Taken From Orlando Sentinal 5-6-04

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by FloridaShark, May 7, 2004.

  1. FloridaShark

    FloridaShark Member

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    Question: My wife and I are retired. We drive about 8,000 miles per year. We are going to buy a new car soon. My daughter is urging us to buy a Toyota Prius. I understand that it is an electric car but does not require charging. I would like your opinion on whether this would be a good car for us. My wife and I are old dogs, but we are willing to learn new tricks if they are worth it. Campbell

    Answer: As a hybrid, the Prius has a small gasoline engine, in this case a 1.5-liter, 76-horsepower four-cylinder, plus an electric motor. Combined, the gas engine and electric motor make about 133 horsepower, three more than a regular Toyota Corolla, a car of comparable size. To get good fuel economy, and to generate a minimum of pollution, the gasoline engine and the electric motor work together. The gas engine helps charge the battery pack. Not only do you not need to plug the Prius into an electrical outlet, you can't. That goes for the two other hybrids you can buy -- the two-seat Honda Insight, and the four-seat Honda Civic hybrid.

    The EPA has rated the Prius at 60 miles per gallon in the city, 55 mpg on the highway. But we don't know of many testers who have been able to get that kind of fuel mileage in a Prius, us included. Maybe 45 mpg overall, which is excellent, is about what you can expect in the real world. A Toyota Corolla with an automatic transmission is rated at 29 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway, so you could probably expect about 34 mpg overall.

    Let's say, then, that by buying a Prius instead of a Corolla, you could average 11 mpg better. You say you drive 8,000 miles a year. Using (very) round figures, you'd buy 178 gallons of gas for the Prius, 235 for the Corolla. So you'd save maybe 57 gallons of gas. Figuring worst-case that gas goes to $2 a gallon and stays there, you'd save about $114 a year.

    It's difficult, then, to make a solid dollars-and-cents argument for the Prius, in your case, at least. On Kelley Blue Book, (www.kbb.com), let's price the two cars.

    With shipping and fees charged by the local Toyota distributor, the price for the Prius is $20,860, but we haven't seen many available at that, as most have various options packages added. Still, the base Prius gets you automatic transmission, air conditioning, a stereo and several other features.

    A Corolla LE, which has air conditioning, a stereo and an automatic transmission, lists for $16,145, after shipping and Southeast Toyota's various fees. That's $4,615 less for the Corolla. You'd have to drive the Prius for about 40 years to make up the difference, all things equal.

    So does it make sense to buy a Prius? On paper, maybe not. But Toyota dealers are selling them as fast as they come in. Lots of people drive more than 8,000 miles a year, so savings of 11 mpg may be significant. But mostly, it's the latest thing, and that has an appeal all its own.
     
  2. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    some of your answer are flawed.

    the Prius is a mid size car, the Corolla isnt.

    The Prius requires a breaking in period which increases gas mileage. in your area, you can easily expect 50 mpg. which is about 10% below epa estimates. Keep in mind that epa estimates are inflated for all car models.

    also, because the Prius is THE cutting edge in Auto technology, Toyota is proactive in tracking and recording data on how the Prius is standing up to real world usage. To achieve that, they basically provide all the maintainence on your vehicle for the first 3 years or so.

    The first five oil changes are free. also all user servicable parts are free also. air filters, antifreeze, etc. I have seen varying amounts of value assigned to this service running from $500-$750.

    Each time the car is brought in for maintence, they throughly inspect the car for wear.

    then throw in the Tax rebate. so it doesnt add up to what a Camry costs ( i use a Camry because it is similiar in size, performance and status, the Corolla is not) which is about $19,300 here. so the difference is now about $2000.

    PS my nephew got a Corolla for grad present. it doesnt get 34 mpg... to do so would require the car to get 100% of the epa estimate. he says it only gets about 29 mpg and btw, we have raced and its no competition, he ate my dust BIGTIME
     
  3. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    I want to temper Dave's response a bit, then answer the original poster:
    1)The first 5 oil changes are NOT included as a regular feature for the Prius. There are individual dealerships that are offering this as an incentive, but most are not.
    2)The tax deduction amounts to about $500 actual savings if you're in the highest tax bracket. If the tax credit comes to be by the time you buy your Prius it will be worth that amount.

    For the original poster:
    1)The Prius is a larger, more full featured car than the Corolla, a much better comparison is the Camry which has a bit more width/shoulder room, but not as much cargo space.
    2)If the only or major issue is fuel cost savings then you're correct, making a valid arguement for the Prius is difficult. A Rabbit TDI Diesel makes a lot of sense as do vehicles like the Ford Focus. If it boils only down to dollars and cents then you should look elsewhere as it will take many years to recoup the cost of the Prius in fuel savings alone over those smaller more fuel economic vehicles.
    3)The Prius is MUCH more than a fuel efficient vehicle. Reducing pollution in our environment is considered the main goal of the Prius with fuel savings being a secondary goal. The Prius produces 90% fewer emmissions than similar cars.
    4)As mentioned, real world experience varies, but if you're from Orlando and are a conservative driver and take the time to learn the tricks/techniques to optimize fuel economy you can easily exceed the EPA numbers. I've exceeded them for the last 3 tanks of gas (1500 miles) and live in a hilly part of the country, make many short trips, and have cooler climate than you do. Others in your area with a Prius exceed 60mpg.
    5)There is a subjective owner satisfaction factor that figures in. A true sense of pride of ownership and sense of doing something important for the environment and the world and the future by buying and operating a Prius.

    The choice is yours, but the Prius deserves due attention for it's plethora of features well beyond it's fuel efficiency.

    Good luck in your search.
     
  4. Danny

    Danny Admin/Founder
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    An FYI, folks - the OP was posting an article from the Orlando Sentinal and I don't believe that the original question or response was his. Since you have to register to read the actual article, I believe he was trying to save us all the hassle.
     
  5. bil7y

    bil7y New Member

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    Don't forget some of the other small savings. Like brakes. Because it uses a regenerative set up on braking you can expect to do far less pads and rotor replacements than on a traditional car. This can really add up over the life of tha car and contribute to savings. Also lets not forget that the pirce of gas is rising. WHat will it be in the future - Higher so while the math may be not adding up today its a multiplier effect that in the future could save you lots more. I just paid 2.49 for a gallon here in SF. 3 bucks is an imminent future.
    Also lets not forget the National Securtiy benefits. Reduce need for foregin oil gives the US economy stability and allows for better negotiation diplomatically. Right now the have us by the b*lls.

    And lastly - (although already mentioned) PIECE OF MIND. I am minimizing my impact to the environment. My kids should thank me.
     
  6. mikepaul

    mikepaul Senior Member

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    The original poster seemed to be posting someone else's comments, so I'm not going to correct anything.

    But my upgrade to a Prius has gotten me nearly 20MPG more than the old car on a daily basis, and even on trips it will still be 50MPG instead of 36ish. Someday when (if) gas comes back down I won't get the solid benefit I'm seeing now, but I'm doing just fine. However, my last fillup at $1.68 already looks cheap since almost everybody jumped at least a dime yesterday, so the next tank may cause heart failure.

    (To those already paying more: I'm cheap, and it was only $0.79 a gallon around here not too many years ago.)

    Maybe I'll even land a job someday in a state with no car taxes, and $600 a year can go into gas and car enhancements instead...
     
  7. FloridaShark

    FloridaShark Member

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    The article was taken from the car section of the paper in a Q&A section.
    I only posted it to inform everyone what other people are thinking about the Prius and weather or not they thought the car was right for that elderly
    couple.
     
  8. Jerry P

    Jerry P Member

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    Comparing the Prius to a Corolla is all wrong - and I know because we have both. Best mpg my wife has ever gotten in the Corolla is 30. There is nowhere near the room in the Corolla that the Prius has. The comfort, ride and level of accessories is much higher in the Prius. Corollas never die - but if and when it does, we will become a 2 Prius family.
     
  9. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    I've said it before, and so have others: the Prius is not intended to be an economical car. If you want economy, a used Yugo or Geo Metro makes more sense. You can buy it for a song. Gasoline is not a significant part of the lifetime cost of a new car.

    But if you want the best overall value for your money, you can't do much than a Prius. Nobody says you should not buy a Jaguar because it won't save you money on gas bills. Why do people say you should not buy a hybrid because the saving on gas won't pay the difference between it and a Corolla (an altogether cheaper car)?

    The elderly couple in the newspaper article probably want a comfortable, safe, easy-to-drive car. If they can afford a prius, it would be an excellent choice. No, they won't pay for the car with their gas savings. Yes, they will be helping to keep the air a bit cleaner for their grandkids.

    Reliable, safe, comfortable, easy to drive, green, excellent features and quality for the money. That's why I bought mine.

    The columnest was probably assuming (ignorantly!) that you give up something when you drive a Prius. Ignorance is this car's greatest enemy.
     
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