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BMW vs Prius: The Verdict

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Rebound, Aug 24, 2021.

  1. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    I owned a Prius since 2010. I traded my 2010 for a new 2012 Plug-in, to get commuter lane access. In 2017, my midlife crisis impelled me to buy my dream car, which turned out to be a 2014 BMW 435i Convertible with just 14,000 miles.

    It’s been four years. Let’s see how they compare:

    Price: Winner: Prius. Duh. $28,000 (new) after rebate vs $50,000 (used, 14K miles).

    Reliability: Prius. At 154,000 miles, no major repairs needed. No moderate repairs, either. The BMW had a short in the taillight fixture. I repaired the short myself but then had the entire fixture replaced under warranty. A very small stone chip required an entire windshield replacement, paid by insurance. Both cars are on their original brakes.

    Maintenance costs: Prius. Duh.

    Fuel economy: Duh. Duh.

    Repairability: Both are very good cars to work on. The 435 is a little bigger than the 335, leaving generous working room under the hood. Spark plug replacement wasn’t fun on the Bimmer but definitely not the major pain in the rear of a Prius spark plug job. Still, the Prius wins on several counts: Toyota parts are WAY cheaper than BMW parts. Also, no matter how bad a Toyota dealership rips you off, it’s child’s play compared to BMW dealership prices. Most important, Prius has NutzAboutBolts videos. BMW has Kai’s Motorsports videos, but there’s still way more knowledge out there about Prius repairs.

    Coolness: Seriously? If you think a Prius is cooler than driving a BMW with the top down, just… get a shrink. Of course the BMW is cooler

    Driving Pleasure: Tie. The BMW is WAY WAY better at driving fast on twisty country roads. Or blasting onto a freeway on-ramp just a tad over the speed limit. Or skidding through a cloverleaf exit without braking. And the seats are much more comfortable than the Prius. Commuting to work on a twisty country road is pure joy in the BMW. But when I need to run a quick errand in town, or go grocery shopping? Prius, baby! It holds way more groceries. And for small trips, I prefer it. It’s still my “go to” car. There’s something very special about the Bimmer, but Prius gets it done better. I brought home a 65” TV from Costco in the Prius. The BMW couldn’t possibly hold that, although part of the limit is caused by the extra trunk space used up to accommodate the convertible roof


    Cargo Room: Prius by far.

    Summary: Overall, I like the Prius better. It’s just a great all-around car. It’s much less expensive to operate and maintain, and less hassle to drive around town. I’m much less worried about encountering a major repair, and there’s a good chance I’ll be able fix whatever comes my way. I still love the BMW, it’s just it’s not as good overall.


    IMG_3523.jpg
     
    bluespruce and Tideland Prius like this.
  2. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Having literally repaired over a thousand convertible lift motors, if you think those items you mentioned were expensive, just wait until that top malfunctions!!
     
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  3. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Thanks, I really appreciate the warm, fuzzy knot you just dropped into the pit of my stomach.

    Oh well… it’s fun when it’s fun.

    Seriously… what’s it run when you have to fix one of those roofs when there’s no collision damage? $1,000-$2,000, or even more?

    Is there any sort of lubrication or maintenance I can do?
     
    #3 Rebound, Aug 24, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
  4. mr_guy_mann

    mr_guy_mann Senior Member

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    Maintenance on a BMW? Change the oil more often than recommended. Use the oil that BMW dealers use. Use top tier gas. Keep a healthy bank account balance.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  5. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    I meant the convertible top.
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    my brother has a mercedes 500sl something or other. he loves the acceleration, cool factor, handling, etc.
    but yeah, dealer maintenance is averaging 10k a year. it's a love affair only understood by owners.

    just watching what bob wilson went through with his i3 was enough to send me running.

    i had a midlife miata, got it out of my system for cheap :p
     
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  7. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    post this on bmw forums and copy paste their replies back on here.
     
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  8. Fitcious

    Fitcious Member

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    This.

    Or OP might use other metrics to make the BMW better on the BMW forums. Lol
     
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  9. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    this also! It’s just like political people attempting to win votes in townhall meetings.
     
  10. burrito

    burrito Active Member

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    How kind of you to refer to them as people!
     
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  11. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    I would imagine the 435 uses an electric motor for the latching mechanism at the front. That's probably in the $350-450 range, so no big deal. If it's the same style as other BMWs, it probably has a plastic gear inside that fails and cracks in half. A DIYer can replace it for less than a hundred.

    The main top mechanism is probably a hydraulic motor/pump assembly with a dozen or so small hydraulic hoses that route throughout the rear of the car on both sides to activate 6 or 8 different cylinders to move the top through each of several coordinated steps, with each step usually having a position sensor that provides feedback to the body ECM. That pump is typically $2.5-4k range new from dealer. $700 ish on ebay for a salvaged one. The good news is those pumps have been getting more and more reliable. They're permanent magnet motors, but some have electronics inside that I've had fail. I've also seen the magnets crack or come loose, likely due to heat cycles. The motor/pump assembly also likely has a handful of solenoid valves bolted to it to direct fluid to the correct cylinders in the correct order. Each of these solenoids has a very fine mesh filter, which I've seen become clogged and it totally jacks up the roof sequence. Most dealers have no idea what's going on and will just recommend replacing the pump assembly, if they can even figure it out that far. Very few dealer techs have significant experience with convertibles.

    Sensors and wires tend to fail or break because the wires are routed along the convertible frame. I've seen similar wires on Volvo C70s get worn through, fracture just from repeated cycles and just plain cut in half by falling into a pinch point. I've also seen hydraulic hoses separate from cylinders, spraying hydraulic fluid. And last time I looked, they're only available for purchase as a full set. Just like any car, crap happens and the more complicated the car is, then there's more crap to break. Unfortunately, when a convertible top has a failure on one side, it can sometimes lead to twisting the top frame and then the problems just never go away. You think the problem is fixed , but then the top won't settle correctly into its hide-away or something.
     
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  12. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    THIS!!!!!

    (y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)
     
  13. Badchurrito

    Badchurrito New Member

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    I feel like a lot of car owners that choose luxury vehicles develop this mentality of "oh, I've already put 10k into the car, it can't get rid of it now. I've already invested too much into it." And it becomes a cycle.

    I had a buddy who had a higher mileage Audi a4 that he was constantly repairing. I never asked how much it was costing him, but when he put it up for sale after a couple years it became abundantly clear that it was sucking the life out of his wallet.

    It's the toxic relationship of the car world.
     
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  14. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Or maybe you shouldn’t make accusations about people’s integrity that you wouldn’t make to their face.
     
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  15. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    BMW's all over the place here. I'm 3 miles from the factory. They lease them at a discount to employees as an incentive.

    I'll stick with my Prius.
     
  16. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    They’re great cars to lease, but long term… not so great. I think leasing is not a good financial or environmental decision, though.
     
  17. Fitcious

    Fitcious Member

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    I apologize if you felt offended. Meant it as a joke.
     
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  18. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Thanks, I feel all better now.
    Not better enough to rattle the cages of the paper-thin frail egos over at Bimmerfest
     
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  19. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    years ago on another thread someone commented that a BMW comes with a manual that is titled;
    Your Car, and the road you now own.
    [​IMG]
    .
     
    #19 hill, Aug 31, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021