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Toyota Prius

Hybrid-engine passenger car from Toyota

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Finally a Way to Beat Oil Companies

  • Apr 5, 2008
  • by
Pros: Will save you thousands of dollars in gas.
Cons: They get you to every time with the warranty
The Bottom Line: Highly recommend this for anyone that has a chance to beat the oil companies at their own game.

Once upon a time, I can remember when gas was less than a dollar a gallon. But it has been years since we have seen that happen. About five years ago, Toyota came out with a car that they advertised would get around 60 miles to the gallon. This was phenomenal to think that a vehicle could get that kind of gas mileage. When first saw this on the market, I talked to my wife about getting one, but she says it was not the right time to get it yet. Because we had already had two vehicles with two car payments to go along with them. It was kind of hard to buy a new vehicle at the time knowing that we would start out with negative equity in the new car. So we waited a few years and tried it again. But with no luck, we were turned away again. Well, they say that persistence pays off. I continued to talk to my wife about getting this vehicle knowing that the gas would at some time be above the four dollar a gallon mark. This time when we went to the dealership. We were loaded for bear, we had all of our information that we needed and we also have one car paid off and a bunch of credit cards paid off. So there was no way that they could turn us down. The first dealership we went to gave us a hard time it would not pay our vehicle off the rest of the way. So we got up and walked out of the place. The next day we went to the bank and they gave us more ammunition. As they would say, and we went to a different dealership. After walking in the dealership. It took about two hours and we drove out with our brand-new 2008 Toyota Prius. There will be a lot of information in this review that I will give you, that will be from the paperwork that I received when I bought this vehicle. Plus, I will try and give you a picture of the experience while my wife and I were driving this vehicle.

First Impression
Our first impression of this vehicle was all the amazement. It was as if we were sitting inside of a computer. When we first got in the vehicle. The first thing that we noticed was a computerized touchscreen for the navigation system, this was very cool looking. The salesman asked me if I would like to test drive it and I said sure. I got in the driver’s side and sat down in the seat and the first thing I asked him was how do you turn this on. He said, just push the power button, so I did. I was looking for the keys, but I could not find any. And I asked him again, how do you turn this on, he said you turned it on its running. I said it’s running, in amazement, I looked at him as if he were crazy and he reassured me that it was running. I was amazed I did not hear anything. He said that it was the electric part of the car and all you had to do was push up on the knob to go in reverse. And I let my foot off of the brake and we slowly started to go in reverse. That is when I noticed that this car came equipped with back-up cameras. We started rolling in reverse, and I heard a beeping noise. When I put it into driving that noise stopped this was amazing. This was so cool sitting behind the wheel of a computer that almost drives itself.

We drove his car around town and on the expressway, and it handled extremely well. I thought that this car might have less power due to the fact that it had half gas engine and a half electric engine. This car takes the corners well, and if you have to make a U-turn or full circle, it has a very tight radius so that you can make some really tight turns. I have a Dodge neon that cannot make these kind of turns. Since we have purchased this. We have not had to fill the gas tank up yet. It has been over one week. It does take railroad tracks real good. The suspension seems adequate. This vehicle comes equipped with a vehicle stability control system (VSC), it is an electronic system designed to help you control your car under all types of situations. When we got on the expressway we accelerated from zero to 80 mph in a matter of seconds.

Engine and Brakes
While you are driving this car, you will barely notice the engine running and all you cannot hear, It is absolutely quiet. When you first lift the hood on this car, do not be surprised at what you see. There is no room at all to stick your arm down and change the spark plugs or anything like that. So you may as well get used to the idea that you are have going to have to take this to the dealership to be worked on. This car comes equipped with a 16 valve dual overhead cam, four-cylinder, aluminum double overhead cam. The displacement is 1.5 L. If you are wondering about the technical stuff of this engine. I will go ahead and get that for you, but some people might not understand this information. The bore and stroke is 75.0 mm x 84.7 mm, the compression ratio is 13.0:1, the valve train is a four valve/cylinder with burial pull valve timing with intelligence (VVT-I), the induction system is a multipoint EFI with electronic control system with intelligence (ETCS-I), the ignition system is an electronic, with Toyota to direct ignition (TDI), the power output is 76 hp at 5000 rpm, the torque is 82 foot-pounds at 4200 rpm, the emission rating is Advanced Technology partial zero emission vehicle. As for the brakes on this vehicle, I think that these have more sensitive brakes than what you would find on any other vehicle. They are very touchy, and it does not take long to get used to them. Because these are brand-new and we did not have any trouble stopping in a split second notice. I did not feel any lag time from the time that you push on the brake pedal to the time that they engage. So far, the mechanical performance of this engine is excellent and transmission is electronically controlled and a continuous variable transmission, which means that it has one speed you will not feel it shifting. The front suspension is an independent MacPherson strut with a stabilizer bar, and the rear suspension is consisted of a torsion beam with a stabilizer bar. I was staring is very nice. It is a racket and opinion, with electric power assist. And as I have said before, the turning circle diameter, curb to curb is only 34 feet. Now the brakes are power assisted them related from the disk and rear ground with anti-lock system and integrated regenerative braking. The Tigers on this vehicle are P1 85/65 are 15 and if you think you are going to get a full size spare. Well think again, this is just a temporary spare, which means you get a small donut for a spare.

Electric Motor
Now as for the electric motor, this motor type is a permanent magnet AC Sinchronous motor. The electorate mower output is 67 hp at 1200-1540 RPMs, the electric motor torque is 295 foot-pounds at 0-1200 rpm. Now this is where you have to be careful, the voltage that this motor will put out its 500 volts maximum. Between these two motors, they will switch an alternate back and forth while you are driving. Depending on whether you are accelerating or just coasting. This is how you get good gas mileage with this vehicle. When you come to a stop everything and just shuts down and the electric motor will take over this way you are not wasting gas sitting at a stoplight or stop sign in stop and go traffic the electric motor will also take over.

You do not have to worry about purchasing a battery from auto zone or advanced auto or your neighborhood parts store. The reason for that is, because this battery will cost you $4500 if it goes out. But, do not worry Toyota will give you an eight year, 100 thousand mile warranty on the battery alone. This battery is called a traction battery, and its type is a sealed nickel-metal hydrate battery, with a power out-put of 28 hp and a voltage output of 201.6 V. The hybrid system net power is 110 hp.

Comfort And Roominess
If you are worried about the comfort and roominess of this vehicle you can stop worrying. I am 6 feet tall, and there is plenty of headroom after you sit in the seats. Plus if you pull the seat all the way forward there is plenty of room for 6 foot tall person to sit in the back seat without cramping his legs. There is plenty of headroom also, that way no one will hit their head while they are driving. There is enough seatbelts in this car to handle five people, and there he also have an armrest in the middle of the back seat that folds down to make it comfortable for two people in the back. Both of the front seats fold all the way back down so that if you were on a trip you can just lay back and go to sleep. Just to give you an idea. The headroom is 39 inches, shoulder room is 55 inches, hip room is 51 inches, and leg room is 42 inches.

As far as safety goes on this vehicle you. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. They have plenty of air bags. They have a driver and front passenger air-bag system. They also have a driver and front passenger side air-bags, and front and rear side curtain air-bags. They have equipped this with an anti-lock brake system with electronic brake force just what you should and brake assist. So there’s plenty of stuff to help you stop this car if you lose control. They have a traction control device. Plus, child protector rear door locks, they have also put front and rear crumple zones and side impact door beams, engine immobilizer, center-high mount stop lamp. Now for the children in child seats they have rear-see child restraint system they have the lower anchors and top tether brackets, they have three .front outboard seatbelts with adjustable shoulder anchors and driver-side emergency locking retractor. They also have installed this for the passenger side in front. I don’t think they have gone up all of this safety limit. They also have installed the automatic/emergency locking retractor, three .rear seatbelts with the automatic/emergency locking retractor’s for all passengers. I think the most impressive thing is the fact that they have put a direct tire pressure monitoring system on this vehicle. This will tell anybody that is driving the car if your tires are under pressure, this way you cannot have an accident from low pressure in a tire.

When we chose this car, they told us that they had six different packages. You start out with the basic minimum. On one of these vehicles that you’ve built up till you hit the touring package. By the way the touring one is the most expensive package. We chose package number five, the reason for that is, it was the cheapest one with the navigation system. Anything below package five you did not receive the navigation system. What you get in package five is a smart key system, backup camera vehicle stability control system, antitheft system and automatic dimming rearview mirror, six disc in dash CD changer with nine speakers in seven locations to auxiliary jacks for either a DVD player or your cell phone. This vehicle also has the capability of the Bluetooth wireless technology, the headlights are high intensity discharge headlamps (HID), and integrated fog lamps. Plus you get the voice activated DVD navigation system. You also get cruise control, heated outside theaters, 15 inch alloy wheels and trimmings, tonneau cover cover, also pockets on the backs of the front seats, plus 50 state emissions.

The car is very stylish looking, but we did not purchase the car because of its looks, we purchased it because of the gas mileage. We purchased a silver color with the gray interior, this came with 15 inch alloy wheels with nice-looking tires, dual color-keyed power outside mirrors, multi-reflector halogen headlamps, it also came with washer-linked variable intermittent windshield wipers. Included in all this is color keyed frog and rare bumpers and door handles, heavy-duty rear window of the father and time, probably tighten finish grill, electronic rear hatch locking system, high solar energy absorbing glass, a rear deck spoiler and a rear window intermittent wiper. The overall exterior dimensions of this vehicle is the height is in inches 58 inches with 67 inches in length hundred 75 inches, the wheelbase is 106 inches, the track front and rear 59 and 58 inches, coolly efficient of drag .26, and ground clearance 5.6 inches. If you are one great way to of this vehicle is 2932 pounds. The seating capacity is five passenger volume 96 ft.³. The luggage capacity is 14.4 ft.³ and there is a fuel tank of 11.9 gallon capacity.

A lot of the features on this car, you will enjoy it immensely. Depending on what package you get will depend on the options inside of the car. Of course, the more options or features that you like in your car. The price naturally will go up and will just give you the list of what is on my particular car will first we will start with the pushbutton start to come. There is a liquid Crystal multi-function informational display panel with energy monitoring, fuel consumption, climate control, outside temperature and audio status modes, plus you can control the inside temperature of the car also. This has a central display with the digital odometer, fuel gauge, the shift lever indicator and odometer with trip meters and warning lights. Never mind about starting this with a key this as a remote keyless entry system called a smart key system, with a two-stage locking panic function and remote illuminated entry. This means that you never have to search for your keys again, the smart key system will allow you to just put the device in your pocket and just touched the handle of the car and it automatically unlocks and also do not worry about ever locking your keys inside the car, because this will not allow you to lock the car if there is either one of these devices left inside a car. There is an automatic shift lever, which once depressed will bounce back to the original position, AM/FM CD player, which will hold up to six discs, and it puts the stereo system and my 2003 neon to shame. We have a cargo area and side panels and underfloor storage, this comes with a tilt steering wheel with audio, climate control, navigation function and hands-free phone calling controls. All which can be operated from the steering wheel. By just the touch of a button. You can use all of these functions. First you have to do is figure out how to use them. As for the Windows you have power windows and driver-side automatic up and down and you can also lock out the windows. You have power, automatic door locks with the anti-lockout feature. Center console armrest has a storage compartment drawer in a duel front rear cup holders. You can also plug in an iPod inside of the center console. Some other nice additions to the inside of this car is the remote hood and fuel filler door releases, you also get the overhead console with map lights. Another real nice, edition to this vehicle is the lighted mirrors on the backs of the sun visors. On the backs of the front seats and door panels there a storage pockets and bottle holders in the front doors. The two front seats are adjustable for ways and they have adjustable head rests, with 60/40 split fold down rear seat with the fold-down center armrest and adjustable head rests will make the people in the back feel very comfortable for long trips. They have also put on your steering wheel, automatic climate control, with the electric inverter compressor air-conditioning humidity sensor in the air filtration. If you’ve ever had a small car or truck, and you are always disappointed by the size of the glove box that comes in these vehicles well not to worry about the glove box in this one you get to a dual-compartment glovebox comes with this vehicle. Digital Quarts clock, two 12 V auxiliary power outlets, they also have those famous retractable passenger-assists grips on all doors, included with all this is front and rear dome lights. One of the other features that comes with this is the capability to use satellite radio. But you will have to pay a monthly service fee to use this.

Navigation System
I have never had a navigation system on any of my vehicles before. But now that I have experienced it on this car, I don’t think I could do without. It is real nice for going to places that you do not know where they are. Just punch in the address, and it will direct you to the shortest path. It will give you three choices and you can pick the one you like the best. When you get to the place where you have to turn the navigation system will tell you and try when you are supposed to her and if you miss your turn it will recalculate for you think you can write back on track. If you are going on a trip to a place you do not know this is real nice because you can punch in the address and ask for all of the local restaurants or gas stations or whatever it might be and this navigation system will tell you how far you are away from any of the restaurants or whatever it is you choose. They also will tell you how far away from each of those places you are, and the direct ships to each place, along with the name of each place. On the screen of the navigation system. The radio will appear and you can have a.m., FM one, FM-2, and on the screen. Whatever song is playing, the name will show up along with who is singing that song. On the screen of your navigation system. This is where you will also see the picture that the camera will show you when you were in the backup mode.

Storage Space
Just to give you some idea as to how much room is in the back. I just purchased a five shelf, 2 foot wide by 3 foot wide shelving unit, and I was able to put it in the back and close the hatch all the way. We have also went grocery shopping and filled the back up with 15 bags of groceries, and I did not have a problem closing the hatch.

Gas Mileage
Now I know that it is hard to believe that a car would get 60 miles to the gallon, but in this case it is true. When these first came out. They were telling everybody that they could get 60 miles to the gallon. But the government in its great wisdom and scheme of things said that was very unreasonable to put that in print, so they made them write that the car will get 45 miles to the gallon, and so on the side of the car on the sticker it will tell you that you will get 48 miles per gallon in the city, 45 miles per gallon on the Hwy, and 46 miles per gallon combined. I have been driving this car for two weeks and we have hit 60 gallon may be even 65 gallon quite a few times. If you hit the button on your steering wheel, you will see what looks like a bar graph appear on the navigation system screen. On the left side, you will see a bar graph appear every five minutes, showing your gas consumption. On the right side of the screen. You will see a floating bar graph that will show you the gas consumption while you are driving. This bar will fluctuate as you press on the gas and if you lift your foot off the accelerator it will go as high as 100 miles per gallon. Also on the top of the yellow bar you will notice a picture of a little car and this will keep you in contact with your battery showing it is getting recharged for every full car you see, you will know that it gets 50 W charge back into your battery.

When you first start pricing this vehicle, you will notice that the starting price is $21,100. Well, don’t let this fool you, a starting price for package five is approximately $26,455. But that’s without the extra warranty, and all the added stuff that I’m going to tell you about. You can probably add $3-$4-$5000 on to your list price to get a more accurate out the door price. And what I mean by out the door is what you are out-of-pocket price. When you go in to see a finance manager and the first thing they’re going to hit you up for is gap insurance and that is approximately $400 for the duration of the loan, then they want you to buy an auto saver vehicle protection system for $900, they also had to offer , and another $500 for the roadside assistance, then they really get you with the window etching protection, they get to because this is already on the windows of the car for an additional $250. Am I boring you yet, well, there’s one more little detail and that is the extra warranty, and that extended warranty is going to cost you about $1600. So as you can see, you will be adding a lot more than what you counted on just to protect your interest.

The basic warranty that you get with this car consists of three parts. The first is the eight-year 100,000 mile warranty on the battery, then the second is a basic 36 month or 36,000 mile on all of the other components, which is anything else in the car. Then there is the 60 month and 60,000 mile warranty on the engine and transmission, which is the powertrain of the car (gas engine). They have a 60 month warranty on rustproof protection, but our main concern was the fact that technically we are only covered for 36 months if something broke down such as the navigation system or something like a computer. Then we would have to pay for it. So we went ahead and paid the extra for peace of mind to cover us for a total of six year, one hundred thousand mile warranty on everything total in the car.

Overall Impression
My overall impression of this vehicle is excellent. After driving this for a week. I still cannot believe that I am in a vehicle that almost drives itself. My wife loves it, it is like having a new toy. Even though we had to pay extra for those warranties. It is worth it for the peace of mind. There is a lot more information than meets the eye, when you look at this car and you first get in it. You will not believe the stuff that it does. Every time I go by a gas station now, I look at the price 4 dollars a gallon or $3.50 a gallon. Whatever the price may be I just keep on smiling. We are still waiting for the first time that we had to fill this car up. I’m so happy with this vehicle that. I told my brother in law, either you pay the oil companies now or you pay them later. I just don’t want to pay them at all. I feel that they are ripping us off, and anytime we can get a car that does 60 miles to the gallon and then some they should make it available to everybody.

Amount Paid (US$): 32,000
Condition: New
Model Year: 2008
Model and Options: 2008 prius package five

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About the reviewer
Harold Therault ()
Ranked #26
   My Current Project: Trying to get my first novel published About Me: I am an aspiring writer and I have finished writing my first novel, it is presently being critiqued by an outside company … more
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The Toyota Prius is a full hybrid electric mid-size car developed and manufactured by the Toyota Motor Corporation. It first went on sale in Japan in 1997, making it the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. It was subsequently introduced worldwide in 2001. The Prius is sold in more than 40 countries and regions, with its largest markets being those of Japan and North America. As a top seller in the US market, the U.S. Toyota Prius made up more than half of the 1.2 million Prius sold worldwide by early 2009.

The Prius is the most fuel efficient gas car sold in the U.S. according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB) also rate the Prius as among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States based on non-CO2 toxic emissions. The UK Department for Transport reported the latest Prius is the second least CO2-emitting vehicle on sale in the UK with 89 g/km.

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Brand: Toyota
Category: Hybrid

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