Buying a Prius (maybe)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by hybridmel, May 20, 2009.

  1. hybridmel

    hybridmel Junior Member

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    Okay, this whole post may be a smidgen off-topic, but I think eventually I will get to the point. Here it goes.

    This weekend, we will be car browsing. I had my eye on a 2005 Toyota Prius, 77,000 miles, $10,995. Plus, it had the Nav system, but no side airbags, which are two of my biggest qualifiers. Unfortunately, it just sold.

    Now, I found another Prius online, for the same price, but this time it has 85,000 miles on it. It says fully loaded, but who knows what that means, until I get there in person to see it. The dealer said he could not come down anymore, because he cannot sell it for below cost, but at the same time, it seems insane to me to pay the same amount for a car with 8,000 more miles on it.

    I got a loan through my bank, but it was on the $10,995 amount. I have a couple of other lower mileage options, a certified 2006 with 50k, now about $16,000, or a 2007 with 30k, now about $17,000. Hopefully the dealers would be able to negotiate. But, at this point, I would have to add an additional year or two, and probably 3-5k onto the loan, and I am not 100% sure if my bank would do that.

    I guess, it is really all contingent on the following: I don't NEED a super low mileage car, as I do not drive a whole lot. I live about a mile and a half from my work and the same from my gym. I drive MAYBE 10 miles a day on most days, give or take. So, my main concern about the mileage is just the maintenance and upkeep of it. That mileage on a 2005 is a little on the high side, but as long as there are no maintenance issues with such high mileage, I am not concerned with it. (I had read about the 2003 Civic Hybrids that once it hits 95k, there are some major repairs to be expected)

    Any insight into this would be so wonderful, and I would be very grateful!
     
  2. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    What problem are trying to solve? If you want to own a car at minimum total cost you should instead get a clean used non-hybrid Civic or Kia.
     
  3. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

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    I think most people here would tell you that the Prius has been very low maintenance, even at the high miles you are considering. See threads about taxis that are still going strong at 300,000. From other posts, I know many people here would also mention gradual improvements were made over the years, and that 2006 is a good starting year. Don't ask me why. Someone else will have to provide the details.
     
  4. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

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    Geez Richard, way to rain on OP's parade! :D He already knows what he wants, he just wants a little reassurance about maintenance costs for the used cars. Not everyone is looking to buy the smallest, cheapest car possible.
     
  5. a priori

    a priori Canonus Curiosus

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    You haven't identified where you live, and I believe that has a lot to do with whether you are really going to benefit much from a hybrid.

    Your driving pattern is not really great for any car, because you are taking very short trips. For a hybrid like the Prius, you won't see the real significant fuel economy benefits until you've been driving 5 minutes or so (at least). If you are in a warm climate, so that the ambient temp is 60 or better when you start the car, then you'll do significantly better in those short-lived trips.

    I think you may be more constrained by dollars and likely would get more of a benefit by spending less on a used Civic. You won't be getting the same MPGs, but you aren't using a whole lot of gasoline.

    On the other hand . . . If you are looking for a creampuff with Nav and side airbags, then send me a PM. I am looking to sell my '07 Prius (Silver Pine Mica, Bisque Leather, FULLY loaded Package #6) with 29,000 miles. I am having a hard time parting with this car. The only reason I can do it is that I'm replacing it with a 2010!! (Warning: My price is north of $17,000! You'll need to add at least a dozen Ben Franklins.)
     
  6. hybridmel

    hybridmel Junior Member

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    Okay, I am going to try to answer everything in successive order; I did not see any way to multi-quote.

    ggood- He is a she. Haha. And yes, I do want to stick with a hybrid if at all possible. And ideally, obviously, I am interested in a Prius. I have not seen a whole lot of 2006's. I have seen several 2005's, and as I mentioned, one certified 2006 just a bit out of my price range. Also, I HAVE seen very high mileage Priuses out there, so I do know they run "forever". I just did not know when the major repairs started. I also have read about the hybrid battery warranty. (10 yr, 100,000 k) That gives me another 15k before it runs out, at my current usage.....about 3 years. I've heard replacing the main battery is a MAJOR expense, but also that it is quite rare.

    apriori- I am in a small town in Indiana. You are right, I do not drive as much as necessitates a hybrid vehicle. However, I am a bit of a tree hugger, and knowing how environmentally friendly these vehicles are, really seals the deal for me. I am open to a Civic Hybrid, but really those are the two options I am looking at right now. If I found a low mileage Civic Hybrid in good condition at the same price as the Priuses I mentioned, I would definitely look into getting it. In fact, a few months ago, I was actually leaning toward the Civic Hybrid, purely for budgetary reasons. At this point, in my area, I am unable to find an 05 or newer Civic Hybrid for the same price as the Priuses. And, to me, and most others, the Prius is the best hybrid out there. If I can get the better car for lesser money, it would be silly of me to not do so. Now, if an 05 Civic Hybrid with 60k miles popped open tomorrow for $9000, I'd strongly consider it.
     
  7. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    The 2006-2009 standard Prius are identical. Compared to the 2005 the MFD is upgraded and the VSC seems to be less touchy so the car handles better in winter weather. The tail lights are not smoked and Hybrid badging was added to the fenders. You'll always be running the car cold so don't expect great numbers. The 1st 5 minutes average ~25mpg.

    The used supply should start increasing as they are traded in for 2010's.
     
  8. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

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    Yet again I stand corrected! :) If you look around a bit, you'll see there have been other recent threads on the same topic. Except for the occasional aberration, most long-timers report few major repairs, even into the 140,000s and beyond. Brakes get a lot less wear and tear, the planetary gear system does not wear out like a normal transmission, there is no alternator or starter motor to worry about, and the hybrid battery pack has been holding up very well (as proven by those taxis). Even if it ever did need to be replaced, the cost of the part is only $2,500 (or less if you go salvage). The small 12 volt battery appears to need replacement after 4 to 5 years, which seems normal to me. There have been some reported problems with HID headlights, which are apparently expensive.

    Have you been checking craigslist too, rather than just talking to dealers?
     
  9. Mpress

    Mpress Junior Member

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    I would recommend going the certified used route. I just bought a 2007 Prius Certified Used with 40,000 miles on it and got 3.9% APR for 60 months. I've been in the market for a prius for a year before I got the best deal, but now is an excellent time to buy.

    My advice, keep looking on Cars.com and Autotrader.com, and if you find a decent car, visit the dealerships website as they'll often have the car listed for a couple thousand less, and then you can use that as a negotiating point.
     
  10. a priori

    a priori Canonus Curiosus

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    Well . . You aren't so far away. If you would like an 07 still within the Toyota warranty (6,700 miles or 14 months left), send a personal message.:)
     
  11. hybridmel

    hybridmel Junior Member

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    Thank you for the offer, but I will have to humbly decline. I DID however find an 07 in Chicagoland for $12,900, with 70k miles on it. If you'd like to test drive it for me, you'd be such a prince. I kid...

    I wish I could talk the dealers in Indiana down to that price, but I really doubt they will come down $5,000, which is about what Indiana dealers are asking for an equivalent car.

    I can have the car shipped to me, but the thought of buying a car without ever actually driving it, seeing it........ugh, makes me sick. But, I do not want to drive half the day to get there either. Ugh.
     
  12. hybridmel

    hybridmel Junior Member

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    It IS a pretty good time to buy a hybrid. When I saw a Prius for right around ten grand, especially compared to the KBB value, I was just beside myself. And twelve nine for an 07? Unfortunately the prices of used Priuses here in my state of Indiana seems to be a good 3-5000 more than any other state.
     
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