, talk me over this monster wave of doubt. Seriously, this dark winter has me feeling insecure.
     
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  2. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

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    Man I can't wait till the movie comes out... ;)

    There is always going to be pros and cons to any vehicle purchase. In the end they are all bad investments (economically), some worse than others.

    Even with the above mentioned problems, I feel I made a good choice. If I went with the Corolla or another Camry, I would probably feel the same way. The great FE is just gravy.

    If with all the information you have now still want a Prius, get one, if not, don't.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  3. ljbad4life

    ljbad4life New Member

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    With all of those concerns why even bother? If it is indeed a perfect storm as you have put it, buying a prius now would be setting sail after you have weather reports stating the obvious. Do yourself a favor and buy something else. There are plenty of other Hybrids available and more are coming. :welcome:
     
  4. mjrauma

    mjrauma Junior Member

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    I've had the brakes grab going backward, and had the brakes "slip" while going forward. No problem with the gas pedal, cargo net or squeaks and rattles, (other than all the junk I have floating around in the car). And yeah, there's going to be better cars come along eventually but I still would buy my 2010 IV again. I've had it six months and have saved over $800 in gas alone compared to my old car. I figure on keeping the car 5 years and the gas savings alone could come out to over $8,000, ($1,600 @ yr. x's 5 years), so yeah, I think it was worth it, to me at least.

    Mike
     
  5. deltron3030

    deltron3030 New Member

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    Yeah, well you basically went to the ocean looking for water and SURPRISE! you found it! this is the first place i'd look if i wanted to find complaints and problems with a prius.

    the truth is, some of the issues you mention aren't really issues for the majority of us....besides, how many threads on any forum are called "hey guys, nothin' to report, everything is fine with the steering wheel"?

    the cargo net issue is fixed.

    unintended acceleration due to floormat issues hasn't been documented on a 2010 prius

    my dash doesn't squeak or rattle, at all. truthfully.

    the grabby brakes thing isn't dangerous unless you're balancing a wedding cake on your lap as you experience the problem. the brakes are overly sensitive every once in a while (read as, maybe has happened to me 4 times ever), and is easily resolved by easing completely off the brake for a split second. its an issue, but the threads here read as really overblown if you've experienced it personally. i mean really, when you push the brake down, you can feel whether or not theres an issue immediately. if the brakes are gonna do the grabby thing, it feels like you've pushed the pedal down a half inch and it wont go any further. it is an issue, again, but its definitely not dangerous.

    the brakes were designed to anti-lock when they sense they are not in proper contact with the road, so if you hit a dip or hole as you're braking, you're gonna experience it. this is an issue, but really, its only dangerous if you're about to rear end someone, and theres a perfectly placed pothole or dip just behind their car. dangerous, possibly. but its remote, and still should be fixed or sorted out. the thing to note: the brakes don't completely let go in this situation, although many here make it sound as if literally they could stomp the brakes for an hour while careening down a mountain unable to stop. they literally loosen up then re-grab, total duration is less than half a second, if that.


    analytical patience? if you really wanted to be analytical, you'd be collecting data and test driving to confirm or deny. many of the issues reported here are invaluable to both toyota and us owners. but the ferver and passion of a post should not necessarily equate to its seriousness or outright danger to the public...and at PC, they often do. an analytical mind wouldn't put so much faith in anecdotal findings. its not to say that anyone here is lying, but there is a matter of degrees to which a user's entire driving scenario should be considered (the circumstances under which the grabby brakes occur is a good example).

    another example where emotion seems to override an analytical approach: you are fired up about the cargo net issue, which has been resolved. if that fever for a perfect just off the factory line cargo net is #1 on your list of car needs, the prius is not for you. im not sure, but i'd bet there are very good cargo net options out there, many of which would incidentally come with a car properly attached.

    someone else here posted a very serious rant about the "incompetent monkeys" at the toyota service department who, by the sound of it, just about ruined his prius....and by ruined of course i mean "set the tire pressure to factory".

    you seem like a evidence driven person, so take some notes here on how to re-create the issues of importance, and go to a dealership. spend a week or so driving different prius'. get yourself the data. choose. spend.
     
  6. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    My advice, if you already own a Toyota, keep it.
    It most likely has a lot of years and trouble free miles in it.
    If you really believe the Gen III Prius isn't quite there you can either buy something else or wait until the update comes out, most likely MY2012.

    Maybe, if you think there is a perfect car, buy that. I seriously doubt you will find a better car than Prius but give it a go.
     
  7. mindmachine

    mindmachine Member

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    With any new model there always issues, this is not my first new model purchase. The issues are usually always resolved and in fact many of the minor issues aren't really issues at all for most customers but the complaints of hypercritical individuals that get blown out of proportion on these forums..

    I have owned the first release of at least 4 different vehicles from different quality manufacturers and each time the same thing. In each case after the first year or so was up I was glad I went ahead and adopted early on, i had a new model car before others and I saved money in the process due to price increases.

    This is my 5th and I would do it again in a heart beat.

    Good Luck with your decision.
     
  8. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Yes, I know. I was trying very hard NOT to open that can of worms. My point being that Yes, while unintended acceleration due to floormat issues haven't been documented on a 2010 Prius, Floormats and how to go about securing floormats along with potential replacement or redesign of the gas pedal has become an issue.

    Most likely just a side affect of a tragic incident unrelated to The Prius, but when Toyota pulls their own floormats off the market (at least temporarily) the reality becomes you can't buy or have factory floormats. At the very least, that's not reassuring. 99.9% of new cars you can drive off the lot with factory installed floormats and even a cargo net hanging in the back.
     
  9. rrolff

    rrolff Prius Surgeon

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    Ha ha ha (or should we say Ho Ho Ho) ;)
     
  10. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    The Electric Me,

    In no way meaning to be insensitive to your particular needs and desires,
    I think what you've got is more like a tempest in a tea pot.

    The alleged choice of getting a Gen III or no Prius at all is a false
    dichotomy; there are in fact other choices, which may be better.

    Have you considered a relatively low mileage, used Prius. IRC there
    was a recent thread offering in Portland, OR an '08 Touring, ~30K
    miles, for ~$19.5K. This may not be a knock 'em dead steal, but I
    think it representative. You may be able to do better on Craig'sList, etc.

    At any rate, back when the availability of the Gen III was anounced,
    and not even availale, numerous posters opined that they would be
    waiting a while to see how what the "new model" issues would be and
    how they were handled by Toyota. Well, here we are now, and sure
    enough there are "new model" issues. Are those folks proven right?
    Yes and no, your choice.

    Whether or not your goal is to get into a Gen III or ultimately a Gen IV
    PHEV, getting into a Gen II now will have advantages.
    * There are fuel savings over a typical IE-only car, but whether they
    are meaningful, only you can say.
    * More importantly, learning to drive a hybrid, and I suspect especially
    a Prius, is not fall-off-a-log simple. I know you've read a lot of stuff
    here on how to do it, but the practical application of the general
    principals is highly dependent on the specific conditions in your driving
    environment.
    * The Gen III is still wet-behind-the-ears" compared to the Gen II and
    the general Gen III owning community is far from really understanding
    what is going on inside the inscrutible HSD black box. If the Gen II is
    any example, it will be years before anyone does. An early indicator
    will be the anouncement of Gen III workable ScanGauge XGauges.

    In summary; get a good Gen II now. Get up on the high FE/MPG
    learning curve on a solid, proven vehicle with known quirks and
    idiosyncrasies. Stop missing out on all the FUN.

    I apologize for how long this post is. My bad. :rolleyes:
     
  11. deltron3030

    deltron3030 New Member

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    hehe, thats not really keeping a can of worms closed...

    thats generalizing an issue so as to blanket every prius regardless of year, instead of pointing out that the car you want to buy doesn't even have the issue in the first place.

    i smell troll.
     
  12. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    In the Spring of 2005, I was on a waiting list for Prius and then I got a call that 'turned me off.' The local dealer wanted to auction the next Prius. Four months later, a rain-slick overpass and we lost our '91 Camry. I had to find a replacement:
    Now I knew my budget so I started shopping:

    • Ebay stopped the local dealer's gouging
    • Ebay opened the used Prius market
    • A used, 2003 Prius, last of model year, fit my profile
      • 49,394 miles
      • $17,300
    • Prius skeptics debunked ('traction battery FUD')
    For price-performance, the 2007-09 Prius would be an excellent buy ... if you want an established, stable Prius. Of course that model is the one that is being recalled, not the 2010 Prius.

    The worst thing in the world is to buy a car you grow to hate. At least you've done due diligence. It sounds as if the interior and handling are very important requirements and fuel economy not so much.

    Now I expect gasoline (or diesel) will be getting more expensive over the life of our Prius. Like 401(k) investments or any guess about the future, it remains an open risk ... place your bets.

    There is a techique in System Engineering that lists the requirements, applies a weight to each, and then using an evaluation scale, allows someone to 'pick the best match:'

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5
    0 Requirement weight Car A Car B Car C
    1 predictable braking 5 1 3 3
    2 interior quality 3 1 2 3
    3 fuel costs 2 3 2 1
    4 products summed 10 14 25 26
    In this case, braking rules out 'Car A' and interior quality gives 'Car C' a slight edge that fuel efficiency of 'Car B' can not over come.

    Someone with a different set of priorities would come up with a different score:
    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5
    0 Requirement weight Car A Car B Car C
    1 predictable braking 1 1 3 3
    2 interior quality 2 1 2 3
    3 fuel costs 7 3 2 1
    4 products summed 10 24 21 16
    In this case, 'Car A' fuel economy trumps the interior and braking. The same car ratings but the weighting on each requirement has changed. This is how Consumer Reports gives a relatively low score for the 2010 Prius ... they rank obscured, unreported requirements higher than their publicly reported scores.

    Utlimately, you have to live with your decision. I think you would be well served by renting a Prius for a couple of days and seeking out, testing every bad thing you've heard. Over a long weekend, say New Years, you can throughly test how the comments posted here rate in your hands. Rent the other candidates too, if you can find them. But after an extended test drive with the Prius, you'll be in a better position to test drive the other cars ... aggressively.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  13. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    First of all, Thanks for the opinion and input (Thanks Everyone). Secondly, no need to apologize for the length of your post, look at mine! I tend to like to write and go on and on....

    3rdly- I really have recently gave more and more thought to looking for a really nice used generation 2. Admittedly something that bothers me is that I had a great deal on a NEW 2009 before the release of the 2010 came along. I passed on the New 2009. I've looked around and I don't think I can match the deal I left on the table for the new 2009...this was back when Toyota was offering cash back...and dealers were expecting the release of the 2010. So Sour Grapes? Maybe a little. I do think this might be one of those times when patience and evaluation has back-fired on me. There's a LOT about the 2nd Generation Prius I like. So at risk of adding another whole layer of things to consider, I have considered a "newer" used Prius.
     
  14. stream

    stream Senior Member

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    I do believe you hold the record for longest average post length...;) :D
     
  15. codybigdog123

    codybigdog123 Got Mad and Left in a Tizzy

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    I would agree 100%. The individual who started this thread has a lot of concerns, and apparently, a lot of insecurity about those concerns. That's no way to start off with any new car.

    However, the reality of most web sites is - they attract people who need to whine and complain about things that the vast majority of buyers never experience (or are bothered by). That's not to say they may have valid issues/gripes...but those issues/gripes can sometimes be blown out of proportion. Nevertheless, if the consumer is seriously worried that they may fall victim of some of the issues posted here, then it might be prudent to find another vehicle...not that their experience with another vehicle will necessarily be any better. But at least they will feel better from the get-go.

    That said, I couldn't be happier with my G3, and have no complaints.
     
  16. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    Here's the short version of my earlier post: ;)

    You're overthinking this...
    It is time to sh!t or get off the pot.
    :eek:

    But you deserved better. :)

    Really, do yourself a favor: make your best decision.
    Do it, there will be a few minor regrets, move on.

    Peace (wish we had a Christmas Smiley)
     
  17. gail54

    gail54 Gail

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    I understand your concerns - I have been shopping for several months and plan to purchase next week --- I have called Toyota at least 10 times with questions and have take 3 overnight to test drive. I know the least of the worries is about the mats but I believe that is not a 2010 issue as I call Toyota several times to ask the question - I was told that issue is up to 2009. I have heard a slight rattle in the dashboard when I took 1 of the iv's overnight ---that is what prompted me to find this web site which is great!
    I'm going forward with my purchase and am very glad that I'm jumping in with my eyes wide open ---- which I learned this lesson a long time ago about a lot of things!! lol
    Good luck with your decision!
     
  18. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Yep, I know the guy that started this thread and I can tell you, he's a total nut case. Probably spends 30 minutes deciding between Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

    Listen, I knew I'd be opening myself up to a lot of potential criticism but I honestly appreciate the ideas and opinions both positive and negative. You say you are happy with your Generation 3? Have you experienced the Slipping Brakes? Grabbing Brakes in reverse or the Dashboard rattles?

    I was hoping to get some feedback as to how people in general really felt about those issues. I do realize that if someone doesn't have these problems they probably aren't creating posts saying...My Dash is Quiet...or Brakes working fine...

    Sometimes it's hard to tell how big a problem is, or how small it might be.

    In anycase, as far as car purchasing goes, I enjoy the journey. The research part I find fun. So perhaps I subconciously find reasons to dwell in it longer.
     
  19. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Quite the opposite. That money is being long-term invested to reduce cost, by expanding battery production and starting to build Prius locally.

    As for your patience, some would see that as a missed opportunity. Your delay means paying more.

    Considering your purchase research, you're doomed. The internet amplifies. There are countless owners that are quite pleased, who we never hear a peep from online. Those who want to complain are much, much, much more likely to post.
    .
     
  20. going red baby!

    going red baby! still a n00b

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    Solved. Non-issue.


    But this has nothing to do with the 2010 model. It was not affected by this and they have been delivered WITH Toyota floor mats.
    Why even bring it up?


    No, it's not since the first two issues that supposedly brought this to "Storm" level were non-issues.

    This should be looked into but as has been mentioned before, it's not really dangerous and all you have to do is put in Park then back in reverse to get rid of it. Probably the worst that would happen is that you look like an idiot while trying to back up the car. But then on a positive note the three guys who were standing by me when it happened to me started to flirt with me so hey, maybe it's a benefit!


    I have not noticed rattles and squeaks really. I thought maybe I heard a little something on my holiday drive but I'm not even sure about it. I'm going to listen again on the way home.

    Completely inaccurate conclusion since the first two "issues" were non-existent. Therefore there is no "whole" or "trend".


    I just felt this the other night and I am glad I had already read about it since my reaction was "oh, that's what they were talking about" instead of "OMG!!! Wth just happened?" Yes, this should be addressed by Toyota.

    I don't understand what your issue is then if you can't afford the car. :confused:

    To be honest, half your complaints are wrong in that there are no issues like that with this car. The others are pretty minor although a couple of them should be addressed, and perhaps will be in the 2011.

    So, in reality there is no Perfect Storm. You brought up invalid complaints about a car you claimed you were ready to buy yet later admitted you cannot afford. Are you really that worried about this even though you couldn't even buy the car if you had no complaints or were you just looking for a reason to posts complaints about the Prius? Another board I frequent would call this a post by a "concern troll" and sarcastically thank you for your concern


    Okay. Being analytical with false data will give you an incorrect conclusion. Reanalyze with the corrections posted in this thread and you'll most likely want to buy a new Prius as soon as you can afford one.
     
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