Advice on Buying Used Prius - minimize TCO - in Atlanta

Discussion in 'Dealers & Pricing' started by Desi Stim, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. Desi Stim

    Desi Stim New Member

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    Hi all,

    Inspired by posts here & elsewhere, looking to buy a used Prius
    for longer weekend trips (including camping, where the climate control in ready mode is valued) & short weekday errand drives. But am definitely not that knowledgeable about cars...in fact, I’ve never had to buy a car before, though I’ve heard from friends about bad purchase experiences.

    So, after doing some research, was hoping for some advice from this experienced community:
    1. Given the good reputation/reviews (integrity, knowledge, quality, value) of Tampa Hybrids on here & elsewhere, thought I could take a bus there, then drive the ~500 miles back to my home in Atlanta. Does that make sense, or better to buy locally in Atlanta (in case there’s any issues post-purchase)?
      1. If buying from Tampa Hybrids, is there any flexibility/negotiating on pricing, or are list prices basically what you get (any other purchase costs besides dealer fee, Georgia registration/vehicle tax?)
      2. For near Atlanta, any specific sellers, maintenance/repair places, hybrid battery replacers you’d recommend? E.g. I found "Atlanta Hybrid Repair" on Yelp that seems to specialize in Toyota Hybrid repairs, but not sales.
    2. To minimize expected Annualized Total Cost of Ownership (All-in purchase, maintenance/repair, gas, etc.), what kind of Prius would you recommend?
      1. Currently, I’m thinking of prioritizing
        1. Price: lower
        2. Hybrid Battery: newer (within last few years?)
        3. Mileage: lower (<120K?)
        4. Model Year: Gen 2 or later, exclude 2010 (due to oil burning issues)
        5. Fold Flat: yes from back to trunk, so no Eco & Prime (anyways can’t charge where I park). Seems like plug-in also doesn’t fold flat?
        6. History: clean Carfax, service history
      2. E.g. at Tampa Hybrids, I’ve narrowed down the online inventory listings to the following w/ these criteria, but not sure how to tradeoff further, or whether I’m off-base with my criteria.
        1. $5.5K: 2015 battery just installed, 110K miles, 2005 model
        2. $11K: 70K miles, 2013 model III
        3. $18K: 13K miles, 2015 model II
        4. $18K: 18k miles, 2015 model III w/ solar sunroof package
        5. Non-Prius Hybrids, for price comparison:
          1. $14K: 23K miles, 2015 Chevy Volt, on TampaHybrids
          2. $18K: 12k miles, 2018 Kia Niro, on Carvana
    -Thanks for your help!
     
    #1 Desi Stim, Mar 29, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2019
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!

    great idea to buy from todd. my only concern is that you should try to find a local hybrid shoppe for repairs beforehand, so that you don't have to go to a dealer if you do need repairs.

    if you can afford it, i would go with the 2015, for the updated pistons and rings.

    volt is an interesting option, but maybe better for local ev miles than long trips?
    not sure about sleeping in the back.

    kia niro sounds like a great deal, i like the look, don't know anything about it. perhaps this is where todd can help.

    all the best!(y)
     
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  3. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    Without knowing how long you plan to own the car, it is difficult to give any advice.

    It also appears that you are after the best value (which is fine), but you are looking at cars at significantly different price points. Do you have a firm budget?
     
  4. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    That 2013 Prius Two for $18k looks like a good candidate. Nothing wrong with the Three w/ Solar but since you said you wanna minimise TCO, you don't want a piece of glass above you (or the solar panel.. both are reliable but again, reducing the number of variables).
     
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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  6. Desi Stim

    Desi Stim New Member

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    Appreciate the advice! Follow-ups below...

    Re: The Critic
    Good point on my ambiguity on value, budget, & ownership length. I'm thinking of value in terms of annualized total cost per year, plan to own/drive until it no longer makes economic sense or is unreliable, at which point hopefully I'd replace with another used Prius! I have the savings to buy new (or put into recommended maintenance/repair as needed) so don't have a set budget, but am trying to be thrifty in terms of long-term average yearly living expenses in general, as I'm expecting to need ongoing $ for multiple family members' medical issues down the line.

    Related to that, surprised no one has voted for the $5.5K 2005 Prius w/ 2015 Hybrid Battery just installed & 110K miles? Thought that with newer hybrid battery, one potential large $ repair is covered, and mileage hopefully isn't too high yet for other major issues? Perhaps that's overly optimistic / penny-wise while pound foolish though, given the old 2005 model & 6-digit mileage? Would any of the other lower price point Tampa Hybrids inventory listings make sense?

    Re: bisco
    *Nod* on Todd & trying to find a local trustworthy shop. Thanks for pointing out that 2015 gen 3 has updated pistons/rings...didn't realize that, but educated myself more through a forum search.

    You're right, probably Volt doesn't make sense for my current situation, especially since I don't have regular access to electric charging right now, even for the short weekday errands. Guess interest was piqued due to what seems like a low price point for relatively new used, perhaps because the Volt is being discontinued?

    Kia Niro's mpg, combined with roominess, looks interesting.

    Re; Tideland Prius
    True, hadn't thought about sunroof glass & solar panel as other things that could break. Tempted by potential starry sky views & ventilation for camping for same price as other 2015 =P (seems I made a typo, and both are actually listed at $18K)
     
  7. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I fixed the pricing for you. They both said $18k now.

    I honestly didn't see the 2005 option! I only saw 3, not 4. Oops!

    The 2005 is also a bulletproof option. If the interior is in good shape, a new battery will drive like the car was new (almost) back in 2005. However, I would check where they got the battery from. Is it from a salvage yard? Is it a 3rd party battery? or is it an original battery from a Toyota dealer? That's the most expensive option but will at least guarantee that it'll last the longest (compared to a salvage which may get you a few years before requiring another replacement).

    Honestly, the 2013 Three w/ SR is fine if you like moonroofs. The SR will come in handy in the summer to keep the car ventilated while parked, reducing the workload that the A/C has to do. Also, SR-equipped cars will come with a beefier fan motor since they're expected to be running more often.
     
  8. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    First of all, I want to congratulate you on the wisdom of not feeling like you have to spend every dime you've saved up. Very wise!! (y)

    As for Todd and price haggling, he doesn't haggle. That's part of his honesty in my opinion. He tells you how much it costs and that's it.

    On the used 2015 battery, unless his system has changed, the batteries come from totaled cars. After transferring the Gen 3 cells to a Gen 2 battery housing if needed, he inspects them and then does a full set of charges and discharges with a Prolong Grid charger to make sure the battery is as nearly "like-new" as possible. He also makes sure the wiring harness is in good condition because they can get corroded over the years. I put a 2015 battery that I got from Todd almost two years ago in my wife's 2007 and it performs like a new car. The battery came with a printed Carfax report, BTW.

    On the 2005 vs the newer models, the Gen 2 Prius has all sorts of neat little storage places that I really missed when I got the Plug in Prius, and now with a Prime that situation is even worse. On the other hand, the Gen 2 doesn't get quite a good of gas mileage, it's a little noisier, and just feels less refined. That refinement improved with each generation.

    I think Todd will treat you very well if you make the trek down here. He spends plenty of time making sure you understand the car. But not with me anymore since I'm such a nerd that he figure's I already know all I need. LOL! I've bought five Prii from him so far and suggested that he should have punch cards so the 6th is free. LOL!

    As for which car, I vote for #3 due to low miles and simplicity, but #4 is a very strong contender since 5k miles isn't much more for the same price and it's better equipped. There may be cosmetic differences that are affecting price as well.
     
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  9. Desi Stim

    Desi Stim New Member

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    Thanks Jerry, as a 5-time loyal customer with Todd/Tampa Hybrids, for your insight on pricing & battery practices! You definitely deserve a personal punch card. Have any hand me downs? - or I guess they already recirculated through Todd's lot ;)

    Hmm...out of the discussed options, I guess I'm narrowing down to:
    1. $18K: 2015 model III w/ solar sunroof package, 18k miles
      • My wife votes for sunroof over other 2015 model
    2. $5.5K: 2005 model w/ 2015 battery just installed, 110K miles
      • Guess this depends how many years/miles I can get out of it, before it's unreliable/doesn't make economic sense.
      • Sounds like most of you suggest the 2015s as the better long-term better value vs. the 2005 though?
    Also, found a 2016 (gen 4) about 30 minutes from me, for ~$1K more than the 2015s. Thoughts?:
    • $18,780: 2016 model II, 24k miles, Toyota Dealer Certified Pre-Owned, 30 minutes away
      • For upgrades vs gen 3 (mpg, interior volume, etc.), maybe worth it.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    it's a no brainer. meaning, no one can tell you what the two will have been after you are done with it. so we go with the newer one, suspecting the older one will have major expenses. but it's hit or miss.

    gen 4, try it and see. you can't make the decision in a vacuum, there's no history.
     
  11. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I'd be all over that 2016!!

    As to hand me downs, believe it or not, Todd still has my trade-in. (It's only been a little over 3 weeks.) Lutz FL - 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Navigation Camera Remote AC Heated Seats 89k Miles - Car for Sale - Tampa Hybrids Inc.

    Much as I like Todd, I'd say go for that local CPO Gen 4. The Gen 4 is substantially improved. Interior volume will be very similar, but mpg is improved and so is comfort and safety.
     
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    19k? might as well see what you can do on a brand spankin' new prime plus
     
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  13. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    If you like driving, the 2016's dynamics is much improved over the Gen 3. The chassis, lower centre of gravity (battery is under the rear seat) and better suspension (double wishbone rear suspension) provide a much more compliant and confident ride.
     
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