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Velocette

2 Yr 45K Mile Update, Prius 2

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I bought a Prius 2 (07 reg) T Spirit a couple of years ago, taking delivery of it on the 9th July. So here I am two years later, i posted an update of my initial impressions and for what it is worth here is a more considered and long term view. The car was bought secondhand, one previous owner, from my local Toyota dealer. They originally supplied it and have serviced it ever since. My wife has a Yaris (59 reg) that we bought new from them on the trade-in scheme. My Prius has leather seats but it is otherwise standard and came with 24k on the clock, full service history and a years warranty. I have now run it up to 73k and obviously do a fair mileage each year. I have it on a service contact with the dealer, the last service was £99, i also get reduced price MOTs for £35 which includes a valet, a read of their paper and a cup of coffee!

So where we are with the car? The paintwork and trim has worn well and the car still looks very presentable. A couple of stone chips on the bonnet and two minor chips on the windscreen. Annoyingly i just touched a gatepost soon after i first got it but Chipsaway sorted this for £130 and made a very good job. The interior is good, although cheap plastics are still cheap plastics but the leather and carpets still look good. All the electrical gizmos including the air con continue to work without problem. Running costs have been in my view very reasonable. I am happy to use the main dealer, they are fantastic and always helpful and efficient, and keep the service history fully stamped. With the maintenance plan costs are reasonable with minor services around the £100 and major ones perhaps £250 or slightly more. Tyres were replaced at 31k and then at 66k, both times with the OEM Bridgestone Turanza Ecopia, last time costing £100 each. Very good on tyre use in my opinion. I have bought a set of front Wiper Blades, a couple of fob batteries and minor consumables and that is about it. Now you just know there is a but coming don't you? Last November we arrived back after a very long flight and got into the car at Heathrow only to find ourselves on the side of the M40 half an hour later. Driving along without problem and then the dashboard lit up with a big red triangle saying don't drive the car and take it to the dealer immediately. Aaargh! Thanks to the AA, via toyota club cover which we had at the time, we got home. They checked it out but could not find a fault, but they didn't try very hard as they don't touch these types of vehicles. However it was said to be safe to drive and the AA followed us home about 30 miles. Into the dealer next morning, only 5 miles away, and after a lot of faffing around involving a loan car for a week a short circuit between the low and high tension was diagnosed. "never seen this before Sir, most unusual. That'll be £400 please". Ouch. Less than six months later at around 63k what was obviously a very noisy wheel bearing needed doing. Another £620, yes that's right, £620. I had to be scraped off the floor. The hub and knuckle needed renewing as it was not possible to replace just the bearing. One wonders how hard they actually tried though. So over a £1000 in repairs this year, and of course out of warranty. Over all the car did 52.51mpg in the first year and this last year 51.25 - i keep careful records, which i know is rather sad.

so in terms of running costs i think very acceptable. Most of my miles are high speed motorway/A road for which the Prius is not best suited so i can accept 51 mpg particularly as petrol is cheeper than diesel in both fuel and service terms. However the unexpected expenses were very unwelcome and any thoughts of cheaper motoring are blown away by bills of this magnitude. also a lingering concern is over the inability of the car to be fixed by other than the dealer in the event of problems, if the electrical problem had happened on the continent or the scottish highlands then it would have been very difficult. It is difficult to know about depreciation, i reckon on 10p per mile, so with 50k now added, then 5k off the £10,600 I originally paid. i did consider trading it in as an alternative to running it for another year and enquired about various vehicles at the dealer, they offered me £5k which I thought a little low for a loyal customer but they would not move. So I am committed to running the car for another year and have taxed/tested/insured accordingly. Insurance this time is £390 including legal assistance, european cover and full breakdown cover - home/europe etc.

My overall impression is of a car that is reasonably comfortable and reliable. It is quiet to drive and i enjoy the CVT gearbox which works well for me. I find the seats not that comfortable, I have to push myself back into the seat to be passably comfortable but would welcome a taller back and more lateral support. my wife's Yaris is much more comfortable. I am annoyed that the wing mirrors are not heated, and that the rear wiper has not been converted to RHD. Clearly this car was designed for the US. I am not interested in the Clarkson view of roadholding or whatever. As far as I am concerned it starts,stops and goes round corners without problems which suits me.

Where does this all leave me? Well, not disappointed but not thrilled to bits either. It has been a good workhorse and done everything to an acceptable if not outstanding standard. The breakdowns have concerned me and I am not inclined to keep the car over 100k when of course the 8 year/100k warranty on the drivetrain runs out. I am not sufficiently enthused that i would replace it with another, it does seem to me that Toyota have really pushed prices up. I think for my needs I am inclined to look at a Skoda, I had two prior to the Prius, perhaps a diesel new shape Superb or perhaps a Hyundai ix35 or i40 to take advantage of their five year warranty. However I would be interested to hear from others - trade on now with a years MOT and lower miles? Run it for longer than 100k miles? My main concerns are reliability, economy and comfort. Also I will want something that can have a tow bar fitted, which the Prius 2 can't have.

So there we are, a somewhat mixed bag. A car that meets all the main requirements but has not really excelled in any of them. Never really caused me any great concern, albeit some expense, but has not engendered my undying loyalty either. A mostly good curate's egg, but a curate's egg none the less.

Cheers, Velocette.

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Thanks for your honest and well balanced review.

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I like the automatic transmission too much and it has to be petrol. The low tax disc is nice and annual servicing cost is very good.

I too would be worried about expensive repair bills but it is not the hybrid components that worry me as much as the Toyota dealers!

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My son has recently sold his Gen 2 Prius. He did 68,000 miles in it not only in UK but Europe as well mainly business. He found it useless in snow without snow tyres. He had new brake discs out of warranty. Other than that no problems at all.

On my previous GEN 2 I had a wheel bearing under warranty. I P/X it for the Gen 3 it only had 15,000 miles on it. Both my son and I thought the Gen 2 were the best cars we have owned but we now think the Gen 3 is slightly better.

Thank you for your experience Velocette. Shame your faults did not occur under warranty.

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A good write up. I too have done a fair bit of miles with my ageing Gen 2m, fingers crossed it has never intentionally failed on me except for one occasion when a nail decided to nest in my back tyre and I had to get the RAC out to get me back on the road. It’s getting to an age when a warranty is a must, considering they are roughly about £500 per year is not a bad investment. If you plan on keeping it, I strongly recommend you to get this as a piece of mind. It’s not like you haven’t been stung before.

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Nice write up Velocette. It made good reading. Thanks! :thumbsup:

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