What I learned in Chicago

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by ggood, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    2,436
    516
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    Hi -

    Enjoyed my jaunt to Chicago and contrary to my expectations did actually learn or confirm a few things, some of which is probably old news to some folks here but some of which may be useful to others:

    Reverse Beep – As previously confirmed, Gen III will have it. Seems likely it will be possible to turn if off, but nobody knows how yet. Seems like there’s some things they won’t really know till the production cars and related tech manuals actually get here.

    Wheels

    As previously confirmed, there are no suspension or other hardware differences for the 17" wheels.

    The tire sizes on the 15” and 17” are as previously described. 17” is definitely low profile. A dealer at the event had concerns about durability of low profile tires. The 15" is truly hideous, but one of the cutaway films claimed it and the fender wells are aerodynamic.

    They didn’t know the weight difference, but promised to try to find out.

    They didn’t know if there was a software configuration/calibration that could be done for the speedo etc. (when 17” are swapped for 15”), but promised to try to find out.

    Handling – One of the Prius Connection people had driven the new car in both Japan and the U.S., and was confident nobody will have any complaints about highway handling issues. They said the electronic steering is much better programmed now and seems to “tighten up” when you get up to highway speeds, so you no longer get that vague, wandering feeling in the steering.

    Traction Control – Based on same test drives, TRAC has definitely been greatly improved (as discussed in NY event video), through changes in programming and other things I don’t remember (but I think has been discussed in other threads). Everyone agreed Toyota keeps trying to make steady improvements every year.

    Bluetooth; iphone; music

    You will definitely be able to wirelessly sync up an iPhone's contact list via Bluetooth. They’ve tested this on a Venza, which has the same new system.

    As already mentioned in another thread, some of the stereos now have the Bluetooth wireless music capability (I’m not clear if we were talking about the 8-speaker non-nav stereo or nav stereo, or both). When I mentioned the iphone’s lack of support for Bluetooth music, I was told there is a Jabra device that would make the iphone work with this feature. After a little research, I think they may have been referring to the Jabra SP700 Bluetooth Car Kit, but I’m not sure.

    There will be at least some dashboard and steering wheel control capability with the Bluetooth streaming, e.g., skipping of songs, etc.

    USB – As has been discussed in other threads, it is for Ipod connectivity and would presumably include dashboard and steering wheel control capability. It will not be available at launch and is expected to be a dealer installed option. I asked whether the functionality and install will be like other ipod integrations (plugging into the CD controller in the back of the stereo unit) or somehow unique, but they had no other info.

    Sunroof – They did not know the weight, but promised to try to find out. Nice toy, but not something that is important to me personally.

    Blue & White Logos – As has been discussed in other threads, the design people in Japan are in love with the blue and white logo seen on the dark gray high end model at the various events. Apparently, they now intend to put it on all models of every color. It will of course look terrible on some or most of the chosen car colors, but American marketing and design people are losing this and most other battles. Based on this and the design of the 15” wheels and wheel covers (also hideous), I think the Japanese designers have been watching way too much anime and/or have secret pent up BMW envy!

    Locations of Sensors – This has been discussed elsewhere, but when the subject came up at the show, we had to go get Wayne to explain it to us, so maybe it bears repeating. Side sensors are ultrasonic, for parking assist. The radar for the adaptive cruise control is mounted behind the front logo. The camera for collision avoidance and lane keep is on the front of the rearview mirror. The radar and camera work together to some extent with respect to collision avoidance/braking. Wayne and Tideland can correct my bad explanation.

    Nav Voice Control – This definitely works much better now. Some people were making fun of it at the show, but they weren’t really testing it under fair conditions, and even then it was working way better than my 07 Camry. People who have actually used it in proper circumstances said it was very good. Again, this is the same as the new Venza system. Should alleviate complaints about not being able to do text entry while in motion.

    Seats – Much more comfortable and adjustable. Nice to have height adjustment, but it’s a bit of work to pump yourself up or down. I was reminded there is no lumbar support unless you get leather.

    Looks and Interior – Nice, crisp lines. A little more car like now and less like a rolling jelly bean. Goes a little more main stream without changing the basic outline too much. Nice to have some headroom in back. There are a lot of buttons. Nice to have direct manual control over things, but makes for a busy dash and console. I didn’t see a problem with foot room and the new console. I like the lower shelf it creates. The Touch Tracer is great. It is true that most people get used to where the controls are, but I like getting that visual confirmation.

    Pricing – It is very clear that anyone who printed or saved the preliminary pricing should just throw it away. Toyota wants to sell a lot of these cars and does not want to price them into the mid to high 30s. It is supposed to be in a particular marketing and pricing niche. As hinted at in Doug Coleman’s packages announcement, they recognize they are facing a tough market and are trying to get the pricing of the packages and options down. There were plenty of hints and cues to this effect. Wayne is also very adamant on this subject, though he may be guessing a little low.

    Colors – Sandy Beach wasn’t bad on this car. In some light, it’s even hard to tell it is gold (baby puke is not a fair description!). The Blue can be pretty when clean and shiny and in the right light, but still too dark for my taste. As for dark gray, what can one say? For some reason, Toyota thinks it is smart to give its best selling cars the most bland colors imaginable. Where are the seaside blues and any kind of green?
     
  2. a priori

    a priori Canonus Curiosus

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    3,083
    405
    23
    Location:
    Chicagoland (West)
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    Well done, ggood!!

    Thank you for taking such great care to look into so many of the issues for which PCers have expressed concern.

    Great post.
     
  3. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    39,494
    10,992
    40
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    Thank you for a very nicely written summary!! Your explanation is fine unless anyone wants to know what it does in greater detail. I have posted videos demostrating both PCS and LKA with LKA being recent and PCS, two or three years ago.
     
  4. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    17,885
    5,840
    0
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Vehicle:
    2015 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Thanks for the recap. Glad that you enjoyed the show and also had some Chicago pizza.

    Regarding tire sizes, note that the two available sizes are 195/65R15 and 215/45R17. If you plug those two sizes into a tire size calculator, for example:
    Tire Dimensions Made Simple - Discount Tire

    you will see that if your speedometer calibrated for 15" shows 65 mph, but you actually have 17" installed, you will actually be traveling 64 mph. With that minor difference I would be surprised if two different calibrations existed for the two tire sizes.

    Using my portable Magellan GPS as the reference, I've noticed that my 2004's speedometer error can be 2-3 mph depending upon tire brand (I've had four tire brands installed so far), while retaining the original equipment tire size of 185/65R15. I conclude that variability due to brand and manufacturing tolerances can exceed variability due to moving from a 15" wheel size to a 17" wheel size.
     
  5. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    39,494
    10,992
    40
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    This also means for folks who want to run 16" alloys (winter or summer), the closest is 205/55R16. (65.69mph on 16" at 65mph on 17").

    Edit: 195/55R16 is also possible but I think they're harder to find. The only car I know that runs on that spec is the new Honda Fit Sport.

    Switching from 15" to 16", at 65mph on 15s, you'll be doing 64.73 on 16s
     
  6. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    2,436
    516
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    2 more things occurred to me this morning:

    Rear View - It's been awhile since I drove a Prius, but the view out the back window seemed much, much better. The line between upper and lower glass seemed skinnier and less noticeable. The upper part of the glass somehow gave me the impression of being vertical (no angle distortion), even though I know it wasn't. The overall effect was that of a large, clear view out the back. Am I imagining that?

    Rear Seat - I made a point of sitting directly in the center of the rear seat, on the hump as it were, in the leather with sunroof model. There really was hardly any hump at all on the seat or the floor. It was quite comfortable and my head was still not hitting the headliner (as it did in Gen II).
     
  7. Boo

    Boo Boola Boola Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    5,051
    465
    97
    Location:
    Flushing, NY
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    No the bar is definitely thinner. I hadn't noticed that myself until patsparks mentioned it in another thread. Then I went to the NYC show and checked it out.

    Note, while the direct rear view is improved, those huge triangular blind spots (created by the design of the high rear quarter panel and sloping hatch) in the rear corners are still there. In the US, you'll notice that blind spot every time you take a quick look back before changing to the right lane.
     
  8. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    5,338
    908
    251
    Location:
    Surprise, AZ (Phoenix)
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    This can be solved in ANY car by changing how you approach your mirror settings. By setting each mirror so they only have a minimal overlap w/ each other, you can use your side views and peripheral vision to practically eliminate any sort of head turning - all you need is a quick glance. I've used this method for nearly 10 years accident free, and only almost missed seeing a black car once ;-)
     
  9. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    2,436
    516
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    Surprisingly, that rear right view is just as bad, if not worse, on my Camry.
     
  10. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    10,664
    562
    0
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    The current Prius has a better rear view than the current Holden Commodore Sedan. I drive the Bommadore for work. Think Pontiac G8, same shell.
     
  11. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    8,251
    1,194
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Green is just not 'in' these days. I remember teal greens from the early 90's, then dark greens on the Tacoma trucks, Honda Accords, etc...

    Blue has bumped Green out for now. It will be back eventually.
     
  12. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    10,664
    562
    0
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Green cars can be any colour.
     
  13. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    10,664
    562
    0
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    but green it seems.
    That's cool by me, I was surrounded by green by my mother, I don't want any more green paint in my life.
     
  14. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    2,436
    516
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    You could be right. Not sure I would buy it myself. How about burnt orange? ;-)

    It would be interesting to see their marketing research. Almost all their other cars have some kind of green option. My take is that there are people who prefer bold, primary colors and people who prefer more suble, muted tones, like the Tideland Green or Seaside Blue. In the best of all worlds, you'd have a range of such options across the color range, and people could order any color with any option package, but obviously it is difficult if not impossible to do that in the real world. That said, I don't get having so many white, gray, silver black options and so few other options. Toyota does have at least some nice colors, for example, Blizzard Pearl is a big improvement over primary white, and Desert Sand is a big improvement over the current beige color (though even I would admit it has a slightly garish tone in certain lights). Tideland green was actually a much better dark gray option than regular dark gray. Dumping Seaside and Spectra Blue for Blue Ribbon is hard to fathom. I never thought I would own a white sedan, but at the time it seemed like the best color option on the Camry, because the other choices were so boring (including blue ribbon) and my wife wanted high visibility.
     
  15. fredthepostman

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    422
    7
    0
    Location:
    boothwyn pa
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    Thanks ggood ! Great report. It seems like Toyota really cares about making a first class car.
     
  16. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    2,436
    516
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    Now, here is a green:
     

    Attached Files:

  17. spwolf

    spwolf Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    3,156
    440
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Europe
    green is out these days guys ... yellow is coming back

    :)
     
  18. judymcfarland

    judymcfarland Queen of Moral Indignation

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2006
    578
    3
    0
    Location:
    Glendale, WI
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Yellow??
    We once had a yellow hatchback - guess what it looked like? I'll give you a hint - 5 letters beginning with L
    And that's exactly what that car was.

    Personally I like Fiona's silvery pine color & have gotten a lot of compliments. But I do agree that most green cars are u-g-l-y!

    Those of us contending with winter road salt tend to look for colors that "don't show the dirt" unless we are masochists. I love the bright blue, but in the winter it would look terrible 5 minutes after washing. After 3 black cars in a row (I'm a slow learner), it's nice to have a car that looks great even if a little salty.

    The Chicago meet-up was a lot of fun. Thanks to Toyota for inviting me to share in it!
     
  19. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    10,664
    562
    0
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Glad to see more people are experiencing Toyota's hospitality. The Prius Connection functions are a great way to meet other Prius people.
     
Loading...