Looking at a Prius for driving 80K+ a year

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by ga12r1, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. ga12r1

    ga12r1 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2018
    9
    12
    0
    Location:
    Valdosta, ga
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Hi Guys. I'm looking at a 4th Gen Prius for my wife who drives 80,000+ miles a year for her job. It's about 95% highway driving. I would like top get 3-4 years out of the vehicle. I come from the Toyota Land Cruiser community so high mileage doesn't really scare me. I have 3 land Cruisers and the youngest has 160K miles and I consider that just barley broken-in. I do all of my own maintenance on my Cruisers and firmly believe I could easily get 500K miles out of one of them with good maintenance and replacing items like steering rack and suspension parts when necessary.

    I have thought about putting her in another Land Cruiser but the 16-17 MPG really would eat us alive. So lately we have been thinking hard about the Prius. We went drove a 2018 Prius 4 and she liked it enough. She's is coming from a 2016 Limited Platinum AWD Highlander. The Prius 4 we looked at had most of the bells and Whistles she likes in her Highlander and gets twice the MPG. So she is on board.

    My only question is can i expect the reliability/longevity that I am used to with the Land Cruisers? I feel like the interior quality is a little lower but I'm only talking about using it for 3-4 years so i feel that should be ok. So i guess its the electrical/engine/powertrain that would be my main concern. Can I expect 320,000 miles in 4 years out of these vehicles if they are maintained properly? Thanks!
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    88,168
    39,336
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    welcome!

    gen 4 is as yet untested and unproven. we would like to think the best, but gen3 turned out to be much less reliable than gen 2.
    my opinion is that toyota over engineered the gen 2, figured outwore pennies could be pinched and cut corners on gen 3.
    gen 4 is likely designed for 150k to get past warranty.
     
    RCO likes this.
  3. GadgetVirtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2012
    76
    41
    0
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    You're asking a lot from any vehicle. My 2012 Prius C had almost 150k miles on it when I had to replace it due to a car accident. That car had zero maintenance that wasn't part of the routine maintenance. Even at 150K miles, the brakes were barely half used and I was about to be on my third set of tires. With such high mileage you'd probably have to replace the battery much soon than the average owner but if you do all your own maintenance otherwise I can't imagine why you couldn't learn to replace it as well.
     
    Smaug1 likes this.
  4. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    5,930
    6,508
    0
    Location:
    near Brisbane, Australia
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    It's a difficult question - "a bit like how long is a piece of string". There are some Gen 4 PRIUS which were over 100,000km with no issues, one chap sold his about that stage. But long distance driving is "easy" on a car compared with city driving. The battery would likely last well, as it would go to the extremes of low/high much less than city driving. Brakes - well, highway work they tend to last much longer anyway, but PRIUS Taxi Drivers have been getting long life in city work, as the majority of braking is regenerative. The engine isn't stressed, as it always starts in Electric mode. There isn't a gearbox.

    Before I bought mine, I checked with various users - though, I tend to change cars much sooner than you're talking about, generally when the warranty runs out. Taxi operators were talking about those same miles as you're talking about and having almost no problems, some still on the original brake pads and rotors.

    Your fuel use - I see FUELLY showing the majority of Highlanders using between 18 and 24 US MPG. PRIUS would be much better than ½ that use, so your fuel savings would be very good - though I'm not sure of your local price.

    Check that she's comfortable in the car - some feel the seats don't suit them.

    Another ½ way option could be the RAV4 Hybrid - I think there's a completely new 5th Generation either just released or about to be - but would use more fuel than PRIUS..

    Yet another to look at is the Camry Hybrid - would use a fraction of the fuel of a Highlander and probably more of a long-distance cruiser than PRIUS - but would use more fuel than PRIUS.
     
    Smaug1 and RCO like this.
  5. egg_salad

    egg_salad Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2015
    493
    383
    17
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    Color me impressed.

    Assuming an average speed of 50mph, your wife is spending 1,600 hours per year driving a car. Give or take, that's 30 hours per week! I don't work 30 hours a week at my actual job. Yessir, I'm impressed! It also means an oil change every 3 weeks. Given her schedule, how does she find the time??

    Setting that aside...

    Employer reimbursement (or IRS deduction) is somewhere north of 50 cents/mile these days. With the low fuel and maintenance costs of a Prius, she would be making money on reimbursements. Gross of upwards of $40,000 per YEAR!

    If I was in that situation, I'd buy a new Prius every 18 months or so.
     
    amos, goldfinger, Smaug1 and 2 others like this.
  6. robsnyder20

    robsnyder20 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    281
    230
    0
    Location:
    SW Florida USA
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    I'm gonna chime in. I doubt the battery would need replacing in such a short life span despite high miles. Taxis have proven this and they are in city where the battery gets used much more than on the highway...but the gen 4 does use the new Li-ion battery chemistry which is different from the previous gen. Depending on the speed your wife drives, the car will do exceptionally well, MPG wise vs a Land Rover or any other 4 Cyl car out there but I wouldn't plan on it being 50+ unless shes doing 70 MPH at max. The transaxle is proven super reliable in earlier models, but they did tweak it in the latest gen. Same with the electric motors. No belts to worry about which is nice since my earlier car, a 03 Matrix (sold at 333K) would squeak every 10-15K and I would have to change it out.

    So In short, no one really knows the reliability that far out but I really like mine (40k miles) so far, averaging 58-89 MPG and only required regular maintenance besides an annoying tapping when breaking, which was remedied by replacing the drivers side axle (thank you warranty).
     
    goldfinger and Smaug1 like this.
  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    3,477
    3,427
    1
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius c
    Model:
    Two
    Are you asking about the likelihood of a new or used one for this difficult assignment? I would not worry about a new one- in fact I regard that as the ideal usage pattern. Get it young, pour the miles onto it and get out before the calendar catches up to the odometer.

    I don't think I'd try this with one more than a year or two old though. That just adds too many unknowns to the complexity of the hybrid drive.
     
    ga12r1 and dubit like this.
  8. FuelMiser

    FuelMiser Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    845
    567
    0
    Location:
    Monument, CO
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    I'
    I'd say NO. This is extreme heavy-duty use. The Prius was never made for full-time highway driving in the first place. About the only thing made for this level of highway use is a commercial diesel vehicle.

    Now, people use Prius' for taxi/uber use which racks up a lot of miles, but this is city use (not highway) I'd argue.
     
  9. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    4,988
    3,273
    0
    Location:
    So. Texas
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Smaug1 and Raytheeagle like this.
  10. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    3,107
    3,611
    0
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Touring

    Wow....
     
  11. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    6,039
    4,955
    0
    Location:
    Redneck Riviera (Gulf South)
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    It goes like this:

    A Prius (like most small, FWD cars) is designed for a life cycle of about 10 years or 250,000 miles.
    That's 3-4 years given your intended usage, although I would start out with a 1-2 year old used G4 and run the car for 4 years and use proactive maintenance to push the life cycle out past 250,000 miles, but that's me being me.

    The idea that a sedan hauling one human on the interstate for a few hours a day constitutes "heavy use" is not at all accurate, and in fact the opposite is generally true otherwise Priuses would suck as Taxi vehicles and Ubers, and they generally do not.

    The Achilles heel in your plan is OCI, or OIL CHECK INTERVAL.

    As outlined in the maintenance schedule, it's every 30 days or 1,000 miles.
    Unlike the mastodons that you're used to driving, the Prius has a very small oil sump.
    Skip the oil checks, and the flickering light of shame will illuminate eventually!

    Follow the maintenance schedule assiduously, and add proactive transaxle fluid replacements probably every 60K in your case.
    Also replace the water pump proactively at about the halfway point and see if the EGR cleaning that the G3 drivers have to perform is applicable for the G4s.

    Following these practices, I would unreservedly recommend a G4 out to at least 300,000 miles.

    NOT following these practices would probably shorten the G4's lifespan by at least a third, and you would rapidly approach the part of the spreadsheet where a non-hybrid makes more "sense" and "cents."

    Good Luck!
     
    Raytheeagle and krmcg like this.
  12. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    3,383
    1,506
    0
    Location:
    USA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius c
    Model:
    Four
    Wow.....what, exactly ?
    That opinion is as valid as any other.

    I would agree that a hybrid probably isn't the best choice for a LOT of highway miles......especially if the driver tends to have a heavy foot.

    If gas mileage is important, a Corolla might be a better choice. Maybe even a Yaris.

    But it's gonna boil down to what SHE WANTS.
    What we think ain't gonna matter a hill of beans.
     
  13. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    10,853
    3,338
    1
    Location:
    Northern VA (NoVA)
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    I seem to be odd man out, Prius would be excellent consideration.
    But we need to check with Gen4 owners doing heavy miles to see if reliability holding up.
    Prius is not necessary an 80K per year car from seat comfort perspective, but not everyone is 185-lbs like me.
     
    kithmo, alanclarkeau, Smaug1 and 3 others like this.
  14. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    3,107
    3,611
    0
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Sam mentioned.............
    That opinion is as valid as any other. I agree 100%. Everyone has an opinion and they are all worth the same. The world would be a boring place if we all thought the same.

    I would agree that a hybrid probably isn't the best choice for a LOT of highway miles......especially if the driver tends to have a heavy foot.
    If gas mileage is important, a Corolla might be a better choice. Maybe even a Yaris.
    I wouldn't agree. I drive hammer down a lot. I'm still sitting at about 45+mgp. That's better than my coworkers Yaris, which is in the mid to high 30's. Hybrid or non-hybrid, it's a car. They're all made for driving. Granted, I only put about 23k miles a year on my Prius, of which about 80+% is highway.

    Here's why "Wow"....

    The OPs question.......

    Can I expect 320,000 miles in 4 years out of these vehicles if they are maintained properly?
    ....last 5 are key words here. He did not say "Can I expect 320,000 miles in 4 years out of these vehicles if I do no maintenance?"

    I'd say NO. This is extreme heavy-duty use. Really? Once again, we're all entitled to our opinion. My personal opinion is highway miles like the OP is talking about are about the easiest miles you could possible put on any car. OP made no mention of her driving it like an Indy car.

    The Prius was never made for full-time highway driving in the first place Is that somewhere in Toyota's design parameters? Owners manual? Maybe I missed that. Once again, we're all entitled to our own opinion.

    About the only thing made for this level of highway use is a commercial diesel vehicle. Very well may be true but not necessarily. Most commercial diesel vehicles are designed to be durable due to the demands placed on them by industry, not by highways. Big weight difference, towing difference, hauling difference, etc.

    Now, people use Prius' for taxi/uber use which racks up a lot of miles, but this is city use (not highway) I'd argue.
    And this is easier on a car than highway driving? Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here.

    Any car is merely a piece of equipment. Anything taken care of properly and used within it's design parameters should provide years or decades of reliable service. Any piece of equipment that can be run in a steady state condition within it's parameters will typically outlast an identical piece of equipment operated from one extreme of it's range to the other. To me, 80k miles of highway driving a year would qualify as a fairly steady state condition.
     
    Smaug1, Raytheeagle, krmcg and 3 others like this.
  15. ga12r1

    ga12r1 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2018
    9
    12
    0
    Location:
    Valdosta, ga
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Yes, she spends her entire work week in her car. She doesn’t have an office. She is an independent contractor for the state and a few other organizations and transports children to and from supervised and unsupervised visits. She also transport foster children between homes and to court cases. Sadly there is a huge number of children that need to be transported. Just as an example she has a reoccurring case every Saturday that is 525 miles. That’s 2100 miles every month from just 4 days of work. She makes her on schedule so she may work 5 days one week but in reality usually works 6 and sometimes 7.

    You are right that a huge amount of her income is mileage reimbursement so we would like to make the best of it.
     
    #15 ga12r1, Aug 22, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  16. ga12r1

    ga12r1 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2018
    9
    12
    0
    Location:
    Valdosta, ga
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    This year I’ve replaced a steering rack, upper and lower ball joints, control arm bushings, tie rod ends, rebooted two front axles, replaced shocks, rotors, replaced/repacked front wheel bearings, and replaced a radiator on my 100 series Land Cruisers doing all the work in my driveway. I’m pretty good with a wrench and only use OEM Toyota parts. I know when I replace something like a steering rack at 200k miles I’m good to go another 200k with that part. If the batteries need replacing and can be done at home I’m sure I could do it. I really was thinking batteries wouldn’t be an issue over that short a time span (4years) assuming I bought new. I guess I’m more concerned with transmission, axles, suspension, and that type of thing.
     
    #16 ga12r1, Aug 22, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
    Smaug1 likes this.
  17. ga12r1

    ga12r1 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2018
    9
    12
    0
    Location:
    Valdosta, ga
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    She says she was comfortable in the Prius we test drove. She knows it will be a huge difference from the Highlander but she also knows that she will be able to save a ton of $$$s on fuel. When we purchased the Highlander new back in 16 the plan was to make large enough payments on it to trade again in 3 years and have some equity or at least be even. Unfortunately that plan didn't include her current job. Her previous job saw her doing around 30k miles a year. Now she has 135k on the Highlander and we cant keep up with the depreciation plus put gas in the thing. If we get out now we want take too much of a hit. That's the thinking anyways,.

    And its funny that you mention the Rav4 as a 1/2 way option. That's the same way we put it when we talk about Rav4 or Camry. We just cant see going 1/2 way. Why not go all in and save the most possible on fuel? No matter what we do the mileage problem is going to be there. So the only real question is will the Prius be any less reliable then any other car in this scenario?
     
    Smaug1 likes this.
  18. ga12r1

    ga12r1 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2018
    9
    12
    0
    Location:
    Valdosta, ga
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Oh, and I guess I should add that this driving is mostly in between towns in Rural Georgia. Not much interstate driving but a lot of 2-lane and 4-lane blacktop. Driving 60mph on 2 lanes and 60-70mph on 4-lane. So no real 80-85mph interstate driving.
     
  19. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    4,988
    3,273
    0
    Location:
    So. Texas
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    I would get her the safest and most comfortable 4-door vehicle I could afford. Make sure it has advanced cruise control along with other safety aids. Toyota's acronym is DRCC. Once you've driven with it, you'll never want to be without it. That will GREATLY reduce her driving load.
     
    Smaug1 and krmcg like this.
  20. ga12r1

    ga12r1 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2018
    9
    12
    0
    Location:
    Valdosta, ga
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    First off I want to thank everyone for their input, it’s all very helpful. Can you @ETC(SS) or someone tell me why these cars would use engine oil? I usually do a 7k oil change interval for the 2UZ-FE that’s in my 100 series Land Cruisers. One has 200k miles and is 18 years old and doesn’t use a drop in between. In July my wife and I towed a 4K lb travel trailer from Georgia to the mountains of Colorado and back with that 18yo vehicle. That trip we went 10k on the oil. Not a drop was used.

    I don’t know much about the Prius’s(that’s why I’m here)systems, but why would the engine use/burn oil more so then an older, and I would assume, less sophisticated Toyota engine?

    And please know I’m a total newb about these cars. I can tell you everything about a 100 series Land Cruiser but I know nothing about a Prius. So if I ask a stupid question I apologize in advance.
     
    Raytheeagle likes this.
Loading...