My Prius C test drive

Discussion in 'Prius c Main Forum' started by Mark__, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Mark__

    Mark__ New Member

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    I'm in shopping mode. I drive 40k miles per year, almost all hwy, but about 1/3 to 1/2 of my daily commute time can be stop and go. I rarely have anyone else in my car.

    So, I went for a drive in the C. Everything went very well until I made a turn at a stop sign and merged onto a highway where traffic was 55-60 mph. The car didn't accellerate as fast as I expected and the car I merged in front of passed me in a rush. I had expected to simply merge.

    I'm not sure it was the C or my use of the accelerator. I don't think I ever simply floored it. I wasn't sure if that was 'good practice'. Additionally, I'm used to a manual transmission, so at a certain level of engine noise, I think I slacked off expecting a shift of gears. There wasn't a shift.

    This part of the drive seemed to require a different set of skills. By habit, I'm very careful to listen to the engine, but that doesn't seem the right way to go. The car switches from electric to gas and back so often that gave up trying to make sense of 'engine noise'.

    Any suggestions on driving habits? In particular, what is the correct use of the 'gas pedal'? (what do you call it? the accelerator pedal?

    This sort of put a damper on the drive and we headed back to the dealer.

    I've read a lot of comments about the interior look & feel, seats and road noise. I liked the interior. I am 6'7" and fit much better in the C than the gen 3 liftback (my knee and the console didn't get along). I didn't think the road noise was loud.
     
  2. citroenjohn

    citroenjohn Active Member

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    First the C is a wonderful car. Regarding your concerns merging with traffic, I had a similar experience on my 1st test drive. I decided, however, to go for a second test drive, and drove the C like a normal car. Lo and behold it merged, accelerated, and acted like a normal car. Back to your merge after you made a turn. Think about other vehicles that probably make the same turn, a tractor trailer for instance. I drove one for a living for over 50 years and can tell you the C is like a jet fueled dragster compared to one of them. The C feels and sounds different from a regular car, but, it is just as capable as any other modern car. The only negative is you won't be able to accumulate as many points on your credit card, because you will save a lot on gas. My suggestion is give it a second test drive.
     
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  3. hieronymous

    hieronymous Member

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    You need to go out again for an extended test drive, and just "drive the car" - forget all the stuff in this forum, and concentrate on driving with the traffic flow onto, and on highways. Your merging experience may well have been the other driver not wanting to be behind you, and accelerating around you. The C is like any small car at higher speeds - with less power you need to anticipate more, and give yourself room to manoeuvre until you are comfortable with what the car is capable of. Compared to other vehicles you may be familiar with, it has a simulated CVT drive, which gives a dead-smooth flow of power, it doesn't feel "powerful". But if you need to lane-change, the car has instant torque from its electric motor.

    You say the car was frequently in and out of EV (electric vehicle). Sounds to me like you were being very light on the gas pedal. You can't do any harm by really booting it occasionally - the C's computer looks after the car. Also, you may have been in Eco mode, which re-maps the gas pedal travel so you have to push it further down, makes it less sensitive. Don't use this mode to test the car if you are concentrating on acceleration performance.

    Perhaps the biggest "mistake" new owners make is to try too hard to get great gas mileage; they run down the HV battery, and the car's electronics boosts the ICE use to get the charge up again; it protects the battery, and optimizes charge around the 60% mark It's best to just drive steadily and conservatively with traffic - safety first, and the C will give you great gas mileage without your even trying.
     
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  4. Rob.au

    Rob.au Active Member

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    In terms of mileage only, the Prius liftback would probably do better than the C for this kind of scenario... but of course it's not only about mileage (as you mention anyway).

    Switching from a manual transmission to the "e-CVT" of the Prius HSD requires you to change your thinking slightly if you're going to get the most from the car. For one thing you have to stop listening to cues from the engine noise... they are now irrelevant to you. As a related factor, you may be subconciously easing off the pedal to prepare for a gear change - do not do this.

    Merging onto a high speed road is not the time for playing with your fuel economy, but then again it's over so quickly that the drop in economy will quickly become irrelevant in your averages anyway. When you want to go, press the accelerator pedal, as far as you need - do not hold back. If it helps overcome your misgivings, remember that in this car the pedal is not connected to the throttle cable, it is only input to the computer. The computer actuates the throttle and not only will it not overrev the engine - it won't go past the point of highest output. Also remember it has the electric motor at its disposal, which can deliver a lot of torque instantly.

    Don't baby the car, just drive it. Yes there are tips for better mileage to learn if you buy one, but interestingly they don't involve babying the car either. If you're test driving it, find a clear road, don't listen to the engine and push that pedal all the way down.

    When I leave my office I drive about 1000ft before I have a hard 90 degree turn and then about 200-300 ft to merge into a 70 km/h zone (43 mph) where people often do 80 (50). Also because of vegetation where I make the turn, I have no idea what I will face - I have to turn and see what my mirrors say and make my judgements on the fly in the slip lane. This evening I had to do it into thick but free flowing traffic and could see my only chance was right behind me - down the pedal went and off I shot... no problem at all.
     
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  5. Mark__

    Mark__ New Member

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    Thanks for all the help. My second test drive went better.

    We now own a 2013 Prius C two.
     
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  6. type17volkswagen

    type17volkswagen Junior Member

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    Congratulations! And welcome!
     
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  7. ewaboy

    ewaboy Active Member

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    Congrats! I drive the C pretty much the same as the 1997 Prizm. My wife's Fit sounds and feels faster but the C is no slouch. I even leave it in Eco - doesn't make much difference cause I'm a long time lead foot.:D
     
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  8. Mark__

    Mark__ New Member

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    I've now made two drives in the Prius C. First of all, my concerns over acceleration were entirely unfounded. Now that I've got a better feel for the accelerator, the car works fine. The ride is nice. The seats are comfortable. The interior is roomy. I'm 6' 7", so that is saying something.

    The first drive was about 15 miles and I used cruise control. It was almost entirely highway miles. I got 50 mpg.

    The second drive was 83 miles (relatively flat, with periodic grades up and down, but only about a 200 foot net elevation change). I had learned a bit about 'pulse and glide', so I didn't use the cruise control at all. The first 30 miles were stop and go highway miles. Traffic rarely moved faster than 40 mph, and periodically came to a complete halt. I got a little better than 60 mpg!

    At that point the traffic lightened up and started moving at a steady 65 mph. 'Pulse and glide' didn't seem to do much good during this section. My trip mpg dropped steadily and ended up at 54, which I thought was still pretty darn good.
     
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  9. navyjoe1987

    navyjoe1987 Junior Member

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    When I first drove the c I too was concerned about the acceleration. I've been driving it for about two weeks and have forgotten all about this issue. If you can even call it an issue. I find that if I need some speed I can push it if need be and it even feels a little sporty. I don't mind at all. It's no sports car but it get the job done in San Diego. Trust me these guys are a-holes about getting up to speed and merging and I feel like I am fine 95% of the time. Just the occasional guy who doesn't understand we can't all merge going 85.
     
  10. Skylis A

    Skylis A Senior Member

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    Awesome. It was the second test drive that pretty much won me over as well. (y)
    My first test drive left me with a feeling of "huh, I wasn't expecting that..." plus it was a busy day.
    The second test drive I went on a less-busy day, and my expectations were better aligned so I tested every last little thing I could.
    It worked for me.
     
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  11. Fahfoofnik

    Fahfoofnik Member

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    I was lucky enough to do 2 test drives of a Prius C before I bought mine as well; the first one was similar to the OP's first test drive. I had concerns; not so much with merging on expressways, but more with just not having the Jeremy Clarkson "power" I'm used to having in the older hand-me-down cars I've had recently.

    The 2nd dealership I went to had their own private (shared with a few other local auto dealers in the same area) test track; complete with hills, rough roads, steep inclines, and the like. It also had a long, probably a quarter-mile or so flat straight away (maybe it was a half mile…can't remember). The salesman in the car with me encouraged me to "…just punch it." This was not in ECO mode, just regular mode. It's that opportunity that convinced me to get the Prius C.

    I'm no gearhead or "petrol head" or even a car guy; the cars I'd had up 'til the Prius C were are 6-cylinder gas guzzlers that never had me worried about passing, merging, or anything acceleration-related. Getting an opportunity to imagine hitting the gas pedal when needed on an empty straightaway gave me the "proof" I needed that acceleration, when needed, was there & was plenty with the Prius C.


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  12. ztanos

    ztanos All-around Geek!

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    ECO or not... full acceleration is the same.
     
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