My 2014 Prius Two test drive

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Zoltar, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. Zoltar

    Zoltar Junior Member

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    I just joined and hope I am posting in the right forum!

    After watching the Prius revolution for about the past 10 years, I am planning to buy one. I am thinking of waiting for the Gen IV, next year, as I really don't *need* to buy a new car at the moment. But I thought I'd try a 2014 for two reasons: One, I've never driven a Prius, and two, the 15's probably are just going to be a refinement of what's already on the market.

    The local dealer was very nice, as usual. They let me take the car overnight. I live nearly 30 miles from the dealer so I put 60 miles on the car. The test drive afforded me the opportunity to drive the car as I normally would, without the sales guy worrying if I was going too fast, too far, or whatever else he might worry about.

    My first impression after starting the car was, "This is as close to driving a spaceship as I'll ever get." After the initial fluff wore off, I decided to put it though a few "tests," like things that would fall in close proximity to performance driving. One thing I learned again, is that you can read all the reviews you want, but until you try something hands-on, you really are not even close to knowing what a product is like.

    Here are my thoughts:

    What I liked:
    - Mileage on my 60 mile trip, up and down hills, 80% interstate, but with some stop and go: 48 mpg, even though I did not drive "economically." If I drove it more calmly, probably would have hit EPA's combined of 50 mpg.
    - Acceleration if fine, actually impressive, despite the reviews. I think it's faster than a Civic. Although once the battery is drained, I'm sure it would not accelerate quite as fast.
    - I thought it had a quiet ride, contrary to reviews.
    - Decent sound system for stock. Adding a small sub would make it psycho.
    - Has Blue Tooth.
    - Has climate controlled HVAC, set at a temp, stays there, no more
    fiddling with the slider thingy forever to get it comfortable.
    - Tons of computerized stuff: Keyless start, display tells you everything about the econo stuff, mpg in real time, 5 min average, daily, per trip. Crazy.
    - The people who complain about the split rear window creating a blind spot need to get a life. I thought it was cool, different.

    What I'd like to see improved:
    - A little more sporty ride. The ride is a little mushy, like a boat, sort
    of. Ride and handling are okay, but could be improved. I didn't mind the "big car" feel.
    - Steering could be more tight, more road feel. Here, I agree with the reviews. You have to watch
    where the car goes when you steer. I'm sure you could get used to it. Just a preference. Tracks fine; doesn't drift. Reviews say Gen IV, in 2016 models will change all this. We'll see.
    - Driver's side door arm rest too low for tall drivers. Useless.
    - Please add a backup camera as standard feature. I'd trade that for the heated mirrors.
     
  2. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    First and foremost, let me be the first to "Welcome you to Prius Chat".

    Two things I will share with you.

    The factory tires that come on the Prius sometimes are a little wimpy. I believe it is the Yokohama's AS33 I am referring to. I have found the Michelin Energy Saver A/S to be an excellent tire. I am not sure if the stock size on the 15" Gen III is the same as the previous Gen II I used to drive. However, the mushiness and the wander can be improved with increased air pressure and a little better set of LRR type tires.

    In reference to the back up camera. Step up to at least the Model 3. It is only a few dollars more. With that you will get the backup camera, plus the navigation package all built in to the dash along with other bells and whistles. It is most appreciated. If you have a good smart phone, you can load up the application called Entune and really make that nav unit work for you. Great for finding POI such as a good restaurant, hospital, motel, or whatever else you might need while you are out there on the road.

    I can't say what the Gen IV will be like. However I will say this. If the improvement in the Gen IV is in relation to the improvements in the Gen III versus the Gen II Prius, I will then have to say that the Gen IV will be one heck of a great car.

    I liked my old Gen II Prius. I love my new Gen III Prius.

    Again, welcome to Prius Chat!

    Ron (dorunron)
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    all the best with your 'decision'!(y)
     
  4. Zoltar

    Zoltar Junior Member

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    Thanks! Interesting, I'll have to look at the 3. I live "up north" in New England, in the snow belt. Here, everything gets kicked at you on winter roads, sand, little pebbles, etc. So a lot of people just go for the low-end version of whatever they're buying because it's going to get all nicked up anyway. I suppose, though, it's all relative. I'll check out the upgrade version. Thanks for the advise on tires. Never thought of it, although on other cars I've owned, I typically go for the top "non-touring" tire, I mean, an upgrade from OEM type tires.
     
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  5. CaliforniaBear

    CaliforniaBear Clearwater Blue Metallic

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    The battery never gets "drained" in normal driving. It is possible to force it to a low value by "encouraging" a lot of EV operation at slow speeds. (not recommended as it may hurt mpg) Even in that condition I doubt (although I don't know for sure) it would effect acceleration.
     
  6. blane

    blane Carmudgeon

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    Zoltar,

    Since you live "up north", don't be surprised that your winter mileage will take a nosedive as the temperatures drop and the winter-blend gasoline arrives. Expect a drop of about 10% in mpg.
     
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  7. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    Agreed, YMMV during the varying seasons. The Prius thrives in the spring and fall when you can drive with the windows down and NO A/C. During the cold winters the MPG will drop. Don't be surprised to see MPG as low as mid 30's or low 40's. A lot depends on the length of your trips. A engine block heater is recommended if you do not garage your Prius if you live where the snow flies. Also be aware that if you live where the OP lives, you will need snow tires when the snow flies. The A/S tires really don't cut it if you have to deal with snow and ice. Best to have two sets of rims and simply swap the rims and tires out as needed. Ignore the idiot light for the TPSM system until you put the regular tires back on. Some folks even resort to chains where the snow and ice is really bad. The Prius will travel through snow and ice if properly equipped as long as the snow/ice is not deeper than the bottom of the car. The Prius sits kind of low, so you need to consider that fact if you plan on driving on unplowed roads.

    Kind of surprised the OP does not have a Winter only car which would be a old rust bucket that runs. I know a lot of folks in the snow country do that. Between the salt and the stuff being thrown up during the driving on those snowy icy roads, it seems more economical to keep the good car for when the weather is a little nicer. Eliminates all that trouble of swapping tires and what have you.

    Ron
     
  8. priusdonkey

    priusdonkey Member

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    your pretty correct in what you said with initial impressions. Note: as the engine breaks in you will increase your mileage by about 5-10% and an additional 10% once you fine tune your driving skills as it relates to 100+ Hypermiling / ecodriving tips & tactics for better mpg - EcoModder.com
    Add an additional 3-5% for inflating the tires to 42-44psi and having LRR tires. I use Bridgestone Ecopia 422. I am very happy with them, but you do need to do a few tricks and understand the tires. They do exceptionally well as a A/S tire. Not the case for the Michelin E/S.

    I typically get between 55-60mpg in my Prius Hybrid. I really pay attention to the (lack of) performance while driving to squeeze out every drop of gas. I really like not giving away my money to the big oil companies and the mid east countries, so some sheik can drive around in his Lambo with 50 cent gas. Screw them. Ok - so the prius is not a lowered 3 series BMW with bilstein coil overs, but gosh it sure beats the pants off my ford f150 on gas costs and total ownership cost. Definitely is my DD. No qualms...

    Lastly, i was in the same frame of mind as you, buy now or wait for the new 2015 Gen IV prius? I opted for the Gen 3 2014 pkg 3. Reason.; this is the last iteration of a succesful and well thought out car, a culmination of their technology wrapped around sheet metal. So it won't be any better for the time being, about as bug free and worry free. I use the car for business and drive 30,000-40,000 miles a year. So this year I section 179 IRC and write the entire car off, after 1 year i sell the car, pay 20% capital gains tax while selling the car to my sister for a significant loss @ $12k-$15k. No dealer trade, no Craigslist haggling or FleaBay nonsense. Next year in 2015 i will read the reviews and then decide what to buy and see if Toyota has ironed out the bugs on a first year release.
     
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  9. Zoltar

    Zoltar Junior Member

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    I'm not too worried about winter driving. I have a Civic now and, never, ever have bought snows. These cars are front wheel drive. I've owned RWD cars. Much worse. I know how to pull a car out of (and into) a skid and have ever since I was a teenager. My other alternative is to keep our "other" car, a 07 RAV. It is awesome in crummy weather. I'm just not the kind of person to keep old vehicles, however. Maybe I should change that thinking. For example, on the RAV, why do I want a $5K car sitting there 8 months out of the year, just so I can drive it a few days in the winter? Getting <25mpg in the winter, etc. Rusting away, having to reg it and pay taxes (minimal) on it, taking up a parking spot, etc. The guy up the hill owns 5 vehicles. His deal is, "I can drive a different car everyday." The vehicles range in age from about 12 years to 6 years old. Not my style.

    To trade, I am thinking of going to CarMax, ditching the trade there, and then buying the Prius at bottom price from a dealer. We'll see what happens when the time comes!

    I understand the goal of not paying for excess gas. I can't look at a mongo-sized pickup truck or big SUV w/o thinking how much they are paying for gas - a limited, and largely imported resource. I have a few things I could say about those gas guzzlers but I'll keep it off this forum!
     
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  10. qdllc

    qdllc Senior Member

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    Be sure to drive for an extended time (2 hours at least) to see if you like the seat comfort. Many have an issue with the Prius 2 and sometimes the 3 because it doesn't have the electric seat adjustment. You don't notice the discomfort until after an hour or so sitting, so you can't test if it's your seating posture or just the seat until you drive long enough to know.
     
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  11. Zoltar

    Zoltar Junior Member

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    I drove for 30 min x 2. Seat was okay, equivalent to about everything else in a base vehicle of that size class. The only "stock" seat I thought was above average was the 2000 Accord we owned. Probably would be the same for a 2014, but I don't want to spend $30K on anything. I might opt for an Accord hybrid, but not for the $$ more. Accord gas is a great value, but I want to do better fuel economy than low 30's.
     
  12. almostrice

    almostrice Atari Rocks

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    Dont get the Pruis 3 unless you want the factory GPS and 3 door unlock sensors.

    If you like the Prius 2 but want the back up camera, then buy an aftermarket camera that plugs into our cars. they go for around $120 on Amazon. It took me 4 hours to install into my parents Prius 2.

    My wife bought the Prius 3 because of the back up camera and 3 door lock/unlock sensors. The GPS is not worth talking about and the entune is a waste of time. Location entry into a factory GPS has always been a real pain. Toyota seems to have gone backwards from my 2005 Prius NAV system to the 2014. The 2014 system makes my 2005 system so much easier to use. I hate using my 2005 NAV system also, but at least it is useable. I find aftermarket GPS so much easier to use. Also it helps that a passenger can enter GPS info while I am driving. The built in does not allow for any entry while the car is moving.
    The entune requires a smart phone to share its internet. If you have such a phone, it would be better just to use the phone to do the process you are attempting on the phone itself instead of wasting time on the entune menu.

    If I had it to do it all over again, I would have gotten the Prius 2 and added the camera like my Parents' car. The $2000 difference would have been worth saving.
     
  13. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

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    I would also recommend you check out the Camry Hybrid. It is a very comfortable car with the same HSD system with better power and way more comfort. I love mine but, I love my Prius as well.
     
  14. HaroldW

    HaroldW Active Member

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    In area's other than the US the packages are totally different. Here in Canada, I believe all models have the backup camera. H
     
  15. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Fair and very observant details for a first time Prius driver.

    I wish I had a dealer that would of let me take the vehicle home and actually put upwards of 60 miles on it as a "test drive". My experience has been that test drives are ridiculously short.

    I've actually recommended to some people on the fence, to rent one for a weekend or week. Because "Test Drives" are so short as to be really almost useless.

    I've had my Prius for a little over a year. I think you observations both positive and negative are valid.

    But as mentioned, the system is designed to try to keep your battery charged, within a range. So I personally have never had a situation where the battery was extremely low and I had no power to accelerate. The system is designed to keep this from happening.
     
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  16. ilikethempgs

    ilikethempgs Junior Member

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    I've had my 2011 Prius 3 since June 30th. It's great. I'm pretty sure it's a 3, but it might be a 2 with JBL / bluetooth / smart key options? I'm not sure. Anyway it is a great car and I'm averaging right around 50mpg according to the computer.

    The JBL stereo is great, and I like having XM free for 3 months. Not having to take the key out of my pocket or backpack to get in the car and drive away is awesome!!

    Coming from Audi A4s, the seats definitely are not as comfortable, but I'll sacrifice comfort for the MPGs. I live in the mountains and will probably put on 4 Blizzaks or something similar this winter.
     
  17. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    To each his/her own. Even though we live in Phoenix, we wanted the Softex heated seats, the JBL Green Edge and the navigation unit. And although the nav is not as easy to use as my Garmin, I love the integrated audio. I had the JBLs up to 35 (too loud for my wife) and I could still hear the directions, unlike the Garmin I also had on. It was easy enough to import my phones addresses via Bluetooth. We're taking a 6,500 mile trip next month and I've entered 14 of our stops/waypoints. I still need to double-check the routes it will offer and add additional waypoints if necessary to force the routes I want to take. This is true of any system.

    I also highly recommend renting a Prius with the options you are thinking about if the dealer won't let you have one for a weekend. I might not have ever bought one had we not rented in 2010. Yes, it cost a few dollars to drive 1,100 miles over a period of 3 days, but IMHO, it was well worth the investment given that we plan on 3 major road trips a year and the shortest to Florida is about 4,500 miles. The only drawbacks to renting is it's usually too short a period to learn something like the navigation system and you might end up liking the other options too much. :)
     
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  18. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    I disagree. Not because I don't think both could be improved, but a lot depends on your expectations and how you use them.
    First the GPS. I've used many and I use Google maps on my Samsung S3 a lot too. But the important thing about the in-dash GPS is that it is integrated into the car. The audio system gets quiet so you can hear the commands. The display is in a good location and is visible.
    It is always there (can't forget it) and the GPS signal syncs up quicker than other devices.
    As for Entune. Of course we all want something better...but there are a couple of good things. When you ask for traffic it highlights every major road with green, yellow or red showing you the traffic level. If you have put in a GPS destination, the app will look ahead and warn you by voice if there is a problem ahead. (I set a 350 mile trip in and a couple of hours later it told me about an accident 2 hours ahead).
    You can check gas prices and navigate to them....easily sort by price, brand or distance (IIRC).

    A couple of counter opinion items.
    The Toyota voice recognition almost never gets my voice (2004 worked better for me but still bad) while the S3 is very good.
    I've never used any of the Entune apps other than Map, traffic and gas. The menu layout is awkward at best.

    Mike
     
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