Sign in to follow this  
Dancing Badger

About To Buy A Prius

Recommended Posts

How do. Long first post alert. I've been considering replacing my 5-year-old Peugeot 107 with a Prius for some months, and have been lurking here and on Prius Chat for most of those months (I prefer it here, with the familiarity of British voices and imperial gallons). I do most of my mileage in the city, with a decent motorway trip every 4 or 5 weeks when it's my turn to drive to away games (I'm a football fan). I like my little Peugeot, it turns in a reliable 50 mpg however I drive it, and it's actually quite fun to drive, but it's a noisy little beggar, not very well equipped, not very refined and not very comfortable - it is what it is, an economy car designed for city commuting and bought for that purpose.

And it's beginning to give off a bit of an impression of impending mechanical disaster, if you know what I mean - nothing very specific but the occasional odd noise from the oily bits, no fault found by me (I do know my way around an engine) or Peugeot or my mate who does my MOTs but nonetheless unsettling and it's time to sell. I do miss the smooth drive of my previous car, a Rover 820 automatic which was super comfy but used a ridiculous amount of petrol and managed to be quite sluggish too. I thought I'd get over it, but I miss the sensation of engaging waft-o-matic and driving home in my comfortable seat with a whisper of engine noise and an air of smug self-satisfaction. Actually it wasn't that quiet, as I recall, and it didn't half give me a jolt when it kicked down at 40 or 50 mph, but it was way smoother than the Pug.

So my reasoning went as follows - I wanted to retain the fuel economy of the Peugeot, but I also wanted a bigger car that would be more comfortable doing 3 or 4 hundred miles in a day (or considerably more, we've been known to drive to Germany and the Netherlands for a game) with 3 or 4 middle-aged blokes who like a pie travelling in it. I wanted another automatic, I wanted a bit more performance, and I wanted something to appeal to my inner geek, something a bit idiosyncratic. And I didn't really want the kind of reasonably priced car that Top Gear puts stars in, too boring. A car is more than just transport for me, I need to enjoy driving it and owning it. So, put all those requirements together and I came up with a shortlist of a Toyota Prius. Quite a short shortlist, but I did consider and eliminate a whole variety of motors to come up with that, and was pleased that I definitely knew what I wanted.

So Er Indoors is finally persuaded that it's time to change the car and I've had a look at what's available in my budget and now my shortlist has got longer and I don't know what I want any more! I originally thought I could only afford a Gen 2, but that turns out not to be the case, I am currently torn between a Gen 3 T3 with 49000 on the clock, or a Gen 2 T Spirit with 36000 on the clock, assuming they're both still available at the weekend and I'm happy with them when I drive them, which I haven't, yet. They're within a couple of hundred quid on the asking price.

Both 09 cars, so the Gen 2 will have the longer warranty for the traction motors and batteries (I presume from what I read on here) although I do intend to get a 5-year Toyota warranty which from my reading covers the hybrid transmission (I know it's not really a transmission as such, but that's what Toyota call it) and traction batteries and I only expect to keep it 5 years. Clearly the Gen 2 has more in the way of toys for the boys, which is good, I'm a sucker for a gadget, but then again the Gen 3 should be more relaxed on motorway journeys, give me slightly better economy and is still pretty well equipped - in a different league from my current car. I don't have strong views on the styling, I think they both look pretty funky inside and out, but I have a nagging feeling that if I get the Gen 2 I may spend the next 5 years wishing I had the newer model, especially 3 or 4 years down the line. I don't feel that if I get the Gen 3 I'll necessarily spend the next 5 years wishing I had built in sat nav (I've got a very adequate sat nav on my phone and rarely use it anyway) or a CD-auto-changer. They're both black, so Er Indoors doesn't have an opinion to offer, not that I'd take any notice if she did!

I think I probably already know the answer (typing out the question has helped me think it through), I think I should go for the Gen 3. Or should I? I know that similar questions have been asked on here before (because I've read the threads) and I know that none of you can answer the question for me but I hope that you'll forgive me for asking again because you come on this forum because you like to discuss your experiences with your cars so you perhaps won't mind giving me your two penn'orth.

I will of course post the results of my cogitations along with piccies and experiences when I finally make my decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without any hesitation I would still go for a Gen 2, but my motorway requirements are low and I'm quite happy to drive more slowly on the motorway than whatever is considered the norm. The Gen 2's main advantages as I see it, are over-engineered reliability and a manufacturers' Hybrid warranty that covers far more parts than any Gen 3.

The Gen 3 T3 had/have a different steering rack from the T4/T-Spirit, they seem to be less reliable although that seems to be at the hands of taxi trade so far.

The Sat-nav on the Gen 2 is surprisingly poor given the initial cost (I guess like most cars?), it does have a nice big screen and it is obviously well integrated, the user interface is not intuitive - I think Garmin has that so well thought out that it comes as a shock to see how bad everyone else does it. The six disc cd changer is nice and it was easy to create mp3 data discs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And of course the gen 2 - and don't get too excited now, I know it's a thrill - will park itself, whereas that Gen3 won't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our family has owned two Prius gen 2 Prius cars. My son used his for business and drove it to Europe on many occassions. Mine was used for pleasure only. Both cars were very reliable.

My son & I now own Prius Gen 3 TSpirits. We both think the Gen 3 is a very good car. The T Spirit does park itself but I never use that facility, It is quicker just to park yourself.

I recommended the Gen 3 to a friend in Yorkshire he is well pleased with the car.

Hope you get a good car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Owning a Gen 3, I'm bound to say, buy of these! If you're going to be doing long journeys on the motorway with 4 big blokes inside, you'll be grateful for the extra power in the Gen 3.

However, the T3 doesn't get too many gadgets, but certainly has the advantage for much cheaper tyres and slightly better economy. Less to go wrong without the big colour touch screen too.

Arguably, the standard parking sensors on the T3 are better than the reversing cam on the higher models. I mean, the camera and self park feature are OK, but not quite as trustworthy as simple sensors that beep loudly when you're about to go too far! I've had a play with the self parking, and it's quite good fun, but utterly pointless unless you really are unable to park properly - it's just too slow (and prone to errors) to position the marker on screen. I see quite a few parents on the school run that could benefit from this feature, but then they'd probably be too busy/distracted to use it anyway...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree about the self park - except in specific circumstances that rarely apply to most I guess.

I use it every day at work, but it's in a quiet car park, nobody else around when I arrive, and it's a tricky reverse between a pillar and another car. Doing the same thing every day means I know exactly where to stop and where to stab at the screen, with plenty of time.

In the real world I've used it once for a parallel park, just to see if it worked. It did very well, but there was a queue of people wanting to get by. Never used it since...

One of those "might be nice to have if the car has it but I wouldn't spend extra money for it" things.

There are other techy gadgets I'd love to have but Toyota don't offer in the Prius, or indeed at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you test drive both?

As someone who went through a similar thing when the gen3 came out, I found that:

Gen2:

Pros:

Better warranty.

Solid and reliable.

Cons:

No heated door mirrors.

1.5 engine can lack poke when loaded going uphill.

Gen3:

Pros:

1.8 engine, beefier electric motor.

Heated door mirrors :)

Hill Start Assist. :thumbsup:

Heads Up display.

Same price as Gen2 (when I was buying).

CO2 slightly lower than gen2 (so VED band A).

T3 model gets a lot of gadgets as standard.

Cons:

Not so good warranty.

Brand new model so no track record.

FM reception not brilliant.

The warranty on the Gen3 was improved mid 2010 but not backdated. On the plus side, the Toyota Extended Warranty covers the hybrid parts and HV Battery so when my 3 years were up, I was able to get another 2 years unlimited mileage cover for around £700 (includes Toyota Rescue cover too).

The Gen3 T3 has its fair share of toys and you can always swap out the CD player for a touch screen, SD card playing, bluetoothed, satnav unit and backup camera. Reverse parking sensors were an option on the gen3 and did not come as standard so you might not have them on a second hand model. What you will get is the annoying reverse beeping unless this has been switched off (the default was switched on unless the customer asked the dealer to silence it).

The gen3 also has better traction control in the snow and VSC although later gen2s have improved traction control over early gen2s. Yes the Gen3 T3 doesn't have the auto wipers, auto headlights, solar panel or the 'park yourself' feature. But do you really need it?

When I did the Gen2 vs Gen3, I went for a gen3. YMMV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what sort of budget you're working with but an Auris hybrid might be an alternative to either Prius if you can live with more conventional styling and a smaller boot?

If you're set on the Prius, then I would say go for the Gen3 purely because of the drivetrain and all of its associated advantages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies, some really useful insights there. I appreciate the list of pros and cons, it's given me food for thought. I think I'm inclining towards the Gen 3 for the better driving dynamics, provided I can get a decent warranty on it - I think I'd appreciate a slightly more relaxed motorway cruise and extra poke on long trips. I can live without self-parking - I really can't see me ever using that, I've been driving nearly 40 years and used to be a driving instructor so I can park a car. And I suspect that the sat nav in the G2 isn't any better than the one I have, albeit that it's integrated into the car and doesn't have to be stuck to the windscreen whenever I want it. I don't fancy an Auris, not keen on the styling and they're a bit more than I want to pay anyway.

Yeah, I'm definitely beginning to lean towards the Gen 3. The promise of a slightly more powerful and relaxed car on a long trip, one which is still far better equipped than what I have now, is outweighing the list of "might be nice to have if the car has it but I wouldn't spend extra money for it" things. Toys are great, but I need to drive and live with my choice for the next 5 years - the driving experience is what's most important. So I won't really know until I've had a go, which is my plan at the weekend. Eeh, I'm getting excited, I love getting new cars! :clap:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also take it for a run on the motorway as the engines do get noisy at higher revs or when you floor it.

Not to some people's liking, but, if you are loaded up, then you will be pushing it harder than with just one person.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also take it for a run on the motorway as the engines do get noisy at higher revs or when you floor it.

Not to some people's liking, but, if you are loaded up, then you will be pushing it harder than with just one person.

Good point, I've read that they're quiet around town but can get a bit vocal at speed. I doubt it'll be as noisy as my 107 on the motorway, so provided it's not too intrusive at 70 it'll do me, I don't expect it to be whisper quiet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I'm cruising at high speed the noise isn't at all bad IMO. It does get very loud whenever you ask for maximum power such as accelerating hard or going up steep hills when fully loaded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of tips from a newish (6 months) Gen3 owner.

1) Try to have an unbroken test drive of at least an hour or so if possible - to ascertain that the driving position/seat doesn't give you backache.

2) During the test drive try and find some rougher surfaced road so that any potential dashboard rattles will manifest themselves.

I speak from experience!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point, I've read that they're quiet around town but can get a bit vocal at speed.

Not strictly true.

Toyota hybrids get vocal when you accelerate hard.

If you have got up to speed, it doesn't take much to stay there so they are fairly quiet.

Apart from all the other noises you can hear because there isn't much sound insulation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At speed, I find the issue is road noise rather than engine noise; as posted above there isn't much in the way of insulation. However, both my cars are on silly fat 17" wheels so the T3 with its (far more appropriate) 15" wheels should suffer rather less from this problem.

Gen3 rattles seem to be a bit hit-or-miss. Some people's cars don't seem to be affected, whereas others are. Some of the dash rattles are dependent on temperature so if you test drive on a sunny day it might be silent, yet on a cold morning the same car could sound like it's shaking itself apart. As mentioned above, road surfaces also bring them out.

And in case you're tempted to write this off as a minor issue (as I did when I read all the complaints on Prius chat) we're not talking normal squeaks and rattles here; on the wrong road at the wrong time of day it can be an absolute cacophony!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I bore in mind all your comments, and I'm just back from the dealer. I decided in the end that I preferred the Gen 3, the driving experience is more important to me than a sat-nav and a reversing camera and (if I may be superficial for a moment) I prefer the styling inside and out.

I took the car out for quite a long drive on mixed roads, including some road humps, a short stretch of National Speed Limit single carriageway, some stop and start town running and a run on the motorway. No dash rattles, I'm pleased to report and I thought the motorway drive was actually fairly quiet - it was certainly acceptable at a steady 70. I did try flooring it on the motorway to see both how much racket it would make, and also to see how it would respond, and was pleasantly surprised - yes, the engine revved but I thought it far from excessive considering I was accelerating hard, and the pickup was reasonably lively - I don't anticipate any problems keeping up with the traffic flow.

I found the seat and driving position comfortable, the important controls fell easily to hand (or foot) and the car was easy to drive. Oh, and somebody has already turned off the constant reversing beep, which is nice.

I liked it, I liked it a lot, and I bought it, will be picking it up in the week. I'll let you know how I get on with it once I've put some miles on it.

As I've not picked it up yet, here's a picture from the dealer's website (it IS actually the one I bought, not just a random Toyota library pic!)

Prius1_zps9583d866.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I often hear the main gripe about the Auris is that its "noisy" yeah okay maybe its noisy compared to a BMW with lots of noise reduction plates, but the Auris (and i suspect the Prius) do not have these noise reduction plates as they have mass.. and thus have weight and thus effect MPG.

Personally worrying about noise inside a car is a strange thing, i love a good old clanky car as i can hear what its doing, and besides when i am traveling at "70" on the motorway with Rammstein blaring out the Speakers, its not the car i am hearing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent stuff Mick. I'm not surprised you like it, they're great cars. And yet again, another person completely refutes the myth that the Prius is noisy. Strangely enough, I rarely hear the same journos moaning about the noisy, rattly diesels which are bought in massive numbers...

I mean, I love the torque in my diesel Mondeo, but it is so noisy at low speeds, especially when cold. It's pretty good when on the motorway, but not *that* much better than the Prius,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Misread the posts above and my post not relevant needs deleting but cant find the delete post!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent stuff Mick. I'm not surprised you like it, they're great cars. And yet again, another person completely refutes the myth that the Prius is noisy. Strangely enough, I rarely hear the same journos moaning about the noisy, rattly diesels which are bought in massive numbers...

I mean, I love the torque in my diesel Mondeo, but it is so noisy at low speeds, especially when cold. It's pretty good when on the motorway, but not *that* much better than the Prius,

Absolutely, I expected it to be much noisier from what I'd read in reviews. You can certainly hear it working when you accelerate, but it really didn't seem that excessive to me. If I hadn't read about it, I wouldn't have noticed it. As it was I found it a pleasant surprise that it was quiet as it was, and certainly whilst cruising I thought it quite well-mannered.

Not sure I'm going to take the Rammstein recommendation from Dasbob, they're not really my cup of tea, but I do have a tendency to turn my rock and roll up to eleven when I'm on my own in the car. :band:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's nice to hear the petrol engine sometimes - if only to remind you that you've actually got one! And, to my ears at least, it's not a terribly unpleasant noise anyway.

Nice looking car DB, good luck with it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and somebody has already turned off the constant reversing beep, which is nice.

That's definitely a bonus. Mine appears to be turned up to 11 - it's so loud it actually distorts the speaker. :toot:

I'm sure you will enjoy the car, especially given that it's in the best colour. In addition to being vastly better looking, black ones are also well known to be both more economical and faster than any of the other colours. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice looking car DB, good luck with it!

Cheers! :thumbsup:

In addition to being vastly better looking, black ones are also well known to be both more economical and faster than any of the other colours. :lol:

Arf! I did wonder why all the worst online reviews seemed to have pictures of white cars. Coincidence? Perhaps.... :laughing:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, well it's sitting in my driveway now. Not been far in it yet, just drove home from the dealer then took it out for about half an hour. It's all very new at the moment, but so far I'm a very happy bunny.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this