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Prius Prime 5200+ Mile Road Trip notes

Discussion in 'Gen 5 Prius Main Forum' started by Will B, Nov 26, 2023.

  1. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (Part 1)

    By way of reference, since retiring we’ve been doing a lot of road trips. Our almost-complete goal is to visit someone or something in every US state and Canadian province you can get to by car. Most of this has been in our Gen1 Prius, this was the first trip in our Gen5. It was a Thanksgiving trip starting in Denver with family stays in Atlanta, Orlando, DC, and Connecticut, then back to Denver: a bit over 5200 miles. Hence, I’m comparing to a very old Prius. I have nothing but good things to say about my Gen1, it was the embodiment of Toyota reliability. I bought it new and 20 years and 220,000 miles later it went to a nephew who now drives it nearly daily. While most notes are uniquely about the Gen5, some things are pretty standard features in many new cars now. I thew in a few fun things too.

    Here are the big things we’ve noticed:

    Ride Comfort: Fantastic. My Gen1 wasn’t bad, my wife’s Gen 3 Prius V was pretty uncomfortable for long trips, but this Gen5 is great. Driving days ranged from 6-12 hours and we were comfortable the whole time without any issues. Potholes and road maladies were noticeable, but I’m struggling with tire pressure settings right now, so running 2-8 lbs high which is probably not helping. Hot vs Cold and altitude changes make it weird to know where to be.

    Cabin Noise: Wind and road noise are so much quieter than my Gen1! Talking is so much easier and we don’t need to shout as much. Engine noise is better too, though not as dramatically. We hit some rough roads that needed shouting over, but on decent roads it wasn’t an issue. The big difference is safety alarms. None in the Gen1 unless you forgot to put on your seatbelt. For the Gen5 there are dozens going off for one reason or another for most of the drive. For the most part I begrudgingly admit they are useful, but it is a lot. I know I can disable most of them if I want to too.
     
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  2. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (part 2)

    Handling: Huge difference and 99% sure I’m not appreciating it as much as I should. I’m “driving it like a Prius”, so not stressing any handling limits. While not part of this trip, I have taken the car on some windy mountain roads and this car is WAY better than my Gen1. I know the limits on what I can do are driver limitations, not car limitations! That is a fun feeling and looking forward to learning how to drive a car that actually has some performance. Then Gen1 didn’t and I was perfectly happy with that, I purposely chose efficiency over performance and never regretted it, just with the Gen5 you get both! I do need to unlearn the muscle memory of just “flooring it” at an onramp and only look at the speedometer after merging. That got me to some 85+MPH speeds before realizing what I was doing. On 65MPH roads, probably not a good idea.

    Storage: Not up to my expectations, but they were probably too high. My Gen1 had a trunk, so a hatchback is new and I was expecting lots more storage. As this was a road trip, I wanted all our stuff to fit under the privacy shield too. We had three adults (my wife and I plus our adult son) plus all our stuff for 3+ weeks, so a LOT! My games of luggage Tetris weren’t as fruitful as I hoped and we ended up needing to put a lot of things in the unused rear passenger seat area. The big hit was I could fit suitcases vertically in my Gen1 trunk, but could not in the Gen5 while still keeping the privacy shield in place. Still, three people and stuff for 3+ weeks is pretty derned good! My wife (despite my pleading and offering to “help”) does not pack light.
     
  3. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (part 3)

    Gas mileage: The trip got off to a not-so-great start, around 42MPG for the first half tank or so. It should have been expected though, it was 10F leaving Denver and varied between 7F and 14F until well after sunrise. I decided to just start in HV mode to get “free” cabin heat as soon as possible. Even so, the car drained the battery to around the mid 80% range pretty early then left the charge around there. Milage got up to 47-ish by the end of the first tank and about that for the next two tanks, both being in fairly cold weather still, below freezing. The last tank between Nashville and Atlanta was a nice 50.1MPG. Weather was much better, in the 50s-60s. I ended up draining the battery before Atlanta, mostly because of forgetting to get back into HV mode after rest stops. Our best tank was 52MPG (honest value, no EV capacity for the entire tank) and was bizarrely in what I thought would have been the least efficient driving. It was a leg from Delaware to Connecticut around NYC. Nasty urban driving that was hard accelerating/braking in aggressive stop/go traffic or 70+MPH to avoid getting rear-ended when traffic flowed. With being able to charge a decent number of times, I can’t give a credible overall MPG, but guess it was in the mid to upper 40s for the trip—again heavily loaded with people and stuff.
     
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  4. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (part 3) Ugh, posting error
     
    #3 Will B, Nov 26, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2023
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  5. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (part 4)

    DRCC (Dynamic Range Cruise Control): I had way-high expectations for this feature and they were totally met and exceeded! That is a game changer on driving ease, just set and forget. This, along with LKA (next) made a huge difference in workload for long drives. You are (and should do and have to ) be supervising, but supervising isn’t as stressful as actively driving. There were clearly times when manual driving was necessary and it is at least obvious to me when, but for the other 90%, these features are game changing.

    LKA (Lane Keep Assist): This was a feature I wasn’t sure about. I had only driven a car once before with the feature and we didn’t get along. Like anything complicated, it just took some user training. I’ve had about 7,000 miles of training now and am seriously impressed with how well it works. There were times where I was sure it would get confused and it didn’t. The most impressive was driving into the sun on shiny concrete where the lines were essentially invisible, I was inferring the lane by noticing rumble strips and noting the road between the tires was less reflective. The car kept itself centered! There were “drunken lines”, missing lines, “erased” lines and all sorts of other maladies and it handled almost all of them gracefully. When it couldn’t it beeped to let me know. Only problem is there are so many other reasons for a beep, it wasn’t obvious what was the reason. The only regular issue was because I’m normal Prius driver and live in the slow lane. If the exit lane began by just widening the left lane, LKA did get a bit confused. Some states have a dotted line right from the start of the exit lane and that clearly went well.

    TJA (Traffic Jam Assist): This was something I was pretty skeptical about and it turns out to be very nice! Nobody likes being in a traffic jam, but if the car is doing all the driving, it isn’t nearly as stressful. I don’t trust it yet, so have my foot on brake and hands ready, but it handled all sorts of boneheaded maneuvers by other drivers common in a traffic jam. We got into several jams and it was nice to just “let the car deal with it”. The really neat part I was surprised to find out is if you disengage DRCC coming up to the jam, you can still re-activate it even after being in the jam. Just hit RESUME. It takes over even going up to whatever speed you had set before disengaging DRCC! Even if not set, you can engage cruise control at whatever your current slow speeds is, then hit the + button to the posted speed and it will pick up when it can. Impressed.

    Lane Change Assist: Cool, works as advertised, but doesn’t seem to solve a real problem. I finally figured out how to work it (thanks forums!!), but it isn’t any less workload than just manually changing lanes! The need to keep holding the blinker stick means it still takes attention and you clearly need to be watching the whole process, so not really any less workload. DRCC and LKA by contrast are huge workload savers, I don’t see it with LCA. This is a feature I’ll likely disable. When enabled it is easy to override, but it beeps more at you at you when you do and I get beeped at enough as it is.

    RSA (Road Sign Assist): Certainly not 100%, but a nice supplement to database-based speed limits. It occasionally picks up a frontage road speed limit sign. We ran into some electronic speed limit signs in Nashville that were overhead and per-lane so a very weird setup. The car handled them fine! It never accidentally picked up on a bunch of “MINIMUM SPEED” signs that look an awful lot like regular speed limit signs. The only signs it didn’t handle gracefully were in PA where they assume you know the speed limit for rural highways. If less than that, they post the speed, but if it is the regular speed they just the old speed with a separate “END” sign above it and you are supposed to know the regular speed. LKA just kept showing the old speed. My wife had to Google “PA default highway speeds” while driving to figure this out! I’m glad we don’t have the EU-enforced beeping if going over the limit.
     
  6. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (part 5)

    Android Auto: We didn’t get off to a good start before the trip. I was regularly losing connection and needed to manually re-connect. For the first part of the trip I just went wired and it was stable. I then tried wireless again and it worked fine! One guess is that it could be interference in the big city breaking the connection and there isn’t any interference on the open road. During the latter part of the trip the car said Bluetooth pairing had failed and while Android Auto worked (even wirelessly), phone calls didn’t route to the audio system. Pro tip: Don’t try to “forget” and re-pair on the road. Forgetting works, but re-pairing can only be done stationary. After forgetting I lost navigation too and could only get it back by pulling off the highway and re-pairing. After getting home I think the Bluetooth issue may be a phone issue, my earbuds didn’t work either.

    Wireless charging: Not so great here. My phone says it is charging, but can barely keep my phone’s charge state stable. For one segment I put the phone into the charger at about 50% and by the end of an 8-hour drive it was up to 75%! I run my phone very lean on running apps, typically using less than 50% of the charge a day. The phone does get quite warm in the cradle too, so think maybe it is a poor/inefficient link. My case holder is quite thin and works on my home wireless charger. At home it is very sensitive to position though, so wonder if maybe that is an issue with the car charger. I tried without the case too and it didn’t make any difference.

    Hotel Charging: A mixed bag. Of the seven hotels we stayed at, we were able to charge at two and could have at a third, but I forgot to ask until the morning. For the places I could, I was just told where to park near the building where there was an outdoor outlet on the wall. No special parking or receptacles. For the places that couldn’t, I bet half couldn’t understand I just wanted 120VAC, not Level 2 or DC Fast Charge. I simplified my request to just asking if there were any spots near a 120V outlet I could use. The hard part is deciding if I should drain the battery ahead of getting to the hotel if I don’t know if I will be able to charge or not.
     
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  7. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (part 6)

    Oil Change Warning: I had 2,000 miles on my car ahead of the trip and decided I’m going to do oil changes every 5,000 miles (lots of fun discussions on this topic, but that is where I settled). Given that, I did an oil change ahead of the trip and will do one shortly. At the dealership the tech asked me if I planned on changing oil every 5,000 miles or 10,000 miles. I said I was planning on every 5,000. She must have told the car that, because near the end of my trip the “Maintenance Required” warning lit up, 5,000 miles after the oil change! The maintenance odometer was still 5000+ miles. Unless it is something else, she must have programmed the car to that mileage. I’ll report on this after the service appointment. Interestingly, that means I’ll use up my 2-year, 20,000 mile “free” maintenance in 3.5 months!

    Scuff/Damage: The car has already suffered some minor interior damage. Somehow we’ve scuffed some of the piano black in the center console and even scratched the red accent finish on the passenger side. We think the latter was due to the metal rivet of a 3-ring binder, but it didn’t have any sharp edges we could find. Scuff marks for getting bags in/out are inevitable too.

    MID (Mulit-Information Display) vs steering wheel: This isn’t new, but since it keeps coming up I feel compelled to rebut. This is no issue for my wife or I and we are 8” different in height. I had caveats when putting deposits on the car based on reports of issues. It has never been an issue and I struggle how it can be. Between the adjustable seat height and steering wheel height, it should work for all the most extreme body heights. I can only figure it is folk that either don’t know how to adjust these or don’t want too (one blogger did admit that at least). Adjust the seat height up enough so you are an inch or two below the headliner, then there has to be a steering wheel position that lets you see everything.
     
  8. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (part 7)

    Car gender: Yes, this was a topic. Given it is “my” car and it yells at me every time I look at my wife for more than a few seconds the answer was obvious: it is female and pretty jealous at that.

    Cabin environment: For HVAC, we just set the temperature and left it on auto. We had outside temperatures varying from 7F to 85F, so was nice to just set and forget. For city driving where I’m playing with efficiency, I tinker more, but not for this trip. I have a CO2 (not CO) meter in the car from COVID days and with three of us in the car, the levels varied from 600 to 800, so pretty good air circulation. Once, I did punch then forget the recirculate button coming across a skunk and by the time I realized it about a half our later the CO2 level was up over 2700! So, well ventilated normally and very well sealed when requested! While claims vary, CO2 levels above about 1000ppm is where I start worrying—mostly for maintaining alertness. On the cold mornings we played with the heated seats and heated steering wheel. They were kinda neat, but at least to us not a big deal.

    120VAC outlets: This is a feature I really wanted, but am realizing it isn’t that big a deal after all. I always carried an inverter with my Gen1 so my wife could use her laptop for extended periods. It is kind of clunky, so was looking forward to the clean setup in the Prime. It was still messy as her power cord is 3-prong and the socket in the cabin is 2-prong so needed a “cheater”. Also, it is impossible for a front passenger to plug it in from the front! Luckily my son was in the back. Accessing the rear 3-prong plug wasn’t practical due to the fully loaded cargo area. The feature is neat, but wasn’t that big a deal over the inverter. The Prime’s 120V is a full 1800W vs the 150-ish watts from my stand-alone inverter so it isn’t a fair comparison, but not quite the big deal I was thinking it might be.
     
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  9. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (part 8)

    Automatic Headlights and Wipers: New to me and kinda cool, one less thing to deal with manually. Doing both manually before wasn’t a big deal, so not the game-changer like DRCC or LKA, but just one less thing to need to think about. I did notice the car has a different light level trigger for turning on headlights vs putting the cabin displays in day/night mode which I thought was interesting. Lights come on at night much sooner than the displays go into night mode. It did have the weird “in between” time where the display would change under bridges than go back to bright once past the underpass. The automatic wipers generally did OK, but it is weird having them suddenly come on after hours (or days or weeks) of doing nothing. They certainly come on before I’d normally do it manually which probably adds to the surprise. I still had to override them a few times either to stop wiping on tiny amounts of drizzle or go to full speed passing trucks in heavier rain.

    Motor Trend: Covered elsewhere, but fun to discover and read while we were on the trip. Now I have to decide if I rename my car from PPP(XP) “Pretty Prius Prime (XSE Premium)” to PPPP(XP) “Pretty, Prizewinning Prius Prime (XSE Premium)”.
     
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  10. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (part 9)

    0-60MPH test: After a refueling somewhere in Delaware, I decided to do my first 0-60 test on a not-to-busy 45MPH street with lights. This wasn’t a totally fair test with 3 people, 3 weeks of stuff and full fuel, but hey, a bit of fun. We did it manually with me calling out 60MPH and my wife looking at a stopwatch. We did it in somewhere between 7-8 seconds. Not too bad. But, that led to…

    The Drag Race! My son owns a tricked out Mustang GT and for this part of the trip we were in a convoy. He was behind me for the 60MPH test, saw me take off in a very non-Prius way and took it as a challenge! For the next light he pulled up beside me and my wife joined in with her version of trash talk! The light turned and the Prime actually did pretty good! From 0-45 he never got more than a half car length ahead of me and from 45-60 maybe a car and half before I chickened out. My son predicted this too, saying at launch between my electric torque and his manual transmission I’d have an advantage, but after that I’d lose. He was correct. We may have to repeat that again with a lighter loaded Prius and me knowing better how to launch. Of the 7200 miles on this car, less than three have been in anything but ECO mode.
     
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  11. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    (part 10)

    Conclusion: Other than storage, the car met or exceeded all my highest expectations on this trip. Absolutely no regrets getting this car. For storage I feel it may have been unreasonable expectations too. We’re looking forward to our next trip either winter or spring next year!=
     
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  12. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    The last Cannonball Run we did was 4,100 MI (round trip) without anything more than a 6-hour stop for sleep e/ way - 1 time only. Averaging 75 mph while driving (which still yields 60 mph factoring in bathroom gas breaks) has one additional phenomena. A brand new windshield was lightly sandblasted as the weather over many states will typically include winds with fine debris that either gets kicked up from cars in front of you or from side gusts. Inspect the windshield after those herculean drives.
    .
     
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  13. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    @hill: Ooh, I kinda think a Cannonball run would be a fun thing to do! Alas the PPPXP doesn't qualify for the Musketball run which seems like it should be in! :) OK on the windshield, I'll take a look at it. I don't recall anything too dusty, with one day being 100% rain, but still. My old Prius certainly showed its wear and tear for its miles. Windshields got replaced, but the front of the car had chips everywhere.

    will
     
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  14. Roqu3

    Roqu3 Member

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    Now this is a good review, I would really like to see how that Traffic Jam Assist works
     
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  15. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    @Roqu3: As noted, that is the feature that was the biggest surprise. I expected DRCC and LKA to be big and they were, but TJA was where I expected little but was really surprised how much it reduced the stress of traffic jam driving.

    You still have to pay attention or the camera yells at you which is good. However, supervising the car driving itself and it managing the inching forward and breaking is a whole lot less of a workload than doing it yourself. Traffic jams are no fun, but TJA makes them "just" a time waste, not a stressor too--at least for me.

    BTW, fun note: If the car stops completely, it won't yell at you when you look away, but if traffic starts moving and you are still looking away it then beeps at you to either hit resume or look forward. It was a fun game "starting" the car simply by looking forward! :) Dumb game, but hey, in a traffic jam you find weird things to do for entertainment.

    will
     
  16. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Liked the error post as it looked lonely.

    LKA - was the beep the only warning? The dash display of the Subaru has a graphic that lets you know that the car is seeing a line or not, in addition to the pop up message when LKA is totally lost. Plus there are a set of LEDs at the base of the windshield that give the same info, in addition to letting you know the DRCC is following a car ahead.

    Maintenance reset - pretty sure this is just a 5000 mile countdown for all Toyotas. There are checks and tire rotations that the schedule recommends.

    Auto lights and wipers - I was able to adjust the sensitivity of the auto headlights in the Camry in a settings menu. I imagine this is also possible for the wipers.
     
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  17. Roqu3

    Roqu3 Member

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    This shit just blews my mind
     
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  18. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Bosch's Traffic Jam Assist takes stop-and-go driving off your hands, literally | PCWorld

    Screenshot_2023-11-27-09-59-10-06_40deb401b9ffe8e1df2f1cc5ba480b12.jpg

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/doze-detector-monitors-head-position-to-identify-sleepy-and-distracted-drivers/

    It's actually been available in various forms / various vehicles for a few years now. What would be intriguing to know is if any new cars come with none of the electronic features such as electronic ignition, cruise control, roll up Windows Etc ... all those goodies that cost a mint when they go south on you.
    .
     
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  19. 23PriLE

    23PriLE Junior Member

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    Thanks for the detailed review - by far the best I've seen!

    The Traffic Jam Assist is one feature I wish the LE had - but not enough to pay for the higher (highest?) trim level to get it. The DRCC kind of provides a bit of the same functionality though. According to the manual it will bring you to a stop behind the preceding car but you need to tap the gas pedal to start moving again if you come to a complete stop.

    I'm rarely in a "traffic jam" situation where I live and I'm used to using CC at highway speeds only but I've been meaning to try it out.
     
  20. KMO

    KMO Senior Member

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    There is a small driving assist display showing status on the main speedometer, or you move it to being big in the driving assist subscreen.

    LTA.PNG
    Lines are white when detected, gray if not detected. When either of them are white, that's when the Proactive Driving Assist or Lane Departure Alert could take action, and if they do you get a green steering wheel then too.

    Everything goes green including the lines when the LTA is operational. Can't remember if you get a pop-up warning if it deactivates.
     
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  21. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    One negative of the Traffic Jam Assist in the US is that it is subscription based.