How much of an improvement is the 3rd gen vs 2nd and 1st?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Prius-Forever, May 4, 2010.

  1. Prius-Forever

    Prius-Forever New Member

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    I haven't been all that into the Prius until I saw this new 3rd Generation. I like the new looks, much more sporty looking. The interior also looks better and there is an available moonroof. Is this a significant update that is leaps and bounds over the previous gens or just more a cosmetic update?
     
  2. NASCAR Mike

    NASCAR Mike Senior Member

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    A freind of mine had a 2004 and recommended the Prius to me. When the cash for clunkers came around it was an ideal opportunity to buy a 2010 Prius.

    From what I know about the 2004 and the 2010 here are some of my observations.

    2010 Prius get better gas mileage. Has more leg room and more supportive seat. Ability to run electric only up to 25MPH, economy mode and power mode. These three modes were only available by modification to the older Prius.

    No serpentine belt. Electric steering. Electric air conditioning so you get full air cond when the engine is not running.

    More horsepower (1.9l engine vs 1.5l in older Prius).

    Four wheel disc brakes. Older Prius had rear drum brakes.

    There are more improvements but these are the easiest to remember.
     
  3. Tom183

    Tom183 New Member

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    Horsepower is a pretty big difference: 134hp for the Gen III, vs something like 110hp for Gen II. This means it can keep up with a majority of other midsized cars, rather than being significantly weaker than average.

    The improved efficiency isn't just better mpg - the Gen III has a "fatter" sweet spot, which makes it easier to get good mpg without the need for special driving techniques. You will get even better mpg with those techniques, but from what I've read the difference is less pronounced, so you really don't have to drive any differently if you don't want to - the car will figure it out.

    Those two things make the Gen III a more "normal" car than previous versions.

    I also feel that the styling is a significant improvement, but you'll pay a fairly steep price premium for higher options (models III/IV/V).
     
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  4. tonyrenier

    tonyrenier I grew up, but it's still red!

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    I did not want to mount a trailer hitch on my Gen III, model III, so I mounted a trailer hitch on my 93 year old mother's 1999 Ford Taurus (which now has nearly 10,000 miles on it). I drove from Green Bay WI to Chicago IL this weekend to help my son with a project. I can tell you that the Gen III has phenomenally better seats. My butt hurt by the end of the 220 miles in either direction (not that seats get better whether heading north or south). My 2 cents.
    Tony Renier
     
  5. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    i would say...10-15% overall for tech upgrades, comfort, design, efficiency, etc. but also, keep in mind, that the price was relatively static. granted, most paid more, but in relation to features received, they got a better deal.

    as far as what i would like to see in future releases. probably a more customizable options selection. that might not be doable on the level i want without custom ordering, but i would like the choice to custom order even if i had to wait 3 months for delivery
     
  6. chrisj428

    chrisj428 Active Member

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    For me, the biggest improvements were the two which actually allowed me to buy a Prius: seat height adjustment and steering wheel reach adjustment. While I wish the steering wheel would extend a little bit more, it's tolerable now.
     
  7. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    It's 10% better. ;) 10% more HP, 10% better mileage.
    About the same interior space, about the same exterior size. About the same flexibility re carrying ability (this is what sold me). The GIII has a few less storage options.

    The GII has no problem keeping up with "normal" cars. In fact I usually leave them at lights. The GII has no problem climbing hills.

    In spite of what the "car nuts" say, it's not "gutless". They're just upset they couldn't spin the tires. How juvenile!
     
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  8. clickerman

    clickerman Junior Member

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    My wife and I returned Sunday from a two day trip from the Chicago area to a park on the Mississippi River. 150 miles each way. My wife and I both have bad backs, but on this trip our backs weren't a bit sore. I think the seats on the III model are fine. I saw a lot of Priuses on the right hand lane.
     
  9. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    2004 Prius = 118,185 miles 47.7 mpg average
    2010 Prius = 19,070 miles 50.0 mpg average

    Just by efficiency alone, the improvement is easy to see. The extra power is obviously nice. The moonroof is fantastic. Gotta love the electric-only increase from 42 to 46 MPH, especially since the new Eco-Meter indicates threshold. The traction-control was improved too.

    In short, I'm quite happy with the upgrade.
    .
     
  10. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    Not just cosmetic.

    Basically, if someone was of more modest height and weight, the 01 -09 Prius was built for them.

    New Prius is designed for 6ft+ in the fronts.

    More power, more solid, swoopier interior...

    I cannot come up with a better 4 door hatchback under $25k on the market, suitable for a 6'2" driver that doesn't have VW reliability.

    The best green hatchback IMO.
     
  11. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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  12. wave_slider

    wave_slider New Member

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    Too me it is better in almost every single way. The one thing I didn't like about it is the new center console that house's the shifter. I liked the older Prius better because it was wide open in that area and I didn't feel like my legs were cramped...
     
  13. paulemus

    paulemus New Member

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    Yes, I preferred the shifter on the dash. It was easily reachable with hand from steering wheel. I think they put it in the center to be more mainstream, saying it is more ergonomic. But I think the dash location is actually more ergonomic.
     
  14. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    i wondered about the center console change (still dont like the storage options on the 2010) but after a year (in a week!!) i have grown to very very much prefer the 2010 design, comfort and overall ergonomics more .

    the info is better, easier to access and its simply a better car
     
  15. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Super Moderator
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    I've owned all three. We still have the Gen II (2004) and traded the Gen I (2002) for the Gen III (2010). I can speak to the basics of each.

    Gen 1 Pros compared to newer versions:

    • Tighter turning circle - u-turn crossing 1.5 lanes or less is incredible.
    • Sedan means better rear visibility
    • No step-up inverter tricks, higher battery pack voltage (273.6) means more instant electric response.
    • HC absorbing catalyst meant for cleaner cold-starts - tail pipe was almost never sooty after many thousands of miles.
    Gen 1 Cons compared to newer versions:

    • Small tires required XL load rating, tire wear was abysmal. Went through 3 sets of tires in < 60k miles.
    • A/C was belt driven - using A/C forced engine to run.
    • Steering rack problems - assist motor was in the rack.
    • Lowest powered of the group - 98 net HP. 0-60 in 13 seconds was meager at best, though 0-30 was competitive.
    • Funky shift lever
    • Very spartan interior, few creature comforts
    • No fold-down seat in the US
    • Larger steering wheel with high gear ratio - not very sporty.
    • For 2001, Cruise control was the only "option". 2002 brought other options like NAV, CD changer, side airbags, etc.
    Gen 2 Pros compared to Gen1:

    • Electric A/C compressor meant engine didn't have to run with A/C
    • Far more creature comforts
    • Was first to get many new optional features at it's price point like 3-door SKS, auto-leveling HID headlights with fog lamps, NAV w/ voice recognition, side-curtain airbags, VSC, etc.
    • Non-SKS uses key-slot and keyless entry vs. traditional key.
    • Innovative coolant thermos for "pre-warming" the engine.
    • Roomy hatch-back with folding seats for excellent utility
    • Improved power (110hp net) by improving red-lines, and using step-up voltage in the inverter (201.6 -> 500v).
    • Improved MPG vs. Gen 1
    • Wheels/tires larger, slightly more normal treadwear
    • Power steering moved inside the car, far more reliable.
    Gen 2 Cons compared to other versions:

    • Thermos (IMHO) not quite as effective if the vehicle sat for longer periods of time - sooty tail-pipe is evidence of this.
    • HID lights became problematic in later years (though I'm still on our original bulbs at 118k miles)
    • Lost the "super-tight" turning circle
    • Change in inverter design meant slight lag before full power became available when you "punch it" from a stop (engine must spool up).
    • EV mode had to be "hacked in" in the US.
    • Earlier models: Dash prone to warping in very high heat climates near the glove compartment
    • Wheel trim rings prone to breaking apart over time.
    • Noisy valve train due to fixed shim adjustment - expensive/intrusive to adjust at higher mileage.
    • Roof slope meant tall rear occupants would hit their head on the ceiling.
    • Early versions: very aggressive traction-control makes some low traction situations impassible or dangerous.
    • Silly tank bladder - although Gen I had it as well, Gen II made filling up unpredictable at best.
    Gen 3 Pros:

    • Innovative engine features (exhaust heat recovery, cooled EGR)
    • First Prius engine to be completely belt free (excluding timing chain)
    • Lighter, but more powerful HSD
    • Most interior room, especially in the hatch.
    • Better features, much improved NAV.
    • LED headlights replace problematic HIDs (Prius V)
    • Better JBL sound system (6x9 speakers help w/ bass response), first to include Bluetooth streaming, USB, XM standard, etc.
    • Most power (132hp), yet best fuel economy due to larger engine that can operate at lower RPM.
    • Refined SKS - limited version standard on all cars (no more slot).
    • Far-improved traction control not nearly as aggressive
    • 4 wheel disk brakes now standard in US
    • Arguably better standard tires.
    • Climate control controls moved out of screen.
    • Solar roof and remote A/C a Prius first
    • Optional heated seats and power lumbar with leather, and standard driver's height adjustment opened the door for many taller drivers that couldn't otherwise fit in the car.
    Gen 3 Cons:

    • 17" Prius V, while providing tighter steering ratio, has wider turning circle.
    • 15" Prius has higher steering ratio, almost approaching Gen I ratios - not at all sporty
    • Rear cup-holders unusable with three rear passengers (located in the rear center flip-down armrest)
    • Center console is love-hate.
    • MID display in upper dash is a step backward from full-color LCD and is subject to "persistence" (almost like burn-in but opposite)
    • Steering controls don't "do as much" for HVAC and are sometimes unresponsive
    • Steering phone controls are counter-intuitive (hang up - push up?, pick up - push down?)
    • 15" wheel covers are love-hate.
    • Battery vent relocated to lower part of rear seat back on the right side, meaning small children could drop objects inside.
    • NAV screen is of lower resolution than 2006+ Gen 2
    • Some of the most desirable options not combined due to weight limitations on the platform (i.e. Solar roof w/ Prius V ATP)
    • While an EV button is now included w/ Prius II and higher, activation speeds are irregular and sometimes unpredictable.

    As noted, each version has its endearing charm. All in all, the Gen 3 is still the best Prius to date, despite some of it's minor shortcomings.
     
  16. jburns

    jburns Senior Senior Member

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    Great post but how could you leave the much hated fuel bladder off of the list of gen II cons. That and the over aggressive traction control were the two main reasons I sold my 2006.
     
  17. New_Yorker

    New_Yorker New Member

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    I drove a 2007 GenII Prius Touring for three years, loved the car, sold it to a relative before ordering the New Prius 5 with ATP and everything else.

    The Gen III looks a little less like the rolling 'Cheese Wedge' shape of the Gen II. But I kinda take Pride in the sorta quirky appearance, so for me that meant nothing, and probably was a plus. I definitely preferrred the absence of the big intrusive center console (Bridge) that has been created in the Gen III Prius, and was not in the Gen II, another Plus for the Gen 2 Prius. The Gen III rides better, but only slightly, probably owing to its heavier weight. The Gen II gets higher mileage around town, but worse on the highway than the New Gen III. Because I drive more on open highways, the III is better there. The Prius V model with Advanced Technology Pkg had no Gen II equivalent option pkg, and the Dynamic Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist is really worth having, though not needed, just more convenient. The interior soace is the same in my opinion though the Gen III console makes it feel less roomy than my comfortable old II felt. I could truly not decide which I liked more, but I must agree that the 2010 has an edge in appearance, though driving either model makes you look very very smart.;)
     
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  18. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    From user mileage reports at Fuel Economy
    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4
    0 Model year MPG (user count) passenger luggage
    1 2002 44.1(26) 89 ft{3} 12 ft{3}
    2 2008 46.4(116) 96 ft{3} 16 ft{3}
    3 2010 48.5(80) 94 ft{3} 22 ft{3}
    The last model year appears to show an abnormal, local peak.

    Over time, Prius generations have increased owner usable space and also improved fuel efficiency about 5%.

    Bob Wilson
     
  19. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    great post rick, unfortunately, enough pros and cons to make it difficult to pull the trigger on trading in the II for a III.:D
     
  20. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Super Moderator
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    The bladder was another "quirk" - I haven't dealt with it in almost a year, so I suppose I forgot about it ;-) In AZ, it wasn't as bad as it didn't get nearly as "cold" here. I was "well versed" in nursing the tank full, which I no longer have to do in the 2010.

    Ironically, the Gen I also had a bladder, but it didn't cause any of the "problems" the Gen II had.

    Editing the post ;-)
     
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