By on June 8, 2009

[Editor's note: This is a highly subjective and polarizing review. For an alternative review of the 2010 Prius, click here]

Sitting in the new Toyota Prius, I suddenly blurted out, “Open the pod bay doors, Hal,” half expecting something to happen. Alas, I was still entombed in the resin chamber that passes for an automobile interior. If Ralph Nader had been an engineer, this is the car he would have designed, a vehicle for people who loathe automobiles.

Nothing about the insides feels familiar in the traditional sense, unless you are a prior Prius person. The new interior is swathed in low rent plastics which emit nauseating vapors, leather seats (if so equipped) that made me long for Naugahyde and gauges which were not only situated well out of sightlines, but rendered in a primitive digital manner which were indecipherable even up close. Of course I could always tell how slowly I was driving from the desperate looks on the faces of the drivers eager to get past me.

The 2010 Prius’ ergonomics were designed for only two kinds of creatures: those who like to sit five inches back from the front windshield and orangutans. Everyone else will find that the steering wheel, adjustable now for tilt and reach, is still too far away for a proper seat position. There is a nice new electric lumbar support in the seats, which are otherwise unsupportive and ill-shaped.

The driving experience was engineered by faeries. There is an Unbelievable Lightness of Steering, flagrant disregard for handling and a general sense that you are not in a car at all but some anti-gravity device which yaws and rolls without regard for normal physics. I would rather visit my dentist than drive the Prius again—at least he gives me laughing gas.

The one positive aspect of my Prius experience: the serenity of the ride quality. It may have been totally non-involving but it was otherwise quite placid. This proved to be a disaster as I developed a case of narcolepsy while operating the Prius (you don’t drive a Prius, you just sit there and moan along in harmony). On one occasion I drifted off and when I was able to refocus, I discovered I had driven well past my intended destination. If you have a small child or spouse with trouble sleeping, this might be your ride. This sample was mounted with optional 17″ wheels and I found that they not only magnified the road impact but they did little to add interest to the “driving experience.”

The Prius is rendered silly by its own gimmicks. Let’s begin with the transmission. It has three buttons for its various modes, a stubby stalk and a fourth button for park. The car defaults to its economy mode to start, which makes it impossible to make it up my driveway or escape the neighbor’s kids on their bikes. Hammering the throttle only causes a dull moan to be emitted from the engine compartment. The car doesn’t really accelerate—I think it uses sound waves to attempt forward progress.

There is also an EV mode which only goes to 20 mph and only for a mile or so; it’s perfect for when your golf cart breaks down; otherwise it is totally useless.

Finally, there is power mode, which is much like economy mode only the moaning is louder. The transmission stalk made me smile: It provided me with a false sense of control over the driving experience. I could only choose forward or reverse or braking, which was nice since the brakes themselves felt greasy and wooden at the same time and did little to retard forward progress.

To place the car in park required a push of the “P” button, which was separate from the transmission for some reason. My favorite part is that they hid some of the controls underneath the center console; I think there were switches for the seat heaters down there and maybe something else, I couldn’t really tell.

I tried to get into this Prius thing; after all, I receive e-mail from Al Gore all the time. It’s not like I am some Neanderthal gear head (my M3 and S65 notwithstanding). I have a Honda Civic hybrid in my garage. I Grok hybridese. But I must not speak butterfly.

The Prius is the anti-car and no manner of sport package or aftermarket modification can transmogrify the eco-worrier [sic] into anything resembling an automobile. The 2010 Prius needs a new moniker like, “personal vehicular transportation module,” or something similar. It just doesn’t meet my definition of an automobile. At least my Honda Civic hybrid drives and feels like a car, albeit a very slow and dull-witted one.

Maybe that is a good thing. But I have a feeling that one day soon we will be able to drive something that gets outstanding mileage while stimulating its operator in the process. Here is the punch line: the Prius I drove with the technology package approached $34 grand before dealer tack-ons. Honda Fit anyone?

[NB: TTAC does not allow comments flaming the website or its authors. Please restrict your remarks to the review itself. If you wish to question our editorial stance or style, or offer an alternative review, e-mail robertfarago1@gmail.com.]

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210 Comments on “Review: 2010 Toyota Prius...”


  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i think i would rather swallow a .45 caliber shell before i drive one of these

    i’ve seen the future am i’m glad i’m gonna be dead before it gets here

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    I like it. Aside from that ugly corporate grille, it looks quite normal. Almost un-Prius like, although I do question their decision to offer not so eco-friendly leather seats.

    Horrible driving dynamics aside, it gets people a bajillion miles to the gallon and that’s what the people want, handling be damn’d.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I’ve never driven a Prius, but based on this review, I don’t think I want to. You’d think that at the least, Toyota would make an interior that’s a little “greener” for its intended market. Doesn’t Ford use soy-based foam in their seats?

    I’ll keep driving my Jetta TDI because it has a real engine and transmission and provides feedback when I’m operating it. I may buy a 2010 Golf TDI, but I might have to test drive a Prius beforehand to compare the two and have a good laugh.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    When the Prius originally came out many people described it as ‘surprisngly almost like driving a real car’ which, at the time, wasn’t quite damning it with faint praise, as early adopters are willing to put up with, or even crave, a bit of strangeness. Now, however, that Toyota is trying to make the Prius a mainstream option, it can’t ‘almost’ drive like a real car, it has to drive better than a conventional gas engine vehicle in order to not scare away those a bit leary of battery-electric power.

    Perhaps the cheapness inside is Toyota trying to further justify the price of the upcoming Lexus model based on the Prius. On the other hand, it could be the general cheapening Toyota is doing across the line. I have no doubt that Toyota will sell many of these, but the writing is on the wall, just as GM, Ford, and Chrysler were guilty of in their peak, Toyota is starting to let the accountants run the company, and figures it can maintain position through reputation alone.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Gas Mileage – It’s what the people want!

    …and the handling discourages people from trying to have fun and remind them that the MAIN reason for driving a Prius is to get peak efficiency from the powertrain.

    I’ll keep my V6 Mazda6 thank you.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I’m sure the Prius could be more entertaining without compromising potential mileage, but inevitably real world mileage would suffer among non-hypermilers. Toyota knows that these drivers would then whine on Edmunds about feeling ripped off. The lack of involvement beyond the hypermiling video game aspect is by design (as in all Toyotas). As a biased Miata driver who has no choice but to be into every mile I drive, I consider cars like this to be a menace. It’s a shame that the new Insight is not quite the alternative that I hoped it would be.

  • avatar
    boxelder

    The Prius has always been designed to do one thing well. High mileage is its game, and it is quite competent at that.

    Perhaps when evaluating a machine we should all take into account how well it does what it was designed to do, and then accept that there will be shortcomings in other areas because of the original modus operandi.

    Blaming the Prius for a poor driving experience is akin to faulting the Veyron for poor mileage.

  • avatar
    AKM

    as engineered by faeries. There is an Unbelievable Lightness of Steering

    Great line Jay!

    I drove an older Prius, and despite being 31 and having set up my own network at home, I had trouble starting the damn thing. Buttons every where, that you have to press in a specific order, or else the car won’t start. That “P” button makes no sense either.
    That said, decently practical and great mileage, but horribly detached steering. Seems like the new model goes along the same lines. Better-looking, though.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    boxelder – With certain vehicles one can just assume that the core design objective has been achieved. A Prius is going to get incredible gas mileage, a Veyron is going to be incredibly fast, a Wrangler is going to be like a mountain goat off road, and an Elise is going to outhandle just about anything else made. What can really make any car special though is when it not only hits a targeted function right in the bullseye, but does it without giving up too much in other driving dimensions. That is where cars like the Prius, Wrangler, and Elise all fall short – they are great at what they do best, but because of that singular dedication in their design, they suffer mightily in other areas.

  • avatar
    kaleun

    do they really have the gauges int he center like in the Toyota Yaris? Yikes.. that is a no no for me. i can live with the handling etc. and trade that for good mileage. but the speedometer has to be in front of me or i will be distracted or not look at it. both dangerous.

  • avatar
    boxelder

    NulloModo – Agreed, much is given up when pursuing one target, and one target only. It is my opinion that the Prius was judged rather harshly (one star!) when it does exactly what its target audience will purchase it for.

    Buyers of the Prius want:

    1. Green “Cred” – see that certain South Park episode (Smug).

    2. Great mileage.

    3. A different driving experience than what they’re used to.

    By this last one I mean they want to say “Hey, look at my space-age car! It’s so electric I even have to push a button to put it in Park! Aren’t I Green?!”

    These buyers will get exactly what they bargained for.

    With oil heading skyward, waiting lists for the new Prius will begin to form.

    This is an undeniable success by Toyota, whether it drives well or not.

  • avatar
    boxelder

    If you’ll excuse me now, I have to go burn several thousand gallons of Jet-A to fly from LAS-ATL.

  • avatar

    Well, I’ve been wondering how comparison tests might conclude that the Honda Insight is preferable, since I couldn’t wait to get out of that car. Could the Prius be even worse to drive?

    The second-generation Prius has been extremely reliable, based on hundreds of responses to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. We hope to have a quick initial result for the 2010, to see if it’s just as solid even in its first year–or not.

    Details here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php

  • avatar
    energetik9

    ehhh, whatever. I’m not in the target demographic…(with my order placed for a twin-turbo BMW). Either way, Toyota needs to build this car because American companies can’t. Car mileage technology will continue to come and this is just one car on that path. It’s not the Prius I wonder or about, it’s the next car with the next technology.

    People will buy it anyway because they want crazy gas mileage and I say more power to them.

  • avatar
    smithbones

    Any chance that the Prius could be banned from the US market on account of extreme ugliness?

  • avatar
    JMII

    At least it looks better then the previous model. The front end is almost (key word: almost) sleek and sporty. The interior is space-ship weird-o, or on par with crimes Honda has been committing with their recent interior blunders.

    What gear is “B” on that transmission stick? Battery Only? At first car companies gave us push button start, now they are selling push button park? Why or why did I sell my ’85 Civic? 35 mpg & fun to drive with none of this stupidness… I must be getting old (36 now) because all this “new-ness” seems silly to me.

  • avatar
    Michal

    One star? Seriously? This was less a review than a creative writing exercise on how to bag a Toyota hybrid. Looking at the rating, it scored lower than a 2001 Honda Insight, Hyundai Elantra, smart ForTwo, Chevrolet Cobalt, Kia Amanti, Kia Rio (!!!), and Kia Optima.

  • avatar
    sean362880

    The worst part about the 2010 Prius?

    The commercials. They’re creepy like something out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory, just before everyone gets mauled by a crazed horde of Oompa Loompas.

  • avatar

    There is no excuse for designing a car with poor ergonomics and poor seats regardless of the car’s price. The same goes for the handling. Prius doesn’t have to handle like a sports car, but it should be good enough. Hyundai can do it in a ten-thousand-dollar Accent, so I’m sure Toyota could do it in a thirty-thousand-dollar car. I’d like to understand why Toyota doesn’t seem to care.

  • avatar

    Michal

    True. But remember that each TTAC reviewer calls it like he or she sees it. And we often do take two and take three reviews of controversial/important cars.

    And as there is no statistical formula for the final rating, you have to take them as writ. Or not.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Great review Jay.

  • avatar
    Samir

    So much hate for the Prius!

    I think as long as it serves as a distraction for the masses while the rest of us continue to enjoy gas-guzzling V8′s, it’s a great car. Without a Prius, the anti-automotive sentiment would no doubt be much more intense that it is now.

    As for that car, I don’t think I’d need to drive it. One look at that interior and it’s lost me.

  • avatar

    While Ive not driven one of these, the thing that makes me crazy after twenty minutes of driving is the freaking digital speedo. Whats so hard about being able to switch to a nice analog gage. Nobody needs the constant reminder theyre going 34. Otherwise, the rest of the quirks are livable.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    I wouldn’t consider myself someone who would consider a hybrid due to the economics behind it, but bagging it due to crappy handling is kind of like “duh!”

    With that being said, IF I have to drive a completely boring car, the interior should at least be bearable — operational items should be in well recognized/familiar places. If they are not, that presents a safety hazard IMHO.

    As for myself being “green” I drive a 16/21 rated 4 cylinder turbo car and a motorcycle. Not green at all really, although if electric bikes become viable (they are 90% of the way there) I might grab one, esp if obammadollars are going to be coming my way. One bike (I’m not advertising them, so I won’t put the name here…google if you want to find out) that is completely electric has a 10% fed tax dollars coming back and up to 50% rebate from state taxes. Unfortunately my state gives me nothing….

  • avatar
    mschaef

    The Prius is just a car with a built in ‘save the planet’ bumper sticker. Look at hybrids relative to other cars:

    * Fuel Economy – Roughly in line with a good diesel. Like a diesel, it’s uncertain whether or not there’s a financial benefit. (It’s just a capital vs. operating expense trade off.)
    * Environmental Impact – Lower emissions while rolling, but this discounts the toxicity of the battery and any additional emissions produced by manufacturing the more complex drivetrain.
    * Driving Experience – I’ve never heard anything positive about the hybrid driving experience, aside from some short term excitement from folks trying to get the absolute best gas mileage.

    There’s no material practical reason to buy one, so the unusual look is about all that’s left. It’s a way for the owner to telegraph something about their chosen lifestyle and opinions. Just like a bumper sticker.

  • avatar
    BuckD

    So, the new Prius is an aesthetically annoying, dull to drive transportation appliance: a toyota.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I test-drove a 2005 Prius and didn’t like the experience. The two-slope acceleration curve was unnerving, the switching power supply emitted a high-pitched squeal from under the hood, and it was too small for my large frame and friends. The average MPG displayed on the dash said only 35 mpg.

    I bought an xB instead (a different cult car). Even the $5k premium for the Prius would have taken me 12 years for payback. And the xB later turned out to earn the “greenest” lifecycle rating at the time, not that I was seeking it.

    I really like the off-center gauges in the xB. My experience with conventional gauges – as a 6’7″ driver – is that I receive a great view of 0-30 and 90-120, but not the middle where we spend most of our time. However, the Prius gauges seem way overly busy, and don’t appear to be canted toward the driver – both bad ergonomic flaws.

  • avatar
    jmo

    The second-generation Prius has been extremely reliable, based on hundreds of responses to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey.

    That’s what blows my mind about the Prius. So complex yet so reliable. I’d really like to hear from someone with an automotive engineering background – what do Toyota engineers know that Fiat/Chrysler/Land Rover/VW don’t?

    As for the Prius I had one as a company car for a few months a while back – I loved it. It reminded me of the old Mercedes slogan – “Engineered like no other car in the world.”

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Folks who drive Priuses are not really interested in handling beyond the safety and ease factor.

    It’s really endemic for Toyota to offer light steering for virtually all it’s sedans due to their target demographic. The entire focus for most folks in the conservative nethers of automotivedom is to have a vehicle that’s very easy to drive. Period. The Prius, is just like the Camry, Corolla and Yaris as it tries to make the car a simple appliance.

    I really don’t think it should be dinged for that. The interior? Perhaps. A dashboard display that’s far worse than the Insight and Civic? Absolutely.

    A car like the Prius is not designed for any sports enthusiast. I seriously doubt it ever will. Hybrids in the past failed in part because folks were not willing to pay the hybrid premium for a somewhat ‘sporty’ model like an Insight or a Civic 5-Speed.

    Luxury, isolation, comfort, interior room, and mpg’s are the predominant desire for most hybrid owners these days. Unless the technology changes, I don’t see the target marketing changing in the near future.

  • avatar
    mdmadph

    @quasimondo

    Hey, look — say what you will about leather not being very “animal friendly,” but it is very eco-friendly — it’s using material that’s a byproduct of the beef industry and that would otherwise just be thrown away to fill up a landfill.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I’ll wait until Obama rations gasoline before buying anything like this. Toyota is moving down a dangerous path of making goofy cars full of gimmicks. GM, Ford and Chrysler all went through this phase and paid dearly for it. The center dash is ridiculous, the emphasis seems to be on all the hybrid gadgets and such. Is there a temperature or oil pressure gauge? How about a regular voltmeter? Do we need a picture of the car in the dash for the entire time we drive it?

    I laughed out loud at that gear shift. If this is the future of cars I’m sticking with old motorcycles.

    The price is ridiculous. Is Toyota trying to give us a reason to buy a Volt? They are squandering the one advantage they have which is price.

    Of course with a review as scathing as this expect Toyota to be less than thrilled with TTAC, but that is why this is TTAC and not motortrend or some other suck up site.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I have yet to hear one person opine that they preferred their steering overboosted with no feel whatsoever. I really fail to understand why Toyota keeps making this mistake…no one like it, consider it a failure and move on. Honda suffers zero negative consequences for engineering a better steering rack, live and learn.

    I just don’t get it, how can this well run company with a strong (historical by now I guess) background in performance vehicles continue to be upstaged by all of their competitors all the time? So frustrating.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    34 grand, wtf
    I thought they cut the price to compete with the new Honda?

  • avatar
    dhanson865

    It would be nice if the author or editor would link to the older prius reviews.

    They are:

    2004 Rober Farago http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/toyota-prius/

    2008 Mike Solowiow http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008-toyota-prius-review/

    Farago’s review doesn’t use the star rating system but he ended with “if you’re willing to trade driving pleasure and decent ergonomics for cheap, guilt-free motoring, the Prius is the way to go.”

    I’m not sure if cheap still makes the cut but I wouldn’t mind buying a used Prius if they really were cheap.

    Solowiow’s review gives the 2008 Prius 3 stars and ends with

    “As a driving enthusiast, I’d describe the Prius as a funky Corolla with a big battery and bad handling. As an observer of the automotive scene, I’d call the Prius the uber-Toyota: inexpensive, efficient, reliable transportation that makes you feel good about not driving anything else.”

  • avatar
    BDB

    My God, I think I’d get carsick while driving this!

    Ford Fusion Hybrid, please!

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    As much as I have always appreciated round and stramlined vehiclular forms, ( and I really do like the overall form of this vehicle) I have to say I chuckled a bit just now while looking at the pictures. My father used the expression “it looks like a pregnant guinea pig” for things that looked awkward to his eye. In this case it really fits,
    Hey Toyota ! Literally bending the sheet metal forms of your vehicles to accomodate your oversized corporate badges is pompous, egotistical, commercialistic, and unsightly.
    If I got one of these Prius’, I would figure some sort of humorous parody item to replace that badge in the front. Maybe a toothy mouth with a tongue hanging out would be amusing enough.

  • avatar
    paulie

    Jay Shoemaker

    Don’t listen to critics above.
    I think this review is one of the best I have read in some time.

    Very enjoyable and in the flavor of TTAC’s best in the past.

    Now this is why we read TTAC!

    My wife speaks butterfly.
    And plant.
    And animal.
    And baby.
    I feel so alone.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Toyota is moving down a dangerous path of making goofy cars full of gimmicks. GM, Ford and Chrysler all went through this phase and paid dearly for it.

    But these are practical “gimmicks” that have proven to be very reliable, a totally different story than the gimmicks from Detroit.

    To me, the Prius and the Mercedes S-class play similar roles. They are the testbeds for the latest automotive technology – airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes, for the S-Class and hybrid technology for the Prius.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Honda Insight would be my choice in this segment, simply for the paddle shifter alone, but for features as well.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Is there something about this Prius reviews that requires the anti-flaming reminder at the end?

    The Ferrari, Volvo, Caddy & Mustang reviews did without…

  • avatar
    jmo

    I have yet to hear one person opine that they preferred their steering overboosted with no feel whatsoever.

    Oh, I’d say a majority of the car buying public likes it that way.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    If Ralph Nader had been an engineer, this is the car he would have designed, a vehicle for people who loathe automobiles.

    Well, yes. That’s the point. Enthusiasts will forgive a lot in the name of passion, but normal people want the car to be as innocuous as possible.

    gauges which were not only situated well out of sightlines, but rendered in a primitive digital manner which were indecipherable even up close.

    There’s a point to this, too. The gauges are supposed to be a shorter look away from the road (in the Echo, it was a 15 degree look away versus the 22-25 degrees in a normal, behind-the-wheel IP) and don’t require you to refocus because they’re in the same visual plane as the road ahead. The old Prius, as well as the pre-refresh Suzuki Aerio, worked the same way. I wear glasses for poor distance vision and appreciated this muchly.

    I think car people are far too conservative and change-averse to embrace simple, new concepts, and too willing to cling to old concepts out of tradition or heritage. For example: soft plastic dashes. There’s no reason for them to be soft, especially since they’re not made from leather like the dashboard of a horse-driven carriage and don’t serve the same purpose. You never put your hands on the dash, nor bounce off it in an accident (airbags).

    The 2010 Prius’ ergonomics were designed for only two kinds of creatures: those who like to sit five inches back from the front windshield and orangutans.

    I fall into the latter category (I have a seven-foot armspan) and like the way this works. Toyota seems to do this pretty often; a common complaint is that the wheel is too far away when the seat/pedals are at the right point.

    My complaint is the short seat cushions and accordingly poor thigh support. The Japanese and Americans both do this (exceptions: the Malibu and Lexus IS both have decent front seats) and it hurts if you’re overly tall.

    The Prius is rendered silly by its own gimmicks. Let’s begin with the transmission. It has three buttons for its various modes, a stubby stalk and a fourth button for park.

    This is a dumb affectation, much like pushbutton start for the engine. The 7-Series did the same thing, too, for no reason I could figure out. entirely pushbutton would have been fine, as would a normal shifter. This seems a little counterintuitive.

    I have a Honda Civic hybrid in my garage. I Grok hybridese. But I must not speak butterfly.

    Honda has a different philosophy about hybrids than Toyota, one that appeals to engineers and gearheads because it’s conservative (and, frankly, more crude). It’s the same tack GM took with the Aura, Malibu and Vue. It works well, uses existing platforms, and should in theory by more reliable.

    But it isn’t. It doesn’t save as much fuel and the batteries’ lifespan suffers greatly compared to the Prius. Oh, and there’s the reliability thing: say what you will, the HSD-based hybrids are proving to be as reliable or more than traditional ICE vehicles.

    The Prius, I would say, works better as a car for most people, just as the Camry does vis a vis much of it’s competition. People want roomy, efficient and practical. The Civic is cramped, comparatively fuel-thirsty and not particularly cost-effective.

    And you know what, it’s (and cars like it) are selling as a result. This really pisses off (or terrifies) the alpha-male car enthusiasts of the world because not only are they being proven wrong about what people want, they’re being proven wrong by a vehicle that, quite frankly, is kind of scary if you’re change-averse.

    I drove a rental second-gen when I was on contract in Montreal a while back. I could crawl through urban traffic without engaging the gas engine at all frequently, and I certainly didn’t use a tank over severals days. I thought it worked well: it held me, a coworker, a pile of gear (hatchbacks are wonderful) and wasn’t at all weird or problematic.

    I find that most people quite like the car and appreciate it’s virtues—and those that don’t wouldn’t like it unless (and I’m being hyperbolic) it was lifted six inches (or dropped two), was much faster, used diesel, came with a stick shift, an open bed, a gun rack beneath the rear seat, body-on-frame, rear-wheel drive and came with a free pony.

  • avatar
    bluecat

    It looks like an old lady’s car. Calm, serene, boring as hell. But I guess that’s what some people want.

    I’m glad Ford has decided to pursue a strategy of making hybrids that look and drive like real cars. Aside from the smartgauge and logos on the exterior, there’s nothing awkward or silly to indicate the Fusion Hybrid has a hybrid system. It has a regular shifter, not a goofy dash-mounted knob; comfy seats, a logical, well organized interior, and a decent 191 hp. And the Fusion Hybrid is actually fun to drive.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    @mdmaph

    I dare you to try that excuse the next time a PETA activist threatens to vandalize your leather jacket with red dye.

  • avatar
    FloorIt

    Hertz gave me a prius when I was in Tampa a few weks ago.
    I had to call the 800# next morning because they didn’t tell me you had to have your foot on the brake when you press the power/start button. I pressed the start button without a foot on the brake and gauges would light up but unable to get it into drive or reverse.
    I had to call them at 5:00pm that day because it suddenly wouldn’t go any faster than 20mph.
    It had 30K miles on it.
    I got a mazda protege 5 as a replacement.
    The gauges are far away & everthing is menu, even radio. Handling was ok, typical small car. Acceleration was good, got it to 75mph fairly quickly, better than typical small car.
    If I got one for free, I’d sell it asap.

  • avatar
    dhanson865

    @Jay Shoemaker I literally had to walk away from my desk because I was about to laugh loud enough for my boss to start asking questions. I loved the writing style it’s not often I get a laugh like that.

    As to the $34K US, that is outlandish. But the average Prius sold won’t be that expensive.

    Go to toyota.com and they list with caveats at

    Corolla $15k
    Matrix $16k
    Prius $22k

    But as soon as you start the configurator the Corolla magically jumps to $16k (your price may vary based on zip code). Pick the automatic transmission and its $17k.

    Do the same for the Matrix and you get $17k, 18k, 19k (with the forced minimum options).

    For the Prius it is $23k the price doesn’t change because there are no forced package options and it already has automatic transmission.

    So ignoring dealer markups and haggling efforts if I just configure them on toyota.com I get

    Corolla $17k
    Matrix $19k
    Prius $23k

    A far cry from the $34K tech demo model you drove.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    “The driving experience was engineered by faeries.”- you can’t SAY that on TTAC. Otherwise, you will get a nasty-gram from Jeff.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Is there something about this Prius reviews that requires the anti-flaming reminder at the end?

    The Prius inspires a lot of “Hey! You kids! Get off my lawn!”** style commentary. You can tell it, like the Smart, and all “different” cars going back to the likes of the VW Bug, unnerve the typical enthusiasts

    Auto enthusiasts are conservatives, by and large. I mean this in the dictionary sense: they don’t like radical change, not in politics, not in society, and certainly in their rides.

    ** HYKGOML is a state of mind, not an age bracket. You can be thirteen years old and subscribe to it, as Autoblog’s forums can attest.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    bluecat,

    And, thus, the Fusion tops out at a very impressive 41mpg in the city and a reasonably good but not outstanding 30-something on the highway.

    To take it to the next level on the open road requires that your car look like this (or something equally … words fail me).

    Shoemaker,

    ONE star? Isn’t that reserved for cars that do NOTHING well? This vehicle is, at least, good practical transportation. In spite of the extra systems, it has good cargo volume, good passenger seating and then it has the hybrid thing going on.

    One star suggests you’d rather have an Aveo. I find that very hard to believe.

    quasimondo,

    I can’t recall the last time a PETA activist made a nuisance of him/herself in that way, especially over leather. As far as I can tell, they’ve mostly given up on that tactic.

    I also look at leather as a byproduct. It’s probably a better thing to use than a petrochemical-based fabric. I’ve dramatically reduced my beef intake for a variety of reasons, some of which are GHG-related, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to let something go to waste when it could be useful.

    PETA, I think, still gets excited about fur. Fur is usually not a byproduct.

  • avatar
    BDB

    psarhjinian

    Did you like the “dust buster” minivans? The 1996 Taurus? I’m not being a jackass or anything but some change IS bad.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    I agree with the many posters that this article TOTALLY misses the point of the car.

    To be fair to the Prius, initially, it never advertised itself as having great fuel economy (that was just a great by-product) in the UK; it billed itself as having great emission levels (which it does).

    But even if we take into account fuel economy, the Prius hits all the right buttons.

    As someone mentioned earlier, slating a Prius for driving dynamics is like slating a Bugatti Veyron for fuel economy. They were both designed for different areas of the market.

    In the name of fuel economy, the Prius used lighter materials and pared some the engineering down (i.e brake by wire). All of these will surely affect driving dynamics (since traditionally, they use heavier materials), but the Prius isn’t about that.

    I’m still going to consider one when they come out.

  • avatar
    jmo

    The Prius inspires a lot of “Hey! You kids! Get off my lawn!”** style commentary. You can tell it, like the Smart, and all “different” cars going back to the likes of the VW Bug, unnerve the typical enthusiasts

    I’m willing to bet the attitude you desrcribe contributed greatly to the decline of the Big Three.

  • avatar

    Hmm, Jay Shoemaker doesn’t like the Prius. Somehow I knew that before reading his review. That’s OK, I don’t like it much either.
    The review would have been better with a few numbers. Start with gas mileage. Price for a standard model, as opposed to the gussied up model driven in the review. Battery life and cost to replace. Number of seats, size of trunk, time to do 0-60, quarter mile ET and trap speed. Length of car, and wheelbase. Range on a full tank of gas, city and country. Stopping distance from 60 mph. Weight and weight distribution front to rear. Length of warranty in years and miles.

    Then we could be more specific about the car’s handling faults. What happens when the car cannot make the curve? Does it over steer or understeer? Does it plow off the road or does it swap ends? Can you roll it over with just steering wheel inputs? Is there a heavy duty springs and shocks option to improve handling?

  • avatar
    commando1

    Change this site’s name to The Truth About Appliances.
    Cars are dead. Very dead.

  • avatar
    mdmadph

    @quasimondo

    PETA are a bunch of moronic hypocrites who think that euthanizing animals is preferable to adoption, and thus end up killing 10′s of thousands of animals a year. And like another commenter said, they seem to think that environmentally-damaging “alternative” fabrics such as PVC are preferable to naturally-biodegrading ones. Anything they say or promote should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

    And I’m not a tough guy, but if a PETA protester splashed my leather jacket with red paint, I’d do my best to try and stuff my boot up his ass. I’m pretty sure tossing paint on someone qualifies as assault!

  • avatar
    tedward

    jmo

    “I have yet to hear one person opine that they preferred their steering overboosted with no feel whatsoever.

    Oh, I’d say a majority of the car buying public likes it that way.”

    That, actually, was the point of my comment. I have never heard anyone express the opinion that they preferred their modern Toyota steering to that of another car. It would be easy to just say, “they must be doing something right,” but that assumes that most people drive a range of cars or even pay attention to the things that we know will crop up later as annoyances (steering feel for example).

    In fact, I’ve seen people gush over a MINI’s steering (yeah, unfair), a VW’s (Jetta and GTI) and too many to count over the Mazda3. These are all FWD cars, and the Jetta and Mazda3 are hardly sport models, so Toyota’s engineering skill is fairly questioned. One of the Mazda3 admirers was a CorollaS owner no less, which is what made me think of this in the first place.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    psarhjinian :

    There’s a point to this, too. The gauges are supposed to be a shorter look away from the road (in the Echo, it was a 15 degree look away versus the 22-25 degrees in a normal, behind-the-wheel IP) and don’t require you to refocus because they’re in the same visual plane as the road ahead. The old Prius, as well as the pre-refresh Suzuki Aerio, worked the same way.

    Sorry, I ain’t buyin’. The only way that gauges under the inside window are “a shorter look away from the road” is if you’re either in the middle of a hard right turn — in which case you’re too busy sawing away at the wheel to look at the gauges anyway — or if you plan to drive into the right-hand ditch. On Echo, Scion, Yaris and now Prius, this is a cheapout, pure and simple, so they can sell the car internationally and not make two dashboards. The only innovation this reflects is the courage to dismiss the American market as increasingly unworthy of serving with unique tooling.

    I rented a 2nd-gen Prius and drove it for a day, highway and city. The eerie quiet at idle and around town was replaced by a surprisingly high din level on the highway. As for the interior plastics, they were so cheaped-out that when I bumped the rear third of the console with my hand, it was knocked off its moorings entirely. All that was supposed to be holding it in place was two snap-on plastic dimples.

    Aside from the weight of the batteries, I can’t see any theoretical reason why a hybrid has to have rotten handling and totally disconnected steering. VW seems to have coaxed road feel out of electric steering. No excuses. I couldn’t agree more with all the criticisms of this car — it’s a cheaped-out piece of junk with an expensive powertrain.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    This paragraph should be blown up to 72-point type; with an addition about lying diesel nerds:

    And you know what, it’s (and cars like it) are selling as a result. This really pisses off (or terrifies) the alpha-male car enthusiasts of the world because not only are they being proven wrong about what people want, they’re being proven wrong by a vehicle that, quite frankly, is kind of scary if you’re change-averse.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Re Price:

    The 2010 has been on the market for just, what, 3 weeks? The local Toyota dealer has one each of a Group 3, 4 and 5. The 3 is $23,950. The 5 is $30K and it has a lot of goodies on it. For the previous generation, this dealer ordered a lot of the Group 2s and sold them at close to Group 1 MSRP, or about $21K If you really wanted a Group 1, they would order it for you and charge you the Group 1 MSRP. Unless gas prices go crazy, I expect that people in this area will be able to get Priora in the general vicinity of $22K.

    I also notice that they are down to just 2 leftover 2009 Priora, both heavily optioned (stickers close to $29K). The last time I was at the Chevy dealer, in the very late fall of 2007, model year 2008, I was offered a decent spectrum of choice in zero-mile 2006s of various models. This car might be a total loss for enthusiasts but Toyota is getting something right.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I can’t see any theoretical reason why a hybrid has to have rotten handling and totally disconnected steering.

    Every car, I assume, has a development budget and and a targeted MRSP. With only a limited budget their must be trade-offs. A 25k Passat has a higher quality interior, better handling and a more sophisticated engine than a 25k Camry. The Camry is far more reliable. One can assume this means that VW engineers spent more time and money on interior materials, engines and fine tuning the handling, while Toyota engineers spent more time and money of quality parts and production engineering.

    As for the Prius I would assume most of the engineering bandwidth went into the power-train and ensuring the car was super reliable.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    “With only a limited budget their must be trade-offs…. As for the Prius I would assume most of the engineering bandwidth went into the power-train and ensuring the car was super reliable.”

    Which is a polite way of saying the Prius is “a cheaped-out piece of junk with an expensive powertrain.” I’m sorry, but if Passat reliability isn’t excusable, one also can’t excuse the Prius for being an execrable car in every imaginable regard EXCEPT reliability and gas mileage.

  • avatar
    derek533

    $34K? Holy crap, I realize that most people won’t check all of the options. But Toyota loves to option people to death so I imagine that once you start adding a few necessities to make it at least somewhat comparable to a normal driver, you’ll fast approach the $26K-$28K mark. There are several fine automobiles that are much less expensive in which the savings could be used to make up for the decreased economy.

    To me, the Prius is just the ultimate status symbol for greenies.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Did you like the “dust buster” minivans? The 1996 Taurus? I’m not being a jackass or anything but some change IS bad.

    To answer your questions:

    The dustbusters I thought were really cool. I was pretty young when they came out, but I really like the look of the original Trans Sport. The problem with that vehicle was the engineering behind it (eg, GM skimped on the platform, resulting in the driver sitting about two feet further back then he/she should; Chrysler did cab-forward better) and quality (GM cars of this era were a crapshoot at best). But in looks it was nifty, and were it to come out today wouldn’t have looked out of place next to, say, a Sienna or Mazda5.

    The jellybean Taurus, though? Not so much. It was a traditionally-proportioned car with fussy details, poor quality; it’s not revolutionary at all. The first-gen Taurus, on the other hand, was pretty nifty and looked like nothing else, save for perhaps the Audi 5000.

    I’d also like to add that I admire the Nissan Cube and Smart Fortwo, and have a spot in my heart (if not my wallet or driveway) for the admittedly silly Suzuki X-90.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Hey, at least it’s made by Toyota and has a back seat.

    Just wait until we see what Obama Motors is going to force us peasants provide for us to drive.

  • avatar
    jmo

    one also can’t excuse the Prius for being an execrable car in every imaginable regard EXCEPT reliability and gas mileage.

    Well, reliability and gas mileage can get you pretty far as an auto company.

    Jermey Clarkson said of the Alfa 159 “In a tunnel, at 4000rpm, it was more sonorous than any music. It was like having your soul licked by angels.”

    Every hour spent tuning the engine note was an hour not spent trying to improve reliability. Toyota is #3 in Europe Alfa is 26 out of 30.

  • avatar
    jmo

    For me, I can appreciate the engine note, styling and handling of the 159 as much as I can appreciate my dad’s Camry – with 475,000 miles and about 2 oil changes, it is still going strong.

    Both are equally brilliant – just in different ways.

  • avatar
    lw

    $20K of car..
    $14K of smug

    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=272288

  • avatar
    wsn

    I remembered the same author gave 5 stars to R8. I mean, sure, who doesn’t prefer an R8 over a Prius? But then again, how many people would actually buy an R8?

    This is a very well written piece of opinion. But if you look back in 20 years, in terms of real automotive evolution, this isn’t much of a “truth”.

    BTW, for whoever said the Ford Fusion Hybrid would be good, I just drove an gas Fusion AWD yesterday and it’s steering is lighter than my father’s Camry LE. It’s really supposed to be driven by thumbs.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nice review Jay but I dare say most of us are not in the target demographic of this vehicle.

    The popularity of the Prius and SMART are a mystery to me. Both sell on the back of a carefully constructed (but dubious) image and reputation of being “good” for the environment. You’ve got to hand it to their marketing departments – even against cheaper and better driving products they seem to be achieving solid sales.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Like the Corolla model this car will be good on sales and the popularity,soon but not now for the price is just way up there.

  • avatar
    fgbrault

    Thanks. I won’t think the grass is greener when I pass a 2010 Prius in my VW 2009 Jetta TDI. It looks like whatever increased mileage I might get over my 40MPG with my TDI, simply would not be worth it. I will have to try the Prius though, as I wonder what it is like to drive an appliance.

  • avatar
    MrDot

    Looks like they stripped out the fancy LCD screen and went with cheaper interior materials for this generation. I wonder how much of that was cost-cutting to keep the price in the same league as the Insight, weight reductions to make sure this generation scored better MPG’s than the previous gen, and positioning to make people want to trade-up to the Lexus 250h.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Sorry, I ain’t buyin’. The only way that gauges under the inside window are “a shorter look away from the road” is if you’re either in the middle of a hard right turn — in which case you’re too busy sawing away at the wheel to look at the gauges anyway — or if you plan to drive into the right-hand ditch.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re not buying it, the math is right there: it’s fewer degrees away from the road ahead, and nearer the focal plane of the road. It also allows a smaller, tidier steering wheel, which some people like. The only reason I know that people don’t like it is that it’s different, and the driver by no means making as big look-away as you’re implying.

    The only car that completely botches this is the Mini, which places the IP much lower and in a much nearer plane, and does require a big glance from the road. Of course, the Mini is “cool” and thusly this isn’t harped upon nearly as much.

    If the Prius’ gauges have a problem, it’s that the secondary information is a bit small and indistinct. I didn’t find them, or those on the Aerio, particularly problematic, though. It took a single ride to figure it out and to learn to focus forward and slightly right instead of down. Nor did I have trouble with Saab’s ignition-key placement, the BLIS markers in a Volvo, the HUD in a Grand Prix or the SYNC system in most Fords.

    In short, I didn’t write them off because they were different.

    On Echo, Scion, Yaris and now Prius, this is a cheapout, pure and simple, so they can sell the car internationally and not make two dashboards.

    True, but I don’t think it’s that significant, especially since they have to relocate the steering wheel anyway, and that the Prius and Mini hardly sell for a low price.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    I guess there’s not much to day in response to this. It speaks for itself.

    Interesting, though, that the reviewer was given a fully decked Prius, meaning it likely has the Technology Package. I find no mention of the dynamic radar cruise control system, the parking assist, lane assist, DVD navigation with real-time traffic info, backup camera, and pre-crash system. It would have been very helpful to review how these technologies performed, or at the very least mention that the $34K price tag is there because it takes the top-level trim (level V with the Technology Package, which is a $4,500 option). Even that trim level gets it to $32,250, so if that vehicle was $34K, then it must have had literally every single option in it — very little of which was mentioned. The new 250h from Lexus, which I believe was review here recently, has all these tech features, but at a higher price point than a decked Prius.

    So, it would have been nice to have mentioned that the actual base price of the vehicle is a whopping $12,000 less (1/3 less) than the price-as-driven. Then the difference with a Fit of comparable trim, as was mentioned, would have made more sense, as a decked-out Fit runs a bit over $19K, but yields probably 32-33 mpg, compared to 50 mpg or more for the 3rd Generation Prius.

    Like some other commenters mentioned, being critical of a Prius for its lack of performance-car behavior (which was overstated in the review, since this new generation is probably a second or more quicker than the prior generation, having a larger gas engine now) is akin to faulting a skateboard for not being able to outrace a Ferrari. The vehicle is built to be the highest fuel economy mass market vehicle in the US market with ultra-low emissions and high build quality, at a price which is far below the median price of a new automobile ($22K v $32K).

    Perhaps memory is short for some people, but a year ago gasoline clipped $4/gallon, here in a country with very low fuel taxes, and it didn’t seem to be peaking anytime soon. It might be nice for people who have 15 mpg performance vehicles who maybe have the funds to pour gallons of liquid gold into their vehicle (which, consequently, are mostly used as commuter appliances at modest speeds), but for normal people, the ability to thumb their noses as much as possible at the world’s oil producers, instead of being victim to them, has a very high value. It’s a great relief to be able to tune out rapid increases in gas prices.

    I have actually driven this vehicle as well, and it is unfamiliar compared to a “normal” car. But I found it to be very spacious with a lot of functionality, and rather enjoyed the novelty of all its gauges and modes. The ergonomics were just fine, except that I had my seat all the way back at first (being tall) and found things hard to reach only because I wasn’t aware of the huge amount of front leg room available. Headroom in front (not back) was equally generous. Driving in EV mode through residential neighborhoods was especially fun with windows down – no noise! Very stealth.

    Evaluated on its merits for what it is, it’s a very impressive vehicle. Sure it doesn’t drive like a Civic, but that’s great. Variety is wonderful. Some people prefer Toyota, others prefer Honda. Others prefer Ford. A friend of mine recently tried out the ’09 Prius and the ’09 CivicH and went with the Prius. Wouldn’t have been my choice, but it worked for him.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The popularity of the Prius and SMART are a mystery to me. Both sell on the back of a carefully constructed (but dubious) image and reputation of being “good” for the environment.

    I think the Prius sells because it’s reasonably green and doesn’t require compromises like much of it’s competition. It’s not a two-seat penalty box like the G1 Insight, a toy for the rich like the Telsa, a half-assed phoned-in effort like the Malibu, Aura or Civic, and/or cramped in the trunk to the point of uselessness like the Camry, Civic, or Altima.

    There’s a reason why the G2 Insight looks like the Prius, and the reason is that Honda was wrong about what people wanted.

    The Smart doesn’t actually sell all the well in North America, and it doesn’t tread on it’s reputation as a green vehicle, but as an oddball. I happen to like it, but I could never justify it, not here and not with the way I drive.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Mike Solowiow’s review of the 2009 Prius a little over a year ago seemed more objective. This review seems to be predisposed to pander directly to Prius-haters. If it’s truly that bad, so be it, but putting the 2010 Prius in the same class as the Aveo seems a bit much.

    The article seems to imply that the only difference between a $34k Prius and a $22k Honda Insight is that the Prius gets a leather interior for the additional $12k. A fully loaded 2010 Prius would have either a solar sunroof or LKA (Lane Keep Assist), neither of which was mentioned.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Thanks. I won’t think the grass is greener when I pass a 2010 Prius in my VW 2009 Jetta TDI. It looks like whatever increased mileage I might get over my 40MPG with my TDI, simply would not be worth it. I will have to try the Prius though, as I wonder what it is like to drive an appliance.

    0-60
    ’10 Prius – 9.8 seconds
    ’09 JettaTDI – 8.5 seconds

    Wow, you’re really “blowing away” that “appliance.”

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    This review baffles me. How can you state that the interior is full of low rent plastics, when not a single other midsize, mid $20,000′s car has a higher quality of materials?

    Think about it.

    Here’s a lit of a few similarly priced vehicles:

    Chevy Malibu
    Ford Fusion
    Honda Accord
    Toyota Camry
    Mazda 6
    Chrysler Sebring

    Now go and look inside any of those cars, specifically the mid level trims, and find me plastics that are better than the Prius’.
    All plastics at this price level are relatively hard and black, sometimes beige. They are rarely soft touch, and you aren’t going to be too impressed by the resistance of the buttons and controls. This is an example of not being objective.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    I am a Prius owner. I would like to test drive the 2010, except that I don’t plan to buy another one for a few years yet, so I’m hesitant to waste a dealer’s/salesman’s time.

    I don’t fault the review or the 1-star rating for the 2010, and honestly, I can’t be the judge (yet) of whether or not that’s a fair score. I’ll defer to Jay’s judgment on this one. This is the Truth About Cars, so if you don’t like it, you don’t like it, and you must say so!

    But I am surprised and disappointed that so many of the B&B feel that it’s okay to let loose with the Prius owner/driver bashing that I’ve been reading in this thread.

    And yes, it started with the original author’s comment, “If Ralph Nader had been an engineer, this is the car he would have designed, a vehicle for people who loathe automobiles”.

    It quickly went downhill from there. “Loathe automobiles?” I must ask, WTF?

    I know that I don’t fit the typical “Prius owner” mold; if there is such a thing (I’m not convinced that there is). I’m not a “greenie”, I’m not “smug” about my Prius, and hell, I drive it as hard as I like carrying concrete, compost, tools, and cow shit, and I still get 45 MPG (maybe more if I could burn the cow shit!). I recently brought home a ton (not really a full “ton”) of stuff from IKEA, and the car (though bulging at the seams) performed wonderfully. I’m happy I found a great car that gets me and my crap all around town reliably and cheaply. And I love driving; I often take off just to “go”.

    But the dissful comments about owners and drivers (or more to the point, Prius owners who “cannot possibly be people who love driving”) are dismaying.

    I suppose it’s possible that I’m taking a slight personal offense to the bad vibes; but I would say the same thing if I felt that Hummer drivers or Phaeton drivers were being dissed just because of their choice of vehicle.

    Do what you want. Drive what you want. But don’t put all drivers of one type of car into your pigeonhole. That’s unfair.

    And the next time you get passed by a Prius, know that maybe, just maybe, the driver is out enjoying his time on the road. Or maybe you’re just being a slowpoke!

  • avatar
    tedward

    long126mike

    that’s a very good point…diesel’s really aren’t the performance enthusiast’s best choice. I know when I bought mine, it was a grin and bear it moment for sure. Front wheel drive, nose heavy, low revs, quick torque drop off, smelly and full of unwelcome vibration, that’s my diesel. It’s also considerably slower than the new Prius and diesels. I passed up a lot of really good cars to make this one mine, mostly on money saving grounds (it has paid off, despite the initial price).

    It should really tell everyone something that diesel has become the “if you care at all about driving” alternative to the hybrids. Namely, it should tell you that the hybrids are, indeed, that bad. I never expected that the car I was buying would be anything but a bottom feeder for the rest of its life, it is truly shocking to me that anyone would want their cars to supplant diesels as the worst class of vehicle available (in terms of drive feel). I never wax lyrical about driving my car, if I love it, it’s because I’ll love anything with a stick and aftermarket dampers.

    It dosen’t have to be this way, the hybrid powertrains could be mated to manual transmissions, they could come paired to decent suspension settings and tire choices, they could have electronic systems refined past the, “yup it works stage” (looking at you steering and braking). VW does it with the new Jetta diesel, and it’s the difference between utter suck and almost as good as the 2.0T.

    psarhjinian said the Prius sells b/c it’s, “reasonably green and doesn’t require compromises.” That’s wrong, because if diesel’s have always been viewed as compromised (and they rightfully have, even today’s) then the Prius is that much worse. It really just escapes that label because of popularity and hype, which is the contention that really upsets the Pruis’ fans.

  • avatar
    shoes

    Hi all, just a word or two about my “testing methodology”- I only drive cars that interest me and review them from the standpoint of whether I might add one to my own garage.

    My personal taste runs the gamut of price points, although I will admit that “fun to drive” is the most compelling consideration. In that vein, I am fond of the Mini Cooper (not the S model, the larger run flat tires make my back ache), the VW GTI and the Honda Fit. I don’t look at cars which cost more than $100,000 (the Audi R8 being my lone exception)because that exceeds my cost/value equation.

    I am leaning more towards fuel efficient cars these days and turning away from vehicles I used to admire, like those from AMG for example. As I mentioned in this review, I have owned a Civic Hybrid for three years and it has averaged 46 mpg over the 30,000 miles I have driven it and has cost me less than $200 in maintenance, so I am partial towards it. The seats are comfortable, as is the ride quality and it is relatively fun to drive despite its lethargy.

    I approached the new Prius with great interest and I expected to like it since I have owned both the first and second generation versions of these cars. My experience with the new Prius was depressing, as you now know and I found that little had improved versus the prior versions. I think that hybrids have been in the market long enough now that the issues I forgave previously have now become aggravations that I will not endure. I will keep my Civic until a better hybrid comes out. For me, the latest Prius isn’t it.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    VW TDI is ugly.

    How can you compare a diesel car
    (which is worst than gas) to a Hybrid car that ran better and doesn’t emit smoke?That is so ridiculous. We are talking about Greener planet, cleaner air not the damn mileage.

    VW TDI. Look at this car more futuristic more aerodynamics and safer for the environment

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Gees Hello Diesel versus Hybrid?

    People don’t make any sense they rather drive a Diesel and emit smoke than a car that evoporates water.

  • avatar
    redseca2

    The Prius makes perfect sense for someone like myself that lives in the middle of a city like San Francisco. Basically a small lounge to sit in and chat with friends while stuck in traffic, and a much better choice than my 46 year old Mercedes. The only stickler is the lack of a parking space to put it in.

    But not something I would take across one of the bridges.

    Dumb Question: I cannot stand ultra-light steering. Is there a way to add a steering damper asd is common on motorcycles?

  • avatar
    pbr

    So much truth about the Prius!

    These are the words a driving enthusiast would write about this car. Thank you.

    Prius is an enthusiast’s vehicle (N.B. not for “driving” enthusiasts, mind you, some other kind of enthusiast), just as much of a niche player as Miata, Camaro, GTi, or whatever else you can name. If ToyMoCo can get 34K USD for one, more power to them. Given the sales numbers it looks like a sizeable niche and they are making an intelligent choice to exploit it if it is indeed a profitable line for them.

    But for the argument that one day fuel costs will be so high that payback on a hybrid/diesel/etc will be reasonably short, I always want to know why, if you’re that afraid of escalating fuel prices, you would choose to stay shackled to the problem of having to buy enough fuel to have to account for fuel in your budget in the first place? If you’re going to fix that problem, wouldn’t Job One be to live close enough to work and where you buy your food that you don’t need a car on a daily basis?

    Environmental and economic arguments for hybrids sound just as false to my ears as the claims for safety, offroadability and cargo capacity given by SUV owners for the last 15 years. All you need to do to justify any car purchase is “I saw it, I liked it, and I could afford it.” Shouldn’t that be enough?

  • avatar
    long126mike

    @ tedward

    You make some good points, but the fact that the Prius is the best-selling hybrid is because it makes sense to the most people relative to other hybrids. Its popularity was enhanced by being in a period of very high gas prices (relative to norms).

    It’s hard to fault the technology itself as opposed to the choices the manufacturers make in which platforms to implement it. Things like idle stop, cylinder deactivation, and regenerative braking could be adapted to any kind of vehicle, and it is.

    Honda had a hybrid Accord for 3 years and it didn’t sell that well. It’s hard to tell exactly why – was it promoted poorly, did it not lack distinction from its non-hybrid counterpart, was it hampered by its 4 cylinder counterpart, etc. It may not have been a great handling car (it’s an Accord – the epitome of milquetoast), but that thing was certainly a surprising sledgehammer in straight line performance. Going 0-60 in six and a half seconds is nothing to sneeze at. Take that car back to the mid-80s, and it would be putting plenty of “sports cars” to shame – like GT Mustangs and V8 Camaros. It would, however, be getting the fuel economy of a Yaris, which is amazing.

    At this point, the vast majority of the true haters of hybrids are the same people who have all kinds of unfocused hatred – it’s because somehow certain people have made the “hybrid = environmental” connection, and of course “environmental = liberal” has been around for a long time, and since “liberal = worst thing in existence” for a certain vociferous portion of the American populace, one gets the wholly predictable vitriol towards hybrids without any sense of rationality or objectivity involved. It’s as if they think engineering accomplishments are somehow the product of a corrupt ideology. Yes, those evil automotive engineers in Japan. We know their secret communist plotting! These are the very same people who make bigger engines for Tundras and Land Cruisers. It’s just automotive technology, yet somehow it needs to have ideological labels applied to it. How ridiculous.

    Like with most things, as time passes that will all wash away, and these kinds of fuel economy innovations will be relatively ubiquitous and normal aspects of our lives, just like airbags, ABS, traction control, 3-point seatbelts, air conditioning, and key fobs. But as there are very powerful people who benefit from America lapping up huge quantities of petroleum, they stoke the conditioned masses to go out and do battle with the “hated enemy,” just as they do with so many things.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Environmental and economic arguments for hybrids sound just as false to my ears as the claims for safety, offroadability and cargo capacity given by SUV owners for the last 15 years.

    Wow, that’s an amazingly poor analogy. Calculating the payback period for a hybrid investment relative to its non-hybrid counterpart is a trivial mathematical exercise. It may “sound false to your ears,” but that doesn’t make the numbers lie.

    Bringing up the “just move closer to work” argument is a non-sequitur, as that’s not what the question is about. The question is simple – does the added cost of hybridization of a platform pay for itself over the lifespan of a vehicle. Unless gas is $1/gallon for 15 years straight, the answer to that question is almost always “yes.”

    Whether people choose to make that investment or not, or limit themselves to the limited number of hybrids available at this point, is an entirely different matter.

    Of course, these “economically rational” arguments are absurd to start with, because one never hears heated debates, with a political angle, about the “payback period” of leather seats, DVD entertainment systems, and engine upgrades. As all of those are depreciating assets which provide no economic value, the “payback period” is infinite. But apparently that’s perfectly fine, but somehow a hybrid option alone needs to be justified on economic grounds.

    The point of that silly exercise is just to reach the prejudged “conclusion” that liberals are all a bunch of touchy-feely do-gooders who want to waste their and other people’s money.

    Yeah, whatever. I can see how that appeals to certain people with an axe to grind and very little brain neurons to accomplish it.

  • avatar
    M1EK


    psarhjinian said the Prius sells b/c it’s, “reasonably green and doesn’t require compromises.” That’s wrong, because if diesel’s have always been viewed as compromised (and they rightfully have, even today’s) then the Prius is that much worse.

    The Jetta TDI is smaller inside than the Prius and slower and requires special fuel which your local gas station might not have, or might charge more for. How is this not more, rather than less, compromise?

  • avatar
    lw

    Payback periods?

    Yikes.. most people can’t even balance a checkbook. Let’s say 5% actually try to compare two cars on a spreadsheet, I’m going to guess that 50% will get frustrated and quit and maybe 40% come up with an answer that is way off.. Maybe 10% actually get a close # that helps them make a decision.

    The latest Prius commercial tells you everything you need to know about the target market.

    It’s all about SMUG and that’s what sells them.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t even remember seeing a reference to MPG in the latest commercials from Toyota.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    I meant to say the Jetta was almost as slow – the MagicDieselsFromEurope(tm) that might actually beat it in mileage are the ones that are slower than the Prius.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I thought the last Prius interior was crap also. I was angry, scared, hurt, ashamed and sad, when I felt so isolated in my views. I think I hate the hype about the Prius and the sickness of some of those that drive them. Prius is the new Buick/Olds, in stereotypes anyhow.

  • avatar
    derm81

    Here is a question:

    Is it fair to say that high-mileage vehicles like the Prius and Fusion hybrid allow people to continue and increase urban sprawl?

  • avatar
    heaven_on_mars

    The 2010 Prius is the best of the high MPG hybrids out there. Yes, it does feel like a traditional car, but it that was the point. It was a clean sheet design.

    Slamming Toyota about the nearly $34,000 price for a loaded to the max Prius misses the great part that Toyota offers the Prius for as low as $22,950 and allows those who want all the extras to pile them on. For the $22,950 you get the same 50 plus MPG, the same quiet ride, and roomy interior. I could care less for the self parking and other items in the “Advance Tech” package.

    The Prius is built to be transportation that uses less fuel in a functional format. Compared the 2009 Prius and the 2010 Insight the 2010 Prius is a much better. I am not sure who decided to put the heated seats controls down so low, but beyond that everything seems well thought out.

    Trying to say a Honda Fit would be a better choice is something I do agree with. The Fit is much smaller and only gets around 30 mpg. I think it is solid car for what it is, but if you want to carry four adults and still have cargo room and not feel like you are in a tin can, then it is not that great of a choice. I would get a Civic instead of a Fit. If I could afford a 2010 Prius, I would seriously consider it. I still have a couple payments left on my 2005 Civic.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    When I drove a Prius, my childhood dream of piloting a UFO came true. It sort of makes a whirr, followed by an odd noise before it hovers and ambulates (not in the same way a Rolls Royce does) over the road.

    The HS250h is far more conservative in style, inside and out, compared to the Prius and the Insight is a hair above 20k for a base model, so there’re definitely other options out there.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    There is no arguement even with my little brain nueron is telling me to buy a Hybrid car than the VW TDI.

    Why?

    It doesn’t cost $4.50 a gallon to run it with diesel fuel. Yes it runs 59 mpg or more but you still have to pay the Diesel fuel compared to Hybrid cars and do the month in the long run Hybrid cars saves you money and if you still have the VW TDI in 10 years I bet the diesel is about $10.00 a gallon.

    Oh do we need to oil change the VW TDI,Clean that stupid diesel engine and VW is worst on mechanical failure like any other VW cars.

    Toyota will outlast most of you here. You are only dead and my Hybrid car made by Toyota is still running like new.

  • avatar
    shoes

    I am shocked- you mean driving enthusiasts actually write for this blog???

  • avatar
    tedward

    M1EK
    you know full well that my criticism of the Prius is solely based on handling and feel, we’ve had this one out before. The drivetrain concept behind the car is fantastic, the execution, horrendous. I do appreciate that they were trying to package efficiently, but efficient packaging dosen’t stop me from criticizing the Honda Element’s crappy AWD system either.

    DearS
    “Prius is the new Buick/Olds”

    no, Toyota is. Which is a damn shame. The Prius is shockingly brave considering their other product.

    long126mike
    I get where you’re coming from in the assumption that Prius criticism is based on an association with liberul hatin. I just think that observation is probably a lot more accurate when talking to a random stranger on a corner than when your discussing the merits of a car on an automotive enthusiasts website.

  • avatar
    fli317

    Here is an alternative thought. My friend and I were talking about cars and what we drive. He drives a Jeep Cherokee. I asked him why that was his choice and his main reason is its economy. No it doesn’t get 35 or 41 or 56 mpg. It gets 18 mpg. But he did not pay $34 K for it either. I think the car companies and media gets us caught up in the thought that we have to buy the latest and greatest to be economical. You don’t have to. You don’t have to drive a prius to be economical. You do if you want to make a statement. But like was said earlier, just get a bumper sticker. Its a lot cheaper than $34 K.
    Now I will be in the car market in a couple years. I want economy but I am no greenie. Until the car companies put something out there that is worth what they are asking for it, I am not buying from them. Forget $34 K, I have yet to see a car worth $25 K. Now, I know this is a tough standard, but I work hard for my money, and not giving it away because most people do. To each there own.
    Also to the point, alot of Toyota’s gimmicks are dopey and cost money, no matter how reliable they are. When are they going to start offering side view cameras instead of side view mirrors? I bet they can make it reliable. Some dope will gladly pay whatever Toyota wants to put it on that prius, or Lexus. Outside of antilock brakes, traction control and airbags, there are a lot of gimmicks out there that just cost money. This to some degree is why we are a debtor nation. We have to quit spending money on nonsense. We are in fact spending money for the sake of technology and for no other reason. Wake up everyone!

  • avatar
    Verbal

    At last! The Pelosimobile is here!

  • avatar
    jmo

    I wonder why TTAC attracts so many technophobes and luddites. I for one love adaptive cruise control, variable turbine geometry, stability control, regenerative braking, power adjustable rear view mirrors with memory, I’m just a gadget guy who loves gadgets.

    There doesn’t seem to be that many of us who are fans of TTAC…. or am I wrong?

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Is it fair to say that high-mileage vehicles like the Prius and Fusion hybrid allow people to continue and increase urban sprawl?

    No, it’s not fair, but it’s a common disingenuous “skeptic” talking point that makes the rounds. Full hybrids like the Prius and Fusion have better city mileage than highway mileage, unlike most vehicles, and thus are most appropriate for people who primarily drive in city traffic. I’m sure if one had a database of car registrations, a huge majority of those for hybrids are located in cities.

    People in cities, predictably, drive far less than people who live away from cities.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    MrDot beat me to that one – where did the LCD screen go? It was so easy to read and interpret the powertrain data on that color screen…and just easier overall for reading audio and climate settings.

    Now, at least in the pictures shown, they’ve crammed the hybrid display into this tiny wedge of space in an already busy digital gauge cluster and this is supposed to be safer and better?

    It reeks of cost cutting and when you charge 34K, you deserve the better screen and materials!

  • avatar
    jmo

    theflyersfan,

    It reeks of cost cutting and when you charge 34K, you deserve the better screen and materials!

    Dude – the pics Jay used aren’t of the car he drove. His had navigation. The one he drove looks more like this

    http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalopnik/2009/01/2010_Prius_Interior02.jpg

  • avatar
    jmo

    Jay,

    Am I wrong or did you use pics of the base model while complaining how cheap it looked for 34k?

    That’s sort of dishonest/disingenuous don’t you think?

  • avatar
    long126mike

    He drives a Jeep Cherokee. I asked him why that was his choice and his main reason is its economy. No it doesn’t get 35 or 41 or 56 mpg. It gets 18 mpg. But he did not pay $34 K for it either.

    Base Price
    ’09 Cherokee – 31,230
    ’10 Prius – 22,000

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    GM and Chrysler have completely flushed their reputations down the tubes and Toyota has fumbled the new Prius massively. Right now is a good time to be Ford.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    I get where you’re coming from in the assumption that Prius criticism is based on an association with liberul hatin. I just think that observation is probably a lot more accurate when talking to a random stranger on a corner than when your discussing the merits of a car on an automotive enthusiasts website.

    Seeing as automotive enthusiasts skew heavily right-wing (as do sports enthusiasts), and judging from what one can readily observe in the comments right here (eg, calling it commie or an Obamamobile or mentioning Al Gore), then I feel my opinion on the matter is quite valid.

    Economy hybrids are not the only fuel-sippers out there, but they sure do get a disproportionate amount of vitriol directed at them, and with frequent mention of liberal bogeymen with it. It has little to do with the driving experience itself or what the vehicle is designed to do and how well it achieves its design objectives.

    It’s like one day GM is the poster child for flag-waving jingoism, and the supporters they had would lambast critics as being anti-American commies for preferring a foreign vehicle, but the minute a left-wing government helps them out, they’re leading the charge to the destruction of the republic.

    Those are not crazy people on the street corner ranting, they’re crazy people on the Internet ranting.

  • avatar
    unleashed

    Saw one on the road today.
    A pretty sharp looking car! Much more pleasant to look at and way more proportional than the Fit!!!

  • avatar
    tedward

    long126mike
    “(eg, calling it commie or an Obamamobile or mentioning Al Gore), then I feel my opinion on the matter is quite valid”

    lol…I have to concede that one (after a re-read), and admit that I just didn’t want to get pigeonholed into that category. If I see one more, “here comes the pelosimobile” comment I might scream in my office. For whatever it’s worth few of the car guys I know in the flesh are politically right (or political at all really), and none of them would consider the Prius a contender for ownership. More and more I see people who care lining up to pay sticker +1 for diesel’s though, and I see that as a sign that Toyota dropped the ball. Here they had the one fuel sipping tech. that could rival a diesel’s torque output…

  • avatar
    long126mike

    @tedward

    Gosh, I wasn’t meaning to imply that you fit that category. I just meant to describe what I see as a general tenor.

    Also, with torque, of course you know that the Prius has massive amounts of torque… at 0 rpm. Heh.

    Maybe if it didn’t weight 1.5 tons, it might actually be spunkier in the race between stoplights in the city. As it stands, its 0-30 times are still pretty respectable. The 2nd Gen Prius and the ’09 Jetta TDI both clock in at 3.1 seconds to that speed.

  • avatar
    findude

    It’s been said that the buyer will never get back the premium paid for a hybrid. This assumes that the premium can be valued on a monetary basis ($ added to purchase cost) against a monetary cost ($ spent on fuel). Others have observed that buyers weight this premium against eco-cred, or just the sleep-better comfort of knowing that they will hurt less the next time the price of gas goes way up.

    Return on premium is in the eyes of the beholder. I paid a premium for a MINI Cooper S over a base engine, when the supercharger whines I feel the return on that premium. I wonder about it when a long trip on the Interstate returns hours of rough ride on the stiff suspension and worse MPG than the base MINI. It’s all about trade-offs. The Prius, like the Veyron, are at the extreme poles of doing one thing very well at the cost of being generally successful across the board.

    I’m more of a handling guy than an acceleration guy, so a car that wallows like a Cadillac from the sixties or a late model Camry will never cut it for me. Kudos to Honda for offering a factory-designed suspension package on their Civic. I’d like to see more manufacturers offer suspension packages that are unbundled from other stuff.

    I’ll be shopping for a new car probably in the 2012 model year. I suspect MPG will be very important to me. I’ll look hard at cars like the Honda Fit and the Jetta TDI wagon; I’ll test-drive the Prius too.

  • avatar
    MrDot

    jmo-

    The nav system is Toyota’s generic unit, which you don’t get unless you pick at least the “III” model with the $1,800 nav option and by then the msrp is at least $25,550 (and it still doesn’t display the power info, only map/mp3/radio).

    Toyota cut some corners here. I liked the old one better.

    “Right now is a good time to be Ford.”

    I don’t know. The hybrid Fusion starts at $27k, which is quite a premium. If they could build a $22-24k hybrid, I’d agree.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    Coincidentally, I just happened to drive a 2010 Prius IV and the new Insight EX back-to-back.

    As a Hondaphile, I am sad to say that the Prius is clearly the better car. The Insight is very rough and cheap. As noted by other reviewers here, the interior is a mess, and the instrument cluster is a mix of familiar (tach) and weird. The steering was light, and the handling wasn’t much to get excited about. Biased to understeer and not something I would feel comfortable pushing fast into a corner. Both engine noise and road noise were intrusive to the point of being tiresome. The model I drove stickered for a little over $20K.

    The Prius felt much better built – it didn’t have the flimsy and cheap feel of the Honda. Much quieter and smoother. The steering had NO feel – it felt like a video-game – BUT it was responsive. Handling seemed to be a little better than the Honda – not great, but at least didn’t feel like it was on the verge of plowing into understeer. The Prius was also clearly roomier inside, and in general a nicer cocoon.

    The gauges on the Prius are freaky – annoying, distracting and very difficult to get any useful information out of. There is a pointless graphic that shows power flowing between engine, crank and battery, with the arrows flipping over depending on what’s going on. Why? Who needs to know this in real-time, all the time? Thankfully, the salesguy said you could switch it to show something less useless.

    The Prius gearshift is another constant source of WTF. Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Braking (which uses downhill momentum to charge the battery). Until you want to park it and there is no ‘P’ setting. You have to find another button for that. To quote Borat, “Why?”

    Both cars have a feature that turns off the IC engine when you come to a red-light, and restart when you take your foot off the brake. The one in the Prius is smooth and unobtrusive. The same feature in the Insight is anything but subtle, since the restart seemed to jerk the car each time.

    Both cars have terrible rear visibility – Toyota’s nav system (optional) comes with a backup camera, don’t know if that is an option on the Honda.

    Clearly, Toyota has put its experience with Gen1 and Gen2 to good use, and come up with an appliance that on the whole works a lot better as a smooth, fuel-efficient appliance. The base model started at 23K, pretty well equipped as is, but the Prius IV + Navigation was closer to 28K.

    I could not recommend either of these cars as an enthusiast. But if you want to hedge against higher gas prices, and need a comfortable commuting appliance, the Prius would be the better choice despite the higher price. If you care about driving more than you do about MPG, then neither makes any sense – you should get a Mazda 3 instead and enjoy yourself.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Of all my friends and family except one, i am the only one who can tell the difference between any cars – the only thing that makes a diff is:

    -Gas milage
    -Reputation.

    Example: One on my friends walked into a Toyota dealer, asked what was the cheapest new car they had, and walked out with a new echo – paid cash. will keep it probably forever.

    Example: Renting a car is always a problem. I am the usual driver, the cost spread around everyone. I want a big comfortable car, they want an empty tuna can. “I’M NOT PAYING FOR ALL THAT GAS” is the mantra, as if when u get a small uncomfortable car, you use no gas at all.

    Dear god, some cars are awlful to drive, especially long distances. If you dont drive, or hate it, how would you know that?

    Toyota provides what most people want.

    A uniquely bland appliance that uses as little fuel as possible while doing so. Think washer, dryer, lawn mower. Any questions?

  • avatar
    ajla

    All you got to do is throw on some Yokohama S.Drive tires, and retro-fit install the TRD front strut brace and rear sway bar made for the Matrix.

    Then you’re good to go.

  • avatar
    wsn

    jerseydevil :
    A uniquely bland appliance that uses as little fuel as possible while doing so. Think washer, dryer, lawn mower. Any questions?

    ——————————————–

    Unfortunately, most people doesn’t realize that cars are appliances.

    People who think otherwise should visit their local appliance stores. Check out the $20k fridges and $5k BBQ’s. They are the equivalents of Porsche and Ferrari.

  • avatar
    Blastman

    It doesn’t matter if you’re not buying it, the math is right there: it’s fewer degrees away from the road ahead, and nearer the focal plane of the road.

    I don’t buy that. It’s not just about the math (less degrees of vision tilt from the centerline). This is a too simplistic in my view of the center versus front gauge debate, as there are other factors that come into play here too. The math itself doesn’t tell you that it’s easier to quickly read a center mount gage as opposed to normal gauge set in straight frontal view by the steering wheel just because it’s less degrees of tilt.

    First, when a person looks more than a few degrees left-right, do they tend to turn their head to keep the eyes centered? They do are far as I can see. The idea here being that with the eyes looking straight forward, it’s easier for the stereoscopic vision of the eyes to focus. When you are talking to someone more than a few degrees left or right of oneself, people tend to turn their head towards them, not turn ones eyes and have the head point in another direction. It’s easier for the eyes to focus pointing straight ahead. A person with center mounted gauges will be required to turn their head towards the gauges and refocus. With front wheel gauges a person only need tilt their eyes down and refocus. When people only have to look down a little they only tend to tilt their eyes down. It’s easier.

    And what about focusing? If one just moves the eyes down is it easier to focus, as opposed to turning one’s head, which sets off the motion center in ones brain?

    Also, are the eyes are capable of tilting down easier (by quite a few degrees) before one has to tilt one’s head down compared to tilting ones head to look up or left-right? If the eyes have more degrees of freedom down (I think they do), and it is easier to tilt ones eyes down rather than left-right, then it is easier to tilt ones eyes down and view gauges.

    And what about distance? The gauges by the steering wheel are closer. And the closer something is, the easier it is to read and quickly get a reading of it.

    I’m sure there are other considerations come into play here too than the ones I’ve listed. I think center mounted gauges are worse than front gauges by the steering wheel for ease of use and quick readings.

    I generally don’t like center mounted gauges and would unlikely consider a car with them based on that factor alone.

  • avatar
    davejay

    Bah. Any time you pick a car at the extremes, you’ll be disappointed in something. The fastest cars have the worst price and comfort; the most comfortable cars have the worst weight and performance; the most economical cars have the worst performance and amenities; and so on.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    At this point, the vast majority of the true haters of hybrids are the same people who have all kinds of unfocused hatred

    Or that they just don’t like arrogant Prius drivers. The early adopters of Prii tended to be rather prickish, but I don’t know if that’s still the case.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    …certain people have made the “hybrid = environmental” connection, and of course “environmental = liberal” has been around for a long time, and since “liberal = worst thing in existence” for a certain vociferous portion of the American populace, one gets the wholly predictable vitriol towards hybrids without any sense of rationality or objectivity involved.

    Funny, when I think of environmentalists, I think of hunters. Those folk skew heavily toward conservativism. You don’t have to drive a hybrid to be an environmentalist.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Maybe the Prius should have received 2 stars so the Volt has room to get only 1 – you know, sort of like Olympic gymnastic scoring.

  • avatar

    In a Prius you can go fast without so much gas. Which makes it a great car. That now has reached a tipping point with consumers (at least in Japan).
    If anybody has a better idea how to retain mobility while cutting use of fossil fuels, they are welcome to offer their products…

  • avatar
    lw

    EJ_San_Fran:

    The USA should produce enough Nuclear based electricity to supply all of North America.

    Trade Canada for timber and trade Mexico electricity for unlimited Nuclear waste disposal sites.

    That would free up a nice bit of oil for lots of Hummers!

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    SupaMan :
    June 8th, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Gas Mileage – It’s what the people want!

    …and the handling discourages people from trying to have fun and remind them that the MAIN reason for driving a Prius is to get peak efficiency from the powertrain.

    I’ll keep my V6 Mazda6 thank you.

    Sounds like you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine – $1,000 for a new clutch not withstanding. It still puts a smile on my face 4 1/2 years after I bought it. I am certain that there is no way a Prius could do that, even based on the positive reviews I have read.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “like the Smart, and all “different” cars going back to the likes of the VW Bug, unnerve the typical enthusiasts”

    That is not so. The Bug was an enthusiast car. It could be thrashed, modified and worked on. Most “enthusiasts” loved the Bug. It was a terrible car, by any objective measure, but it was a car.

    As for the Smart, it is just a bad joke. An overgrown iteration of the the Isetta micro car of the 1950s. There are many more interesting kei.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    I don’t buy that. It’s not just about the math (less degrees of vision tilt from the centerline). This is a too simplistic in my view of the center versus front gauge debate, as there are other factors that come into play here too.

    The other way to look at it is that it’s mounted in the lower right corner of your vision. You can easily catch it with the corner of your eye without losing focus of the road (especially if they use large digital speedo). In order to do the same for a traditional center mount, they’d need to mount it more obstructively within your field of vision, like the civic dash.

    I had a yaris rental, and I got used to it pretty quick. I would prefer it on a new car.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Or that they just don’t like arrogant Prius drivers.

    That’s one of the most absurd characterizations that exists.

    “Oh, they’re so smug!”

    Great, people aping the words of cartoons and trying to pass it off as thought.

    Pray tell, which of the following brands’ drivers are not arrogant or smug?

    BMW
    Porsche
    VW
    Volvo
    Saab
    Ferrari
    Mercedes
    Rolls
    Lotus

    Which of the following types of vehicles are their owners not arrogant or smug?

    Sports cars
    SUVs
    Trucks
    Luxury cars

    Seriously, if your attitude rests on “I hate it because their owners are arrogant,” then you better head on over to your local Daewoo dealer.

    Gosh, how arrogant of people to want great fuel economy and low emissions. Who do they think they are? The cool (and humble) kidz drive gas hogs and big polluters.

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    You gotta admire ToMo they take a piece of crap and sell it for $35,000 to greenies who wouldn’t know a true car if it ran them over. Who says the days of car companies telling the customer what he wants are over.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    they take a piece of crap and sell it for $35,000 to greenies who wouldn’t know a true car if it ran them over

    It’s $22K, but who’s counting?

    Generalize much?

    So, what exactly is a “true car”? This will be interesting.

  • avatar
    ConejoZing

    “The Prius is the anti-car and no manner of sport package or aftermarket modification can transmogrify the eco-worrier [sic] into anything resembling an automobile. The 2010 Prius needs a new moniker like, ‘personal vehicular transportation module,’ or something similar. It just doesn’t meet my definition of an automobile. At least my Honda Civic hybrid drives and feels like a car, albeit a very slow and dull-witted one.”

    The Prius is for people who do not like or appreciate cars. It is a (supposedly eco) appliance. That, of course, makes it very popular in a world where most people don’t even know how to stick shift. The interior design has many gimmicks. The “Star Trek convention” sci fi nerd gimmick school of design continues. Doesn’t the Insight have an interior that is similar? Please could there be some different look in the design – I mean there is a variety of sci fi out there. How about a “Arrakis Dune” style or “Macross Robotech” design? Or a style of design that is more about the fun or the engineering (instead of a gimmick)? Oh wait, the Prius isn’t fun… ah, that’s why they need the gimmicks.

    All in all, it is what it is. People who drive the Prius are easily identified as those among us who loathe cars and the entire driving experience. Toyota knows these people well – and makes tons of money off them. The Prius is a success – it is the embodiment of the car as the appliance!

  • avatar
    Matt51

    We have a woman at work who paid $40K for a Camry hybrid. Ugliest piece of shit I have seen in decades. Poor interior, battleship gray. Now that Toyota shares Subaru’s Indiana plant, there are stories from workers that Subaru has better quality standards than Toyota. The Prius sucks. You can buy diesels in Europe that match or beat its mileage. New direct injection gasoline engines are coming, GM has a new engine which uses compression ignition for gasoline, with diesel mileage.
    The Prius is an oddity on its way to a well deserved evolutionary extinction. Give it a Darwin award.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    The Prius is for people who do not like or appreciate cars.

    I love and appreciate cars and I think the Prius is great.

    Of course, that’s because I’m enthusiastic about technological progress, and don’t get angry with regenerative braking (you know, generating electricity storing it in a battery) and idle stop (you know, what all of us do when we park our cars – stop burning gas when we’re not moving), which apparently to some people are huge ideological threats.

    But I guess automotive technology just needs to be one more outlet for people’s culture war. Why not? Gotta make sure people don’t get the funny idea of using less oil. Who knows what might happen? Best to demonize the fuel efficient vehicles and their drivers as best one can.

  • avatar
    bluecat

    Of course, that’s because I’m enthusiastic about technological progress, and don’t get angry with regenerative braking (you know, generating electricity storing it in a battery) and idle stop (you know, what all of us do when we park our cars – stop burning gas when we’re not moving), which apparently to some people are huge ideological threats.

    But I guess automotive technology just needs to be one more outlet for people’s culture war. Why not? Gotta make sure people don’t get the funny idea of using less oil. Who knows what might happen? Best to demonize the fuel efficient vehicles and their drivers as best one can.

    long126mike, I for one do appreciate the technology that goes into the Prius. But I also think Toyota could try and make the Prius a better car instead of a boring appliance.

    Obviously they’ve found that there is a market for appliances, and that’s fine, but why does adding a hybrid drivetrain require making such a goofy and incredibly awkward vehicle, both inside and out? I just could never bring myself to drive one of these things (and I did try once but found the driving experience to be jittery and mostly awful).

    The reason I praised Ford earlier was because they understand drivers. The Ford Fusion Hybrid is not as efficient, I’ll grant you that, mostly because it is bigger, but in most aspects it’s a far better car than the Prius. The Fusion Hybrid drives and looks much like the IC engine Fusion, and it is actually fun and engaging to drive.

    I guess some people are so removed from the experience of driving that they’ll accept what is in most respects a terrible vehicle simply because it’s marketed as the right thing to do. And I think people’s fear on this board is that these kinds of appliances will filter down and they’ll see fewer and fewer driver’s cars. I don’t think that will happen, but there will nonetheless be a market for vehicular appliances like this.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    What, 2.5 companies competing to produce expensive pseudo-hightech autos? I’ll wait six more years and look again.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    We’re all getting the big point here.

    Hybrid technologies ARE making a very positive tangible difference in the way we now see cars. Ten years ago the world of cars as it relates to the politics of car ownership was far different.

    It used to be cars were very much black and white ‘political’ symbols in certain stupid parts of the MSM. Either cars were the embodiment of freedom and the fantastic opportunities that came from having a productive and mobile society (Car & Driver, National Review, USA Today). Or they were the harbinger of corporate and American cultural enslavement. Spewing tons of poisons into the atmosphere and causing millions of deaths over the course of it’s existence (Mother Earth News, New York Times, the morons who came up with California’s ZEV policies).

    Extremes? Yep, you’re right. It’s what sells the news these days. Truth rarely does. In the current love car/hate car world that only non-engineers can devise, hybrids seem to encourage fantastic levels of (can’t say it here) that I thought I would never see back in the late 90′s.

    Take the current morons on both sides of the political rainbow.

    Right wing morons usually demonize the hybrid as a polluter in ‘green drag’ whose soul goal is to enable their mortal political enemies to take away all the ‘fun’ that comes with owning a car. To these folks, hybrids are more expensive and less pleasurable to own than a conventional gas engine.

    Whose fault is that according to the O’Rourkes and Hannitys? Obama and his minions of course.

    Left wing morons usually demonize the Detroit versions of the hybrid because ‘everything from Detroit is crap’. These know nothing nutters will ignore the fact that hybrid technologies have a far greater effect on larger vehicles like SUV’s than compact and midsized sedans.

    Whose fault is that according to the Naders and the Claybrooks? Why it’s big bad Detroit of course… and the oil companies.

    I forgot to add that there’s also the real lunatic fringe who still believes that bicycles and public transportation can solve most mobility issues in the USA. But in general, this group is made up of self-defeating shitheads who wouldn’t know science if Einstein came back from the dead and kicked them straight in the nuts while muttering something German.

    Then you have the real lunatics on the other side who believe that all roads should be toll roads and that individuals should act within a libertarian mode for everything. From clean water to the public school system. These folks are busy trying to hide away the fortunes their parents earned.

    So where does that leave the rest of us?

    Well most of us realize that a car like the Prius is catered towards a very specific demographic who, in at least this case, does not follow the TTAC enthusiast bent. No big deal. Toyota was the first to really marry this technology to a specific vehicle and now other makers are developing their own version of what a hybrid is…. to their customers.

    I think all hybrids should be seen from that context. Speaking of which, since my family now has 10,000 miles under the hybrid belt I would like to offer my services for a Take Two.

    C’mon Robert. I deserve a little props for writing a review about a base Kia Rio with no a/c in the middle of an Atlanta summer last year. It’s either a review about the Prius or a 2000 Chevy G3500 delivery van. Choose my poison!

  • avatar
    allerton

    The Fusion might be a fine drive, but despite being a larger car than the Prius, and getting worse mileage, it has only half the luggage capacity: 11.8 cu ft versus 21.4 in the Prius. That’s without folding the rear seats, which you can’t do in the Ford.

    I suspect consumers looking for a great drive with no luggage space might be better off looking at a Miata.

    (BTW, I have to give points to psarhjinian for absolutely nailing the reason so many love to hate this car, upthread.)

  • avatar
    sutski

    “I’ve never driven a Prius, but based on this review, I don’t think I want to”

    You were given a brain to think for yourself. It may pay you to use it once in a while and try to decide for yourself about something!!

    I have done many miles in a prius and while averaging 64mpg is a bit nerdy, the $200 I saved* over 10 days motoring around florida cannot be sniffed at, especially if you drive 365 a year!

    Space? plenty. Speed, ample. Using the silent electro mode around car parks and beach fronts to sneak up on people. Priceless.

    * Against a 13mpg Liberty Jeep with gas at $3.50

  • avatar
    Matt51

    One of the cost problems with the hybrid is you pay for two “engine” systems, electrical and mechanical. As newer technologies (better diesel, better gasoline, compression ignition gasoline emerge) the hybrid will fade. Maybe someday pure electric will make it. Or more likely low cost gasoline cars like the Nano. But hybrids will remain a very small percentage of car makers sales, and therefore people are arguing about a boutique car, whose primary mission is marketing – to make Toyota look green.
    http://forums.prophecy.co.za/f173/gm-hopes-have-first-diesel-like-compression-gas-engine-market-69713/

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I need to drive one of these things someday. Can the handling really be worse than a modern Camry?

    psarhjinian : For example: soft plastic dashes. There’s no reason for them to be soft . . .

    Except that your music will probably sound better, and all other interior noise may be more pleasant, since less upper mid-range sound would reflect off softer surfaces.

    quasimondo : I dare you to try that excuse the next time a PETA activist threatens to vandalize your leather jacket with red dye.

    Who needs an excuse? Just get ready to throw some hands (after they “assault” you first, of course)!

  • avatar
    ruckover

    Steven Lang–thank you for the well written and well reasoned post.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    11.8 cu ft versus 21.4 in the Prius. That’s without folding the rear seats, which you can’t do in the Ford.

    You forgot to mention that the Camry Hybrid (the Fusion Hybrid’s chief competitor) only has 10.6 cu ft.

    Please be sure to make apples to apples comparisons when professing your love of the Prius.

  • avatar
    allerton

    quasimodo: I’m not really sure that’s helping the case you were trying to make. But thank you for agreeing that the Fusion is not very competitive with the Prius!

  • avatar
    Robstar

    For those of you who haven’t seen hate like there is for the prius, go to any experienced rider (after you have experience) and tell them you are thinking of picking up a 250cc or less motorcycle.

  • avatar

    I’m skeptical of this review. While it is possible that toyota wrought havoc with the Prius’s driving dynamics for the ’10 model year, I’ve driven the ’09, and while I’m no fan of hybrids, and have absolutely no desire to own one, I had to admit that the thing had a nice, firm suspension, and handled very nicely on the outer Cape’s very twisty Old County Road, and I couldn’t stop gleefully repeating former pres candidate Tom Tancredo’s words to me about HIS Prius (“goes like a banshee!) (http://tinyurl.com/prescandidatescars/). It’s no Envo, or whatever that thing that can cross Denmark in 15 minutes is, but it doesn’t have the slows.

    Even if the new Prius has the driving dynamics of an old tortoise, we pistonheads need to be grateful to everyone who buys one. My brother (no pistonhead) just replaced his early ’00s Passat with a Prius, and reports going about 2.5 times as far on each gallon of liquid wonder. If half the country bought Priuses, it would probably make a substantial dent in the price of fuel. I’m sure OPEC doesn’t want you to buy a Prius.

  • avatar
    M1EK


    It still puts a smile on my face 4 1/2 years after I bought it. I am certain that there is no way a Prius could do that, even based on the positive reviews I have read.

    I get a smile every time I think about going to the gas station less than half as often as I had to in my old car. I got a smile when I fit a >90-inch long box in the thing from IKEA; or the day I fit a rain barrel in the thing with the trunk fully closed; or when I think about the time the whole family (2 kids, dog) did the 5 hour drive down to Port Aransas for the weekend, averaging 52 mpg.

    I get a smile when I am driving through a parking garage or through an urban street and not filling it with fumes or noise; and end up surprising a pedestrian next to me with how civilized a car can be if it tries.

    I get a smile every time I think of the ten times by now the NextDieselPriusKiller showed up and turned out to get worse mileage on the same test, too.

  • avatar
    bluecat

    allerton :

    The Fusion might be a fine drive, but despite being a larger car than the Prius, and getting worse mileage, it has only half the luggage capacity: 11.8 cu ft versus 21.4 in the Prius. That’s without folding the rear seats, which you can’t do in the Ford.

    I suspect consumers looking for a great drive with no luggage space might be better off looking at a Miata.

    On the other hand, the Fusion has more interior passenger space than the Prius (99.8 cubic feet vs. 93.7). The Miata has 5.3 cubic feet of luggage capacity, seats only two people, and gets gas mileage of 21/28 versus the Fusion Hybrid’s 41/36. The Miata is probably more fun to drive, but it’s not a practical car by any means.

    It all comes down to what you value, and if driving dynamics in the traditional sense are not that important, then the Prius is a practical choice with plenty of cargo space. For many others, a hybrid that drives and handles better with a sedan layout is preferable. Hence the market for Fusion, and to a lesser extent Camry and Altima hybrid sedans.

    I am personally glad to see any hybrids, because they are a path to reducing dependence on foreign oil as well as reducing emissions. And with each generation of hybrid powertrain, the technology improves, and hopefully we’ll reach a point where the driving dynamics can be as enjoyable as good ICE vehicles are today. The Fusion Hybrid is already close to reaching that goal, but I expect future generations to be even better and hope the Prius and other hybrids can do the same.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    The Prius isn’t needed. We can create high mileage cars with hybrid technologies that fit in our world. But Toyota recognized that there wasn’t a way to expect a normal person to pay ten grand extra for hybrid technology to be added to existing cars. Toyota knew that if they wanted buyers to pay for their Prius, they needed to make a statement with them – so they did – and it has worked out, hasn’t it.

    In the past, when wannabes wanted to look sporty, auto makers put racing stripes on their cars. We have plenty of real sports cars, but not for hypocrits who wanted the look, but not the drawbacks. When wannabes wanted to look outdoorsey, auto makers turned trucks into SUVs. This satisfied the hypocrits as well.

    The new thing the wannabes want, is to look like they are responsible, moral, and holier-than-thou, or at least holier-than-their-neighbors. Today’s flavor of the market is the “I hate driving, but have to” look. The Prius, and any small Honda or Toyota will satisfy this group.

    I don’t know what the future holds, whether the Prius and other silly vehicles will go the way of platform disco shoes or when that will happen. But I’ve been around long enough to know that everyone eventually becomes embarrassed when they adopt a silly trend whether it is mullet hair, elephant bell bottom jeans, or goatees.

    One day family albums will have deleted any photos what include the family Prius, as they now do with the AMC Pacer or GM Citation.

  • avatar
    M1EK


    and therefore people are arguing about a boutique car, whose primary mission is marketing

    That boutique car is still in the top 20 in sales even after the economic collapse brought gas down to $2. It outsells entire nameplates that you probably wouldn’t call ’boutique’ (Buick, for instance).

    Oh, and VanillaDude? You’re a liar. The Prius costs less than comparable Camries and only a couple grand more than comparable trim levels of the fairly smaller Corolla.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Matt51: “We have a woman at work who paid $40K for a Camry hybrid.”

    Checking every non-redundant option on a Camry hybrid in the US results in a car that’s still under $31K. Are you in Canada? Did she order it with a glovebox full of gold bars?

    Matt51: “Ugliest piece of shit I have seen in decades.”

    A matter of taste and opinion. I have to ask, though, if you’ve ever seen an Aztek?

    In any event, the shape of many sedans, except for the Prius and 300, seems to be converging around the same general shape as the Altima, Malibu and Camry. Calling it the “ugliest piece of shit you have seen in decades” because of a different grille treatment seems rather over-the-top to me.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    VanillaDude,

    You are absolutely correct! Well said!

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Robstar:
    I have ridden motorcycles for over 30 years. I just bought a Ninja 250 (in addition to my Honda) and I have only received complements.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    One of the cost problems with the hybrid is you pay for two “engine” systems, electrical and mechanical. As newer technologies (better diesel, better gasoline, compression ignition gasoline emerge) the hybrid will fade.

    Unfortunately for this logic, the hybrid can use these new engines, too. It can also charge at night using low cost electricity. It can also regenerate on braking. The cost of parts is only going down.

    I get the feeling most of the prius bashers don’t live in an area with many of them. They seem fairly normal to me, they’re “enthusiastic” about their cars, and seem less like dicks than your average porsche owner.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    But Toyota recognized that there wasn’t a way to expect a normal person to pay ten grand extra for hybrid technology to be added to existing cars.

    Hybrid premiums are between $2,500 and $4,000 for vehicles at that price point — not “ten grand.”

    Why didn’t you just call Prius owners “smug” and save yourself all the typing?

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    BMW drivers accept being labeled “pricks” while they laugh and peel out in their M3.

    Viper/Vette/Supra owners accept accusations of compensating for something, while they laugh and peel out in their 375 wide tires.

    SUV owners accept being labeled “arrogant” while they laugh and run over whatever small obstacle had the unfortunate luck of being in their path.

    Why can’t Prius owners just let these calls of being “smug” roll off their back?

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Why can’t Prius owners just let these calls of being “smug” roll off their back?

    Probably because they get about 98% of all those comments nowadays simply because a large number of people seem to think the best means of expressing oneself is to ape the words of a cartoon that they feel is the embodiment of libertarian hipness.

    Did you know that freedom costs a buck oh five?

    SUV owners accept being labeled “arrogant” while they laugh and run over whatever small obstacle had the unfortunate luck of being in their path.

    Which 98% of the time is a 2 inch speed bump in a WalMart parking lot.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Newsflash for Prius owners: You’re stuck with the “smug” label. Get over it. People with all kinds of vehicles are victims of inaccurate labeling and you know what? They deal with it. They don’t cry, or bellyache, or whine.

    If the shoe fits…

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Newsflash for Prius owners: You’re stuck with the “smug” label. Get over it. People with all kinds of vehicles are victims of inaccurate labeling and you know what? They deal with it. They don’t cry, or bellyache, or whine.

    If the shoe fits…

    Grow up, please.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    I’m not really sure that’s helping the case you were trying to make. But thank you for agreeing that the Fusion is not very competitive with the Prius!

    The case I’m trying to make is that Prius/Fusion comparisons are apples to oranges. The Fusion Hybrid is not intended to be competitive with the Prius. The only thing the two vehicles have in common is the fact that they both have hybrid powertrains. It’s been already established by Ford that the market they’re going after is the one occupied by the hybrid version of the Camry and whatever other similar midsize sedan is available. Comparing two vehicles that are so dissimilar to one another is simply dishonest.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Kixstart – It is ugly. Everyone at work I ask to look at her car agrees. She told me she paid nearly 40K, I never saw the sticker. Dealer markup?
    I think this gray Camry is even uglier than the school bus orange Aztec. I actually would rather own the Aztec than this Camry.
    Having said that, in the 1980′s and 1990′s, the Camry was a highly desirable car.
    Times have changed. More nimble competitors (including Penske) are now going to eat Toyota’s lunch.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Thank goodness for the plethora of good used cars on the market. If this is the future of cars then I will never be buying a new car in the future. I will just laugh all the way to the bank as more and more people keep flocking to these silly childish looking dump on wheels hybrids and drive my normal cars into the ground and live with no $600 per month car payments.

  • avatar
    menno

    Have to admit also smiling on a very long trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, during which we drove our 2005 Prius and obtained over 57 miles to the gallon.

    Some of the trip back hom was on Hwy 75, which has a speed limit of 70. There were very few towns and no cities on the tour, so it wasn’t a case of “all city driving bringing up the average.”

    Admittedly; it was done when the gas was 100% gasoline instead of 10% ethanol (which drops MPG); it was in the spring time (no snow tires, no A/C needed, coolish temperatures but not too cold).

    However; I did NOT constitute a rolling roadblock.

    I also enjoyed seeing the averted eyes of virtually 90% of my fellow drivers at gas stations when I filled the Prius, back when gas was $4.25 per gallon. The other drivers also finally slowed down from driving 75 in the 55 zone (for a couple of weeks).

    Within a few months, the buying public had stopped buying economical cars and had gone back to SUV’s and pickem-ups.

    And people think Prius drivers are “dumb” to put their money into a high MPG vehicle; how “dumb” is it to drive a 2 1/2 ton vehicle for the 1/2 dozen times a year you need to haul something large?

    Haven’t people ever heard of rental trucks, or little trailers? DUH.

    End comment; drive what you please, and let me drive what I please. At least I can still afford to go tool down to the lake with the Newfoundlands and let them have a swim, go visit friends and family, or go to a restaurant – without worry that I’m breaking the budgeted amount of money set aside for gas.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “I actually would rather own the Aztec than this Camry.”

    No sane person would ever say something so ridiculous.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Well jmo, maybe you are the insane one.
    The Aztec was a very useable, comfortable near minivan with odd styling. I could buy it new at great discount. It was being cleared out loaded at $12K. I would buy that any day over the near 40K hybrid Camry. The Aztec had a fine drive train.

  • avatar
    lw

    I’m amazed at how many folks still think GM’s problems are product related..

    Aztec vs. Camry… Geez…

    GM products are good enough.. So are Honda’s, Toyota’s, etc…

    If your product isn’t good enough you are killed off almost immediately (think Yugo).

    THE singular root PROBLEM that causes ALL of the SYMPTOMS in the US auto industry is OVERCAPACITY. PERIOD. THAT’S IT. So simple it’s hard to accept.

    Every other “problem” is just a symptom of overcapacity.

    UAW benefits got you down? They wouldn’t be a problem if Toyota and Honda didn’t exist and GM/Ford/Chryco could charge a little more.

    Mad at GM management that can’t produce a car so great and so cheap that nobody would buy anything else? WIthout Ford and Toyota, GM’s could produce the same lineup and make a fortune.

    On the positive side, everyone who argues about the symptoms can argue forever with each other since they won’t actually fix anything either way.

    Okay.. Flame off.. go back to a meaningless argument about paint colors or drivetrains… It’s the hand we were all dealt since the free market (which would have killed GM and Chrysler and restored a capacity balance) has been suspended.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    The Aztec was a very useable, comfortable near minivan with odd styling. I could buy it new at great discount. It was being cleared out loaded at $12K. I would buy that any day over the near 40K hybrid Camry.

    What can I say, life ain’t fair. Fat chix hating on salad and rice cake eaters don’t change reality.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Matt51: “It is ugly. Everyone at work I ask to look at her car agrees.”

    Where do you work? A Chevy dealership?

    Matt51: “She told me she paid nearly 40K, I never saw the sticker. Dealer markup?”

    It didn’t pass a sniff test and you didn’t bother to look it up. Or did you really think $40K for a midsize Toyota was unremarkable? Do you work in GM’s marketing group? They think $10K+ markups for hybrids are just fine (problem: theirs don’t sell).

    Matt51: “I think this gray Camry is even uglier than the school bus orange Aztec. I actually would rather own the Aztec than this Camry. Having said that, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Camry was a highly desirable car.”

    By the sales numbers, it still is.

    Matt51: “Times have changed. More nimble competitors (including Penske) are now going to eat Toyota’s lunch.”

    Penske plans to source vehicles from everywhere, probably based on unit price. I can only imagine how good service is going to be, at a Saturn dealership, on a completely new group (can’t say, “line”) of vehicles produced all over the place, engineered by completely different operations. Penske isn’t even a competitor; Penske is Wal*Mart for cars. If he can pull it together. Penske’s going to be a dumping ground for cars that wouldn’t do any favors to their brands. Memo to Ford: This might be a good outlet for a cheaply facelifted Crown Vic.

    Matt51: “The Aztec was a very useable, comfortable near minivan with odd styling.”

    Odd? How many cars have nostrils?

    Matt51: “I could buy it new at great discount.”

    There was a reason you could buy it new at a great discount, they were singularly unloved. Camrys sell at higher profit levels than Malibus, for some peculiar reason.

    Matt51: “It was being cleared out loaded at $12K. I would buy that any day over the near 40K hybrid Camry.”

    Hello??? Is there anyone in there??? NOT $40K! Are you busy reinforcing your own prejudices or what? Just how far up the ladder at GM are you?

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Invective,insults, stupidity.
    Note Mr Shoemakers review showed his Prius stickered at 34K. I do not work for GM. I do not work for a car company. I own two Japanese motorcycles, two Suzuki cars, a Lincoln Town Car and a Ford Mustang.
    I would never vote against Penske. By the way, when are you buying a Camry Hybrid?

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Matt51: “Note Mr Shoemakers review showed his Prius stickered at 34K.”

    Sure. And a half dozen people pointed out that the base price for this car was $22-ish. And that the $34K vehicle includes things like an SPV-powered cooling system, blind spot detection and, generally, gizmos up the wazoo. I pointed out the cap on a 2009 Camry and where you could locate that. You are apparently not interested in a reality check, you are interested in fostering the spread of misinformation.

    Matt51: “I do not work for GM. I do not work for a car company. I own two Japanese motorcycles, two Suzuki cars, a Lincoln Town Car and a Ford Mustang.” and “Invective,insults, stupidity.”

    I apologize for suggesting you work for a Chevy dealership or in GM marketing. I admit, that was uncalled for.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    The woman has leather, sun roof, alloys. So no I am not “spreading misinformation”, I am sure she is honest. Yet you throw out cheap insults. She bought the car because her husband works at the Subaru/Toyota plant. An interesting comparison – I just traded my 2007 Tacoma for a Suzuki car – but just look carefully at Toyota’s paint. Subaru has much better paint quality. So does Honda, Nissan and General Motors. I just today compared her cars paint to a new Subaru parked next to the Camry. No comparison.
    GM and Nissan Frontier have a much better ride than Tacoma. Toyota has trouble getting seats and seating position right – something Suzuki is much better at.
    So, when are you going to buy this marvel of technology? Still no answer?

  • avatar
    agenthex

    So, when are you going to buy this marvel of technology? Still no answer?

    I think he’ll buy it right after you get that $12k new aztek.

  • avatar
    ktm

    Matt51, here you go since you can’t seem to do research:

    http://www.powertoyotairvine.com/index.cfm?vehicle=2009_Toyota_Camry-Hybrid&action=inventorysearch&subaction=searchdetailNew&InventoryID=16832543&InventoryType=New&optionsselected=1

    It is an actual model WITH leather at an Irvine dealership with an MSRP of $30k and includes leathers, moonroof, etc.

    Your coworker is misinformed about her car or she grossly overpaid for it.

  • avatar
    rcolayco

    Can someone please say if I’ve got this wrong?

    I’ve always looked at the Prius (& Insight) as being different from other hybrids.

    In cars like the Escape/Civic/Lexus etc. hybrids, the electric motor’s there to help the gasoline engine work less & therefore burn less fuel.

    Not so the Prius/Insight, in which the electric motor is the primary source of power to run the car.

    The gasoline engine is there to:

    (a) provide additional power which the electric motor cannot provide, like when one needs to accelerate quickly to merge with traffic or to overtake ;

    (b) help when the battery has run down, which happens when the car is driven on expressways, such that there isn’t sufficient occurrence of deceleration &/or braking, which are required to recharge the battery.

    That’s why there are times when the thing feels like a large air-conditioned golf cart, which doesn’t happen with the general run of hybrids.

    I’ve driven a Prius twice, each time for a week. It was great fun playing with it. It’s at its best when used in frequent stop-&-go traffic.

    But I agree with the common criticism that it’s not at all a fun-to-drive car in the normal sense we mean. Not being an owner, I don’t know if the initial fascination with its novelty might quickly get old.

    As pointed out by others here, for the gear-head seeking to do his part in conserving fossil fuels & minimizing harmful emissions, cars like the VW Golf diesel would do the job without making you lose the fun of driving.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Matt51: “So, when are you going to buy this marvel of technology? Still no answer?”

    I’m much more interested in the Prius. I’ll probably buy one the next time I need a car. However, as I am already afflicted with trouble-free Toyotas, that might be a while. My wife isn’t into spending even a very reasonable $23K for a new car when the current ones look great, run great and suit our needs.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Here, I cracked the code:

    Camry Hybrid $26,150
    Leather seats $1,300
    Sunroof $940
    Upgrade Pkg (alloys) $1,150
    Destination $720
    Subtotal $30,260
    Upside down on 2003 Tahoe $9,740
    Total $40,000

    Toyota pricing from TrueDelta.com

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Actually she traded in her turbocharged Subaru. And got no factory discount because her husband works for Subaru.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Prius

    Wikipedia has a good article Prius, includes comparison to diesel engine cars, Honda Insight,

  • avatar
    NickR

    Prius ‘Sucks the life out of you’. New slogan.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    In cars like the Escape/Civic/Lexus etc. hybrids, the electric motor’s there to help the gasoline engine work less & therefore burn less fuel.

    Not so the Prius/Insight, in which the electric motor is the primary source of power to run the car.

    It actually works more like this: there’s three “types” of hybrid philosophies.

    * Idle-stop: This isn’t really a hybrid at all; the car just has a big, fat starter motor that stops and starts the engine when the car isn’t moving. The original GM hybrid trucks did this.

    * Mild hybrid: In these, the hybrid motor is sandwiched between the engine and transmission and stops/starts the engine while coasting or stopped, assists the engine under load and reclaims power on braking. It cannot really power the car on it’s own the way a full hybrid can. Examples: Honda Civic, Insight and Accord; Chevy Malibu, Aura and Vue. I think the European hybrids (S400) work like this as well. It’s a much simpler, cheaper system because all it is, really, is a motor that helps spin the crankshaft.

    * Full hybrid: The eletric motor is a “peer” to the gas engine and can drive the car alone or in concert with it. The system balances out which power source to use based on what’s most efficient and what resources are available, sometimes running the gas engine at an RPM that, in a normal car, would not make sense for the wheel speed. It’s a very complex system and requires a lot of software tuning but it returns the best results. Examples: Any Toyota/Lexus, Nissan or Ford, GM’s Two-mode (eg, the trucks and the now-stillborn Vue Two-Mode)

  • avatar
    roadcrankr

    The author writes a clever Prius review, provocative enough to elicit a host of replies here. It seems odd to me that he would assign all low marks for the car. If stirring up controversy was his tactic, he succeeded.

    Reading through the responses over the past few days, the Prius haters came out in full force, for sure. The common theme in their comments appears rooted in jealousy. Toyota simply sells another niche vehicle in a long list of other niches they (and other Japanese car companies) successfully filled.

    Not sure how the Aztec entered the fray here. My own experience with Toyota vs GM? I bought an ’06 RAV4, while my wife got a company-car ’06 Pontiac G6 (successor to the Grand Prix). Our Toyota cost about $3k more OTD. However, for that premium, we got a far superior vehicle with nary a hiccup. The Pontiac, on the other hand, has spent countless days in the shop (brake job, steering linkage, a/c system). Further, it suffers from inferior paint quality, rattling body pieces, squeaky interior bits, and confusing controls.

    Dependability counts with consumers, whether a hybrid or performance car.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    the near 40K hybrid Camry

    What, does she live in Singapore? In America, the TMV of a new Camry Hybrid is $24K.

    Perhaps she got the “24 carat gold dashboard” option?

  • avatar
    rcolayco

    hello psarhjinian.

    thanks for the information.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    The Prius is a transition vehicle and not the product coming down the road.
    After all, the Model T was appealing to the initial minority who were pissed off about horses.

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    The hate and hostility for the Prius is the main reason why I would want to own one.

  • avatar
    nola

    I’ve test-driven several 2009 and 2010 Priuses and they’re just not that bad. In fact, I thought the 2010 was quite comfortable and handled well, and I’m coming from a manual transmission VW Jetta.

    If you’re looking for BMW handling then buy a BMW. It doesn’t take a genius.

    The Prius doesn’t feel like a UFO. It feels like a car. A rather well-appointed car. Is it as beautiful inside as a German luxury vehicle? No. But it beats the hell out of every German car available in the US for fuel efficiency and emissions, and that’s a fact.

    We looked at the new TDI too, but guess what? Clean Diesel is about as truthful as Clean Coal.

    Yes, buying a Prius is a political statement. People make statements with the cars they buy all the time. Most of the arguments against the Prius in these comments are all about statement cars. My car’s tougher, faster, more robust, blah blah blah than yours. What the hell is the difference?

    Frankly, my husband and I want to get the Prius because we want to give as little money as possible to oil companies. Why? Because beyond all of the environmental nastiness that comes along with extracting oil from the ground, processing it, and burning it in our cars, there are the political ramifications of all of that extraction and burning. And I’m not just talking about our current wars (of which my husband is a combat vet, btw). There is Nigeria, where thousands have died fighting for land against Shell and other multinationals, and the indigenous Peruvians who were murdered just a few weeks ago in a land dispute with oil companies. You can imagine who won, right?

    Judge away. We just don’t care. We’re trading in our VW for the Prius this year. Is it perfect? Hell no. But it’s better than the alternatives, even if it was designed by ‘fairies’.

  • avatar
    mattftoo

    My inlaws have one of these “golf carts” and it is universally hated by other family members.

    My father in law gives my mother in law a hard time for not “driving it right”. Huh? She drives it like a car, but that’s not how you extract the maximum mileage from it.

    I guess what I dislike even more than the exterior is being stuck behind one evey 2-3 days, with someone who is “saving the planet” by not even driving the speed limit.(my daily driver gets 30-35 mpg, so I don’t feel like part of the problem)

    I can’t wait for global cooling to come back in 20 years.

  • avatar

    So it never said, “I’m afraid I can’t do that, Dave” back?

  • avatar

    I know this review is getting a lot of static (hee hee) from a lot of readers, both TTAC members and non-members. Sure, I figure there is perhaps more than a bit of hyperbole going on here. But honestly I figured the Prius was nearly as capable of a performer as say a Civic. I merely assumed so. But this review has challenged my assumptions about the Prius and now also of hybrids in general. I was not aware that there was such a performance penalty to pay for the high mileage hybrids offer. So for me, this review provided valuable info & insight. I bet I am not the only one.

  • avatar
    bvillecbl

    I didn’t get to read every single comment on here, but I did read a lot of them. As far as I can tell most of the people talking trash about the Prius have never owned one, mush less driven one.

    I own a 2007 Yukon Denali XL and just sold a 2004 second generation Prius. I am about to order a 2010 Prius IV.

    Before I purchased the Prius I was skeptical, too. After test driving one, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t (and never will be) my 2006 BMW 530, but the two cars are engineered for two different types of experiences! It pisses me off to read reviews of such ignorant people (mostly males…sorry). I loved driving my BMW. I will own another one some day. I also loved driving my Prius. I loved looking at my average mpg over a tankful of gas (400 miles later) and seeing that I averaged around 48-50 mpg.

    You have to appreciate the Prius for what it is. I’ve had it going 85 down I-75 to Tampa and it drove smoothly. I didn’t get my 50 mpg, but I got a respectable 35. For those of us that had an older Prius we are excited about the new options. I am very excited that now I get a moonroof and heated seats. Of course I would love more responsive steering, but I can’t have everything in the Prius (hence me having more than one vehicle). I’m not saying you should go out and buy one just to save gas money, but if you are in the market for a new car…..

    Until my IV comes in I will continue to drive my Denali and put over $115 in gas every month (more if the prices keep steadily climbing). In the Prius I would only put in about $35.

    Don’t judge a book by its cover…..once you go Prius……

    :-)

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    RogerB34

    Good insight….whoops.

  • avatar
    scruffy

    Among my reasons for planning to buy a Prius are the following (which haven’t been mentioned by many people here):

    1) Dislike of oil-producing Middle Eastern countries. I don’t necessarily think I’ll save money overall (car + fuel) by purchasing a Prius. But I’d rather give an innovative Japanese company $1.05 of my money than spend $1 on gas, with some of that dollar going to countries that support radical Islamists aiming to destroy Western civilization.

    2) According to my calculations, driving a Prius instead of my current Acura integra over a period of 100,000 miles, I will need to make approximately 75 fewer stops at a gas station (taking into account both higher mileage in a Prius and larger gas tank of the Integra). That’s 75 annoyances that I can avoid. Also, with an average stop at the station of 8 minutes, driving a Prius will give me back at least ten hours of my life (and possibly more).

    For me, those two factors are compelling. I recognize that others are not necessarily motivated by such things.

  • avatar
    coop2911

    This review reads like manifesto for the change is bad, cars are only for fun crowd. The hyperbole is unprofessional, but I guess one does not come here for Consumer’s Reports type of reviews.

    As a former military aviator and safety officer, the safety and design aspects of this car are fascinating. Its the closest thing to a heads up display I have seen yet, and the little things support the big things – Toyota thought of everything. Every control is on the steering wheel – so I don’t take my hands off it. I don’t divert my eyes from the road but more than a few degrees. The traction control system is superb and the airbag arrangement ditto. The AT package is expensive, but if it saves our lives some day because it was looking when the driver was distracted, its worth it. We individual drivers can’t control most of the hazards out there…and a few car companies have figured that out. Imagine designing a car that will help the driver avoid an accident, and then support you well in case it happens.

    And if data on the car is any indication, it never breaks, the ultimate in economy. Rarely visiting a gas station lets me spend money on things that matter.

    I guess it comes down to the reasons we all own cars. To me, cars get me from A to B. I don’t drive cars to replicate flying anymore than I fly aircraft trying to replicate driving. Economic, safe ground transportation is what I care about. Except for its being a midsize car, everything about this vehicle is geared toward safety and economy. My last car was an Acura MDX, also a very safe car. I bought it for its reliabilty and carrying capacity (carpool), and it handles well in the snow and looks great. But I had to turn the dang thing off at long red lights to save gas. “Looks great” gets me nothing at the gas station or sitting in the garage, all that wood grain interior costs money…in fact, I paid a lot for stuff that doesn’t support my mission statement for a car. Was real glad it had the highest resale in its class…so I could use the money from the sale to buy the Prius…a straight up trade – 2007 Acura MDX for 2010 Prius V with the AT package.

    I guess I missed the mid-life crisis thing – rats.

  • avatar
    FireAndRice

    Wow – a lot of unusual viewpoints here.

    I’ve driven a Firebird Formula for 12 years and I really enjoyed driving it. But after it passed on, I decided to try something different and purchased a 2010 Prius last week. (I really wanted an electric car, but nothing I desire is available now in my price range.)

    So far I really enjoy, yes, driving it, too. Different experience than with my screaming chicken, but it’s comfortable, easy to control, and I have fun with all the gadgets. I’ll let you know if my opinion changes, but so far it has brought a big smile to my face!

  • avatar
    Yavor

    Gee, nobody even eluded to the idea that this review might be inaccurate. The review “style” sure is AM-Radio-Like…and appeals to the cynic in each of us. Thing is, the future is arriving. US auto makers are only good at making huge and simple vehicles, and are on their death-beds because of it. If the rest of the 20th century had been like the 50′s, what’s on the road now might be appropriate. GM’s Volt is stillborn.
    2000 Japanese engineers took four years to incorporate almost all of the Prius user’s suggestions in this 3rd gen. vehicle. Hacks to the car’s software are now buttons on the dash. People have hit 90MPG in mileage contests with the 2010 Prius.
    Flaming the Prius is normally the domain of EX-GM employees and 14 year-olds who wish they had one.
    This car is exactly what the doctor ordered for our current global energy situation. They are going to appear like mushrooms on the highway. I’ll come back and read the teeth-grinder’s rants when this car is 2010 Car of The Year. Bank on it.

  • avatar
    robertm

    I have to say I recently went to our Toyota Dealership and was quite impressed with the New Toyota Prius. It’s been taken to a new level and find the interior to be more than adequate, and styling a big improvement over it’s predecessors. I used to own a 2003 Prius and missed it when I had to sell one of my two vehicles, the other being a GMC YUKON. I know, there is no comparison, but I have to admit the Prius was sold in a matter of days. I ended up keeping the Yukon for many months because of no buyers for the gas guzzler. I am in the market again and will be looking to place an order the newly designed Prius since it offers the economy and comfort needed to perform the normal driving and I suspect from the initial test drive and reviews it would be a great car for longer trips. The Prius lives up to it’s design which is to provide economical transportation at lowest cost. All this hype about the batteries and poor design, is a myriad of smoke and mirrors as I would bet those who make most of the comments have never test drove one for a day….Don’t be so sharp tongued until you have tried it. I will always miss the Yukon and large SUV ride, but will NEVER miss the $100.00 at the pump fillups!

    Keep an open mind….
    Don’t swallow the .45 calibur bullet!

  • avatar
    Yavor

    BTW-
    I’m going down this morning to get my new Blizzard White 2010 Prius. $23K of pure joy.
    In a few short years, all these huge,smoking,unreliable,inefficient vehicles that make noises like the dieing dinosaurs whose decomposed bodies they run on – will be being driven by the mayors of small Mexican towns.
    Their previous owners will be driving whatever we design engineers create for them…or maybe a horse and buggy would be more appropriate. The “Don’t say no to Yesterday” crowd is one step from being history themselves. It reminds me of Schopenhauer’s -three stages of any great truth:
    First it is ridiculed, then it is vociferously fought against – and then it is made to seem as though it had always been true.
    That’s what is going to happen with Global warming and alternative-fuel vehicles.
    PS: Electric vehicles will proceed to beat all land-speed records to boot.

  • avatar
    Spiral

    I recently bought a 2010 Prius. Is it the greatest car ever? No. Is it the worst car ever? No. Does it make a nice addition to my BMW (which followed two Porsches, another BMW, and an Alfa Romeo)? Yes. I didn’t buy it to make a “green” statement. The current generation is just a dang good car for the money.

    The styling has finally come around. It’s amazing they can make it look as good as it does and still have the lowest drag of any production car. I like the interior. It has visual interest, the seats are comfortable, and the plastics are nice for the price point. It’s got a lot of bells and whistles for 23k. Power everything, cruise control, stability control, hill brake assist, 6 disc changer with 8 speakers and aux jack for my ipod, auto climate control with air conditioning, hands free entry/exit and engine start/stop, Bluetooth, trip computer, a myriad of controls on the steering wheel, ABS, etc.

    I average 50mpg on my 70 mile round trip commute that takes me over a mountain pass. What some call a non-engaging drive, I call relaxing. It’s got decent acceleration if you put your foot down. The utility of the hatchback is great. It’s extremely reliable. The resell value is off the charts.

    I don’t feel like I’m paying any premium for a buying a hybrid. In fact, I’m very pleased that I can get so much car for the price.

    If you must have a sporting drive and can only own one car, is this the car for you? No. But does this car serve the purpose of many? Judging by the sales figures – definitely.

  • avatar
    carlk

    I too have just picked up a Blue Ribbon last week for my wife. I’ve been driving many smaller cars but this is the first for her. Her previous cars were Taurus, Explorer and MDX. Both or us just love the Prius. Not just the great gas mileage but also the roominess and ease of driving.

    I agree with the other poster this review is just not accurate. Another example is the “ECO” mode is not the default mode as the review stated. It is only if you leave it there when you turn off the engine. The normal mode will be the start up mode if that’s what you left it in the last time you turn off the engine too. Only when you turn off the engine at POWER mode it will not come back at restart, the Normal mode will come up instead.

    I also don’t agree with the reviewer’s comment of the car’s driving character. This car has very comfortable ride and the handling is very good for car of this type– I have the V with 17” wheels that probably helps too. BTW my current daily driver is a 07’ Porsche Cayman S and before that it was a 98’ Honda Prelude. I should know how a good handling car is like.

  • avatar
    montana

    The main review here is so negative that one has to wonder what the agenda is; there is absolutely no objectivity. I recently bought a 2010 Prius II, and I can’t tell you how wrong-headed this review is–really, just baloney. The Prius’s cockpit is simple, elegant, and very user friendly. I had driven my brother’s 2008, and the 2010 is an improvement–roomier, less cluttered, and more user friendly. I’m 6’3″, 200 lbs, and I find the Prius has plenty of room. The seats are very comfortable. The car isn’t powerful, but that isn’t what it was designed for. Nevertheless, I have no problem cruising at 80 mph up high mountain passes here in Montana. The ride is quiet, and stereo sounds great, the dashboard and steering wheel controls are simple and well placed. This is my first Prius and I love it. My previous car was a Subaru Outback, another great car, but poor gas mileage. Perhaps if you are used to the power of an SUV or a very performance-oriented car like a BMW you might be disappointed. But most people who have ridden in my Prius are blown away by how nice it is. Seriously, this review must be sponsored by the competition, because the Prius is an awesome little car.

  • avatar
    eclipse

    A good reason to buy a prius. I own 2 paper routes for the kansas city star News paper. I throw oproximatly 700 papers ever night 7 days a week 365 days a year. I used to drive a 2000 GMC Denali . This vehicle got a whopping 9 miles to the gallon. See where this is going yet ? I spent 810.00 $ on gas a month . My prius cost me 410.00 $ a month for the car payment and 100.00 a month in gas. So the math is simple . I am spending 300.00 $ less a month on gas and being given a brand new vehicle to drive but lets not forget the iceing on the cake is after 5 years the 410.00 $ goes away. I almost forgot. That 410.00 $ includes the full coverage insurance. Now you may ask why anyone in there right mind would buy a prius. Just re~read this run on sentence from hell and you have your answer :-)

  • avatar

    The sheer fact that it “Irks” people gives me a big charge. As a 2010 Prius owner, I didn’t buy it cuz it makes me look cool. Heck, I’m worried that some Fox news lemming might key me or run me off the road. I bought it because it is one of the most advanced cars on the road. I bought it because Toyota listened to users and re-crafted the 2010 to meet everyone’s desires. Bigger, faster, more powerful, better-looking, much more MPG and lower price. Heck, they put the software hacks people devised – as push-buttons on the dash.
    If I want to leave the whole line-up at the light in the dust, I hit the “Power” button. A little chirp from the front tires and I’m gone. If I want to sneak up on the house late at night- I hit the EV button and go Stealth-Glide mode.
    I’m getting right at 60mpg consistently in town.
    I got 57 mpg on a road trip last month.
    Say what you will, but those numbers rock.

    So, you think Americans but cars without any regard to their own identity? BS. I’m a techie with a slight green streak…fits me perfectly.
    And watch, it is going to get some serious awards this year.

  • avatar
    Mr. Gray

    I hate the Toyota Prius. Not because I’m against progress or anything. I hate it because it sets the precedent that the cars of the future will be dull, numb, overcomplicated, gadgety suspended animation transport pods.

    They could have made an electric or hybrid car that has a responsive chassis, or precise steering, or anything that makes it fun to drive. But NO!

    It’s as if Toyota went out of its way to create the lamest, gayest car in the history of cars. As a driving enthusiast, it saddens me that this boring lump is selling so well.

    Oh, and did I mention that I HATE THE TOYOTA PRIUS?!

  • avatar
    jrb2361

    I dont understand all the negative comments about Prius , all I agree with is yes, they are too expensive brand new. Beyond that they are excellent cars and I have owned one for 3 years. I must admit I am age 48 -I care absolutely nothing about speeding and handling-very unimportant. I have had a BMW, Lexus, Honda s2000, etc…however, personally I ONLY drive to get from point A to point B at this point in my life and I am in sales so I drive alot so the gas mileage was all I was considering when I bought this car- 2005. This car has cut my gasoline bill in 1/2 since the day I traded my Lexus SUV for my slightly used Prius. Yes, I know the premium you pay for the car offsets the savings in gas…blah blah blah …I bought it with $14,000.00 miles on it so I let another person take that hit as it is rarely wise to buy a new car IMO.
    What do I enjoy most about my Prius ?   When you have your hands full of baby or groceries all you have to do to get into the car is have the keys in your pocket/purse and simply touch the door handle or get close to the door and the door unlocks automatically-no need to search for the keys at all ! Also, all the controls are right on the steering wheel from AC-heater, volume, blue tooth, channel changer for radio or C.D.-it is right there at your finger tips.
    I must say the the NAV system is obvisously a lower end model compared to the one I had in past cars but it works and as I said being is sales that NAV has helped me numerous times when I needed help finding my way.

  • avatar
    lw

    jrb2361:
    I’ll try to summarize my hatred of the hyrbids and I won’t disagree with anything in your post. Seems like you bought exactly the right car for your needs.
    1) Global warming is scam.  I always suspected it was, but now I have proof.
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100018034/climategate-%20%20e-mails-sweep-america-may-scuttle-barack-obamas-cap-and-trade-laws/
    2) Products like hybrids are expensive.  They should serve a niche part of the market (like you) and the extra money you spend should help them do R&D so that someday ALL cars will be hybrids because it will cost less to make, maintain and operate compared to a traditional drivetrain.
    3) Governments around the globe have either been scammed or are in on the global warming scheme.  They are using MY DAMN MONEY to subsidize these things and they are polluting the airwaves using MY DAMN MONEY to sell hybrids to MY FRIENDS by telling them that they are saving the planet.  Like my friends are Superman or something because they bought a hybrid.
    4) So I am forced to pay to scam my friends who drive nowhere near as much as you do, but want to “do the right thing”.
    So the next time your grandma loses $10K in a scam to an organization that used your tax dollars to con her, you’ll know how I feel.
    Oh and by the way…  ethanol is part of the global warming scam and now they want to raise the percentage to 20% which will destroy your catalytic converter.  So I get to pay OVER AND OVER AND OVER.  A$$holes.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/27/business/energy-environment/27ethanol.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&ref=business&adxnnlx=1259337719-6tmkZbkPmPo61HmnZqTvPA

    • 0 avatar
      jrb2361

      Alittle off topic but I could not agree more with your point–it’s all a bunch of pouey and these people are cashing in on this global warming B.S.. I did not buy my Prius to make a statement or to save the tree’s- I bought it cuz it gets incredible gas milage and that = saving me lots of money -bottomline . I believe once the idiots get out of the way and get their new 2010 Prius =a person could get a slightly used Prius for about $26,000, which is not bad compared to like vehicles. At this point for a brand new one they are demanding sticker and other dealers I have called on are charging a premium above sticker-no discount at all so I am on the sideline till the newness wears off and I can find a great used one.

  • avatar

    It was 15 degrees out when the salesman brought the car around for me to drive.  It was not preheated and staged for me so I got the feel for the car on a cold day.  I got in and we went through the process of learning the new human interface.  My current car is an HHR so I tend to look for innovation in cars.  Display centered down and closer the driving experience was a huge plus.  I tapped the break hit the power button, and tapped the joystick into “R” and it beeped at me to indicate we were backing up.  I set the cabin temperature to 72 degrees and tapped automatic climate control.  Tapped the joystick into “D” and we were going forward.  Breaks answered up and worked better than I had expected.  The salesman warned me that the motor would not slow me down and one needs to get on the break in costing down to a stop.  Pulled up to my first stop when the car was warm and the motor stopped.  I stepped on the gas as I would in my 16 valve OHC HHR and the motor turned on and ample power was right there.  That start was seamless.  No sound of a starter, just started providing the power to the shared transmission.  Here is the not so good.  I felt like I was involved in the gas saving process with the constant reminder of the gadgetry that the car was implementing extreme measures to be frugal.  Our plan was to lease and the lease was 100 dollars more than I planned on.  My wife and I ran the numbers and we found that we would in fact pay $150 more out of pocket per month than we are with our perfectly fine HHR.  The savings for fuel economy $27 a month.  The gadgetry and techy stuff does have our attention.  I think this car will catch the industries attention.
     
     

  • avatar
    Doug95

    I think the author needs to spend a little more time with a Prius to appreciate it. When I first started driving my Prius I agreed with some of the author’s comments but as I got to know the car better I realized that just because something has been done the same way for 50 years doesn’t mean it’s the right way.

    For example, at first the center mounted speedometer and other control seemed wrong but once I got used to it, I find that everything is well within my line of sight. I drove my wife’s traditional car the other day and couldn’t stand having to look down to see how fast I was going.

    Same thing with the stick shift, at first it seemed ridiculous to have Park as a separate button, but it turns out you rarely need to use Park, so why have it on the shifter? The car goes into Park automatically when you turn it off, and comes out of Park as soon as you shift to Drive or Reverse so the reality is you rarely use it.

    Regarding the seats and the seating position. I am 6 feet tall and find the seats very comfortable and the steering wheel easy to reach. I think seats are just one of those subjective things that everyone has a different opinion on. Same thing with the steering, it seems fine to me. I agree the car is slow off the line, but once it is moving the acceleration is very good. It’s not a Camaro, but if you want a car with that amount of acceleration, buy a Camaro. If you are happy with an Accord or a Camry or any other mid-level sedan you’ll find the Prius a joy.

  • avatar
    Ozzy Modo

    Great review, Michael. The comments on TTAC are usually quite predictable, with any car that “makes sense” for 95% of the population getting slammed while cars that make very little sense getting praised. This is a Prius, not a IROC Z-28, not Wrangler, not a Boss 302, and certainly not a Murcielago.

    If you expect a Prius to hit 60 in 4 seconds or handle like an M3, you’re probably the type that tries to dance to Bob Dylan songs or listen for the deep meaning in the lyrics of Funkytown. Your life will always be filled with confusion and unhappiness.

    As for criticism of drivers who only select a Prius to impress others, I doubt the Prius is high on a list filled with macho trucks, ticked-out noisy muffler rice burners, off-road vehicles that never see so much as a gravel driveway, and six-figure Euro brands parked in front of trendy restaurants. Today, driving a Prius means blending in with all the other beige Priuses.

    Driving a Prius will allow you to send the fewest possible dollars to oil-rich terrorist countries while insulating you from the harsh realities of a workday commute in the big city. That it is one of the most reliable vehicles on the road is an added bonus.

    So, manage your expectations. Take your 911 to the track, and your Prius to the mall. Dance to techno and contemplate Dylan.

  • avatar

     
    For 2010, the Prius is larger inside and outside, than the car it replaces. Its gasoline and electric motors are more powerful than ever, providing an acceleration that rivals today with a conventional four-cylinder sedan. But its battery is smaller, allowing 15.7 class competition cubic meters of cargo space. The car now offers three modes so users can choose to focus on fuel economy or performance. There are even roof-mounted solar panels available for an additional fee, but they serve only to run a fan that cools the car parked.


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