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View Full Version : Car shopping round 2: Toyota


brick
12-04-2006, 01:57 PM
In about a half hour I'm headed north to a Yota dealer with 17 '07 Prius listed in their inventory. I was referred to them by another Prius owner, and think that they might be willing to talk price with that many sitting cold. Anyway, another test drive report is in store and maybe even some numbers depending on what mood we are all in at the time. Have invoice prices from Edmunds, will travel.

brick
12-04-2006, 06:24 PM
Here goes.

First, let's talk about first impressions. The one I saw was a red '07, base model without any options or packages. MSRP on that puppy is $22175, and I can't really imagine needing to pay more for a car. It had the basics but the basics were good: decent sounding audio system, airbags literally everywhere that an airbag could be, automatic climate control, and a very high quality fit and finish IMO. I was plenty comfortable in the driver's seat, and I managed to get my 6'1" frame very comfortably into the rear. I'm also really excited about the cavern that appears in the back when you fold down those rear seats. If that isn't big enough for an every-day car, you're doing something wrong! (Or at least I would be.)

The drive. Where the first-gen Civic left me wanting a little more, the Prius picks up the slack very nicely. The drivetrain is extremely smooth and responsive and there is only a short delay between getting on the accelerator and the gasoline engine kicking in. That's going to happen a lot because this thing loves to turn off that engine! Score one for the FE-conscious driver like myself, who must have done something wrong because I didn't see the civic autostop once.

The test loop was relatively short and it was one of the least FE-friendly routes I could imagine. 1/4 mile, stop. Go up a steep-freaking hill, stop. Most stop signs, more turns, get up to about 40, stop. Wind around a little and back to the dealer. In my car I wouldn't have done better than 24-25 with every trick in the book, it was that bad. Not so much for the Prius! I just got in and drove the thing, focussing more on keeping the shiny car shiny than driving for FE. But I still got the 5-minute bar up to 50mpg and saw two regen indicator things. Imagine if I actually knew what I was doing. I was also really satisfied by the ride, which soaked up the bumps extremely well on those back roads. Going from the Accord to the Prius might even be a positive change, although putting those tires at max sidewall might hurt it a little.

The verdict: Where's my check book? Seriously? The Prius is a fantastic little machine and I couldn't imagine a vehicle that combines FE with utility the way it does. I think I would have to consider it even if I weren't looking for a hybrid in particular. But for my hypermiling side, this really fills the bill. Consider the reason that I complain about the Accord: driving at 100% effort involves too much trouble, and I feel restricted in how far I can push it. In this thing, the brain and the right foot are all it takes. Just put her in drive and let the throttle determine your ICE useage. What more could I ask for? I think a little sacrifice in highway FE would be worth it for a hatchback that can take anything I want to throw at it in terms of cargo.

Wayne was dead-right when he told me I would see my future in one of these things. I did the math vs. the Accord and it looks really good when I consider the remains of the federal credit and the fact that I wouldn't pay sales tax on it in CT. Unfortunately the salesman was very resistant to the notion that they would offer anything more than a teeny, tiny discount. But I'm willing to see if they mean it. Oh, and did I mention that they actually have 25! He claimed that they don't have to discount because they do a lot of volume. Huh? It's the other way around, and they have to be willing to deal for something between invoice an MSRP. Do you guys think I would be throwing money away if I only tried to split the difference down the middle?

Anyway, it's a lot of money so I'm going to resist the urge to get excited. But these cars are ripe and we'll see how I feel about it in a week or so. The odds of a trade are looking like maybe a little better than 50/50 now?

xcel
12-04-2006, 07:44 PM
Hi Tim:

___Given I just had a 29.0 and 33.1 mpg segment over 48 miles at an average speed of 18 mph in the Accord (just got back a bit ago from shopping with the wife in the heat of both Christmas and work rush hour), I have about had it myself. There has to be a better mostly electric way to travel through this god forsaken nightmare we call driving for stuff :( The Prius would have definitely been the vehicle of choice tonight even if it is just 23 degrees out!

___Anyway, just one more hybrid to go to round out your experience. I have a suspicion your requirements have been met with the Prius II although I will not let you split the difference between MSRP and Invoice with those knuckleheads. They are on the ground all over the country and you can purchase them from any state in the union and still not pay your local tax. With a trade however, that is going to be a bit tricky …

___It may be time for you to start living in the Prius - Prices Paid & Buying Experience ( http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f0a4a2c.f0a4a16) forums for a few hours to get your head on straight ;)

___You may as well start living and breathing the P & G plus Warp Stealth in the Prius II for maximum FE … (http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1224) article before your next test drive. Make sure you get her out on the highway as that is where you will more then likely spend a lot of time with your next vehicle no matter what it is. Her (the Prius II) halo becomes a tad dim when you get her up to highway speeds :(

___Next comes Tarabell’s HCH-II article before that vehicles test drive ...

___Good Luck

___Wayne

brick
12-04-2006, 08:08 PM
To Edmunds I go! I also got my two phone calls from two Honda dealers today...haven't called them back yet. I may have to re-read tarabell's article and give the nearby Honda dealer a call tomorrow to see what they have in stock. It would be nice to get that one under my belt with the Prius fresh in my mind.

Thanks for the guidance! Buying cars is not a field where I'm particularly experienced. I can run numbers, payments and TCO estimates 'till the end of the world but addressing a greedy salesman with confidence takes something extra. For me, it could take a round or two of walking out with the same number of checks that I walked in with.

Sorry about your segment :(. I'm sad to say that winter is here.

psyshack
12-04-2006, 09:02 PM
Glad you enjpyed the PII Brick.

Chuck
12-05-2006, 08:54 AM
brick,

If you have the new car bug, remember that year-end is a great time to get a good deal.

brick
12-05-2006, 09:00 AM
I've been running numbers and dreaming up angles for the negotiating table. I'll save it for the post-game, assuming their is a post-game, but the year-end high-inventory situation is the cornerstone of my strategy.

psyshack
12-05-2006, 11:58 AM
I got my deal on the Civic. Thursday before christmas last year. Work them brick!!!!

psy

brick
12-05-2006, 04:07 PM
Ugh. I've been reading Confessions of a Car Salesman (http://www.edmunds.com/advice/buying/articles/42962/article.html) over at Edmunds. I'm only half way through it and I'm exhausted by his description. The knowledge that this is reality will make your skin crawl at the thought of walking into a dealership to talk business.

xcel
12-05-2006, 04:50 PM
Hi Tim:

___I am glad to see you are doing your homework! I read the Edmunds “Confessions of a Car Salesman” article last year and it is indeed a good one. Do not however take the outcome as gospel. You know the invoice and you know what others are paying so there is no reason for all the theatrics these guys will try and play. Isn’t the Internet grand ;)

___Another article for you to read which is definitely in your favor vs. theirs!

Death Of The Car Salesman. (http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2782)

___Good Luck

___Wayne

brick
12-06-2006, 06:56 AM
Another option that I can't justify ignoring is the use of USAA's free car search & negotiation service. Basically I tell them what I want and they go look for it, then try to get me a "great price!" If they go straight to the fleet manager and work hard they might pull off some magic, but I'm not holding out hope for anything really spectacular. It is free, after all. But the one guarantee is that I'll be able to walk back into dealer #1 with a numbers on paper to start negotiating. I know it's the right thing to do because my sales guy told me how much they hate it when customers play dealers off each other :D. Should hear back from them within 36 hours. It's on.

Proco
12-06-2006, 07:54 AM
Another option that I can't justify ignoring is the use of USAA's free car search & negotiation service. Basically I tell them what I want and they go look for it, then try to get me a "great price!" If they go straight to the fleet manager and work hard they might pull off some magic, but I'm not holding out hope for anything really spectacular. It is free, after all. But the one guarantee is that I'll be able to walk back into dealer #1 with a numbers on paper to start negotiating. I know it's the right thing to do because my sales guy told me how much they hate it when customers play dealers off each other :D. Should hear back from them within 36 hours. It's on.
Have you checked with your bank to see if they offer a similar service? My credit union has a group that works with the fleet managers and got me a really good deal when I bought my '03 Accord and was able to get my Prius for 500 off MSRP.

Another option is using cars.com or edmunds to send a request to dealers. You'll get emails back from the internet managers with prices and you can "negotiate" via email.

Just a thought.

brick
12-06-2006, 08:21 AM
USAA is my bank. (I use Bank of America for some stuff but I like USAA better for my credit, insurance, loans, etc.) I had thought about using the Edmunds feature but haven't done it yet.

When did you buy your Prius? Did they manage $500 off MSRP while they were still hot and rare, or was your purchase more recent?

Proco
12-06-2006, 10:43 AM
Ahh. Maybe if I actually googled USAA I would have known it's a bank. :)

I ordered my Prius in June of this year and picked it up July 3. I was being quoted waits of anywhere from 4-8 weeks from various dealers. So it was still during that "hot" period. Not necessarily "rare" hot, but rather "let's see if we can get the full tax credit" hot.

It was a special deal that my credit union was running. I saw something on their website, ran some quick numbers, talked to the wife and made the call. Everyone was pretty much getting MSRP around here, so I knew I wasn't going to do better. Plus I will get the full credit, so that's a nice bonus.

Side note: I thought about trading in our Accord for an Insight a month later, but couldn't swing that one. Darnit!

xcel
12-06-2006, 11:55 AM
Hi Tim:

___Do not just rely on a car shopping service as they are not always the best deal. When you do receive your quote/price, hit the bricks (I mean pavement ;)) and start really pushing local dealerships. A Toyota dealership with 15 Prius’ on the lot will sell there own mother … (I mean Prius :)) at a few hundred over invoice on Saturday Dec. 30 at 04:30 in the afternoon if it comes to that. They make bonus money on numbers sold as well as the Holdback which you probably cannot get your hands on but you should be able to find that few hundred over invoice deal from a well stocked dealership when push comes to shove at the final hour of 2006.

___Good Luck with the hunt!

___Wayne

TonyPSchaefer
12-06-2006, 12:17 PM
I'm also really excited about the cavern that appears in the back when you fold down those rear seats. If that isn't big enough for an every-day car, you're doing something wrong!That was one huge determinant for me.

Imagine if I actually knew what I was doing. . . In this thing, the brain and the right foot are all it takes. Just put her in drive and let the throttle determine your ICE usage. Yep, that pretty much sums me up.

I'm really glad you enjoyed the Prius. Then again, of course, I'm biased as all get-out.

brick
12-06-2006, 06:36 PM
Another resource for anyone going out for blood on a new car deal (or, perhaps, saving the free world from a spy with a loose nuke):

Eye Movement and Lying (http://www.blifaloo.com/info/lies_eyes.php)

It doesn't hurt to be able to guess if the salesman is pulling a number out of his you-know-what or really telling it like he believes it is. For example, the trade: his sales manager tells him it's worth $8,000 but he tells you it's worth $6000 to build profit. (EVERY_SINGLE_TIME.) Over or up and to your left indicates BS. Not a perfect science, but eye movement is nearly impossible to mask without the kind of training that you aren't allowed to tell anyone about.

psyshack
12-06-2006, 08:10 PM
I use eye movement a lot to gauge if a customer or engineer is lieing to me.

brick
12-07-2006, 06:20 PM
I decided to let up when I got them to $500 over invoice, spitting distance of bluebook on my trade. They pretended to offer me a great deal, I pretended to expect it for free, they pretended that a different manager would throw me off, I pretended to get irritated, they pretended to get offended, I pretended to leave, another thousand came off, done. I couldn't quite get into Warp Stealth but we'll give it another shot when I pick her up next week!

Silver Package 2 (VSC!) with precisely the basic options that I wanted. Oh, and I still get the two year free maintenance thingy.

I hereby dedicate this haggle to Wayne and Psyshack for keeping me realistic about numbers and realistic about the evils of Toyota dealers, respectively :D .

I'm exhausted.

xcel
12-07-2006, 07:03 PM
Hi Tim:

___I’ll be, a new Prius under your Christmas tree. Congratulations and I know it will be used very wisely for all our sakes.

___Post the details once the ink has dried a bit and get ready for a whole new experience in hypermiling ;)

___Good Luck

___Wayne

brick
12-07-2006, 07:43 PM
Thanks, Wayne. I don't know what to expect out of her or myself given the learning curve and cold temps, but at long last we'll see! Been eyeing these little machines since they came out for '04...it's been a long journey.

Lots of reading to do before the big day.

hobbit
12-08-2006, 04:35 PM
[just coming into this thread..] Wow, I'm amused that you're
finding base models on the lot. I thought mine was a one-off...
what I was given to understand is that most of the base models
[of anything] head for the fleet and rental markets, and the
dealers wind up with the high-end spiffo models because they
turn higher profit margins. But between '04 and now even the
base model has received nontrivial upgrades -- rear wiper is
stock, more airbags, ipod jack, etc. Anything over that really
is just useless gravy, especially since their built-in nav system
sucks rocks compared to a nice portable garmin unit.
.
So all that for 22 ain't bad, and you weighed in even lower
than that once the dance was done, right? Excellent.
.
For my own take on that rear cavern, you'll be amused by
http://techno-fandom.org/~hobbit/cars/worktruck/
and for my run to the sunny south I've outfit the wider side
of the bed with a cozy little sleeping nest, just like the
"motel Prius" guy was displaying at hybridfest. Remains to be
seen how well that'll work in 20-degree weather, even with all
the heat-retention mods..
.
_H*

krousdb
12-08-2006, 07:12 PM
Brick,
Sounds like you have the same package that I have (was #7 in 2004). I am partial to the silver exterior. You made a good choice. I look forward to your numbers. I expect you will post better results that I do because of my higher speed requirement.

Enjoy!

brick
12-09-2006, 03:26 PM
I just made arrangements to take deliver on Tuesday after work :D. Man, that's going to be a long day of waiting!

My plans are to spend about a week, maybe a whole tank (who knows how long that could be ;) ) just getting used to the car without trying to perform any FE miracles. By then it should be about time for a new case study in the Start Your Journey Here forum.

xcel
12-09-2006, 03:33 PM
Hi Tim:

___Man, start the FE miracles the second you press up the tires and top her off for the first time. I am allowing a small window of just 3 miles from the dealer’s lot to the gas station for that to occur ;)

___I am getting excited for you too! And we want lots of pics of your new ride :D Have you come up with a name for her yet?

___Good Luck

___Wayne

brick
12-10-2006, 06:05 AM
'The Warp Wagon' sounds appropriate, considering that Warp Stealth is going to have to be my new best friend. I'm just looking around to make sure I'm not stepping on any toes by selecting an already-taken name.

As for FE, don't forget that DWL, DWB, face-out, ridge riding, right-lane highway travel, and **trying** to coast are well within what I would consider normal driving these days. I just don't want to wreck my new baby while trying to achieve arrow-free driving. But, hey, if it works within three miles then I guess that's just how it is ;).

psyshack
12-10-2006, 06:23 PM
Way to go brick!!!

Enjoy:)

psy



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