Dancing Badger

Should I buy a plug in?

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Hello all. Had a call from the dealer today, keen to sell me a new motor.  I have a 13 reg Auris Hybrid Excel, have had it for 3 years having previously run an 09 gen 3 Prius T3 for 3 years. I loved my Prius, I love my Auris, so I don't need selling on the Toyota hybrid experience - I think they're great. I don't hypermile, I just drive my car - I love the way it drives and am happy with fuel consumption I get (which is less than I see reported by many on here but that's cool, I don't stress about the last couple of mpg).

Before this call I was already planning to upgrade to a gen 4 Prius in the next few months - looking for a decent spec as my Auris is loaded with goodies and I'm childish about that kind of thing. The dealer has offered me a 17 reg plug in Business Edition, 8000 miles, to be negotiated but sounds like he's in my ball park - the price to buy is not why I'm here. The question, for those of you that run one, is whether it's worth going for a plug in vs a regular Prius.  I'm thinking that it probably is, but I really haven't researched plug ins as they seem to be as rare as rocking horse poo and I assumed I wouldn't be able to find one. 

My usage is easy to describe - I have a 15 - 20 mile round trip daily commute in heavy city traffic (we're talking Manchester, traffic is dreadful and my average speed on the evening commute is 9 - 11mph, in the morning it's about 20 mph because I leave early before traffic builds up) . Once a month or so it's my turn to drive a longish trip (300 - 500 miles round trip) watching my beloved footie team with 2 to 3 adult friends, and I normally undertake an annual touring holiday in Europe with She Who Must Be Obeyed where I expect to do 2000 to 3000 miles and wouldn't anticipate too many charging opportunities - on long trips I'd expect to use the car as a "normal" hybrid.  If I do go for this car I'd obviously (is this as obvious as I think?) get a charging point installed - I have off road parking in a car port - and think it likely I'd only really charge overnight at home - there's no facility at work. 

Specific questions - what's the fuel consumption like compared with a regular gen 4 Prius once the electric range has been exhausted - is it comparable?  What's the boot space like - I know it's smaller than the regular Prius and smaller than the gen 3 but I'd hope it's at least as big as the Auris - can I get two suitcases and a soft bag or two in the boot without it being visible from outside or dropping the back seat? Is there owt else I should be thinking about?  I'm familiar with hybrids so I'm hoping that these are intelligent questions - this is likely to be my retirement car so I want a good one.  I'm quite excited about the prospect, so if I need bringing back to earth that's fine - thanks in advance for any advice.

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44 minutes ago, Dancing Badger said:

Specific questions - what's the fuel consumption like compared with a regular gen 4 Prius once the electric range has been exhausted - is it comparable? 

This is potentially a key selling point of this car - depending on the journey it might even be better than the Gen4 because the PHV can use the larger EV Battery to store more energy from re-gen. This is offset by the extra weight, though. 

As an example, on a nice warm day in September, starting with an empty EV Battery, I got 92mpg over my 33-mile journey home. My best figure in a Gen3 in similar conditions on that same journey was about 80mpg. Yes, it's a hybrid-friendly route and yes, I'm a committed hypermiler, but generally I think you could expect very similar performance to a Gen4 ordinaire on 15" wheels.

44 minutes ago, Dancing Badger said:

What's the boot space like - I know it's smaller than the regular Prius and smaller than the gen 3 but I'd hope it's at least as big as the Auris - can I get two suitcases and a soft bag or two in the boot without it being visible from outside or dropping the back seat? 

Not a cat in hell's chance. It's ridiculously shallow. There's mere inches between the rollover cover and the boot floor - you'd struggle to get suitcases in at all. It is hilariously bad, in fact, and is quite possibly the reason why so few people have bought one. Not an issue for me as it's a commuter car, but I couldn't live with it as my only vehicle.

44 minutes ago, Dancing Badger said:

Is there owt else I should be thinking about?

Read Geoff's PHEV thread - I think we cover most of the PHV's quirks and foibles there! My initial thoughts on some positives and negatives can also be found here.

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Thanks for that - all sounds positive apart from the boot, which could be a deal breaker - I only really use the boot when going on holiday - but we do holiday in the car so need to be able to store luggage.  Think I'll need to take some measurements.

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I would say that the PHEV is noticeably better than the standard Gen4 on a long journey, despite all the extra weight. It is definitely not worse.

As Jay says, the boot is a bit of a joke. It is not a problem for me, as there are just two of us, and I can always drop one of the rear seats if necessary for the main journey. 

As far as the charger is concerned,  if you are paying for it yourself, which you will if buying used, don't use Chargemaster - or at least read the reviews on Trustpilot first. Far better to go for a good local installer. You still get the £500 OLEV grant, and the charger is a whole lot easier than using a granny cable.

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Boot space!

I can get three loaded Safeways' boxes in there, to do our shopping at Tesco. There's still room around the boxes in the space for smaller items, but that's the limit unless you don't close the cover - in which case you can add another three height-wise. It's a ridiculous design, though arguably it teaches you to reduce your holiday clothing. The last time we went away for 10 days we filled the boot of a RAV4 Hy - just for two of us. You'd have to be 'creative' but it's not all doom and gloom!

It's a second-hand model? Wonder why someone wants to get rid so 'quickly'?

MPG - better by far than the RAV4 Hy (though that was exceptional, and I managed on average to exceed the guide MPG). I'd say better than Gen2 & Gen3, though I didn't monitor my cars that closely back then!

 

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Thanks for all the input guys. The issue for me is really the luggage space - we tour in our car and that means we sometimes need to leave it loaded and I'm paranoid about leaving anything on display in an unattended car, particularly when it's a British registered car in France or Spain.  I note that the boot volume is listed at 360 litres, the same as my Auris (although a different shape) - I have to take the false floor out of my Auris to squeeze our stuff in the boot when we go away, so 360 litres isn't quite enough, whereas our gen 3 Prius swallowed everything we threw at it and there was still space around the edges.  And I've been looking at pics online (the car I was offered is on the dealer's website) - the plug in boot does look very shallow.  

And it's not like it's a plug in or nothing, it's a plug in or a regular Prius, which is what I'd been thinking about all along and which I'm sure I'd love.  Unless there are significant other advantages beyond fuel economy I think I'll be better off sticking with a Prius ordinaire - awesome fuel economy would be very nice but saving a few hundred quid a year isn't my main aim - I've already said I'm no hypermiler and if it was just about the money I could save far more by simply buying a cheaper car - or just hanging on to the one I've got. I honestly hadn't considered a PHEV until I heard about this particular car. In terms of the overall practicality of a car I'm going to be living with for a long time as our family car and daily drive I think the plug in just falls short - so thanks again to everybody who's contributed for the input, it's helped me think it through.

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Nae bother - All the Prius be good, (with quirks!), but you knew that anyway......:D

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I doubt the PHV would actually save anyone a few hundred quid a year anyway. I strongly suspect the savings in fuel will be offset by steeper depreciation than the Gen4 ordinaire.

I love mine, quirks and all, but I'm very strange when it comes to cars and financial sense is never a factor.

4 hours ago, altocumulus said:

It's a second-hand model? Wonder why someone wants to get rid so 'quickly'?

Brake noise! 😉

  • Haha 1

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Brake Noise - That's OK, I don't hear any .... 😄

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I forgot to add, the shallow boot may mean the PHV is less likely to become a Taxi-driver's choice - one can hope.....

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3 hours ago, Dancing Badger said:

...The issue for me is really the luggage space ...

...I'm paranoid about leaving anything on display in an unattended car...

...I have to take the false floor out of my Auris....

...it's a plug in or a regular Prius...

...Unless there are significant other advantages beyond fuel economy I think I'll be better off sticking with a Prius ordinaire...

I'm with you on the first two, plus until tyre technology moves on, experience has taught me not to do without a spare wheel.

I really miss the false floor - apart from being nice to have odds and ends out of sight and a nice clean boot, it made it so much easier loading and unloading my folding electric bike to have no junk in the top part.  This was doubly true when I drove one for a year as a minicab driver in London.

My Gen 4 Prius ordinaire has has cured me of a desire to get an EV or even PHEV.  Except when the weather is bad or I do a particularly high number of short, cold-start journeys on a tankful, I get over 600 miles from a tank costing around £45 to fill from empty, and I only need to fill once or twice in most months.

I did actively consider a Tesla Model S with the extra large Battery and possible 300 miles range (as long as I drove very gently at 55 mph or less, and had no heating/cooling or windows open!).  It would suit me perfectly most of the time, but a few times a year would be a liability until many more Supercharging stations exist, especially in the East of England.  A return trip to Hull from the Norfolk coast near the Suffolk border, achievable in a day on one tank in any generation of Prius, would have been impossible in the Tesla as it would need a 24+ hour recharge from a domestic socket (if I could find one), as I was unable to locate a faster charge station on the route (at the time I was considering one).  Also, I went off Teslas big time when I discovered no rear wiper, nor HUD.

A BMW i3 I test drive had an optional range extender, but that was really for emergency only, and would have needed a fuel stop almost hourly until it could be recharged on such a journey.  Also, no spare wheel (and if I nought one, it was fill just over half the small boot).  Shame though, only other big downside was lack of HUD (now I'm so used to having one).

A plug-in-Prius (even the first one with c10 mile EV range) would have been perfect for my current car use most days of most months, but the lack of spare wheel in the first one, plus added loss of rear wiper, one seat and even smaller boot made the current PHEV even more of a no-no for my personally.

Until the spec of the original PiP was announced, I was pretty sure I'd be getting one, but the lack of spare wheel was a complete shock.  About 10 years ago, I had occasional use of my firm's Gen 2 Prius with plug-in conversion.  It did about 40 miles on a charge, and still had the space saver under the boot floor.  Occasionally I got up to 1,500 miles out of a tankful of petrol, with a recharge on off-peak electric at home overnight, and at the office during the day.

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Thanks for that - all sounds positive apart from the boot, which could be a deal breaker - I only really use the boot when going on holiday - but we do holiday in the car so need to be able to store luggage.  Think I'll need to take some measurements.
Roof rack and roof box? I don't go on holiday often, but this worked well for my family (me, wife, 2 kids). It's only once or twice a year, right?

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10 hours ago, TheProfessor said:
On 12/7/2018 at 9:45 PM, Dancing Badger said:
Thanks for that - all sounds positive apart from the boot, which could be a deal breaker - I only really use the boot when going on holiday - but we do holiday in the car so need to be able to store luggage.  Think I'll need to take some measurements.

Roof rack and roof box? I don't go on holiday often, but this worked well for my family (me, wife, 2 kids). It's only once or twice a year, right?

This might not be a bad idea if I was just going somewhere to stay for a couple of weeks once or twice a year, but that's not what we do - we move around, 2 days here, 3 or 4 days there - would be too much of a faff - and I'm not keen on lifting a load of stuff on and off the roof.  There's just not enough difference between the plug in and the regular Prius to make it worth compromising.

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It wouldn't appeal to me either for same reasons - plus someone I knew had their roof box stolen while having lunch en route to their next stop.  They had used bolt cutter or something to separate the top off the rack with the box attached - presumably for speed.

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I was all set to purchase a plug in Prius. I even had the charging point installed at my home FOC by British Gas.

When I went to the dealers to purchase the plug in they never had one in stock. I mentioned that I wanted a spare wheel.  I was informed there was no spare wheel on a plug in Prius. The sales chap informed me I could order tools and jack plus skinny spare but the spare wheel would have to go in the boot. I therefore purchased a new Gen 4 business edition with 15 inch wheels with skinny spare; I had the Sat/Nav upgraded and I do not regret buying the Gen 4. It is a great car; 2017 model. Mick, from what you have said the Gen 4 would be the most suitable car for you and the family. The fuel consumption on our car is high 70 to over 80MPG.

My neighbour was on holiday in France and his Roof Rack was broken into. 

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17 hours ago, Chris Dance said:
his Roof Rack was broken into. 

 Just to balance this, and previous mentions of roof boxes being stolen or broken into... Cars also get broken into. So do houses. So do holiday homes, tents, caravans, and so on. 

Modern racks and boxes are secured with locks, so they're noisy to break into and too time consuming to remove and put onto or into another vehicle, compared to simply grabbing something from inside a car.

No... Breaking a car window is far better for a thief. It's quicker, easier, more discrete, and more rewarding (laptops, phones charging, wallets, keys, tablets, etc), than breaking into a roof box high up on a car, making just as much or more noise, only to get all the light weight cargo like clothes and camping mats. Plus the thief can often see what's inside a car. A roofbox is a dangerous gamble.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it's unfair to compare anecdotal "friend of a friend who heard from a neighbour who had a mate" type evidence to the fact that around a third of all cars made get broken into or stuff stolen from at some point in their lives.

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8 hours ago, Chris Dance said:

The fuel consumption on our car is high 70 to over 80MPG.

To me that is low fuel consumption.  Perhaps you meant the fuel economy was high?

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5 hours ago, Joseph D said:

To me that is low fuel consumption.  Perhaps you meant the fuel economy was high?

You are right saying fuel consumption of 78/79 mpg would be low consumption, but I read Joseph D quote as his “fuel consumption” was high in the seventies ie maybe 78/79 mpg.

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4 hours ago, Catlover said:

You are right saying fuel consumption of 78/79 mpg would be low consumption, but I read Joseph D quote as his “fuel consumption” was high in the seventies ie maybe 78/79 mpg.

Oh, right, I see what you're saying.  You think it should have read "The fuel consumption on our car is in the high 70's to over 80MPG." That would make sense.

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Sorry for any confusion. I am more than happy with the amount of fuel our Gen 4 uses; it is very economical.

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High consumption would be 70 GPM 😲 😉

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Oh dear, I seem to have started summat here, what with roof boxes and consumption! 😉  All useful information - I know what I'm looking for and do the research but you can't beat first hand testimony from real world owners.

Regardless of whether it's low or high those consumption figures sound good, although I doubt I'll match them, I'm too heavy footed!  But heavy footed or not it's going to be loads better than the Auris. And it's not just about consumption - I love the way Toyota HSD drives, and I love that both my cars have been completely trouble free.

To update you all, I've had a call from the dealer and told him the plug in isn't right for me because of the boot.  He offered me a decent deal on a 16 reg Business Edition Plus, 11000 miles. Looks nice on the dealer website (it's a red one)  - more practical for me and it's also a healthy chunk cheaper which is better for my budget. I've consulted with SWMBO and I'm calling him tomorrow with a view to making an appointment to go and see it.  I was very happy with my gen 3 Prius, I'm happy with my Auris, but if i have an issue it's that the Auris is a bit small and a bit short on storage, so I reckon I'll be more than happy with a gen 4.

Will keep you all posted...

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I think you've made the right choice, all things considered.

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27 minutes ago, TheProfessor said:

I think you've made the right choice, all things considered.

I agree too.

PiP works for some, and as I said before would have worked for me but for some compromises I'm not prepared to make.

My Gen 3 Prius was the best car I'd ever had (until my Gen 4 took that crown away from it) and I had been thinking of keeping it for the remainder of my driving years until the Gen 4 came along.  Once I'd ruled out the Tesla, BMW i3 and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (great equipment, love the flappy paddles giving 5 levels of regen braking, electric tailgate and memory electric seats), but the lack of a spare wheel again scuppered it.

The Gen 4 Prius chassis, comfort, ride, handling (15" wheels), optional spare wheel and most of the equipment (especially Adaptive [radar] cruise control [godsend], speed limiter that works at 20mph, AEB, wrap around sensors (on Excel) with sideways rear radar when reversing out of a gap, lane assist, blind-spot monitoring, best ever headlights and much, much, much more, it's just magic.  If someone offered me £100k to go back to my Gen 3, I'd shoot them!

I can almost (but not quite) forgive the lack of rear headroom, suicidal (and very annoying when parked) auto headlights, useless (maybe on PiP it's better) auto DIP, rubbish road sign assist (latter two turned off), drastically reduced oddments space (compared to Gen 2 & 3 - my second biggest beef after auto headlights) and loss of storage under the boot floor.

Even with the things in the last paragraph, I can't think of any currently available car at any price that I'd consider swapping to.  A PiP would do it if they bring out one with 4WD, and proper boot, and lots of storage, and spare wheel, but I think I'd quickly turn purple if I held my breath for that one!

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Well after phoning the dealer yesterday morning to be told that the red 16 reg Prius Business Edition he'd offered me had been sold to somebody who wanted it for a taxi I got a call from him on the way home from work to say that the guy hadn't been able to get the finance, so today I went to inspect and drive it. It's actually done 12000 miles, looks pristine, and I was suitably impressed with the drive.  I wan't really expecting to feel a big difference after two hybrids but it's definitely a better drive than my Auris. I found the engine, when it kicked in, was quieter and didn't rev as much, the ride seemed better controlled and the drive in general felt more taut and precise and if anything even smoother - and my Auris is not tired, it's only done 51000 miles. I was immediately comfortable in it and after the Auris it's lovely and roomy. The average mileage was reading 56.5 (I presume that's the one that you reset manually and not one of the trips) but I'll reset that when I fill up and see how I get along.  And I really liked the digital dash on my gen 3, could make believe I was piloting the Starship Enterprise - this one is even funkier! Need to work out all the gadgets though - steering wheel controls are completely different to mine and there are more toys to play with.  Although I do have mixed feelings about the sanitary ware centre console - I know I'm not the first to feel that way. Of course the sat nav seemed as underwhelming as the one I have now - I think I'll be carrying on with the Tomtom on my phone.  Don't know why Toyota haven't moved on with that.

So - deal done, looking forward to picking up my new shiny thing next week. 😊

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