Considering Prius, questions for Gen4 owners

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by syncro87, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. syncro87

    syncro87 Junior Member

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    If you folks with 16+ Priuses (Prii?) don't mind chiming in, I'd appreciate your feedback.

    Looking for some feedback from you based on my situation, how you think the Prius would fit for us.

    Below is our basic situation in case it helps you gauge whether the Prius would work.

    Family of three, two adults, one 8 year old. We also have a new style Civic sedan and a 2nd gen Scion xB as our utility vehicle, i.e. haul canoe, bikes, mulch, etc.

    Kansas City area, so typical midwestern USA driving. If you're not from the midwest, this means other than the suburbs we drive in around home, anything outside the city is interstate highway across the wasteland. Prevailing speeds around here are probably 70-80 mph range. If you're doing 65, you're getting blown off the road.

    It isn't as flat around here as people think, but it isn't mountainous per se. It does get pretty windy sometimes. I recall a trip years back in a Honda Fit across the northern tier of Kansas on a windy day that almost had me wanting to poke my eyes out. The 2nd gen Fit was horrible on a highway trip on a windy day.

    We bicycle a fair bit, so although the Scion is the primary bike hauler, the other cars being able to do it in a pinch would be nice.

    My questions:

    1) How is the Gen4 car at sustained 75-80 mph highway travel? For instance, on a recent trip to Wichita, KS, I set the cruise on 80 for much of the trip. Our Civic turbo will do that all day long, uphill, downhill, zero power concerns or issues at that speed with hills. I don't do this super often, but enough that I'd rather not drive something dramatically underpowered on the occasional trip to Wichita or Omaha.

    2) How is the A/C in hot weather? One of my minor complaints with the Civic is that on a really hot day, say 95 degrees F, it tends to struggle a tad. We get weather over 90F pretty often in summer, so a pet peeve of mine is A/C that can't keep up.

    3) Has anyone who added a hitch to carry bikes on the rear had any issues with warranty, dealers, etc? Bikes on the roof are a pain, so I'd probably install a hitch just to carry two bikes around. I know that technically, the manufacturer isn't supposed to penalize you with a warranty claim they can't directly tie to the hitch, but I just wondered if anyone ever got any guff from a service department about it.

    4) How does the Prius do at altitude? Let's say we took a road trip to Denver. Is the power loss at 5k feet brutal on a car that isn't exactly overpowered to begin with? This would be pretty rare for us to do, but just curious.

    Can't think of anything else. Thank you for any input.
     
  2. sclevine

    sclevine Member

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    @syncro87

    I've done a lot of long road trips, I'm already over 42k miles in about 15 months on my 2017 Prius 4, including 2 drives to Kansas City from New York City by the way! Our eclipse road trip was to the middle of nowhere on the Kansas / Nebraska boarder, and we stayed in KC a few nights.

    Honestly I'll usually cruise control at 68 or so, even when the rest of the traffic is 75-80, because I like to try to keep my MPG up, and at my speed, I generally can get at least 60 MPG (on the computer, probably 57 in reality) plus or minus. In bad weather it will be more like mid to upper 50's, but with favorable wind conditions and net downhill trips, I can get up to 65. At 75-80, I think you'll do at least 55 on the computer, but it also depends on conditions of course. A strong headwind will kill you, but I think you'd still get 50 MPG.

    MPG does suffer quite a bit in the winter, and I know it can get cold in KC, so you'll have a drop of at least 5 MPG when the temps are below 35 degrees, and lose 10 MPG or more when it gets really cold, especially on short trips before car can properly warm up.

    The car is much peppier than I expected it would be, and I don't think you'll have any problem when it comes to power issues or maintaining speed on uphills. Prius can maintain 80 no problem and it won't feel like 80. I usually operate in Eco mode, which will temper your acceleration, but if you put it on Normal or Power mode, the pickup is surprisingly pretty awesome.

    I've been really happy with the AC. Usually I'm fine with operating the AC on eco mode and without recirculating the air, but when needed I either set it to recirc, or turn off eco, and the air is nice and cool, and at the higher fan speed, you really feel it nicely. My old VW Jetta was terrible with this, and I think the Prius is a nice upgrade in that dept.

    I can't really speak to hauling, or altitude, all my trips have been up and down the east coast or to midwest.
     
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  3. syncro87

    syncro87 Junior Member

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    Thank you for the input.

    By the way, I'm guessing you went out in the vicinity of Hiawatha, KS, on US Hwy 36 then north to see the eclipse. Highway 36 runs east-west just south of the KS/NE border, heading north from anywhere west of the MO border on 36 would put you right in eclipse territory. My in-laws live just west of where you probably were for the event, on a rural KS farm. Maybe 30 or 45 minutes west of St. Joseph, MO, on US 36. I was just out that way last week to see them. Small world.

    Oddly, although that area up in the corner of NE KS and around St. Joe, Missouri, was supposedly ideal, St. Joe at least ended up having a lot heavier cloud cover than we did down here in Kansas City. I drove about 20 minutes east of my house into the boondocks and had a great view (for less time)...I heard the masses that drove up to St. Joe from KC were disappointed due to a lot of clouds up there that day.
     
  4. sclevine

    sclevine Member

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    Yeah, cloudcover was a problem. Yes, just as you said, we ended up driving west on 36, till we found a spot where the clouds were breaking up and turned a bit north and ended up in Wymore, NE. Over there it was just partly cloudy so we actually got a decent view.
     
  5. FuelMiser

    FuelMiser Active Member

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    We drove our 2016 Three Touring from Monument, CO to San Diego, CA and back last Fall. At sustained 75-80 MPH, we observed significant MPG loss. Our normal average is 52, but on the highway we only observed 42. Other than that, no issues driving the Prius all-day long on the Interstate.

    The A/C in the Gen 4 might be a little "weaker" than Gen 3 in an effort to make it more economical. In addition to an ECO setting, there is also a setting that "optimizes" the A/C for front-only use. I find this reduces the airflow out the upper vents, but you can control this with a button. If you disable the front-only mode, you will get more airflow out the upper cooling vents. And for "max" cooling, you would not select ECO mode.

    We live at 7,200 feet year-round in Monument, CO, and the Prius has no problems with the altitude. We also occasionally drive it over the 12,000 foot passes in Colorado with no issues.
     
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  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Consider a Touring model with the wider 215/45R17 tires instead of the standard 195/65R15 if you're concerned about crosswinds or high speed stability.

    The Prius has various energy saving modes so when you're in the peak of summer, just ensure they are all off (ECO Heat/Cool is off and S-Flow is off) and it should be good. The A/C compressor runs off the hybrid battery so it's not fighting with the engine for power like a regular car. I had a Mazda3 cut its A/C while I was crawling in SoCal traffic. IT wouldn't blow cold until there was a gap in traffic and I can accelerate and rev the engine. No such problem with a Prius.
     
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  7. robsnyder20

    robsnyder20 Active Member

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    I will chime in because I'm in Florida. If your car's left baking in the sun all day during summer (100+ degree day), it takes a few minutes to cool down, but definitely better than my previous other cars at cooling off the cabin. I used to keep my Fan on high for the first 15 to 20 minutes of my 45 minute commute coming home and then cycle between 2 and three and my Prius can throttle the fan down way sooner and keep me feeling way cooler than my old toyota could (Toyota Matrix which is similar to a honda fit).

    I also made one trip up to Tennessee from Florida on I-75 and wanted to do 80 MPH on the interstate to see what she would do. Ended up getting 41.4 according to Fuelly and 43.4 according to the computer. No major mountains to cross other than a tad bit in Georgia but the car really had no issues handling them whatsoever. With the CVT, the car can really jog on the interstate going pretty quickly. Mine usually runs between 1900 - 1950 on level flat ground according to my scangauge with the AC set at 72 at 80 MPH and no headwind. MPG will definitely suffer but still decent compared to most every other can out there at this speed.

    Hope this helps with the A/C question and the speed question but I can't really answer the altitude or the bicycle hauler question.
     
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  8. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    My Renault many decades ago did that - it had an idle cut-out switch, so sitting in traffic, you had to keep your foot on the throttle over about 1100rpm. Worked for me - but my wife never got the hang of it, and complained the A/C wasn't working properly. I think a few of my cars of that era, including my 77 Microbus did the same.

    Aftermarket Tinted windows help.

    Also - insist they set the Auto-Down on the FOB so you can put all your windows down while walking toward the car - an awful lot of heat escapes that way.
     
    #8 alanclarkeau, Mar 29, 2018
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  9. Since2002

    Since2002 Senior Lurker

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    In theory having a white car helps for heat, although I don't know how much, maybe not enough to notice. When I used to live in California I would visit Arizona and I noticed a lot of white cars so I guess that's why I have always liked it. Unfortunately you can no longer get my preferred color super white on a Prius unless you live in Hawai. On the mainland it's only available on fleet vehicles.
     
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  10. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    But this was a 2013 Mazda3 :cry:
     
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  11. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    I think I read it's part of the SkyActive, which also includes stop/start. Or maybe the A/C stops when the engine stops.
     
  12. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I'm not aware of any stop-start Mazdas in the US. Again, it wouldn't blow even as I crawl. I had to rev. This was after about...1 hour? on the freeway. Before that, it was fine. Again, this will never happen in the Prius since the A/C compressor is electric and there's always some charge in the battery.
     
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  13. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Yes, white is definitely cooler.

    Car Color Test: Are Black Cars Really Hotter in the Sun? - Video - Autotrader

    Here, sub-tropics, white is probably the most common colour. Only problem is - it isn't as easy to find in a carpark - as a bright yellow one.
     
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  14. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Here, the Mazda 3 has stop-start. Maybe. I took one in 2011 for a test-drive, and it wouldn't stop/start. Salesman suggested we take the loop again, still no stop/start. Another car we tried did it fine.

    It actually is quite clever - it stops the engine with one cylinder charged with fuel and at just the right position that a spark and a little more fuel will start the engine without the starter motor. If that one attempt doesn't work, the starter motor jumps in instead. The engine has to be at optimal operating temperature. I seem to remember that it is only effective if the stop period is relatively short, like a couple of minutes.

    upload_2018-3-30_14-16-49.png
     
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  15. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    So far, the Germans have adopted it as did Land Rover here in Canada.

    Some USDM models have cylinder deactivation (and the only Japanese vehicle that I know of, is the Honda Odyssey minivan and possibly the Acura MDX/ Honda Pilot mid-size SUVs).

    All we have from Mazda is the i-ELOOP regenerative braking system (optional only on the top of the line GT model as part of the Technology Package).
     
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  16. tzx4

    tzx4 Active Member

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    I'll throw out two comments.
    1. I live at 9000 feet elevation west of Denver. I think the electric half of the drivetrain masks the loss of power the gas motor loses at altitude.
    2. As for power? No problems with anything I-70 presents including the eastbound ascent of Vail pass. I was on a road trip on some deserted interstates two weeks ago and there was acceleration available even at 90 mph.
     
    #16 tzx4, Mar 30, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
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  17. syncro87

    syncro87 Junior Member

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    Thank you, everyone. Very helpful feedback. I appreciate it.
     
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  18. syncro87

    syncro87 Junior Member

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    Picked up an '18 Two today. Woo hoo.
     
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  19. wfolta

    wfolta Active Member

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    Congratulations! I'm still looking for excuses to drive our new (week-old) Gen 4. Was hoping to take a longer trip Saturday, but the forecast is for 6" of snow.
     
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  20. RCO

    RCO Senior Member

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    After 18 months the novelty still hasn't worn off for me. Any excuse, I'm off.... :cool:
     
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