Which year is the best year to buy? Former Prius owner

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by duke808, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. duke808

    duke808 New Member

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    Hello all -

    Looking to get back into a Prius possibly. I had a 2004 Prius which I canned at 134k, what a boring car that was. I'm aware the newer ones aren't much better, but my friend's 2014 package five drives better and is a little quicker than my old one. Currently in a BMW 3 series which I think I will keep.

    What brings me back to the prius is how I can put a twin mattress in the back and sleep in the car (I camp most weekends and the BMW is proving to be horrible for that). I did this a lot in my old Prius. I oftentimes camp in winter so I prefer sleeping in car over tent. Tents are great for summer though! I also drive between LA and San Diego + long trips on weekends to Nor Cal. Racked up 26k this year on the 328 and I'd rather have something a little better in gas for long trips!

    I don't want to spend much more than 12k really... so I'm thinking about a 2011. I know 2010 is the first year of the 3rd gen... are these pretty reliable? I'd probably get something with 80 or 90k on it... again, reliable? Which year should I look for, and what issues should I be looking for? Thanks all.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome back! i like 2012. they are all very reliable, but some of the '10's start burning oil around 100k. no way to check that. all the best!(y)
     
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  3. breakfast

    breakfast Active Member

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    Bisco has good advice.

    The 2012 mid-cycle refresh was nice. Some safety improvements in late 2014's and all 2015's (small offset protection).

    The package fives do come with adaptive cruise control (nice for long drives) and 17" tires (a little better handling, a little worse mileage)

    A Plug In Prius (like Bisco drives) may give you CA carpool lane access if you're into that that sort of thing - they were made from 2012 to 2015 model years.

    You could also sell the 3 series and get a 2016 in the new body style (yes, I'm ducking), where adaptive cruise can be had in a Model Three or above
     
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  4. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    The "boring" car issue was resolved with the new Gen4, which is over your price.
    Can't really beat Gen3 for camping though...maybe consider used v.
     
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  5. Robert Holt

    Robert Holt Senior Member

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    I like our 2012 for the LED DRLs, highly visible LED taillights, and interior space suitable for camping. We sleep in the rear, which is nice and flat with the rear seats folded down, and long enough with the front seats moved max forward and a 17x48 inch piece of thin plywood inserted over the rear footwells upon which we lay our pillows. We do use an dome tent attached to the rear hatch opening for our living room/dining room, but it really is the world's most efficient camper!
    Consumer Reports cites the Gen 3 as a very reliable vehicle, but all used vehicles are subject to the care or lack of it by the previous owner.
     
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  6. duke808

    duke808 New Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far! I think the new prius (gen 4?) is the ugliest prius they've ever made. I don't know what toyota was thinking. Also the Prius is FWD, BMW is rear, which is why I'm almost constantly getting stuck in the sand when I'm driving a mile off the pavement to the camping destination. I think having FWD will help with this..
     
  7. Robert Holt

    Robert Holt Senior Member

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    My BMW is a motorcycle, so not comparable, but my old Miata is rear drive and tricky on snow, ice, mud, sand, etc., so I feel your pain.
    FWD of Gen 3 is better for that IMHO, BUT please consider the lowest ground clearance of the Gen 3 !! We just drive on gravel but graded roads to campgrounds and have always been OK, but if you must navigate a true dirt/mud access road with deep ruts, you could well scrape and damage the under-cladding. Just saying.
     
  8. duke808

    duke808 New Member

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    I hear ya on that! I have high-centered more times than I'd like to admit in my car, don't want to know what the undercarriage looks like! I've learned to take roads that are generally pretty flat. I can hear something rattling around in my suspension though after driving over those rough dirt roads :mad:
     
  9. CardiffChris

    CardiffChris Member

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    I'll make you a great deal on my 2010
    It just turned over 210,000 miles.
     
  10. Bay Stater

    Bay Stater Senior Member

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    For a used Prius, the Mid refresh years 2012-2015 are probably the best bet for their improved safety features and better looks. Had no problems with my 2013 model 4, now at 73K miles.
     
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  11. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    OP, keep in mind that the package five you drove handles better due to the 17 inch wheels and low profile tires that come as standard equipment on this model.

    All other models in the Prius line come with 15 inch wheels and tall-ish (65 series) tires which ride much softer and don't handle as well.
     
  12. Munpot42

    Munpot42 Senior Member

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    As a former owner of an 11, think of them as a '10 with all the recalls already done.
     
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  13. VovCA

    VovCA Member

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    It should work, last summer I bought 2013 for 13.3K$/55K. So may be even 2013 in your range, too. Skip 2010-2011.
     
  14. ThePriusFam

    ThePriusFam Junior Member

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    The adaptive cruise was only available in the Five if you got the Advanced Technology Package. I have a 2011 Five with it and a 2013 Five without. It is very nice but added huge bucks to the sticker. I would never sell mine because no one wants to pay for the Five with the ATP, and I like it very much! The 2012 refresh did get a power driver's seat which is nice, and I like the HD radio on my 2013. I also like the facelift LED DRLs on 2012 and up. The ATP also gives you much better GPS and a larger screen, with CD changer and DVD nav (which I actually like better than the solid state memory nav).

    I had a 2006 330i before and yes, the Prius is boring. But there is nowhere near me where it's fun to drive, so I figured might as well buy a transportation appliance that is bulletproof, gets fantastic mileage, and is comfortable. The Prius Five checks those boxes. But fun? Not so much. Pleasant? Absolutely.
     
  15. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    agreed on the lack of places to drive for fun. i see some very expensive sports cars around here, just aching to get out in the open. but that gets more frustrating by the day. better to be comfortable in the pursuit of destination, even if it's only 2-3 mph.
     
  16. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    Agreed, it gets interesting when you see a vette and a camaro line up side by side at a red light, only to have to stop at the next one before the pack even gets close ;)
     
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  17. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    With that attitude about Prius?
    I'm just going to suggest you don't bother getting "back into Prius".

    Seems like your priorities are something that's good for camping...and better gas mileage.
    Sure The Prius is going to give you great gas mileage on those long drives.

    But for every other priority you seem to be embracing I believe there are better choices.

    Plus the age range, mileage level, and price you are considering means you could easily purchase a Prius that could be very reliable for many more miles and years. BUT...
    As with any vehicle that approaches 100,000 miles, and at 26K a year, at a starting point of 80,000 to 90,000 you would be less than a year away from that reality, guaranteed reliability becomes near impossible, and that's for any vehicle, even those that don't have hybrid components and a HV battery that would past warranty or on the verge of passing warranty.

    I'd look at something for camping....that you might be able to get with lower miles, and at a lower price.
     
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  18. StarCaller

    StarCaller Senior Member

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    this ^
     
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  19. Redpoint5

    Redpoint5 Senior Member

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    I lived in a 1996 Subaru Legacy for a year and a half. A Subaru will be cheap to purchase and has AWD if going offroad. You'll never recoup the added cost of a Prius in fuel savings.

    That said, I bought the '12 PiP for the option of camping in it. The car can run the AC for hours on a fully charged battery. That might be a nice feature if you intend to use AC and want to minimize the engine coming on.
     
  20. Steve Lee

    Steve Lee Member

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    Can you post photograph current layout bmw3 with tent attached?
    Since you are stating 26K miles, and lets say you get 22 miles per gallon on your BMW = 1182 gallons x $3.5 per gallon =$4137 estimated. So if you buy 12K for used Prius Gen 3, then using 26K miles, and lets say you get 45 miles per gallon on Prius Gen 3 = 578 gallons x $3.5 per gallon = $2022 estimated. In 6 years you pay for used Gen 3 when using fuel as pay back, not including schedule maintenance, insurance and other unplanned maintenance. You keep BMW, pay $4137 on fuel (dont buy Gen Prius) for years until you decide to sell or be "canned" or buy Gen 3 Prius($12K +pay $2022 for fuel per year) and keep BMW3 ($ X for fuel per year) +insurance +maintenance + other unplanned maintenance.
    With the information you provided and using simple calculation, my recommendation is to sell your BMW3, and purchase a new/used efficient vehicle that fits your life style.
     
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