Prius Handling Characteristics

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by BVISAILMAN, May 1, 2006.

  1. BVISAILMAN

    BVISAILMAN Junior Member

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    I added the BT stiffening brace to my Prius which improved the ride, reduced corner leaning and how it handles at speeds up 50 - 60 Mph. When driving on the highway, My Prius handles perfectly until I reach 70MPH or higher. At that point the steering is soooo tight that I am constantly having to move the wheel slightly left and right and the car feels like it is wobbling down the road. There is nothing I do that seems to get rid of this wobble. My tires are inflated to 42 in the front and 40 in the rear.

    Has anyone else had this problem?
     
  2. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(BVISAILMAN @ May 1 2006, 07:28 AM) [snapback]247881[/snapback]</div>
    Everyone has this problem, even with the brace, good tires and proper alignment, although some people seem to be in denial about it. The electronic steering seems to be overly sensitive. You have to train yourself to hold the wheel very steady and make very small movements at anything over 63. Even then, you still have to pay more attention and make more minor adjustments than in most cars. Being somewhat light, with a high profile, it's also still subject to getting blown around a bit, no matter what you do. My wife won't drive faster than that in this car, which is why I hear the Camry calling my name! :D
     
  3. eanda9000

    eanda9000 New Member

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    If you lower your tire pressure then the steering becomes more relaxed. I was driving at 42/40 but have
    gone to factory to reduce noise and for steering feel. Of course you do take a hit on mpg but for me it is worth it, especially for the noise.
     
  4. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(eanda9000 @ May 1 2006, 10:01 AM) [snapback]247934[/snapback]</div>
    I agree. A 1 to 1.5 MPG mileage increase is not worth the increase in harsh ride and jiteriness you get running at 42/40.
     
  5. ScottY

    ScottY New Member

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    I was driving up to 88MPH on the weekend (shhh don't tell the police!), and I didn't notice any handling problems. Feels like I was driving 50MPH. I don't have any brace. Oh, I don't have the OEM tires tho. I changed to comfortread before last winter.
     
  6. aaf709

    aaf709 Ravenpaw of ThunderClan

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    A couple of weeks ago I was on Cruise Control at 75 mph (posted limit) with hills & turns and had no problems. This was with OEM tires (42/40) and no BT brace.
     
  7. BNG4DBK

    BNG4DBK New Member

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    Every once in a while on this forum someone posts a complaint about the Prius handling badly on the highway. Sometimes they'll even try to discourage others from buying a Prius because of this.

    The Prius handles well on the highway. This from someone who has owned several European made sports sedans over this past many years.

    I believe the folks who state that they have problems with poor highway handling have something wrong with their car. If I had this problem I would find a different Prius to drive for purposes of comparison.
     
  8. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(BVISAILMAN @ May 1 2006, 08:28 AM) [snapback]247881[/snapback]</div>

    I think that most of this is due to tire over inflation. If you reduce your tire pressure to the recommended amount you will see a significant improvement. But not in gas mileage. If I am going on a long trip on freeways I reduce my tire pressure back to the recommended pressures and re-inflate them up again after the long freeway driving. 400 miles or more.
     
  9. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    I don't have any problems on the highway even with the the stock tires. Try going back to the recommended tire pressures.

    Tom
     
  10. ScottY

    ScottY New Member

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    I've read that some of the Prii come in mis-aligned. You might want to check you alignment.
     
  11. FredWB

    FredWB New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(ScottY @ May 1 2006, 09:37 AM) [snapback]247986[/snapback]</div>
    After new tires (Hydroedge) and going from alignement expert to expert and driving several other Prius I've come to couple of conclusions.

    Yes I think there is something wrong with my car but no one will ever be able to fix it, of that I'm convinced. Yes the Prius in general is more easily moved around the highway by wind, large vehicles, road grooves, etc much MORE than any car I've owned or driven. Since I live in San Diego, I'm probably more affected because the freeways here are very bad with lots of road grooves, expansion joints right under your tires that push every Prius I've driven all around the lane. Mine happens to be among the worst though, I can't deny that. Standard tire pressure helps and 42/40 type of inflation pressure makes my car more squirrely. I even tried the Scion wheels and tires. It was better but the gas mileage took a big hit.

    My last comment is this. If the Prius handles so well, as some have stated with such confidence, why is it that virtually every road test I've read (I stopped collecting quotes at about 10 road tests) on it says something like "vague steering feel", "is very affected by cross-winds", or "takes lots of constant correction and attention at highway speeds", etc? Not one has said something like "amazing high speed handling", not even one!!

    If I thought it was just my car, I would gladly just trade it in to the dealer and buy a new one. I'm just not conviced that any Prius is every going to be considered a good handling car on the freeway. I've spent hundreds of dollars and wasted hours in search of a solution. I'd even go out and buy all those suspension goodies if I thought it might make my car "track" like my wife's RSX for instance. But it's not even close right now. I've heard the Yaris really handles well on the highway and you can get it with ABS and all the air bags so I may just trade mine in one day. I might finally be able to put more in more than 9 gallons too.
     
  12. DocVijay

    DocVijay Active Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(FredWB @ May 10 2006, 10:16 PM) [snapback]253254[/snapback]</div>
    I've got those suspension goodies and mine tracks like an RSX!
     
  13. fastlane

    fastlane New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(FredWB @ May 10 2006, 09:16 PM) [snapback]253254[/snapback]</div>
    The reason you see such a broad range in handling on this forum is that many people here do not really know what a good handling car is. I have owned several German cars, including a BMW 330i with a sport package - which i still have. and I can safely say that this car handles very poorly and that any one who feels otherwise either doesn't know how to really drive a car aggressively, or simply has never owned a great handling vehicle. I suppose another possibility is that some people try to convince themselves that it handles well to justify their investment.

    Let me be totally clear; It is not that some of these cars handle well, and others don't. The Toyota Prius isn't built for handling or speed. It is a practical (albeit expensive) econo-box that is designed to achieve high level fuel efficiency and basic commuter comfort. This is not a complaint, just a statement of fact. The Prius drives like a brick. I find it very dissapointing although not surprising that the American market doesn't even have the options for the GT or other various upgrades that Europe and Japan enjoy. If i wasn't so busy putting a thousand miles a week on the car i would consider ordering some of those suspension parts online just to see if i could get the thing to hold the freeway better at higher speeds (i cruise between 75 and 90 when traffic allows.) I will admit that handling, although weak at best, is usually predictable. I did have one incident when i was briefly drafting some guy in a vette who decided to slam on his brakes to get me off his a$$ (shouldn't have been in the passing lane if you ask me) and i had to change lanes very suddenly to avoid a rear end collision. Rapid lane change almost resulted in total loss of control, partial skid at 75 mph but i recovered the car a little shaken but not stirred.

    Anyways, I had some tires put on it today and while it was up on the lift i took a long look at the stock suspension on this car and i have to say i am actually surprised it doesn't handle worse. The stock shocks look like toys, the axel is a folded piece of sheet steel, no sway bars or sub support of any kind. No wonder it body rolls all over the place and squishes through corners and slops all over the freeway. With the Goodyear Integrity tires i actually find the car to be a bit dangerous on the freeway.

    The tire guy ordered the wrong tires for me so he threw on some Dunlop Sport A2 Plus 195/65 15's. As great as the car feels and as quiet as she rides, i think i took too much of a mileage hit to justify the moderate improvement in the handling. I called him and i am going to drive on them for a couple days but likely trade into another more appropriate tire.

    I welcome some real info on tires that will allow for VERY aggressive driving (think Mario Andretti) without penalizing me on mileage at all if possible and no more than about 1 to 3 mpg at the most. I am going to post this part in a new thread.

    Cheers.

    Oh yeah, sincie some of you may be curious. Note that in spite of my heavy freeway use and VERY heavy foot, i regularly return mileage in the low to mid 40s. My best tank - 52mpg, my worst? 31.
    Until next time...
     
  14. NuShrike

    NuShrike Active Member

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  15. Black2006

    Black2006 Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(fastlane @ May 10 2006, 09:20 PM) [snapback]253322[/snapback]</div>
    Wow! You have a 330 with the sports suspension!! Dude, we are duly impressed, you must really know what a good handling car is...!!!

    Nobody expects the Prius to track like a Lotus. But if one's car is "wobbling" at 70 mph, there is a problem with that car. Period.

    I've had to drive to OC (from WLA) several times in the past couple of weeks, at times at over 90-95. While not exactly glued to the road, at no time did I feel that the car was "wobbling" or that I had to constantly correct it.

    I bought my Prius without a test-drive it and without ever been in one. I expected an econo-box handling, but was pleasantly surprised by the generally middle-of-the pack ride. I did get the plate, but am not sure it made a great difference.

    I live in the hills, so at about 2k, I am yet to do better than 42-43 mph.

    Overall, a great car for what it does (and I have always thought of Toyotas as your father's Oldsmobile....)

    P.S. Do hate, however, the idiotic "nany features" of the navigation, phone and radio.
     
  16. fastlane

    fastlane New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(NuShrike @ May 10 2006, 11:44 PM) [snapback]253330[/snapback]</div>
    you know what, that's my bad - they are 60 series. I typo-d that one.
    thanks for the weight specs though. VERY useful information.

    and now on to black 2006...

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Black2006 @ May 10 2006, 09:20 PM) [snapback]253330[/snapback]</div>
    Why so sensitive and sarcastic black? What sports cars have you owned? Did you assume i was somehow speaking directly to (at) you?
    Regardless of what experience YOU as an individual may have had with a "real" car, you cannot deny the market segment this one (the Prius) has been primarily aimed at.

    I drive German cars, Japanese motorcycles, dirt bikes, etc. I am not the 'typical' Prius owner. I have literally experienced grown men with sleeve tattoos get out of a car I was driving and kiss the ground after a jaunt up a winding canyon road. All I was trying to illustrate by citing one of my other cars is that i have some experience with real sports cars. I have even built some engines - raced a bit, etc. This was and is an effort to establish myself as somewhat of an authority on vehicle handling and sport driving. I was then making an effort to contrast my REAL experience with performance suspension and handling to my experience with the Prius; a car not usually associated with performance, etc. I was not picking on you, or any other specific individual. I was merely offering an explanation for the disparity FredWB described regarding some members of this forum who perceive the Prius to be a good handling car - which, clearly, it is not. I am driven to do this because I myself am often frustrated by the general lack of understanding many members of this forum have regarding automotive engineering, performance enhancements, and general vehicular knowledge. Because of the market segment Toyota went after with this particular car, this is to be expected. But it doesn't make it any less difficult for those of us who know the difference to discern - for example - one reviewer’s perception of "good handling" from another's. That's all.

    It is very noble of you to stand and defend the very lack of objectivity many others have previously expressed in regard to the handling of this little car. Furthermore, I salute your courage in placing yourself out there as a shining beacon of hope for all the Prius owners going 60 in the car pool lane, by themselves in their Prius as a two mile backup of 45 cars forms behind them - every driver cursing every one of us who owns a Prius. Those freeway crawlers - your supporters on this forum - are making all of us look good and helping to ensure the longevity of the California Car Pool privilege which is now under attack from those who actually do have 2 or more people in the car. I drive between 800 and 1100 miles a week - nearly 45000 a year and most of that time is spent navigating through a sea of imbeciles who are barely able to tie their own shoes, let alone maneuver a half ton vehicle or a one ton SUV through a river of steel on an L.A. Freeway while talking on the phone. Why don't you save your self righteousness for someone you really are qualified to insult (besides yourself I mean). You've overstepped your boundaries here. Does it actually make you feel like you have something to offer on the matter of vehicle handling by attempting diminish another member's reasonably thought out post? The very fact that you claim to have done 95 mph in the Prius and it felt fine to you is testament to the fact that you have no real experience with the kind of scalpel-like precision a German engineered car offers in the realm of highway handling and road manners to make a real assessment of the handling characteristics of the Prius.

    The defense rests...
     
  17. fastlane

    fastlane New Member

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  18. DocVijay

    DocVijay Active Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(fastlane @ May 11 2006, 04:35 AM) [snapback]253359[/snapback]</div>

    The 330 is a great handling car for sure, but even with the sport package I would in no way consider it "scalpel like." If the 330 is the best handling car you have ever driven, then you are also not very experienced. That car is merely the tip of the iceberg.


    And what exactly does, "I have literally experienced grown men with sleeve tattoos get out of a car I was driving and kiss the ground after a jaunt up a winding canyon road," mean? Are grown men with sleeve tatoos some sort of expert or something. I just don't see how that really says anything about someone's driving.

    Also, you make these claims of being such a phenomenal driver, yet you do asinine things like trying to draft someone at 75 on a public highway. Instead of saying, "houldn't have been in the passing lane if you ask me," it should be more like, "shouldn't have pulled such a dumbass move like trying to draft someone." No wonder he put on his brakes. It's called TAILGATING! You're not on a racetrack. Don't do something like that and then somehow think the other guy is wrong.

    I have also found over the years that those claiming to be the best drivers are usually the most mediocre, especially when it is on the internet and there is no way for them to back up their claims. Not necessarily saying you are one of those, but that is more of then the case than not.

    BTW, in my opinion, if you really cared so much about handling, seems a few mpg less for greater handling is a no brainer.
     
  19. electricity_guzzler

    electricity_guzzler New Member

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    I drive my 2 week old prius 120 miles a day on 95% freeway. i drive around 75-80mph most of the way. i don't see any problems with handling. my previous car was an '04 maxima.

    the prius accelerates slower of course and is not as good in sharp cornering (but there are no sharp corners on freeways).
     
  20. andreaswin

    andreaswin New Member

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