Tell us your Prius experiences

Discussion in 'Toyota Prius Family' started by Chuck, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    [​IMG] CNN and MSNBC are posting Prius driving experiences - we can do that too.

    [fimg=RIGHT][/fimg]Chuck Thomas - CleanMPG - Feb. 12, 2010

    It goes without saying there is a lot of Prius hysteria over the recall. Many papers and stations are soliciting Prius experiences - not all of them credible. Most of the fear seems to be outside the community of Prius drivers, although some have filed complaints, notably Steve Wozinak. If you have ever been a Prius driver, this news article is about you.

    Please go into detail your experiances with the Prius. What year is it? What package? What kind of driving? Give us the good, the bad, the ugly. Do you have concerns? Would you get another?...
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  2. Tochatihu

    Tochatihu Well-Known Member

    I drove a 2001 Prius for 7 years/110k miles. I experienced the 'digital' aspect of the cruise control, where lever-up increases speed in 1 mph increments; lever down same decreases. I never determined how many ups or downs it would store in buffer, but I guess it was at least 5.

    Acceleration would briefly cut out if one of the drive wheels lost traction. This never caused me any problems though. I did not experience a similar braking cut-out, but perhaps this is confined to newer models. I engaged the ABS braking system twice in response to other drivers pulling some stunts, and it worked very well. This is the extent of my experiences that seem related to the current newsy Prius issues.

    The car has lots of 'bests' including reliable function and pleasant driving experience. The 'worsts' arose when some problem (most notably power steering shakes) needed fixing.In that case, I had to put some pressure on Toyota Customer Experience to perform the free replacement, even though I was within their ehnaced warranty for that issue. Seemed to me that I should not have had to urge them to do it.

    The Special Service Campaigns that applied to my vehicle were preformed quickly and efficiently. Two in-warranty repairs were done satisfactorily as well.

    I experienced very few issues with Toyota service departments disagreeing with me abuot maintenace or service issues. In part this was because I did a fair amount of that work on my own, also because I was well-equipped with knowledge about vehicle systems. Most of that knowledge came from internet group discussions, which in my view form an important part of the whole Prius experience. in those groups, I read of many cases where the Toyota shops seemed poorly informed about Prius, or even willfully ignorant. This seems to me the wekest link in the Toyota satisfaction chain, even those my experiences there were mostly indirect.

    If I were in the market for a car, I would certainly consider Prius, actually any model after NHW10. But in particular cases, such as countries or regions where the Prius population is low, I'd probably look for a conventional Toyota or Honda instead. Probably also consider the small body Fords.

  3. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    While I drive a 2000 Honda Insight, I have logged about 1500 miles in a 2007 Prius.

    While the hybrid systems are clearly different, driving the Insight kept my Prius experience from becoming the type of blind date many auto writers of the gearhead orientation have. In other words, I knew to look at the dash and MFD. That and to finesse the accelerator.

    Alternating with Dan from Houston to Chicago, we got 60 mpg a block from Wayne's home - had I found the EV switch in time, the ICE would not have knocked it down to 59.9 mpg. And this was my first serious Prius driving experience, going thru the rain at night in Chicago. Speaking of rain, I did not remotely experience the reported brake problems (it's not just the 2010 model). The latest EPA estimates say this car should get 45 mph on the highway, yet it was getting 60 mpg at 60 mph on the interstate.

    My most embarrassing Prius moment was topping it off at the gas station. :eek:

    I expect to drive my 2000 5-speed Insight for many more years, but if I were in the new car market in early 2010, I'd get a Prius and eventually get the Enginer PHEV upgrade.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  4. laurieaw

    laurieaw Sorceress of the North

    i was at the barn this morning, when i new rider came in, driving a prius. i asked what she thought of it, and she loves it. she said yes, it was involved with the recall, she thought it was dumb and simply took out the floor mat. she has felt some clunking and attributed it to the electric motor making some kind of bounce when going over rough roads. she didn't consider it a big problem.

    i did not think to ask her what year it was, and i am not knowledgeable enough to tell. however, and this is second hand information, she said she loved it. i will have to find time to ask about her FE and how she drives it.
  5. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    I bought a 2010 Prius II at the end of 2009.

    I was already aware of the floor mat and braking issues and having read about them in some detail I wasn't concerned. Sure enough, within a couple of weeks of owning the car I had the brake issue affect me. Slowing to a stop on an icy/snowy side-street I suddenly felt a lack of braking. My instinctive reaction was to press the brake harder and the car stopped before the line without any problem. So, the brake issue is a non-issue as far as I am concerned.

    I have had one other problem. I was driving on a bumpy road with our dog in the back and the display said "Key detected". I did a double take: yes, it said "key detected" _not_ "key not detected". I _didn't_ know what prompted that. There was no change to how the Prius drove and a short time later the display went back to normal. Edit: after a little research I now know it's because I didn't shut the rear hatch properly, presumably because I didn't want to slam the hatch on the dog. A better error message would be nice but it's good to know it's not a fault.

    The next challenge for the car was my wife driving on the interstate in a strong cross-wind with uneven ice and snow on one side of the lane. I have to say my wife was uncomfortable in those conditions, but that was pretty difficult. She's more confident in our Civic but that has winter tires on it and the Prius has the stock tires.

    Strong cross-winds definitely push the Prius around but the same happens with our Civic and I don't feel unsafe.

    I've driven the car in some snow. There was a little wiggle turning out of snowy side streets but otherwise performance was fine the rest of the time.

    We were replacing an old car and I wanted good fuel economy and have low emissions. Additional requirements: new, maximum of $25,000 including taxes, reliable, hatchback, non-manual, better economy and no less leg room than our 2008 Civic. The Insight II was too small and I didn't realize the Golf TDi had a tax credit so only the Prius fit my budget.

    The Prius is an incredibly easy car to drive. Press the gas pedal as far as you need to choose the required power. And the power is more than adequate: the only reason for considering it underpowered is that the display makes it clear that when you use the power it's operating less efficiently. Since I drive at the speed limit I only need to go into the "power" zone when I'm on a significant upgrade.

    Along with the simplicity of a CVT it has excellent maneuverability, with a very small turning circle that makes it easy to park.

    But, as I said, I bought the Prius for economy and it hasn't disappointed. I was hoping to average 50mpg over the course of the year. Initially, my cold weather commutes were between 5F and 20F and I was getting around 41mpg, but with recent temperatures a little above freezing and the car broken in I'm getting around 50mpg on the latest tank. I can't wait to see what spring will bring.

    That fuel economy is not determined from the Prius' display. It's overstating economy by 2 to 2.5 mpg so far and similarly overstates the speed by 1mph at low speeds and 2mph at high speeds.

    Would I recommend the 2010 Prius?
    - If you want a very economical, functional car: yes.
    - If driving for economy would be fun for you: yes.
    - If most of your driving is at 75mph or more: buy a diesel or better buy a Prius and slow down
    - If there is no way you would slow down or drive for economy: no, buy a diesel
    - If you won't be buying this year: consider the next generation of BEVs and PHEVs instead.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  6. Rokeby

    Rokeby Gen II Prianista

    I've been driving my '08 Touring for just over two years, 35k miles, 50 MPG overall.
    I love this subtlely strange little car.

    In my driving, I have in some small way experienced all of the alleged system
    "problems," except the floor mat stupidity. But never have I felt that the wheels were
    falling off. While my initial reaction was, "What the heck was that?" I considered it my
    responsibility to understand why and how the Prius is different than any other car I've
    ever driven. Herein lies the "subtle strangeness" of the Prius. For the most part , I have
    used Internet forums like this one to get the info I needed.

    There has been only one driving condition that I have felt the need to address; the Prius
    somewhat "soft" steering and a tendency to be affected by cross winds. Although it is
    generally conceded that the Touring Model is less susceptable to these issues, I have
    installed after-market rear body and front strut tower braces. In subsequent rapid lane
    changes occasioned by the carelessnes/stupidity of other drivers, the car's reacion has
    been swift, sure, and consistent. I notice little cross-wind induced lane drift.

    Initially, the Prius was marketed as a low pollution vehicle -- a Partial Zero Emissions
    Vehicle to be exact. The Prius does that all on its own. And unless you've done one of the
    false data hacks --e.g. fiddling the Inlet Air temperature -- it does it all the time in the
    background, thank you very much. The greater part of producing low emissions is burning
    less/little fuel. This high FE/MPG feature is surely the reason why most folks buy a Prius.

    You can get very good mileage almost without trying. With just some little effort you can
    go after the 'low hanging fruit" and do much better. One of the easiest strategies to adopt
    is Driving Without Brakes, DWB. The centerpiece of this method is to proactively adjust
    your following distance from the vehicle in front so that absent some boneheaded driver
    pulling a last minute lane change stunt you don't have to use the brakes very much.

    DWB requires a wholesale readjustment of how you drive. You have to actually pay
    attention to what's happening around you; traffic density, topography, upcoming traffic
    control signals, etc. You also have to be aware of how even small control inputs will
    change fuel consumption, especially the very small accelerator inputs that result in being
    propelled by the engine, by Motor/Generator1, rolling without any actual propulsion, and
    slowing using regeneration.

    Driving Without Brakes gives you the time and distance to actively anticipate what you are
    doing. It also creates the opportunity to be a better, safer driver. What's not to like?

    Any driver can use DWB as a first step in increasing their FE/MPGs. It just happens to
    work really well with the Prius' built-in energy saving/scavenging systems.

    I don't care what kind of irrational fear, uncertainty, and doubt the media is trying to stir
    up. I don't care why they and their hidden agendas/partners are doing it. I'm very happy
    with my Prius and I intend to keep it until there is an affordable EV that meets my

    How soon will a mini-van version of the Ford BEV Transit Connect be on US showroom
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  7. Ophbalance

    Ophbalance Administrator Staff Member

    I FINALLY got the brake event to happen... and what a complete non-issue this is in the Gen II. Yeesh. I was in a glide for the last 1/4 mile with a right turn into Pizza Hut coming up. I started using regen to slow down for the turn, and went over a set of railroad tracks. One of the wheels must have hopped, and the regen breaks just let go. However, I was down to maybe 25-30 MPH at that point. I guess if I had been on the regen harder, it would have been more noticeable, but all that was required was pressing more firmly on the brake pedal and bob's your uncle.

    I realize that most of the airwaves say that the behavior in the 2010 is worse, but there's a group that would also like to see this completely eliminated from the Gen II as well. Me? Meh, it feels more like your foot slipped off the pedal, or raised up, during the bump event than anything else.

    I would buy the Prius again in heartbeat. If my wife can pull off 48-52 MPG trips in crosswinds and colder temps, it's the best car for us.
  8. 300kmileprius

    300kmileprius Well-Known Member

    Jesse here from Hingham MA. Over 212k today on 2005 prius. Same batteries and so far so good. 51mpg on tank so far after 120miles and upper 20's temp.
  9. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    See the story on his 350,000-mile 2002 Prius: The hybrid community loses a special vehicle …
  10. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    2006 Prius-bought new aPRIL 2006 -$22850 out the door with the TC counting TTL.
    40,000 TROUBLE FREE MILES- averaging 40 mpg.Yes, 40 mpg seems poor, but my wife got 23mpg with the Prizm(corolla) and 13mpg with the Pilot it replaced, so it get 2.5X the mpg of what it replaced.
    She and my son drive it,she doesn't frove fast, but is a gas,brake, gas, brake driver-typical for USA drivers-no coasting. It get 55mpg pretty easily when I drive it-same routes they drive.

    Perfect car with sleep in the car USA road trip potential.
    No complaints-quiet, comfortable, safe, great FE,- dull, but that is Toyota.
  11. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    My story is pretty simple. At the end of '06 I was driving a car that did some things pretty efficiently. I wanted a car that did everything very efficiently. So I bought a Prius and in over 60,000 miles and three years it hasn't gone wrong once. Neither has my wife's, which she bought six months after mine and has done her best to beat the living hell out of it ever since ;) . (She does love that car, though. It's pushing 90,000mi if you can believe it and I can tell you from first-hand experience that it runs better than a Swiss watch.)

    Our Prius' aren't sports cars or luxo-cruisers. They're workhorses. I expect to keep them both in service for quite a long while.
  12. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Mine has been a wonderful car. It has that weird regenerative braking early cut out on rough roads "OCCASIONALLY". It's no big deal, I've gotten so use to it, that it is as normal as that automatic "turn into the slide" correction you do with a rear wheel drive when the back end kicks out on slippery or icy road. Is it as dangerous as they say? Absolutely not. So instead of the regenerative braking cutting out at 5-7 mph it is doing it at 10-12 mpg. It is such a problem that all I have to do to correct it is depress the brake pedal slightly more. :rolleyes:

    The only other other complaint I have is for some reason the dash board likes to heat up the windshield during the day. Then at night I get condensation that turns into a frost covering on the inside of the glass. That one is killing my fuel mileage defrosting it before I can drive the car. BTW the windshield is the only piece of glass that this occurs. :rolleyes:
  13. 300kmileprius

    300kmileprius Well-Known Member

    215k miles so far so good. Same batteries
  14. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    No big complaints to mention at all. However, in 2007 we bought two more new units and not a moth later one of them developed a bad pack. One morning it would not power-up at all and had to be towed back to the dealer . A few weeks later it was back on duty and since then has been working flawlessly along with the 2 other 2007 Prius in the fleet.

    Personally, I find these vehicles to be flawless in my eyes and the eyes of those who are open minded enough to notice the greater set of virtues it offers. Other than the TRAC issues of the Gen 2 Prius as well as the frustrating winter time refuelling blues, it has been a pretty uneventful ownership. Which is very, very good. ;)

    So far, my 2010 Prius is baselining quite well. And, there will be absolutely no ABS related software updates applied to it because it is definitely working as designed... and also I remain the boss who says so. ;)


  15. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    I thought I'd add some more after discussing the Prius more with my wife:

    My wife doesn't like driving the Prius. I thought she was indifferent but in fact she dislikes it. Fortunately, she respects my desire to lower fuel economy so she will drive it when we're together or when I suggest she drive it because she's going to do many more miles than me.

    I drive on Eco so she's been driving in that mode. Only this weekend I got her to try Power Mode. She found that much better although she's still not happy with the disconnected feeling. She wants the connection and instantaneous response she feels from the Civic and "normal" cars. She drives with emphasis on courtesy and safety* without thought of economy. I'll never convert her to the CleanMPG side but I'm still hoping I can get her to at least coast to red lights.

    Her other criticisms are:
    - She can't get used to shifting the gear selector forward to select reverse when starting the car. Well, I think it's stupid too but I blame whoever decided years ago that the automatic gear lever should go back instead of forward and get why the Prius's selector works the way it does.
    - The center console doesn't allow her enough room to rest her purse.
    - She doesn't like the fact that she can't just have the fan on without a temperature setting.
    - She doesn't like the Auto climate control setting. When I tried it while driving us somewhere it immediately put the fan on 3 bars and made her uncomfortable. Adjusting the fan took it out of Auto which kind of defeated the purpose.

    She seems to be getting a few mpg less than me when she drives. That's a combination of higher speed, greater acceleration and using the heater. She'll get a good run in the car over the coming 6 1/2 weeks as she'll be doing about 85 miles each weekday to my 45. That'll give me some better numbers.

    If we had to replace "her" Civic right now I'd probably suggest she test drive the Insight II and the HCH II. I'd also suggest she at least try a diesel but the exhaust fumes from old diesels make her nauseous so we'd need to do serious fume exposure testing. Of course by the time we do replace our 2008 Civic I'd hope to be suggesting/urging/begging to get an EV. :D

    * PSL+5 much of the time although PSL at night. Not as safe as PSL but certainly no speed freak.
  16. Vernon

    Vernon Member

    Last year I had a computer freeze on my 2008 Prius. I had backed the car out of the garage to sweep the garage. After I finished, I moved the car back in and it would not shut off. It would not go into park or any other gear position. I had to hold the brake as the engine was running at 1280 rpm. After trying different things for about 5 minutes, I decided to check the Scan Gauge for errors. I found 3 and wrote them down before cancelling them. After that I could shut the engine off. I checked the internet as to what the errors were and all it said for each one was that it was a bus communication error. I have not had a repeat problem or any other problem of any kind. I mentioned it to the service manager at a Toyota dealer when I had my oil changed, but he was not concerned unless it happened again. I'm not sure what really happens when the power button is pressed, but I had assumed it cut the power to the relays and computers. Evidently not.

    I believe that there was a computer problem as I did nothing out of the ordinary that day. I put the key in and turned on the system and on the way into the garage the engine started and went to the cold idle RPM. When I tried to shut the engine off, it would not turn off, go into park or change gears. I just held the brake to keep it from running into the end of the garage thinking the engine would shut off after a minute or two. When it didn’t, I started going through parameters on the scan gauge. That is when I noticed there were 3 data trouble codes listed. I got out a pen and paper from the glove box and wrote them down. I had never seen a DTC code before so was not sure what I was looking at. When it gave the option to cancel the codes I did. Then the engine would stop when I pushed the button. The main code #’s were P0A1D and U0100 and one other the same except for 3 numbers following the main codes. I looked them up on the internet and found out all 3 gave the same message which was Bus Communication Error.

    I personally don't think the carpets had anything to do with stuck gas pedals. I checked mine and could not see any problem. One would have to mash the pedal to the floor and slide the carpet up with the other foot. My carpet is attached to the tabs in front of the seat. I suppose someone could remove the carpet for cleaning and then not fasten it down with the tabs, but then to get it on top of the gas pedal one would have to hold it to the floor and then slide the carpet up over it.

    Years ago I had a VW with electronic fuel injection. When running on the Interstate next to trucks using their CB's the car would do some jerking until I got around them. I figured it was RF interference with the FI.

    I just thought I would share this with you.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  17. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Those could have been Scangauge induced. I got those codes on the 08 when I plugged the Scangauge in while driving one time.
  18. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

    I've had the scangauge screw with the CAN bus too, usually just
    when plugged in and when it's auto-hunting through the protocols.
    For a second-gen Prius it's best to force the protocol to CANSF
    and then power up the car; once it gets established using that
    then it should be okay until you unplug the SG again.
  19. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    The only issue I've had with my '07 Prius is that the 12-volt battery got low one time. It was the coldest part of winter, I hadn't driven the car in several days, and I had been hypermiling a bit too much: toggling the heat off at stop lights to encourage the motor to shut off. Combine that with a 1/2 mile commute to work, and I wound up with a 12-volt battery that got low enough to give me the red triangle warning sign. The car almost didn't start one time. I turned the headlights off, and it started. I drove it to the Toyota dealership to have it checked out, and the trip over there fully charged the 12-volt battery and I haven't had any related issues since then.

  20. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    ___I can only relay my parents feelings (my mom's actually). She likes her car but she hates the 6-mpg offset for the displayed fuel consumption vs. actual and she does not like its braking action when it does its herky jerky slowing down on a bump thing. The recall fixed most of that feeling but not all of it.

    ___My dad is an old WW-II kind of mindset and Japanese vehicles do not sit well with him so he only likes that it does not cost much to refuel ;)

    ___Good Luck


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