Should I buy a used 2nd gen Prius or a Honda Fit?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Newoldcar, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. Newoldcar

    Newoldcar New Member

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    Hello,

    I'm in the market for a cheap, reliable car that can last me 5+ years. I have a small budget, so I've narrowed it down to a 2nd gen Prius and a 2009 Honda FIt. I will drive 17,000 miles/yr and a used car will probably be very high-mileage. My main concern, therefore, is reliability. I know the Prius has a stellar reputation, BUT there are so many horror stories of headlights randomly going out while driving! I live in a poorly lit area, so this is scary as hell. From what I can tell, this is a persistent issue with no quick-fix. I am leaning towards the Prius because it will save me more gas money, however, this issue could be a deal-breaker.

    How common is it to have this problem? How have all you dealt with it?

    I'm also curious if any of you know of a way to inspect the car and catch faulty lights before buying it. Obviously, this is difficult because it's an intermittent problem.
     
  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    If you have $5000, you can get a reliable gen2 that "should" last you 5 years.

    The headlight issue you're describing does not happen to a lot of people, just some. And it affects the HID headlights, not the Halogen.

    You should be more worried about engine burning oil and the HV battery
     
  3. Newoldcar

    Newoldcar New Member

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    I didn't know that about the lights, thanks.

    As for oil burning, is there a way to check for that before buying? I'm not much of a car person, if you can't tell, lol
     
  4. dubit

    dubit Active Member

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    Your braver than I am JC... :)

    I'm chiming in about the FIT. My son is a master Honda tech, he'd tell you to run from it. I hear him complain about this car every time we talk about his work. No specific thing, just said they are pieces of crap - and that's coming from a guy who loves cars and actually enjoys working on them.
     
  5. Newoldcar

    Newoldcar New Member

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    Pieces of cap? really?
    From what I've read about the Fit, it's extremely reliable and cheap to maintain. A con I've seen pop up a lot is the harsh ride quality. Perhaps, this what his complaints are mostly about?
     
  6. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    This is a surprising comment about the FIT, my impression of that car is that it's a great little car and super reliable. But I've never owned or worked on one
     
  7. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    I know of a grand total of 1, yes one, instance where this was the case. Randomly the lights going out, and I think it was eventually traced to mice on the wiring harness.

    What you are mostly reading are the uneducated people who have no idea how a HID headlight works. Read my thread on it if you want to learn. Otherwise just know that when they fail to start in the cold or go out, they are dead. That is the equivalent of a burnt out bulb with halogen. But because it is a plasma arc, you can usually turn it off and on again and get it to glow again. The bulb is DEAD but you can eek some more life out of it and complain for the next 3 months with your faulty bulb instead of replacing it like you should have.

    This was compounded because in 2006 there were a rash of HID failures because Phillips, the largest maker of HID bulbs and the supplier for Toyota, had a bad batch. It happens. They were also transitioning to mercury free bulbs the D4R and D4S style and basically it wasn't ready for prime time but Phillips pushed it out anyways. This caused bulb failures much sooner than expected. This was compounded yet again because the Toyota repair manual incorrectly said to replace the light bulb, replace the whole headlight assembly. This is throwing the baby out with the bathwater for sure. Also resulted in super expensive (like thousands of dollars) to fix a burnt out crap lightbulb ($50-$100). And the stories compounded from there.

    So it is a non-issue.

    As to Honda Fit versus Prius... This tells me you've never driven or sat in either one. That's like asking if you should buy Brazilian Cherry hardwood floors or Italian Marble tile. Yes they are both flooring material but they have basically nothing in common apart from that. You could fit a Honda Fit inside a Prius. Couple that with the transmission and overall interiors the fact that one is not even a hybrid, all the extra parts on the Honda all the reduced maintenance on the Prius, etc it is just not a comparison. If you want a Honda Fit, go for it. But it has nothing to do with a Prius and any attempts at comparing them is impossible in an apples to apples way.
     
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  8. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I feel so educated on the HID bulb now. Thank you I never did know why those bulbs were problematic during that time....bad batch. Makes perfect sense
     
  9. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    Corolla? Civic?
     
  10. Newoldcar

    Newoldcar New Member

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    Thank you for all of the information! I can't find your thread on the HID headlights. Do you mind posting it here please?

    As for the Fit comparison, I know they're in entirely different classes, but my comparison is strictly a monetary one. The Prius does make more sense on the face of it, but there are extra costs like battery replacement, oil changes (if it has an excessive burning issue), and insurance ($35/month more for the Prius according to my provider).

    I really prefer a hatchback
     
    #10 Newoldcar, Jul 20, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2018
  11. egg_salad

    egg_salad Active Member

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    If you're willing to drive something as small as a Fit, why not consider a Yaris? Unless you want an automatic. The Yaris still uses a 4-speed, which is ridiculous in this day and age.
     
  12. dubit

    dubit Active Member

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    I still think it's odd myself. I know 2 people who have them and they have no complaints. But wanted to throw that out there, because it is what he does for a living. If anyone would know what "not" to buy, it'd be a tech who works on them everyday.

    Great idea!

    My last car was a Yaris, and I abused that car badly. Never once gave me a problem. Still wish I had it to be honest.
     
    #12 dubit, Jul 20, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2018
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  13. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    Well not really. There are many terrible cars out that that techs love to work on and many excellent cars out there that techs hate. In a car like a Fit I wonder if the hate is because everything is so smushed together. Your profile says Indiana so I assume your tech son is in the US where super compact engine bays are not the normal. I can see how a tech would hate working on such a vehicle compared to a big boat of a car where you could sit in the engine bay and work on the surrounding components. Just a guess, but I have seen lots of compact and sub-compact hate from people that have to take care of them just because to get to any 1 part requires removal or adjustment of like 10 other parts because they are all ontop of eachother with no clearance. But if you're not doing the work, that doesn't mean a thing to you. :)
     
  14. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    +1 for Civic especially in OP's local where underbody rust from road salt is not an issue.
     
  15. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    fit, or other.
     
  16. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    Our primary around town car and wife's "8 mile commute to the train station and leave it in the sun all day" car is a 2007 Yaris with an automatic transmission. It's given us an overall average of about 32 mph with almost exclusively "around town" use. I have no problem with it other than I question its ability to protect the occupants in an accident compared to the other cars. Mechanically it's been outstanding for the three years we've had it but the car's body dings, dents and rumples like it's made of aluminum foil. Extremely flimsy. That's why I brought up the Corolla and the Civic instead.
     
  17. padroo

    padroo Senior Member

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    My 2008 Prius had HID headlights and had both bulbs replaced under warranty after the drivers side started working intermittently. I never heard about a bad batch of bulbs but Toyota wanted $300 each for them at one time. They are more common now and cheaper but my headlights were the biggest problem I had with the car.
    I got good at changing them and eventually had to changet the headlight ballast located in the bottom of the headlight assembly. I got good at changing them and even pulling the headlight assembly. It would be interesting to see what Toyota charges today for these services. That car was the best car I ever owned, I pick on the headlights because the car otherwise was almost bullet proof.
    The ballast failed because water got inside of the headlight assembly and shorted it out. It lives in the bottom of the headlight assembly and doesn't swim well.
     
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  18. wanderso

    wanderso Junior Member

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    Your decision on a car is much like the one we made last week. Our goals were: >35 MPG, <$6,500, good for urban use and parking lot "fun", as reliable as possible, <100k miles, >2006 model year, hatchback preferred. We investigated: Fit, Yaris, Scion, Focus, Prius, Kia Soul. An '06 Prius 1 owner with 82k miles and all service records became available. It was our choice.


    iPhone ?
     
  19. Chodronish

    Chodronish Member

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    As someone who bought two low mileage Gen II cars less than two years ago, both doing fine, except for the HID lights on the 2007 Touring model of course. I need to replace them, and have seen videos ranging from a woman just reaching in and changing them in about two minutes to people taking apart the entire car practically to change them. I will point out that the cost of the car apparently ranges widely depending on where you are shopping. I haggle, mercilessly sometimes, and mine were nowhere near $5,000; just couldn't make a very good deal happen around here in the Chicago suburbs. I was also under time pressure though too, which doesn't help, because my step-daughter had totaled my other 2007. Anyway, though I chose to take the gamble, I agree that the headlights are really not the issue, it's the hybrid battery gamble. My love of the Gen II Prius triumphed over my worries about that though. Time will tell if that was a good idea or not. And make sure the recall work on the inverter pump was done on the Prius. I know someone with a 2002 that had a fairly new hybrid battery that apparently just got damaged by the inverter pump going out. Hopefully I am saying that correctly - inverter pump; I am minimally DIY.
     
  20. Newoldcar

    Newoldcar New Member

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    Thanks for all the information, everyone. I suppose the only thing left to do is to test drive both of the cars.

    Also, no one has addressed how to inspect a car for excessive oil consumption. Is this just downright impossible?
     
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