By on July 25, 2009

I have nothing against the Toyota Prius. It’s the car’s mystique that irks me. You know what I’m talking about: the whole “Toyota Pious” thing. As someone who’s read rational reports from Prius-owning TTAC commentators, as a pistonhead who understands that there’s more to driving a Ferrari than beauty and performance, I swear I’m OK with the hybrid’s PC mantle. But the Prius’s high MPG numbers and green street cred tend to stifle the debate on some important points.

Point One — Are Prius Owners Hypocrites?

Prius drivers swear, “It’s not about all about me.” I’m not buying it. If owners didn’t want people to know that they’re doing their bit for the environment, why has the Prius’ distinctive shape been such a boon to sales? Is the Prius that much more fuel-efficient than its competitors that it deserves to dominate the US hybrid market?

Aside from a small badge and different wheels, the Honda Civic hybrid looked just like every other Civic. Did it sell well? No. Honda Accord hybrid? Nope. Is it any wonder the new Honda Insight is a Prius clone?

There’s no question that the Prius gets great mpg (51/48 for 2010). But I suspect Prius drivers want more: they want us to know they’re saving the planet one car at a time.

Again, that’s OK. But there are limits. A Prius is not a free pass for the hybrid’s owner’s total “carbon footprint.” Or is it? This summer, how many Priora will park in front of chilled McMansions?

Point Two Shouldn’t the Prius be More Energy Efficient?

Surely a driver concerned about the environment can open and close their windows manually. The electric windows extra motors and wires add unneeded weight and use precious energy. By the same token, why air conditioning? Isn’t the A/C compressor and all of its needed wiring, blowers, hardware etc. wasting energy? What effect does r134a have on the environment?

Why does the Toyota Prius offer an optional ten speaker JBL sound system? For years, we got by with just two or four speakers. Prius drivers could listen to their favorite tunes without the extra power, draw and weight of speakers and amplifiers.

And what of the leather seats? Shouldn’t Toyota fashion the Prius’ chairs, carpeting and other interior materials from some composite derived from recycled plastic bottles or part soybean oil (a la Ford)?

And what about the extra money spent on all of these options? Wouldn’t it be better if Prius buyers purchased de-contented vehicles and sent the money to an appropriate environmental organization?

Point Three Is the Prius REALLY That Efficient?

No question: the Toyota Prius is a clever piece of kit. The car’s Synergy Drive system’s internal combustion engine (ICE) generates electricity for a battery which supplants or assists ICE power in various ways at various times, according to engine load. The Prius also recaptures and reuses braking energy. Equally important, the car sits on skinny tires. And it’s slow.

So what would happen if you equipped a Prius with the world’s most efficient internal combustion engine; a powerplant that would match but not exceed Toyota’s Synergy Drive’s Prius performance?

I’m not suggesting a HUMMER is less energy intensive to produce, operate and recycle than a Toyota Prius. And again I’m not against the Prius, Toyota or Prius owners per se. But it should be asked: is the Prius set-up the best use of our resources?

The same question applies to electric cars. There is a lot of talk in the media about the merits of the electric car and not much debate about the reality. Electric cars need batteries. Batteries need electricity [mostly] generated by fossil fuels. A gallon of gasoline far exceeds a battery in its energy density.

And what of the batteries charge level?

A gasoline car maintains its performance right down to the last milliliter of gasoline. Whether you have a full tank or a quarter tank, there is no discernible performance loss. A battery, on the other hand, shows a significant power loss in a non-linear fashion as it discharges. Ever see what happens when your electronic device gets down to 25 percent power? It performs erratically. Discuss. Meanwhile, I leave you with one final question:

Point Four Is There A Better Way?

Take the existing Corolla and strip out any unnecessary weight. Next, maximize the engine for gas mileage. The target demographic certainly be able to tolerate decreased acceleration times in the interest of more efficient fuel consumption. (Toyota has extensive experience with diesels; a diesel powerplant should be assessed as well.) Fit the interior with lightweight materials or recycled composites.

How would this low-touch, high-mileage Corolla carbon footprint stack up against the Prius? And if the stripper Corolla offered substantially better efficiency than the Prius at the same price, would Prius owners make the switch?

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161 Comments on “Four Questions About the Toyota Prius...”


  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Point two betrays your real purpose.
    Who want’s to reach over at 70 and crank windows. Who wants to drive around San Antonio w/o A/C.

  • avatar
    psu_13

    The point behind the Prius is so simple that it’s strange that the car confuses so many “car” people.

    The point is that it is a technological toy that gets good gas mileage for its size. It even looks like a little spaceship. The Prius owners that I know care about that almost as much as they claim to care about the eco-angles.

  • avatar
    dastanley

    Justin, your editorial seems to perpetuate the very “mystique” and social posturing with the Prius that you seem to have a problem with. If you have issues with the Prius, don’t buy it. If you have issues with the owners of the Prius, well let them be morally arrogant if it makes them feel better.

    It’s a fad, like the Ford Explorer was in the 90s. It seems like everyone had one at the time. This too will pass.

    In a while, the next big thing will come along and push the Prius out of the picture. Or the class action lawsuits will start when too many battery packs explode or the owners have to cough up an extraordinary environmental impact fee to dispose of the old battery packs when replacing them in 5-7 years.

    I agree that some may buy the Prius to make a sanctimonious public statement. Others just want a fuel efficient car. Either way, fine. I don’t care and will continue to drive my low tech boring Corolla and Tucson. They’re both paid for and run.

  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    better yet, make the high MPG ‘corolla’ have the exact same shape as the prius…

    We could sum this up with one simple question:

    If the current Prius had two drive train options, the current one, and one with the same driving performance (but 51/35 mpg) out of a 1.2L ICE (only) and cost 4k less, which would sell better?

  • avatar
    ruckover

    Point One – Are Prius Owners Hypocrites?

    Are people who do not smoke because of health concerns hypocrites if they eat a nice, fatty steak? Is it possible to see the Prius as a way of making up for living the hypothetical McMansion you bave created for them. Don’t some people justify the cheese danish by spending an extra 15 minutes on a treadmill?

    Point Two – Shouldn’t the Prius be MORE Energy Efficient?

    Shouldn’t Porsches be faster? Go through that section and replace “Surely a driver concerned about the environment . . . ” with “Surely a driver concerned about speed,” and you will have to conclude that anyone who owns a high performance car–and saddles it with heavy options–must not really care about the performance of the car. Oh, but that’s right, a vehicle is expected to satisfy a variety of needs/wants. It is not hypocritical to want to have a fast car and want to have a great sound system in it. It is not hypocritical to want to get great MPGs and have the convenience of electric windows.

    Point Three – Is the Prius REALLY That Efficient?

    Please, let me set up a strawman. A stripper Corolla–with a diesel–is not in the same class as a Prius. Apple, meet orange.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Dynamic88 is correct. To suggest that the Prius (or any other vehicle designed for transportation by the general population) not have features normally accepted today as the norm in the guise of improving fuel economy is ludicrous.

    Sure, bottom-feeder Kias, Rios, Aveos, and fleet truck specials don’t have A/C or power windows as standard, but they’re hardly what the majority of the population have come to expect in their daily rides.

    While a completely gutted and stripped lightweight Corolla, devoid of any fuel-mileage robbing creature comforts or sound insulation, with purpose-designed tires and drivetrain, will get higher fuel mileage than an otherwise normally equipped Corolla, how many of these slow, uncomfortable penalty boxes do you think consumers would buy? In fact, low-line Corollas don’t have power windows, and it’s always mentioned in any review as being an ‘inexcusable’ omission.

    Honda has already tried a simiiliar, purpose-built approach with the original Insight. To say it wasn’t a sales success would be an understatement.

    That’s the whole point of the Prius. In essence, the Prius hybrid system offsets the power drain of those systems that buyers have come to expect in today’s cars. It’s a compromise that managed to strike a very good balance between fuel economy and comfort.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Finally it happened! It took a few years, but here it it, an article about the Prius that manages to avoid employing the tiresome “smug” cliché. Thank you, Justin!

  • avatar
    baxterrocks

    I think Pious owners are trying to buy their way out of feeling guilty about their gluttonous lifestyle. The problem they are fighting is that they are driving too much, not the efficiency of their cars. If we create a car that is 100% efficient the consumer will only respond be moving further away and commuting more, hence burning more fuel. Hats off to Toyota for exploiting these people.

  • avatar
    MRL325i

    Environmentalism is a religion for many who want to fervently believe in something while, at the same time, have a burning need to tell other people what to do. The Prius is the must-have car for many of these people. Around the north shore of Long Island they are seen in the the swanky shopping districts and triple-parked outside Starbucks. Most sport a peace sticker or some obama propaganda. You never see one with a “Support Our Soldiers” ribbon, though.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    The Prius isn’t my cup of tea, but the fixation some people have on bashing it is strange.

    The Synergy Drive system is a fascinating bit of engineering. I appreciate it on that level.

    And if it were up to me, I’d replace CAFE standards with a requirement to have a Prius-style mileage monitor in every car. I think that would actually save more gas than CAFE.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    This is an exercise in straw men and terrible desperation. “I’m not questioning, BUT….”.

    Points 3 & 4 show that you do not understand the most important dual aims of any hybrid system; minimize/eliminate ICE use for acceleration (extremely inefficient ICE phase) and recover kinetic energy to storage for use again in acceleration.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    The 3rd Prius shows the way for what should be the start of a trend when it comes to making all of the formerly belt driven accessories electrical.

    I’d love to see this migrate to other vehicles. I know some hybrid class 8 semis are now doing the same thing for the A/C, PS and Air Compressor.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I am surprised that a man of your wisdom doesn’t get the PRius. It sounds like you have a hidden agenda coming from a position of ‘moral superiority’. The prius is simply the most loved vehicle of all times according to CR’s customer satisfaction surveys. I have had one for many years and it is a pleasure to own and drive. I don’t know of any prius owner that acts like they are ‘saving the world’. But you would think that people that drive gas hogs would appreciated every prius owner for leaving more fuel for those driving gas hogs.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ MRL325i

    Redneckism is a religion for many who want to fervently dismiss logic while, at the same time, have a burning need to procreate their gene for stupidty. The Pickup Truck is the must-have car for many of these people. Around the (still) wished for Confederate States they are seen in “Whites Only” districts parked outside Liquor stores or Gun shops. Most sport a “Don’t Mess With Texas” sticker or Creationist Science propaganda. You never see them with any dirt or performing any work.

    Generalization – look it up.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    RedStapler: “The 3rd Prius shows the way for what should be the start of a trend when it comes to making all of the formerly belt driven accessories electrical.

    I’d love to see this migrate to other vehicles. I know some hybrid class 8 semis are now doing the same thing for the A/C, PS and Air Compressor.I was thinking the same thing. However one might try malign the Prius as being motivated purely as a political ideology or marketing strategy, the fact that the vehicle has advanced the technology of electrically-driven (i.e., fuel saving) accessory drive components cannot be denied.

  • avatar
    lw

    I read somewhere that hybrid cars have significantly fewer parts than all gas and are much simpler to manufacture. Less time / less tooling / less people.

    Those efficiencies got even better when the car was all electric. This seems to jive with the folks I’ve found on the internet that retrofit small gas cars to all battery.

    Could the Prius be all about maximizing profits? Transitioning people to a vehicle that they will pay the same $$$, but will cost significantly less to produce?

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    I’ll take those points!

    Point One – Are Prius Owners Hypocrites?

    I can’t speak for others, but I’d say I’m not a hypocrite. I’ve consistently said that my reasons for owning a Prius have mostly to do with burning less gasoline while still being able to conduct my life on my own terms.

    I don’t give a shit about any supposed “saving the planet” sentiments. I just want to burn less gasoline, but I want to be able to carry some friends, a few bags of concrete mix, or cow manure, depending on my mood and the price of cow manure.

    Escaping from hurricanes is easier in a Prius too. I can get from Central Florida to North Georgia on about two thirds of a tank of gas, even if the trip takes 15 hours (like it did when I escaped two hurricanes in 2004).

    Point Two – Shouldn’t the Prius be More Energy Efficient?

    Yes, of course it should be more energy efficient. Every car should be more energy efficient, but I can’t accept your premise here.

    As mentioned above by another poster, options such as air conditioning and power windows are necessities in this day and age. Crank windows could compromise my security if driving in a bad neigborhood. Being carjacked could result in any number of bad things, all of which might result in MORE energy consumption (fixing my totalled car, repairing a building that got crashed into, fueling the police cars needed to track and locate my car, not to mention the tow truck to return it).

    Also lack of AC can cause my mother or best friend to go into heatstroke, requiring a much more fuel-ineficient ambulance ride to the hospital, followed by a lengthy stay and a whole bunch of tests; all of which require oil. Much oil is used in the health and medical industry, from manufacture of medicines and equipment to packaging and safe disposal of bio-hazard materials.

    Point Three – Is the Prius REALLY That Efficient?

    Yes it is. Even with the piss-poor Bridgestone Potenzas, I’m getting around 45 MPG; and that is the SOLE measure of efficiency that I need. I’ve never had any other car that got me that gas mileage in NORMAL everyday driving; half stop/go and half highway.

    Better tires will get me closer to 49-51 MPG.

    Point Four – Is There A Better Way?

    There’s always a better way, however; I can’t accept your Corolla premise because the Corolla is smaller than the Prius. I wouldn’t be able to use it. Refer back to my points above about carrying people, concrete, and cowshit.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Redneckism is a religion for many who want to fervently dismiss logic while, at the same time, have a burning need to procreate their gene for stupidty. The Pickup Truck is the must-have car for many of these people. Around the (still) wished for Confederate States they are seen in “Whites Only” districts parked outside Liquor stores or Gun shops. Most sport a “Don’t Mess With Texas” sticker or Creationist Science propaganda. You never see them with any dirt or performing any work.

    Generalization – look it up...

    Petey Boy: +5

    What is all the bs about owning a Prius anyway? Sure, some do drive them as a rolling testament to their environmental concern. Fine. No different than an “I’m the NRA and I vote” bumper sticker. But most, I am willing to bet, are purchased by those who have long commutes and need reliable, efficient transportation. And driving in commuter traffic is where this appliance shines. Turn it into a penalty box or a eco-only one trick pony and it will flop. See: First gen Insight. Nobody today is interested in reducing their lifestyle, but still have some concern for their wallet and (maybe) the planet. Cars like this help fill that need.

    Regarding 134a, it is going to be phased out for a new refrigerant 1234yf. 134a did meet its design goal to be benign to the ozone, but has a global warming score of 1400, IIRC. The replacement gas has a GWS of 4. For reference, CO2 has a GWS of 1. Good news is that most of the present equipment can be made to run on it w/o all the hassles that were associated with R-12. By the way, hybrids use A/C to cool critical electronic components…

  • avatar

    How can you accuse anyone of being a hypocrite if you don’t know the person or what they profess to believe in? Are we assuming we know people and their beliefs based on the car they drive?

    Do we accuse pick up truck owners coming from an Obama rally or a Volvo owner coming from a Mccain rally hypocrites.

    I don’t own a Prius but I like them and I’m not green save the earth person but simply a professional cheapskate

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I have 2 coworkers with hybrids. One Prius, and one Camry hybrid that he traded his Prius in for, and they both stand around smoking and throwing their soda cans in the trash. Neither one of them could care less about the environment. Here in Northern Virginia it’s all about what the hybrid can do for you, and that’s get you on the restricted HOV lanes during rush hour. The good gas mileage is just a side benefit

  • avatar
    findude

    Well, we’re shopping and there may be a Prius in our garage soon. The mileage is the big attraction for us. Oddly, the big deterrent is that it can’t be had without a manual transmission. People like different things in their cars.

    What strikes me most when shopping the Prius is that even ignoring the drive train it is a good car at its base price. Not many cars at that price point are as comfortable, fit 4+ people easily, conveniently accommodate lots of stuff, etc. It is a reasonable car without even getting into how the wheels get driven. Then, add the phenomenal fuel efficiency to a future of uncertain fuel prices, and you have a winner.

    It sells well because it is a good value, though I can’t say that for the high end of its price range.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    improvement_needed : If the current Prius had two drive train options, the current one, and one with the same driving performance (but 51/35 mpg) out of a 1.2L ICE (only) and cost 4k less, which would sell better?

    In order to get the same “driving performance” something much larger than a 1.2L would have to be used. You are looking at 15+ seconds to get to 60 w/ a reliability and fuel economy tuned 1.2L. Slower and poorer fuel economy? Sounds like a born loser.

    PeteMoran – hilarious and spot on!

    Question 5: Why does the Prius get grilled with the questions posed in 1-4 when the Fusion hybrid, Camry hybrid, Escape hybrid, etc, etc get a free pass? Shouldn’t this be a Four Questions about Hybrids?

    My answers to all 4 questions can really be summed up by 1 answer. It is the most efficient, reliable, and practical midsize 5 seater available. This is the biggest market, short of trucks, and that is why it is successful.

    I have an 07 GTI and an 05 MINI S. The technology of the prius really appeals to me and if I didn’t already have 2 reliable (questionably in the future), practical, fuel efficient, and depreciated hatchbacks, I’d certainly consider the Prius. My engineer side is all jazzed up about the technology in the car.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    Watching Prius proponents rise to the occasion every time their favorite appliance is criticized in the slightest never gets old. I may well adopt one as my commuting tool one day if my needs warrant it, but even if I do I’ll never bother trying to defend its existence. Then again, I’ve driven a “chick car” for well over a decade, so I have a thicker skin than most.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    I don’t get the whole Prius bashing thing. What’s the point? You think you can stero-type someone solely on what they drive? Do all Viper owners Really have unusually small penis’s? Do all mini van owners have kids who play soccer? Are all Subaru owners gay? Drop this non sense and move on to something productive.
    The reason the Honda Hybrids have sold in such small numbers has more to do with the MPG ratings then body stle.The original Insight was just too early,too high priced, and lacked a rear seat. Toyota got lucky with the Prius. IF fuel prices would have dropped by 50% in 2008 , the Prius would have been a money loser and a failure. AS it stands, Toyota took a smart gamble and it paid off.
    The peole who buy one(Hybrid) may just be interested in saving at the fuel pump and perhaps doing something to free us from being a hostage to the Arabs. Is that really something worth mocking? BTW , I’ve never owned a Hybrid,never owned a Toyota or a Honda. My ride is a old Dodge Dakota , so I’m NOT rising to defend my brand or choice.Bill C.

  • avatar
    dougw

    It is rare that a post gets me worked up enough to comment. Congratulations Justin!

    I too just don’t get what it is about the Prius that evokes the reactions I see on this website.

    I own both a Prius and a Honda Civic hybrid. Let me explain something very s l o w l y so that it is easily grasped. There is no comparison in the way the two hybrid systems operate. The Honda approach and the Toyota approach are very different. I much prefer the Synergy Drive over the Honda flywheel-assist method. Even though both cars get very similar mileage, the Prius behaves in a much more satisfying manner in the way the ICE cycles off while moving whereas the Honda only stops at idle…merely floating the valves and cutting off fuel when underway-the crank continues spinning. Having said all this, what I want is the Synergy Drive in the Civic body. Of course that is not possible.

    You can get the equivalent Synergy Drive system in the Fusion, Escape and the Camry, but then again what about the obvious aerodynamic advantage of a Prius-like shape and dimension package. It is the aero that makes these cars look the way they do, not some customer wish to be “different” and stand out as concerned about the environment.

    So there is indeed logic involved in the decision to own a Prius. Do I as an owner give consideration to what you might think of me for driving a Prius? Hardly. There may be some Hollywood types who do it to look “in” but do they get shit for driving a Rolls, limo or Ferrari to look hip?

    To flip this around, do we really want to get into the psychology of the person who buys the Camaro SS instead of the V-6 which is the much more sensible choice? Do we berate the person who chooses a car for its potential top speed which they will never approach? Are we not being a bit judgemental and hypocritical here?

    And the stereo? Okay, if you want to take out the stereo to save mileage, then I guess it goes without saying that all cars getting even less fuel mileage will have to give theirs up to save weight.

    Maybe we should view all this as some folks using less fuel by choice, so that others can drink it up zooming away from stoplights to give themselves a feeling of power and superiority. That would be more honest.

  • avatar
    LennyZ

    I agree with ZoomZoom. I want to drive a car with some comfort amenities and utility. Given my driving style, spirited bordering on maniacal, a Prius is not the car for me but my wife would love one and would be an ideal candidate for one. When it is time to buy a new car we will look at one. A pickup is not for me. I have no use for one though I can understand why some people own one. People’s likes and needs are varied. That’s not hard to understand so why is it hard to understand that one car is right for someone and not for others.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I don’t get the whole Prius bashing thing. What’s the point?

    Remember that kid in school who got picked on because he always made the effort oh so rewarding for his antagonizers? It’s like that.

  • avatar
    slartybarfast

    Aside from a small badge and different wheels, the Honda Civic hybrid looked just like every other Civic. Did it sell well?
    In order to shoehorn a hybrid solution into the package they had to make sacrifices (such as seats that cannot fold down). I suspect this alone significantly reduced the sales of the Civic hybrid. Its a fallacy to say the civic failed cause it didn’t look like a Prius, it sold poorly cause it was not designed like one.

  • avatar
    benders

    You kind of touched on this but there is a simple reason I don’t plan on shopping for a hybrid anytime soon: I live in a rural area where the battery would just be weight I have to carry around.

    If nothing else this proves the Prius is a polarizing vehicle. It’s hard to respect a car whose drivers are so smug when the car isn’t hardcore. Porsche drivers are smug but it’s tolerated among pistonheads because the cars are such performance machines. The Prius is a car that really doesn’t require any sacrifice and that’s why it doesn’t get any respect.

  • avatar
    Garak

    Point Four — Is There A Better Way?

    We actually have these eco specials here in Europe, with low powered Diesel engines, long gears, better aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tires and lighter weight. Skoda Superb Greenline gets about 5 liters per 100 km (47 mpg) in real life conditions, despite being a large, 5 star Euro NCAP sedan.

    Ford also has Econetic models for sale here… and of course they are not sold in the US.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    It’s nice to see a car thread turned into a pretext for people to display their anti-Southern bigotry.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Just to clarify for everyone –

    There was an email misunderstanding. I didn’t write this article. I had nothing to do with its composition. In fact, I still haven’t even read it.

    Sorry for the confusion. I’m sure Robert and Edward will sort it out later.

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    I finally drove a Prius for the first time yesterday. The city that I work for has been buying hybrids (both the Prius and the Civic) for a while, but finally inflicted them on the police department this year. We got four of them to be assigned to detectives and admin personnel. Two guys in my unit were assigned them on Monday. One of them is 6’3″ and gave his back yesterday in exchange for his old car, which was an Accord. The other is 5’8″ and is keeping his. He let me drive it around for about half an hour.

    As a gearhead, I left with mixed feelings about it. The technology is neat, there’s no denying it. The base model (which, of course, is what the city bought) had a lot of “gee whiz” features in it which would usually be optional. I didn’t feel like I was in a penalty box. The acceleration was better than I expected. The Prius is capable of getting out of it’s own way, but barely.

    But there was so much about the car that was just stupid and wrong. I’m reminded of an old episode of “The Rugrats” in which one of the kids learns that he’s left- handed. His father tells him that it’s okay because it makes him “Special.” One of the other kids immediately spits “You’re not special! You’re different!”

    Toyota, in trying to make the Prius special, succeeded in making it different. And different is wrong. Just starting the damn thing is a hassle, as is figuring your way out through the gear shift pattern to make it go. The instrument readouts are digital, which is bad enough, but they are also set in a tunnel which seems to be 40 acres away from you at the base of the windshield.

    I couldn’t get the seating position right, mainly because the seat wouldn’t move back far enough for me. I’m not that tall (5’11″) but I have long legs and need to stretch out. The seat didn’t have enough travel and I could see immediately why the taller guy in my unit got rid of his after just a week.

    As a police car, it’s totally stupid. They actually put a radio and hardwired in a visor mounted light to it. The idea from the admin weenies is that detectives aren’t going to be transporting prisoners or have MDCs, so we wouldn’t need big cars. Which is true, to a point. I don’t need a full- size car like a Crown Vic, but I do need some trunk space because i’m stil required by general order to carry my riot gear and crap. You couldn’t keep a rifle or a shotgun in a Prius. For one thing, you couldn’t really secure them since it’s a hatchback, but a hard shotgun case literally wouldn’t fit.

    Apparently, even after only a couple of weeks, the bosses have realized that the Prius is not going to work for us in the future, but they’re still committed to buying hybrids so that we can show that we’re going green. The chief has already said that next year we’ll be getting Camry hybrids instead, which should take care of the space issues.

    But the Camry Hybrid is much more expensive car than the Prius. It’s been shown over and over that you can’t recover the price premium you pay for a hybrid over a conventional car unless you drive to the moon and back every year or you keep the car for a dozen years. Theoretically, a private citizen could do that, but a government entity never will, mostly because governments don’t pay full price for gas. At the minimum they are exempted from the state and Federal taxes and most times they’ve also got a contract for even less than that. The city I work has a contract for the fixed price of $1.20 a gallon for the next three years. We also remove cars from the fleet every eight years. There’s no way we’re getting the taxpayers money back for a hybrid.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If owners didn’t want people to know that they’re doing their bit for the environment, why has the Prius’ distinctive shape been such a boon to sales?

    I think that you’re missing the wide difference in perception. You think that the Prius is a gas-engined car with a battery attached. Prius fans view it as an electric car that has the unfortunate need for a gas engine. Very big difference.

    Many of those who like them for ecological reasons are hoping that this is the beginning of a transition toward pure EV’s. But unlike the EV cultist diehards, they do seem to understand that EV’s in their present form are too large of a compromise to ever be useful to humans.

    You’re missing the psychology behind this. The difference in shape and style is not just for self-promotion (although I’m sure that some of it is). It also allows the owner to shout out to the world that they should want to be different, too. They don’t want to exclude others, they want others to join them.

    They don’t want to be snobs so much as they want to provide market leadership. Unlike snob buyers who crave exclusivity — those who want the Bentley because not everyone can have one — the Prius evangelists want to broaden the base. To this extent, it’s actually the opposite of what you think it is; quite unlike the Bentley buyer, they would probably be thrilled to see more cars just like them on the road.

    How would this low-touch, high-mileage Corolla carbon footprint stack up against the Prius?

    Not well, for the reasons described here. The Prius owner sees it as an electric car that is, for now, stuck with a gas engine. They don’t want to improve the gas engine, they aspire to ultimately get rid of it, and to use it as little as possible. To a devoted Prius owner, the joy comes from those moments when the gas engine isn’t being used, not from the MPG figure.

  • avatar
    kaleun

    I’m not sure how people read so much into a Prius driver. Maybe they want to have a different looking car. Is that bad? Every Corvette, Saab or Mustang driver is the same in wanting to be different.

    Maybe the shape is for drag and optimum space use? You don’t have to read some smug emission into an optimized car. It is not a coincident that the Insight looks similar.

    Mileage defintely is superior and not everyone wants to be a race driver.

    and why would a Prius driver not have the right to have some amenities? You can combine fuel efficiency and comfort. Often people criticize fuel efficient cars for being econoboxes, now I can have the latest technology (LED head lights, electric oil pump..) without buying a big VW Phaeton or so. How is that bad?

    And why are Prius drivers not allowed to do soemthing (even very little) for the environment and feel good? Millions of aMericans recycle at home, use the bicycle every once a while and feel good about it. will it safe the worlds whne one single person does it? sure not, but it is a start.

    If i was in the market for a car the Prius would be on my list for the following:
    - superior safety
    - superior reliabiliy and longevity (electric pumps heatsafer etc.)
    - good space use
    - its a nice gadget for a nerd to look at the monitors (BMW 7 drivers are the same…)
    - fuel economy
    - comfort for a reasonable price. For $ 27,000 i can have a fully loaded car with technology I can’t even have in an audi for twice the money. LED head ligths etc. Do i really need it? No, the same way no one really needs an Audi.
    - good looks (we are competing with GM and Chrysleter in this country, after all). Well, that is subjective. But it looks modern for the better or worse.

  • avatar
    postjosh

    Point Four — Is There A Better Way?

    if you are talking about gas mileage, obviously yes (e.g. geo metro). but mpg is only half the equation. the prius has very low co2 emissions. there is no way to match it with conventional gas/diesel technology.

    if someone (are you reading this hyundai) takes a prius style body and combines it with a 1200cc engine and can get 40 mpg highway for under $16k, i think they would have a big hit.

    btw, i actually have a good friend who owns both a prius and a suburban. he said the suburban isn’t worth selling and he needs it for family trips twice a year and occasional hauling.

  • avatar
    ruckover

    paris-dakar

    The anti-southern post, and I believe there was just one, was clearly in response to an earlier posting. If you missed that one, then the second one did look offensive. In context, it was simply pointing out the problems of stereotypes.

  • avatar
    dkulmacz

    I don’t personally know any Prius (or other hybrid) drivers that fit any of the stereotypes. I think they fit mostly into the ‘gee whiz’ gadgetheads demo, so it’s the high-tech aspect that gets them.

    I think the stereotypes are enforced by “the media” (in a broad sense that includes all the web chatter), and by Toyota themselves. Yes, I hate the Toyota Prius gen 3 ads, and also the stereotypical owners that are found or created and put in front of us in the media. But I’ve seen no indication that real-life Prius drivers are generally like that.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    “Point Four — Is There A Better Way?”

    The idea that a vehicle which matches the Prius in fuel economy and overall capability can be made without the cost and complexity of a hybrid system has been completely dis-proven by none other than the SmartCar. The Smart is hyper-small, has a miniature engine, and still can’t come close to the Prius’ fuel economy. A stripped Honda Fit likewise doesn’t come close to hitting the Prius’ fuel economy numbers. Neither of those vehicles has the interior space of a Prius.

    The Prius’ shape is a product of the intersection between aerodynamic efficiency, space efficiency and crash protection criteria. Sure some buyers probably get one because it looks cool and distinctive to them, but so what? Isn’t that one of the key goals of automotive design, to make something which appeals enough to potential customers to get them to crack open the wallet? The fact that a Prius is a hatchback adds greatly to its real world utility. Hatchbacks and small wagons are much more useful than are similar sized sedans. The real question should be why so many American’s refuse to buy the more useful shapes and opt for the clumsy three box sedan architecture.

    So what if Prius buyers want a car with outstanding fuel economy and a good sound system? Enjoying JBL speakers and good fuel economy is not some great cognitive dissonance.

    I don’t own a Prius, but have one neighbor and one friend who do. One bought it for the fuel economy and the right to drive it solo in the carpool lane, the other has a Prius as one of four cars in a four driver family, and whoever is taking the longest trip uses the Prius to get the good fuel economy. All very reasonable.

  • avatar
    Aqua225

    I only know one person with a hybrid. They have the Civic one that got the good gas mileage and looked “normal”.

    This person has a litte of both the legendary elements of the hyrbid car driver mentality, but I would emphasize that the majority of their personality and attitude towards the car is based in fear of damaging the environment. However, there is a very real element of the moral superiority that comes along with what they believe is a moral cause. It’s just not as significant as their fear of killing the planet (not even close to as significant if it matters much at all).

    The Prius did bug me when it came out, and still bugs me, because of the high complexity of “assist” systems… you are carrying two powertrains in the vehicle, and using complex software to coordinate their activities (some people will reply that its not complex — but it is very much complex — especially when you have all the safeguards that have to work 99.9% of the time to keep from getting sued to oblivion by the family of a dead Prius driver). To me it seems like if you focused rather on one or the other, you could build a car with much better performance in the categories the Prius already dominates (mpg), and reap greater reliability benefits as well. Its instilling in people to ask for a hybrid to get the best mpg, rather than to just ask for the best mpg. Its as if buyers are more obsessed with the setup, than the results of the setup. I think that is what bothers me.

    Finally, I’d rather have a serial hybrid design (like a train locomotive). Ie., no direct mechanical power transfer from the carbon engine to the wheel, instead, the motor becomes a mere mechanical power source for a onboard generator. Then the power generated can be routed to batteries or direct to the wheels. Acceleration would be nearly optimal for such a car — you could launch with all the HP the engine can develop instantly online (because you could rev it to the target speed before allowing power to be diverted to the wheels), and computers could manage wheel spin to perfection (just like diesel locomotives again). What in essence this would buy you is: best engine efficiency for any given situation. And unlike the CVT transmission many people are now probably thinking of, it could be supremely reliable (EMD was building diesel locomotives in the 20′s, 30′s & 40′s).

  • avatar
    Aqua225

    I do want to emphasize one other point: I do think electric transmission and charging of batteries could be less energy intensive than the oil supply and use chain, so a plugin car could decrease oil or coal use.

    Also, I think we need to look at something other than dyno-carbon (either oil or coal) for our future fuel supply, or we are going to be in one resource war after another worldwide for the forseeable future.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ Dukeboy01

    There’s no way we’re getting the taxpayers money back for a hybrid.

    The company I work for has a fleet of over 150 cars worldwide, and many of them are hybrid. They fully expect to get BETTER resale values in a few years, most especially when the fuel price starts climbing again.

    I’ll bet a crate of best Australian beer that when fuel prices start rising again, resale values for hybrids will hold up better than V8 cruisers.

    Resale is another part of the total cost of car ownership remember. Maybe you’re lucky enough to work for a county/city that thinks a bit further into the future.

    @ ruckover

    Thanks.

  • avatar
    Aqua225

    Finally, its in my own opinion, and one I hold dear, that the real future of energy is batteries. We’ll hit the required efficiency on solar panels eventually, but batteries are the big hurdle.

    If we had awesome battery technology, we could power the entire US grid on solar, since we would store as much as we need at night in batteries.

    Batteries also need to be able to beat the fuel budget of a car’s gas tank. As for the non-linear depletion of batteries, this can be overcome with power conversion electronics, to some extent, if the battery has a really good energy density. Usually a drop in performance in electric systems powered by batteries occurs as the battery depletes and the voltage developed by the unit decreases. If you can efficiently “transform” the voltage back into the level required by the cars drive train, this voltage drop should not be apparent to the driver. This is a switching power supply…

  • avatar
    jmo

    To me it seems like if you focused rather on one or the other, you could build a car with much better performance in the categories the Prius already dominates (mpg), and reap greater reliability benefits as well.

    Isn’t the Prius already one of the most reliable cars available? Maybe it’s reliable because it’s a hybrid rather than in spite of being a hybrid.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ Aqua225

    … because of the high complexity of “assist” systems… you are carrying two powertrains in the vehicle, and using complex software to coordinate their activities …

    That’s a common myth. If you look at the actual differences to a regular car, you see some electric motors which are nearly the most reliable device mankind has ever invented.

    Toyota’s reliability data suggest the hybrid power train is very significantly MORE reliable than conventional.

    I’d rather have a serial hybrid design (like a train locomotive). Ie., no direct mechanical power transfer from the carbon engine to the wheel…

    The problem is, that isn’t the ideally energy efficient method, hence Toyota’s decisions.

    Locomotives, ships and massive Liebherr dumpsters use diesel-electric hookups for packaging, torque and weight reasons. (Different arrangements of those priorities for the different applications).

  • avatar
    SpaniardinTexas

    It is not a new discussion, because even 2 years ago the “redneck” New York Times wrote and article about how the main reason for buying a Prius was to make a statement about themselves.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/04/business/04hybrid.html?ex=1341288000&en=4beada66541df849&ei=5124

    I know people who drive a Prius and they try the “holier than thou” speech if you let them, but it doesn’t happen with the Escape or Civic hybrid owners.

    I am totally in favor of research and investigation, hybrid, cells, ethanol, but I would not buy a car like that right now, as my commute and driving is 90% freeway.

  • avatar
    veefiddy

    coupla points:

    a) There are no other hatchback hybrids. In terms of utility, the Prius has the others beat (Escape excluded). Corolla and Civic comparisons usually miss this point. People like the shape ’cause it’s useful as well as being distinctive. Taken on its own the Prius is a well packaged car for many people’s real needs. It seats 5, holds some stuff, easy to park, etc. It’s very well built and not unpleasant to be inside.

    2) Concerning electric/battery transport: there are lots of ways to make electricity and they can/will get better in terms of environmental impact. The ways we get petroleum will probably get worse. (Until they bioenineer ecoli to poop out gas, which someone is working on.)

    iii) I’m not sure why people commonly demand that a Prius match a Carolla for long term economic value. You can buy an A4, a Corolla, a Focus, an S40, any number of cars that are around the same size and have different strengths and value propositions. Just because the Prius is a Toyota, it’s held to economy car standards. That’s not what it is. It’s a lot of technology and efficiency in an easy-to-live-with package.

    All that said, Gen II is like driving a piano while holding a frisbee. Meh.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Toyota’s reliability data suggest the hybrid power train is very significantly MORE reliable than conventional.

    Maybe that’s part of the reason behind the hate. Many people at attached the idea that simple and “common sense” are good while complex and cerebral are bad. The idea that a complex device is more reliable than a simple one conflicts with their worldview.

  • avatar
    BDB

    Driving a Prius as a statement is no different than a soccer mom driving a Ford Expedition-L by herself to the grocery store to puck up a quart of milk, and the closest she every comes to off-roading is a gravel road.

    And don’t get me started on the Urban Cowboys with their F-150 Supercab Lariats and what have you, who never haul anything bigger than a flat screen TV from Best Buy.

    I don’t “get” the Prius (and frankly, I know plenty of people who don’t “get” my MX-5 Miata) but bashing people because they buy it to make a statement is asinine. So is pointing out how it could be even more fuel efficient. Yeah, and an Expedition-L could be better at off-roading, too, if you removed a lot of what makes it a comfortable ride for said soccer mom, but so what?

  • avatar
    Hippo

    I have no interest in it but think that it is a technological marvel, in the sense that Toyota managed to build such a complicated vehicle while making it dead reliable in a market of drone drivers and incompetent service providers.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Don’t feed the Prius trolls.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Around the north shore of Long Island they are seen in the the swanky shopping districts and triple-parked outside Starbucks. Most sport a peace sticker or some obama propaganda. You never see one with a “Support Our Soldiers” ribbon, though.…

    Actually, driving an efficient car helps keep the need for our soldiers to be in places like the Middle East. A Support our Troops sticker on a guzzler is meaningless; high consumption of imported fuel puts the soldiers there in the first place.

  • avatar
    ruckover

    Paul Niedermeyer–”Don’t feed the Prius trolls.”

    I have never been in a Prius; I will never own a Prius, but I find the whole “I don’t have anything against Prius owners, but they are wankers” rhetoric a bit tired. I have a feeling that most people who have responded to this thread feel the same way. There are multitudinous ways to enjoy cars and driving, and I just think this site, more than others, should recognize that. It is possible to enjoy the freedom of mobility offered up by cars in hybrids and hyper-cars. E pluribus unum.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    jthorner: “The idea that a vehicle which matches the Prius in fuel economy and overall capability can be made without the cost and complexity of a hybrid system has been completely dis-proven by none other than the SmartCar. The Smart is hyper-small, has a miniature engine, and still can’t come close to the Prius’ fuel economy. A stripped Honda Fit likewise doesn’t come close to hitting the Prius’ fuel economy numbers.”No, but in a Car and Driver comparison last month, a 1998 Geo Metro was able to equal the Prius’ tested fuel mileage. And when gas prices were at their peak, old, used Metros were selling for as much as when they were new. But with a 0-60 time of over 20 seconds (the Prius will do it less than half that), I sure wouldn’t want to buy (let alone drive) one, though.

    The most interesting thing about the comparison is that the new Insight won. Yet, Insight sales are off to the point that Honda is supposedly embarking on a crash program to improve the car. Maybe that’s because of the last line of the article: “But if you’re hellbent on a practical Honda, we know one that’s cheaper, quicker, roomier, and still managed an observed 31 mpg: the Honda Fit Sport.”

    New Prius sales seem to be just fine…

  • avatar
    Wolven

    Amazing… Prius drivers don’t like getting pissed on anymore than SUV drivers do…

    Here’s a thought for all the righteously indignant Prius drivers. While you yourself may not be one of the smug tree-hugging SUV hatin’ luddites, MANY (if not most) of your fellow Prius bretheren are.

    And us pickupSUV drivers have had to listen to their shit for years now… and I never heard any of you special not-an-environmentalist Prius drivers defending the right of pickupSUV drivers to drive whatever they like without being harrassed.

    Strange how attitudes suddenly change when you start gettin treated the way you’ve been treatin others, isn’t it?

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    I hate this car for the same reasons I might hate any other make of automobile. Its ugly, its slow, its has some features that I have no interest in (hybrid engine) and others that I feel are down right dangerous (low-rolling resistance tires). Cars will always elicit an emotion response in people, my response to the Prius now is the same as when I first saw it “Dear God what is this thing?” and “Who would willing subject themselves to living with it?” That said, there are ALLOT of other cars that I feel the same way toward.

    The only unique complaint about the Prius is that some people (sadly among them certain powerful politicians) see the Prius as the ultimate answer to a series of problems that either don’t exist, or can in no way be solved by hooking a bunch of batteries up to a four-banger.

  • avatar
    ajla

    It’s a funny thing that if I traded in my Firebird Formula for a new Prius today, I would immediately go from being a piece of mullet’d trailer trash into a smug leftist tree-hugger.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Environmentalism is a religion for many who want to fervently believe in something while, at the same time, have a burning need to tell other people what to do. The Prius is the must-have car for many of these people. Around the north shore of Long Island they are seen in the the swanky shopping districts and triple-parked outside Starbucks. Most sport a peace sticker or some obama propaganda. You never see one with a “Support Our Soldiers” ribbon, though.

    Oddly enough, I did see one with a Bush/Cheney sticker. Or was it McCain/Palin? Either way, it certainly wasn’t something you’d expect to see on a Prius.

    I can’t help but think that this editorial was written soley to antagonize Prius owners (as if they aren’t antagonized easily enough already).

    To that I say: Good job!

  • avatar
    phreshone

    Oh yes… Episode 141 of South Park…

    Smug Alert!

    Environmentalism is a religion for many who want to fervently believe in something while, at the same time, have a burning need to tell other people what to do.

    As the saying goes “If you don’t believe in God then you will believe in anything.”

    Ian Pilmer, professor of mining geology, shares why environmentalism has become a type of religion. “Environmentalism is a religion with its own high priests and apocalyptic predictions, where heretics are destroyed.”

    Remember. Algore isn’t a scientist, but he is a failed divinity student.

  • avatar
    Aqua225

    Pete Moran:

    I am not a luddite on the complexity front. I work in the semiconductor industry, and its no secret that as our complex machines have grown in complexity by leaps and bounds (read: Moore’s Law), and that Moore’s Law has been left in the dust by the GPU manufacturers, that our reliability has gotten much better. I think you would be trying to prove complex-can-be-reliable to the wrong person :)

    On the flip side, my local Civic Hyrbid owner spends a lot of her time in the shop, on the hybrid system or problems related to it. Sure, anecdotal, but my guess is that since Prius is the Toyota Halo car, Toyota spends a lot of time/money making the thing unbreakable (maybe talent diversion to Prius is what is impacting quality in their other lines??). I don’t think the rule of commons applies to the Prius in this regard.

    Just because Chevy is having 1st year Halo car problems on the Camaro, doesn’t mean that the Prius in its third generation shouldn’t be nearly perfect :)

    Ie., I don’t buy that the hybrid system is perfect by default, but only by the massive amounts of money Toyota pours into its research and development.

    And yes, the systems ARE complex, unless you work on NASA shuttle flight software. It’s only the improvements in software development and computer hardware that allow the simple piston motor and the simple electric motor to coexist: which is where the complexity arrives.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    In light of how many people deny they drive the Prius to make a political statement…

    It would be interesting to find out what percentage of Prius drivers DIDN’T vote for Obama.

  • avatar

    wolven… Here’s a thought for all the righteously indignant Prius drivers. While you yourself may not be one of the smug tree-hugging SUV hatin’ luddites, MANY (if not most) of your fellow Prius bretheren are.

    Wait. A luddite is someone who doesn’t like new technology. The Prius is a prime example of highly successful new technology. who’s the luddite?

  • avatar

    this article is very odd.

    1. I suppose one might ask the question about hypocrisy if one had some actual data to prove it one way or another. But the writer doesn’t seem to have any.

    2. shouldn’t the prius be more energy efficient? Here, the writer is really asking whether prius owners shouldn’t be wearing hair shirts. One could ask a different question: how many more buyers does each luxury (such as power windows, fancy sound system) attract to the prius who otherwise would not have bought the car. and what combination of luxuries produces the biggest drop in gasoline use due to more people buying the prius versus any reduction in mpg due to inclusion of such luxuries.

    3. point 3: the writer conflates hybrids with all electric systems, to ask questions that aren’t relevant to the prius.

    4. finally, a half way reasonable question. Nonetheless, it might be better asked as follows:

    a. can you get the same or better mileage out of a non-hybrid along with the same level of amenity?

    Because for the non-pistonhead, and probably for some pistonheads as well, the prius is a nice car in the sense that it’s pleasant to drive, and pleasant to ride in. whereas the toyota echo is neither. the writer seems to think environmentalism somehow requires the environmentalist to punish him/herself. and some environmentalists, who do the movement no favors, take that sort of position. but for those of us who want the movement to prosper, the idea is to do more and better while using fewer resources, and while polluting less. the prius does that.

  • avatar
    Aqua225

    David Holzman:

    Good luck on towing a 21ft bass boat with a Prius for 100 miles to the “fishin’ hole” ;)

    But yes, you are correct on the use of the word luddite. Bad pick on original author’s part.

  • avatar

    @wolven:
    among presidential candidates last round, the only two who drive priuses are right wing republicans (and I say that with respect even though I don’t agree with most of what they stand for) tom tancredo and sam brownback. http://tinyurl.com/prescandidatescars
    brownback is among the strain of republicans who believe that we are supposed to be stewards of the planet and its resources.

    there is another strain among republicans who believe strongly in driving high mileage cars for the sake of national security.

    And yes, I’m sure there are plenty of people who drive the prius because they identify with saving the planet, in the same way that most h. sapiens flaunt symbols that fit their belief systems and their sense of who they are. why do hummer drivers drive hummers? why do some men wear rolexes? why do professors wear tweeds? and what do you drive or wear that reflects who you are?

    this sort of use of symbols is something that separates H. sapiens from non-sapient homonids. there is an article in the current Scientific american examining why the neandertals died out. one of the mysteries arises from the fact taht they show many traits that anthropologists associate with being human–such as wearing jewelry and (apparently) painting themselves.

    are some prius drivers righteous about it? are some hummer drivers smug about their vehicles? are h. sapiens human? does the earth circle the sun?

  • avatar
    Aqua225

    David Holzman:

    I don’t think the writer wants every environmentally concerned Prius owner to wear hair shirts, etc.

    He does want the environmentally concerned ones who try to impose their views on others, to wear hair shirts and give up amenities, if they are serious about their convictions that they are good, and we gas guzzler buyers are evil.

    I thought it was clear from the writing, but perhaps I missed it…

    The idea behind the article can be demonstrated by looking at Al Gore’s lifestyle: obviously he is rich, and he has a big house with a lot of luxury. He owns private planes and jets around in them all the time. He also eats very well. I don’ think most people I know would want him to give up that lifestyle. Except for a glaring problem: he wants us to “simplify our lives” and reduce our waste. At that point, he ticks off a lot of people.

    Such is my view of people in forums who call gas guzzler buyers luddites, because they themselves drive a Prius. If they are that enviromentally conscientious, then the Prius is really wasteful, even if it is the least wasteful car you can buy at the moment.

    Luckily, I haven’t seen that many people in TTAC really act like that about gas guzzlers vs. Prius.

  • avatar

    Aqua225,

    if I wanted to tow a bass boat, I’d probably rent an appropriate vehicle (if my accord did not qualify), unless I did it more than a few times a year, in which case I’d buy an appropriate vehicle. But the only thing I’m going to be towing is a sunfish, which is light enough for two people to pick up. I expect my accord will do just fine. but I’m not sure what your comment had to do with mine about luddism, unless your implication is that a vehicle that is incompetent to tow a large, heavy boat is somehow primitive technology.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    MRL325i & quasimondo
    I spotted a Prius with a McCain Palin sticker last fall. The coginitive dissonance was total.

    That stripper Corolla would-should cost thousands less than a Prius.

    phreshone – - The fact that CO2 transmits light but retains heat is about as realiable a scientific theory as are those concerning gravity. Paleoevidence also points to higher CO2 correlating to warmer climates in the past. If we increase CO2 concentration in the atmosphere enough, well I think you might actually come around to “believing” the so called “religion”
    It is not a question of if, it is a question of how much we can artificially alter the chemistry of the atmosphere of this planet.

    Sleek, arodynamic vehicles, be they aircraft, trains, or cars, they have always appealed to me. As such the Prius to another lean rakish, attractive, not to mention functional design. Funny, I like women who are lean, sleek and rakish too.

    Anybody here really care about future generations and the habitability of the earth? I do.

  • avatar

    As car nuts, perhaps we should applaud any car that can get people who generally dislike cars to like a car. damn, I mean, even my brother, who thinks of cars as appliances, is a little bit excited about his prius. that’s something.

  • avatar
    Aqua225

    David Holzman:

    You missed my point: I agreed with you on your calling out on luddism in the original poster’s statement.

    I don’t know many people who buy the boat or the truck to use it once a year, but I am not from the city, nor do I live there now.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Point Four — Is There A Better Way?

    The Prius, while not my cup of tea, is an excellent design. And it’s an excellent platform for Toyota to test electric drive engine components over belt-drive.

    That said, with sane emission standards, a small diesel with a manual transmission could easily equal the Prius in efficiency. And be made fun to drive.
    Think – a stretch Fit w/ a 2.0 TDI could be a blast of a car. But CARB and The Other Regulators would be quick to kneecap it.

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    Here are my four questions, each represented by one of four different sons: a wise son, a wicked son, a simple son, and a son who does not know how to ask a question.

    The wise son inquires: “What is the meaning of purchasing a Toyota Prius?” The answer is that ones car is not like a dessert. A car is like a sacrifice. One must understand that moving from one place to another involves work and the expenditure of resources. These are serious matters and resources are precious and must be used sparingly.

    The wicked son asks mockingly to the Prius owner, “What does a Prius mean to you?” In fact, the wicked son is disinterested his own question. He has already decided to isolate himself from those who would buy a Prius. He stands by objectively watching their behavior rather than driving one himself. He is rebuked by the explanation from the Prius owner that he acted for the sake of the environment when he bought a hybrid. This wicked son prefers driving fast and stylish cars.

    When presented with the Prius, the simple son asks, “What is this?” He should be told firmly that the Prius can lead us from the house of bondage known as middle-eastern oil.

    And the son who is speechless when he sees a Prius should be told, “I bought it because of what the oil companies did to me last year when they raised gas prices so high that I felt like a slave in Egypt.”

  • avatar
    BDB

    The most interesting thing about the comparison is that the new Insight won.

    Dude, we’re talking about Car and Driver. And you’re surprised the Honda won?

    When does Honda NOT win C&D comparos? Oh, right, when there’s a BMW in the test, too! :P

    As for the cracks against environmentalism, regardless of how you feel about Global Warming, Peak Oil IS freaking real and will happen (could already be happening, though probably delayed by the Great Recession). We’re going to have to, someday, find something besides oil to power our cars. And I’m sure we can make whatever powers them fun, too. I mean isn’t an electric car all torque all the time?

    I forgot to address this in the previous post, but as for electric batteries needing fossil fuels to charge, that’s irrelevant. Even if you plug in your Volt to a coal-fired power plant, you are going to use less fossil fuels because a big-ass central generator is more efficient than several little ones in every car.

    As car nuts, perhaps we should applaud any car that can get people who generally dislike cars to like a car. damn, I mean, even my brother, who thinks of cars as appliances, is a little bit excited about his prius. that’s something.

    David FTW! Nice point!

  • avatar
    davejay

    Have you driven the Honda hybrids and the Prius? The Prius is noticeably faster AND gets better gas mileage. All other things being equal, why would a consumer looking for great gas mileage pick a Honda over the Prius?

  • avatar

    Carlos.Negros: !!!! Love it!

    And BDB — thanks!

    and Ihatetrees–I’ll take the TDI stretch fit.

  • avatar
    BDB

    All other things being equal, why would a consumer looking for great gas mileage pick a Honda over the Prius?

    They wouldn’t. But Car and Driver would, because they worship at the Altar of Honda and the Altar of BMW. That’s not a flame against them, that’s pretty much just the way it is. I still can’t figure out why.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, the Prius is worth the extra coin if you’re into that class of car. It is far superior.

  • avatar
    gaspassoregon

    We traded in our 03 jetta diesel to buy our 2005 Prius when our first kid was born. The main motivation was to “vote our conscience.” Meaning not to tell everyone “look at me, I’m green”, but rather to tell our manufacturers that we want better, more green cars (and we are willing to pay for it!). If you look at awd station wagons, their gas mileage continues to approximate that of suv’s. When i looked in ’09 it was no better than in ’06!

    At the time the honda hybrids were not a great option for us- the civic is simply a small car. The accord had only an incremental benefit over the 4 cylinder at the time. The back seat of the prius has more room for rear facing car seats than my 06 BMW 530xi wagon! Our perception of Toyota’s reputation for reliability was a huge factor in being willing to experiment with buying a hybrid.

    Ultimately the Prius was/is a transportation appliance and political/marketing experience which was a success- the people had a chance to vote with their dollars for change and they got it. How many new vehicles have been put out there to answer perceived consumer demand only to fail commercially? I’ll acknowledge that one could argue that 4$ gas was the real agent of change. I think BMW is running into this problem with their 3diesel- everyone said bring it!!! and then few stepped up to purchase what actually might be a more green car than the prius in looking at battery disposal issues.

  • avatar
    kowsnofskia

    “Are people who do not smoke because of health concerns hypocrites if they eat a nice, fatty steak? Is it possible to see the Prius as a way of making up for living the hypothetical McMansion you bave created for them. Don’t some people justify the cheese danish by spending an extra 15 minutes on a treadmill?”

    Yes. Living in an enormous McMansion while driving a Prius is just as stupid and hypocritical as washing down a huge piece of cheesecake with Diet Coke (or, for that matter, being an ardent non-smoker but going to a tanning salon).

    I’m not against hybrids and I tend to support technology that enhances fuel economy. The problem, as the author cited above, is this: why don’t cars like the Civic Hybrid sell as well as the Prius? Why was the Prius designed to be as ugly as it is? Was this to make it more “noticeable” so the envro-yuppies could look fashionable? (It’s not just the kammback shape that is so offensive to the eye, either.)

    What if the Pontiac Aztek had come with a “revolutionary” hybrid drivetrain that allowed it to get 50 highway mpg?

  • avatar
    bomber991

    The truth about the Prius:

    It’s a car where you can get 50mpg without having to deal with driving a car of economy-like quality.

    I mean, power windows, climate control, lots and lots of high-tech gadgets you just simply cannot get on a corolla, civic, fit, or any of those other economy cars.

  • avatar
    BDB

    What if the Pontiac Aztek had come with a “revolutionary” hybrid drivetrain that allowed it to get 50 highway mpg?

    What if my Aunt was my Uncle?

    The Civic Hybrid didn’t have a hatch and wasn’t as big. The Prius is a mid-sized hatchback, it can be both a commuter car and family car (2 child family) if needed. The Civic, not so much.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    Wikipedia; “The term Luddite has been used derisively to describe anyone opposed to technological progress and technological change.”

    Who has effectively stopped the utilization of Americas own oil sources? Environmentalists.

    Who has fought against the building of any new oil refineries in America? Environmentalists.

    Who has filed suits to stop the building of solar power plants in the Mojave desert? Environmentalists.

    Who has filed suits and fought against geothermal power plants?
    Environmentalists.

    Who has filed suits and fought against windmills?
    Environmentalists.

    Who has used the courts to destroy the logging industry in America?
    Environmentalists.

    Who is fighting to have the hydroelectric dams torn out?
    Environmentalists.

    Who is constantly fighting to eliminate mining in America?
    Environmentalists.

    Who is fighting to eliminate coal power plants America?
    Environmentalists.

    Who is constantly battling the building of any new roads in America?
    Environmentalists.

    Who is constantly battling to stop all land development in America?
    Environmentalists.

    So, if we take a moment to listen to the environmentalists plan for the advancement of human civilization, what do we hear??? Hmmm… a deafening silence.

    From where do the opponents of ALL current forms of energy production suggest we derive modern societies energy needs??? Hmmm… again, a deafening silence.

    With their never ending opposition to ALL progress of industrial civilization, and complete lack of any intelligent plan for human technological advancement, I’d say environmentalists definitely qualify as Luddites.

    And who, predominantly, drives a Prius?
    Luddites.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    Toyota’s stated aim with the Prius was to provide the same level of comfort, and usability, as with a normal car, hence ac, fast glass, no diesel, big stereo.

    Sure, a stripper version of a corolla might save another 5 mpg, but that isn’t the point. Moving from a 35 mpg car to a 50 mpg car saves far more fuel than moving from a 50 to a 55, and if in the process you restrict your market to Stoics then you haven’t really done much.

  • avatar
    pete

    My Prius question…

    Why do I see so many Prius’s being driven at 85 mph in the HOV lane on 101 North in the mornings? Did they buy their vehicles more to get into the HOV lane or to help save gasoline?

  • avatar
    Mike999

    Why drive a Prius at 85 mph? It’s aerodynamic?

    Why drive a Prius vs. an SUV? IT saves you $15,000 over 100,000 miles not good enough?

    Is it that Prius drivers don’t buy into the typical auto Delusion, that they need 400HP and live next to Watkin’s Glen?

    Maybe there’s a problem with regular drivers, attempting to perceive smugness, to block out the thought of just how much money they blow on gas and war?

  • avatar
    Mike999

    Oil’s Customer’s will go away before Oil does:
    http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/24/energy-effeciency-biofuels-business-energy-lovins.html?feed=rss_news

    Prius Owners are the First To Move.
    But, once someone build’s a diesel-hybrid pickup truck or van, you too will move, if you can do simple math. The US consumer is getting screwed at work with low percent increases in wages, and high auto and heating fuel, food, home and car repair costs. In this environment only a fool would buy a V8 or V6 guzzler.

  • avatar
    pete

    That doesn’t address my question. If we are to worry about real footprint, shouldn’t we be looking at a total picture. Perhaps owning a non-hybrid car for more years and running it conservatively has a lower impact than driving batteries around at at 85 mph!

  • avatar
    stuki

    I just don’t get people’s preoccupation with someone else’s possible reason for driving a Prius. WTH. With tractors, I can see the point, as they quite literally decrease driving pleasure for everyone else, by wearing out roads and blocking sightlines required for both safe Baruthing, and maintaining reasonable speeds on densely packed freeways.

    But a Prius? If one feels so compelled to hate enviro nuts, what about the back markers driving around in soot spewing MB and Volvo stink pots from a bygone century, thinking they’re somehow saintly for putting a Willie Nelson sticker on their bumper? And driving 10 below to boot. Now, that’s both annoying and unhealthy.

    As opposed, the Prius is nice. My only complaint about it as someone else’s car is the spoiler, too tall beltline and often, at least in in CA, tinted rear window. There’s nothing that will do more for your freeway mileage than choking up on the car in front, so anything increasing comfortable following distance should be ruthlessly purged from a high mpg car.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Is it that Prius drivers don’t buy into the typical auto Delusion, that they need 400HP and live next to Watkin’s Glen?

    Hey now, that’s way off base.

    I only need 300hp. Plus, some of us think we live next to the Rubicon Trail or the Nürburgring.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I had a discussion today with a friend who’d just purchased a new Mazda3 (fine vehicle). He said he test drove the Insight and the Prius as well, but felt they wouldn’t pay for themselves in the long run. I asked him why he expected the car to pay for itself. When I bought my GTI, I had the option of saving $5k and get essentially the same car (from a usefulness perspective) by getting the Rabbit instead. I liked the seats, suspension, and styling of the GTI and that was worth $5k to me, but it certainly wasn’t going to pay for itself. The same goes for getting a Prius over a Corolla. It is a larger car that performs the same, if not better, gets great gas mileage, and has all kinds of technology that isn’t even available on the Corolla. All these things are worth the extra money, IMO. If you don’t have the means to afford a $22k car, like my friend, I don’t understand why you would consider it in the first place and even delude yourself into thinking that it was an option.

    I’m all about little fancy do-dads in vehicles. I think that is one reason I’m smitten with the Prius. It allows you to get techonology on a $27k car that you’d otherwise have to spend $35k+ on. My $25k GTI seems spartan compared to the Prius without heated seats, climate control, sunroof, bluetooth, etc.

  • avatar

    Wolven, go back and read the Wickipedia definition you wrote down. It says opposed to tech progress and change, NOT technological more of the same ol’ same ol’.

    and, btw, most of the the people opposing cape wind are not environmentalists (but there are certainly a few stupid environmentalists who do oppose it). they are a bunch of filthy rich people with views of Nantucket sound, and the backers of these people. all the real environmentalists in Massachusetts, people like me, are strongly in favor of Cape Wind. Once the project is finished, I will make a pilgrimage to Nantucket sound to view it. I’m really looking forward to seeing it. And if you email me at motorlegends@aol.com, I’ll be happy to email you some photos of our windmills in the town of Hull, near Boston. They are beautiful.

    the prius is the ultimate sort of environmentalist concept: how to get the same amenity while using fewer resources. Of course, the Audi a2, if only it were imported, does even better at that game–78mpg–with a TDI and a lot of aluminum. But I suspect it’s a lot more expensive than the prius. If not, it should be imported pronto.

    The prius is not my idea of fun–I like my internal combustion straight up, like my bourbon–but the more people that drive ‘em, the better, because the longer the gasoline will last for the rest of us.

  • avatar
    jmo

    When I bought my GTI, I had the option of saving $5k and get essentially the same car

    I can’t be the only one who was cross shopping the GTI and the Prius. In the end I would have gone with the Prius if it wasn’t for VW’s offer of a $1000 owner loyalty bonus. What I really would have wanted was a 2008 GTD with adaptive cruise and adaptive suspension.

    That being said, I think we need more TTAC investigation into why we can’t get the cars we want. For example… a 1990 BMW 735i had 211 bhp. If I want to order a 2010 BMW 720Ld with 204 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, why can’t I get one?

  • avatar
    jmo

    As an example:

    Introduced in September 2005, the BMW 520d is equipped with the latest four cylinder turbo diesel engine. The new 163hp engine accelerates the 520d from 0-62 in 8.6 seconds, while getting over 47 mpg. The engine is a paired with a a six speed manual transmission (In 2006 an optional automatic was introduced). Priced around 27,000 EUR, the BMW 520d has price in mind, without giving up BMW’s luxury feel.

    Keep in mind that given exchange rates and a 20% VAT prices in EUR and $ are at about a 1:1 ratio: How much of market would exist for a 4-cyl diesel 5-series BMW that gets 47mpg and only cost $27k?

  • avatar
    SpaniardinTexas

    Just a question is the issue for manufacturing/disposal of the batteries solved?

  • avatar
    SpaniardinTexas

    It is a pity that a lot of people in the USA has not have the opportunity to drive a modern TDI like the VW Golf makes in Europe… that is a brilliant engine.

  • avatar
    4x4nismo

    I would love to buy a Prius.

    The car is hideous, I don’t care the angle. Some of the interior features leave me wondering “…why?” (KISS: some things don’t need “fixing,” and I’d trade that power button, corny shift stalk, odd dash layout, fancy “Hypermile-or-ye-be-judgethed” fuel-pattern-recording unnecessarily-animated LCDfor a telescoping steering wheel and simple speedo any day…). The suspension is less “comfort-focused” and more “we call it comfort-focused but it’s really just cheap” (in need of a minor yet annoying shock/spring/swaybar overhaul to be considered a daily driver). And seriously.. cars should be symmetric left-to-right, not arse-to-mouth. And who really needs 4 doors (joking..)?

    As stated before, in ample reviews, the Prius is 100% a home appliance.

    I drive an ’87 300zx. My daily commute is 5.4 miles total. I can manage high 20′s-low 30′s on the highway but city comes around 11-17mpg (especially with a 2.7 mile trip either way). I live within 10 miles of city traffic for 90% of my non-work-related travel.

    So in about a year, right next to my lovely 300zx that rides on rails, spews pollution and guzzles gas (especially after I throw a turbo on it), I will have my hideous Prius parked beside it.

    Do I care about the environment? Not really. Do I care what people think of what I drive? Hint: My current second car is a heavily rusted Dodge sedan I bought for $500. All I care about is having a secondary vehicle that seats 2 adults (added bonus for Prius: up to 4), gets awesome gas mileage in city, is fairly comfortable, has a touch of reliability, and offers more space than my “subcompact” coupe. Prius? Absolutely.

    Besides; assuming the electrical system lasts, since the ICE engine is running at such a low load and low run-time compared to a conventional system (and electric motors are fairly simple and reliable), I can see a Prius sitting in my driveway for a decade with minimal work/expense. Hell if my ’87 has come this far on it’s original clutch..

    If I had my choice, I would LOVE to get me a 3-door Yaris with a similar Synergy drive setup. Swap the ICE for a 1.0, throw in the electric stuff, remove the backseats and replace them with battery packs and I’m good to go. Until the day comes that this can be had for less than $10k, I’ll stick with a used Prius.

  • avatar

    My sister has a Prius. She is very happy with it.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Thank you Prius (and other hybrids)for being the new whipping boy for automotive sites like this, as I haven’t had to read an article like this on SUV owners for quite some time.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    “It is a pity that a lot of people in the USA has not have the opportunity to drive a modern TDI like the VW Golf makes in Europe… that is a brilliant engine.”

    I drove a new Jetta TDI with manual transmission a few weeks ago and was not all that impressed. It has the typical turbo lag and gutless top end of every turbocharged diesel I’ve ever driven, but just not as badly so. Compared to a manual transmission TSX it was not fun to drive at all. Not a bad car, but not exactly a special driving experience either. Some people get a big kick out of the turbo lag driving experience. Not me.

    The big attraction of a diesel VW is the possibility of exceptional fuel economy on long highway trips.

    As for the Geo Metro people keep bringing up … those things are death traps. A vehicle of that design has no way to meet modern crash protection standards. It is also horrifically uncomfortable and noisy. Given the choice between commuting in a Prius and commuting in a Metro I would pick the Prius any day.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Quentin: “I had a discussion today with a friend who’d just purchased a new Mazda3 (fine vehicle). He said he test drove the Insight and the Prius as well, but felt they wouldn’t pay for themselves in the long run.”If the price penalty for a Prius is more than $2k, and gas stays under $3/gal, it’s probably a good argument.

    But the lowest-priced Mazda3 comparable to the Prius (5-door automatic) only has about a $1200 price advantage. If the price of oil skyrockets again (a distinct possiblity), it would be easy to recoup that $1200 within a short period of time.

    The only legitimate argument for getting a Mazda3 (or anything else comparable like, say, a Matrix or Vibe) instead of a Prius is that the alternative is a more rewarding driving experience than the Prius (which, at least in the Mazda3′s case, is certainly a truism). Well, the Mazda3 looks better, too.

    Despite its flaws, the uncertainly and instability of oil prices is really at the core of why the Prius was (and will likely continue to be) a strong seller. Hell, it sold okay before the price of oil went berserk during Katrina and really put the zap on auto consumers’ buying habits. It’s going to be a while before people forget those days when the price at the pump would be making hourly increases of up to 10% at a time, but would then take forever to drop back down.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @rudiger: and speaking of hurricanes, Toyota’s hybrids made for comfy evacuation vehicles while stuck in hot weather + slow traffic for hours, if not days on end.

    And speaking of Smart cars, Amsterdam has some vandals pushing them into those city’s canals.

  • avatar
    postjosh

    phreshone :

    Remember. Algore isn’t a scientist, but he is a failed divinity student.

    ok. i should know better than taking this bait…

    al gore is not a scientist but james hansen is a scientist. let us be clear. the overwhelming scientific consensus is that global warming is real.

    whatever the prius’s shortcomings are as an automobile, it does emit a lot less greenhouse gases than a tdi (or a smart car for that matter).

    btw, i voted for obama and reagan.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    And us pickupSUV drivers have had to listen to their shit for years now… and I never heard any of you special not-an-environmentalist Prius drivers defending the right of pickupSUV drivers to drive whatever they like without being harrassed.…

    A person who drive a Prius for environmental reasons views their actions as being helpful for a myriad of reasons, even if their inner self would prefer something else. A person who drives an empty SUV to work does so because they want to and really doesn’t care about their impact on anybody else. So, we have on group being attacked because they care about how their actions affect others, and a group being attacked who doesn’t give a shit about how their behavior affects anybody but themselves. Yeah, that is really generalizing, but judging from your “who stops everything from happening” post, you like to generalize.

    As a practical thinking environmentalist I do in fact support your right to drive whatever you like. It’s sad that you can’t think of anything besides yourself, but far be it from me or anybody else to harass you about what you want to drive. So enjoy your SUV. Just spare the world any bitching about the price of gas. Consider it part of the package.

    RF: You really threw the meat to the dogs with this one!!

  • avatar
    rickkop

    I’m sure there are a lot of people that drive hybrids to save the planet and do feel they are better that everyone else, but I haven’t met any. Personally I think there are more of them like me, that don’t really buy into all that global warming hype and drive a hybrid for one reason, to save money flowing from out wallets!

  • avatar
    Pch101

    And us pickupSUV drivers have had to listen to their shit for years now

    I’d personally prefer someone who is environmentally smug but walks the walk over someone else who is deliberately destructive, just as I would prefer someone who rescues puppies over someone who likes to spend his weekends stomping on their heads.

    It would be nice if SUVs were just purchased as large cargo haulers by those who truly need them. But even the automakers know full well that there is certainly a segment of the SUV buying population that wants them not for their utility but because these vehicles help them to act out their narcissism and they can use them to bully and intimidate other drivers.

    In other words, some SUV drivers are a**holes, and the industry knows it. They want to tower over other drivers, and they wish to pilot a vehicle that will surely be the one that does the most killing in the event of an accident. These are the puppy stompers of the automotive universe, and have very little in common with anyone with a half-decent set of ethics. They deserve to be ridiculed, as would any other thug with an attitude problem.

    Now, if you aren’t one of these said emotionally deficient self-centered orifi, then I apologize on behalf of the car driving population for whatever aspersions that have been cast your way. There are certainly some nice people who own and use SUVs, and no slight is intended towards them. But if you are one of those who deserves the labeling, then I won’t be feeling sorry for you; nobody owes apologies to those who are to blame.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I once knew an attractive woman who got married and had a couple of kids, a true MILF type. Rather than buy an infinitely more practical minivan to transport her brood and cargo (which would mean having to suffer the ‘soccer mom’ stigma), she bought a large, gas-guzzling, 4WD SUV with the rationale that it was much more ‘sporty’ (you know, ‘Sport’ Utility Vehicle). It didn’t hurt that her SUV offered the ‘command’ high center of gravity driving position which allowed her to see over all those pedestrian, low-center of gravity cars on the highway, not considering or being concerned that her vehicle was also blocking the view of those same cars behind her.

    I’m certain she didn’t consider a Prius, either.

  • avatar
    Michal

    Point 3, where the author questions the Prius’ battery pack and says below 25% charge electronic devices become ‘erratic’ just shows that:

    A) The author does not understand NiMH batteries
    B) Does not know how the Prius uses them
    C) Has never heard of voltage or current regulators

    NiMH batteries have a relatively flat discharge curve. Good quality electronic devices all contain voltage regulators to compensate for the voltage drop off and ensure the device functions until the battery is almost discharged. That’s a prime reason why most devices are just as happy working with 1.5v alkaline batteries as they are with 1.2v NiMH or NiCd cells. The author must be thinking of situations where a battery is just hooked up straight to a DC motor, or a torch light bulb. In that case yes, a 1.5v battery will give you a brighter light than 1.2v. However, extrapolating that situation to the Prius is laughable and does not compare in any way.

    The Prius only ever discharges its battery pack down to 50% full. This is a key reason why the battery lasts so long: deep cycling such a battery wears it out faster, so Toyota used the smart approach.

    The author is desperately clutching at myths and falsehoods, searching for a reason to hate the car.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Remember that kid in school who got picked on because he always made the effort oh so rewarding for his antagonizers? It’s like that.

    Absolutely. There is something strangely entertaining about riling a humorless opponent.

    I must confess that I enjoy a good, hysterical, caps-on eco-rant every so often. I also get a big chuckle when intellectual Prius defenders resort to “redneck” and other name-calling in their arguments. You can set your watch by it.

    Just as the Catholic Church was fair game to Monty Python in the seventies and eighties, so is the Church of Global Warming and its cast of characters (Saint Prius, Saint Gore, etc.) fair game to observational humorists today.

    Don’t take it personally, Prius. It has nothing to do with you.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Pch101:
    In other words, some SUV drivers are a**holes, and the industry knows it. They want to tower over other drivers, and they wish to pilot a vehicle that will surely be the one that does the most killing in the event of an accident.

    rudiger :
    I once knew an attractive woman…
    Rather than buy an infinitely more practical minivan to transport her brood and cargo (which would mean having to suffer the ’soccer mom’ stigma), she bought a large, gas-guzzling, 4WD SUV…

    +1 (+ 2 ?), gentleman.

    I’ve argued before that the place to limit large vehicles is with the state DMV. However, that’s borderline hopeless. Check out this old piece from Slate about how true-blue California already limits vehicles over 6,000 lbs from many roads but – surprise!!! – it’s not enforced.
    http://slate.msn.com/id/2104755/

  • avatar
    ghillie

    Dear don1967

    There are a lot of people very concerned about evidence that significant climate change is being caused by human activity. What to do about it is a huge political issue – especially given that there is no scientific consensus about that evidence.

    There’s no Church of Global Warming. You saying there is doesn’t make it so. You will not believe me, but you can believe me on this – I know Monty Python and you’re no Monty Python.

  • avatar
    lw

    Regarding Pch101 statement:

    “In other words, some SUV drivers are a**holes, and the industry knows it. They want to tower over other drivers, and they wish to pilot a vehicle that will surely be the one that does the most killing in the event of an accident.”

    Some Prius owners are a-holes because they live in a McMansion while preaching about how the car saves the planet…

    Some BMW owners are a-holes because they act like a BMW is a sign that they are part of a superior race…

    Some Chevy owners are a-holes because they beat their kids every night…

    Turns out that a certain percentage of planet earth’s population are a-holes and oddly enough a-holes have families, cars, homes and all sorts of stuff just like nice people do.

    The real question is whether you are in the a-hole group, or not… The post I quoted is helping to clarify that for me.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Any body care to argue that there is no limit to how highly we can concentrate CO2 (and other heat trapping gasses) in the air without any consequences?

  • avatar
    BDB

    Rather than buy an infinitely more practical minivan to transport her brood and cargo (which would mean having to suffer the ’soccer mom’ stigma), she bought a large, gas-guzzling, 4WD SUV…

    That is about the only car preference that pisses me off, soccer moms picking SUVs over minivans. I do not get it. Do. Not. Get it.

    Have a trailer or a boat you take out more than once or twice a year*? Fine. Otherwise, there is NO REASON to choose a SUV or a minivan. None. Zero.

    BUT BDB!? WHAT ABOUT TEH SNOWBELT??

    Unless you’re literally well in the middle of nowhere where it takes forever for the roads to get plowed, not even that. FWD is just fine for plowed snow.

    *If it is that infrequent, you should consider renting an SUV that one time of year and enjoy the all the advantages a modern minivan has over an SUV (driveability, practicality, versatility, safety, gas mileage, and on and on). And, btw, if somebody had the balls to still make a RWD minivan even this wouldn’t be an excuse.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Folks, it’s an inanimate object. Now maybe if the Prius made your kid take drugs or pissed on the Alamo I could see a debate.

    I don’t really see how the Prius is the absolute poster child of environmentalists. The 1st gen Insight I drive probably emits less CO2 than most cows not to mention the Prius. But I drive it because it’s fun, functional, and has very low operating costs. Oh, and girls who are into Star Trek dig it.

    Most folks who buy a Prius are more interested in the economics of ownership. Sure you may get some who wave a green banner. But $3.00 gas is what has made the Prius the success that it is today. Before that time the Prius only sold about 5,000 to 10,000 units a year.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    The 1st gen Insight I drive probably emits less CO2 than most cows not to mention the Prius.

    Since the new Insight is meant to look like a Prius clone, wouldn’t it be interesting to see what Toyota could squeeze out of a tit-for-tat 1st gen Insight “clone” with its own more advanced hybrid drivetrain? It would be like crack for hardcore hypermilers.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I’m gone for a week and this is what happens.

    Geez… give it a rest. You don’t sell 15K of these things per month at good transaction prices to people who just want a green image. They thing the car is practical.

    Frankly, the worst thing about the car right now is Toyota’s own advertising deparement, depicting the car blowing rose petals out its ass. Toyota should just stick to the basics:

    - Room for you and your friends or family.
    - Unmatched fuel economy.
    - Marvelously low emissions.
    - Top notch reliability.
    - And some techno-whiz features that GM can only wish it had.

    Of all the people I know who bought one, these are the reasons they buy it.

    From the main article: “Prius drivers swear, “It’s not about all about me.” I’m not buying it. If owners didn’t want people to know that they’re doing their bit for the environment, why has the Prius’ distinctive shape been such a boon to sales? “

    The distinctive shape helps the car achieve what it achieves. Without it, it wouldn’t get 50mpg EPA combined and, with fewer MPGs, fewer people would buy it.

    From the main article: “Take the existing Corolla and strip out any unnecessary weight. Next, maximize the engine for gas mileage. The target demographic certainly be able to tolerate decreased acceleration times in the interest of more efficient fuel consumption. (Toyota has extensive experience with diesels; a diesel powerplant should be assessed as well.) Fit the interior with lightweight materials or recycled composites.”

    First, strip out what extra weight? A base Corolla weight 27xx lbs. For a car made of conventional materials with good crash protection, this is not a lot. Most of your weight gains are going to come from substituting exotic materials and, most likely, expensive processes.

    How would it stack up against a Prius? It would cost a hell of a lot more and would certainly get worse fuel economy on the EPA city cycle. You have to put something in the car to at least stop the engine when needed and instantly start it when wanted. That’s not a standard starter motor, for sure. And energy recapture helps a hell of a lot. In fact, weight is less important with energy recapture.

  • avatar
    Mike999

    Are you guys going to say the same thing about Chevy Volt drivers too? Sheesh, people go out of their way to Save Your Planet, for Your Kids, and Keep Your Gas and Food CHEAPER, and you GRIPE about it?

    75% of the Countries that pump oil have Already Reached Peak Oil Production. Global Warming is going to WHIP OUT the US Breadbasket. Now, there may be some countries holding back some small percentage of production today, but, the world is approaching 7 Billion People, Nothing is going to help this situation except a Solution NOW. V8 SUV’s are not the solution. Listening to DELUSIONAL Talk Radio is not the solution. PRETENDING isn’t the solution. You’ve got to come up with a Solution.

  • avatar
    Mike999

    Who has the oil and who uses it:

    http://www.energybulletin.net/node/37329

    Iran looks interesting.

  • avatar
    sutski

    “I think Pious owners are trying to buy their way out of feeling guilty about their gluttonous lifestyle.”

    I have always wondered about this b#llocks. Perhaps the first few celebs who drove a prius did, but really, does anyone feel smug about driving this or any other “green” car ?

    The reason I rent a prius from avis when I go to the states is that with $3.50 gas and a 1000 mile ride, you save nearly $200…It is also fun seeing how MPG low you can go by truck surfing and electro gliding… and for me, there are too many speedcams and cops around these days to enjoy using “proper” cars any more, so I now enjoy giving the A-rabs as little money as possible by being as fuel efficient as possible…It also fits me and my luggage and my golfclubs no problem, it is a doddle to drive in the cities, and I get free parking at the hotel in Chicago saving $45 a night.

    P.S. I hear all the time everyone banging on about reducing dependance on the middle east but not a lot being done about it…..so to get the ball rolling, I just sold my Z, got an electric bike, a train pass and joined a car-sharing scheme (mobility.ch)….how PIOUS is that !!! haha

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    Point Three – Is the Prius REALLY That Efficient?

    I don’t think so. Even at a target 50 MPG, I’m not impressed.

    I have a 1988 Ford Fiesta with a 1.6 diesel. I get 40 MPG and I live in a mountainous area and drive with my foot in it! I also have wide wheels to make the little sucker handle just a bit better. The engine has never been out of the car and has really only had a head gasket replaced in it’s whole life.

    I don’t hypermile but if I tried, I bet I could approach the realistic 45 MPG of the Prius. Especially if I made some modifications to improve rolling resistance (tires) or corrected Ford’s antique design.

    So my answer is “No, the Prius is not really all that efficient. I would expect we should have come a long way since 1988…”.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    I was surprised to find out the other day that my mother plans to replace her Volvo S80 with the new generation Prius. The reasons?

    - She likes the looks
    - The reliability of the Lexii we have at home has been impeccable, whereas that of all the German and Swedish cars we owned over the last 20 years has left loads to be desired
    - She feels the interior is pleasant
    - It gets OK gas mileage without being a diesel (she’d never consider one of those)
    - It has an autobox, which is usually quite hard to get in smaller cars in Europe (or alternatively the autoboxes are just crap. the DSGs are an exception but then again our recent experiences with VW Griup reliability make that a non-starter)
    - And the space is more than adequate for a household of two, both retired.

    She has absoultely no understanding of the greenness of the hybrid technology, no need for posing and the only reason how sho found out about it was accompanying my dad to the Lexus dealer when he had a regular check-up.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Turns out that a certain percentage of planet earth’s population are a-holes

    Yes, but as it turns out, car makers designed SUVs in order to be disproportionately appealing to this sub-category of the species:

    Mr. Bostwick of DaimlerChrysler and other auto market researchers said they had been greatly influenced by Dr. Clotaire Rapaille, a French-born medical anthropologist who has worked as a consultant to DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors.

    Dr. Rapaille looks at the intellectual, emotional and ”reptilian,” or instinctual, reasons why people buy consumer products. He said sport utilities are designed to be masculine and assertive, often with hoods that resemble those on 18-wheel trucks, vertical metal slats across the grilles to give the appearance of a jungle cat’s teeth and flared wheel wells and fenders that suggest the bulging muscles in a clenched jaw.

    Sport utilities are designed to appeal to Americans’ deepest fears of violence and crime, Dr. Rapaille said. People’s earliest associations with sport utilities are wartime Jeeps with machine guns mounted on the back, he explained. Sport utilities are ”weapons” and ”armored cars for the battlefield,” he said.

    If you don’t think that automakers don’t do psychographic studies to figure out how to target their markets, then you’re kidding yourself.

    Auto Pacific Inc., an auto market research company in Santa Ana, Calif., found in another large survey this spring that sport utility buyers placed a lower value than minivan buyers on showing courtesy on the road. Sport utility buyers were more likely to agree with the statement, ”I’m a great driver,” and to say that they drove faster than the average motorist.

    (David) Bostwick (director of market research for DaimlerChrysler) said that while some sport utility buyers mention that the vehicles’ sturdy appearance looks safe to them, safety during traffic accidents tends not to be the real reason they buy a vehicle. ”It’s not safety as the issue, it’s aggressiveness, it’s the ability to go off the road,” he said.

    It would appear that GM was in agreement:

    Such psychological factors play a bigger role in the dividing line between minivan and sport utility customers than in the division between any other segments of the auto market, he added.

    Since last autumn, General Motors has held seminars with customers, some lasting as long as two days, and reached many of the same conclusions as DaimlerChrysler, said Fred J. Schaafsma, a top G.M. vehicle development engineer. Both groups of buyers say they want to be ”in control” in a vehicle, yet mean completely different things by this, the research found.

    ”Minivan people want to be in control in terms of safety, being able to park and maneuver in traffic, being able to get elderly people in and out,” Mr. Schaafsma said. ”S.U.V. owners want to be more like, ‘I’m in control of the people around me.’ ” This is an important reason why seats are mounted higher in sport utilities than in minivans, he said.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2000/07/17/business/was-freud-a-minivan-or-suv-kind-of-guy.html?pagewanted=all

    It’s fairly obvious that the industry looks at this group of buyers differently. It isn’t just other road users who have reached similar conclusions about the personality types.

    I have a 1988 Ford Fiesta with a 1.6 diesel.

    Aside from a 20 year old car not being comparable in terms of weight, emissions, etc., diesel fuel and gasoline are not comparable to each other, and comparing the mileage directly is not particularly meaningful. Diesel includes more oil content, so most of the improved mileage comes from the fact that it consumes more oil to make a gallon of diesel than it does to make a gallon of gas.

  • avatar
    Orian

    I’m amazed that people keep bringing up Metros and Fiestas – both considerably smaller than the Prius as examples. The reason the Prius sells so well is that it seats 4 adults comfortably AND has usable space. You don’t get that in the Metro or the Fiesta.

    I’m also amazed that people forgot the articles/mentions in the past here where Toyota actively seeks out the battery packs from the Prius to recycle and prevent damage to the environment.

  • avatar

    BDB :
    Rather than buy an infinitely more practical minivan to transport her brood and cargo (which would mean having to suffer the ’soccer mom’ stigma), she bought a large, gas-guzzling, 4WD SUV…
    That is about the only car preference that pisses me off, soccer moms picking SUVs over minivans. I do not get it. Do. Not. Get it.

    My sister did this. She had some sort of aversion to wagons and minivans, got an XC90, claiming, at the time, that it was the only vehicle that fit some specific requirement that I can’t remember and had 3 seats. She could have gotten the same in a V70. I think she basically fell for all the marketing nonsense. and then she complained about the gas mileage.

  • avatar

    Everything Pch101 is saying about the D3 deliberately aiming SUVs at a**holes has been well documented in the book, High and Mighty, by Keith Bradsher. I recommend it.

  • avatar
    wsn

    I don’t know the exact right answer, but a parallel comparison with a BMW 335 may be helpful.

    Point One — Are Prius Owners Hypocrites?

    Prius owners are as much hypocrites as 335 owners. For the 335 owners, is it all about performance and not about image?

    Point Two — Shouldn’t the Prius be More Energy Efficient?

    Shouldn’t the 335 be more performance oriented? Remove the A/C, power everything and the very heavy sunroof. I am sure the 335 will run 3% faster.

    Point Three — Is the Prius REALLY That Efficient?

    Is the 335 really handles that well? At least, I can think of the R8, 911 turbo and few others than can beat the 335. I cannot think of any car that can beat the Prius in city driving.

    Point Four — Is There A Better Way?

    If a striped down Corolla can beat a Prius in fuel economy, fit that same Corolla with a Hemi and it can beat the 335 in performance.

  • avatar
    Bruce from DC

    IIRC, a British car show ran a Prius and a BMW 5-series with a current model small displacement (2.5 l?) turbodiesel (not available in NA) over a long distance course designed to include all types of driving conditions, including urban traffic, flat country, mountains, etc. . . . and the BMW won the “race” by achieving slightly better overall mpg than the Prius, just over 40 mpg, IIRC. If you’re one of those unfortunate persons who spends and hour or more every day commuting in stop and go traffic, then the Prius clearly is the vehicle for you. That, of course, describes an awful lot of people. However, if you’re not one of those people . . . that is, if you don’t do a lot of urban stop and go driving, then there are probably other car solutions that are better.

    It would be interesting to see a car that has all of the aerodynamic tricks of the Prius — including the skinny tires — but is powered solely by an ICE optimized for fuel economy, including, if it helps, a CVT. One could imagine a turbo diesel that might be very effective with a CVT, since it’s pretty easy to build them with a very flat torque curve.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    the BMW won the “race” by achieving slightly better overall mpg than the Prius, just over 40 mpg

    Once again, these bogus gas-diesel MPG comparisons drive me nuts.

    A gallon of diesel contains more oil than does a gallon of gas. If you burn a gallon of diesel, you are using more oil than if you were to burn a gallon of gas, instead. Similarly, if you change the crack spread of refined oil to squeeze another gallon of diesel out of it, you would lose more than a gallon of gas, so the trade off is lopsided.

    These are simply not comparable fuels. Comparing MPG between them makes little sense. It’s one thing to compare diesel to diesel, or gas to gas, but comparing one to the other is unreasonable. They are different enough to not be directly comparable.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    How many times has the point been made here before that the Civic Hybrid is much smaller, and has a trunk that doesn’t fold down, and for all that, you get worse mileage?

    How many times has the point been made here before that the Prius is between the Corolla and Camry in size, not just a Corolla with a battery?

  • avatar
    wsn

    Just a rant:

    Too many time someone bring up a XX mpg car that’s not imported to the US.

    No, if it’s not imported into the US, it doesn’t have a XX mpg number. Whatever number it has in Europe, has nothing to do with comparing to a Prius. It’s not the same method; it’s not even the same gallon.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Pch101 :
    July 27th, 2009 at 11:51 am

    These are simply not comparable fuels. Comparing MPG between them makes little sense. It’s one thing to compare diesel to diesel, or gas to gas, but comparing one to the other is unreasonable. They are different enough to not be directly comparable.

    ————————————————

    This is another rare occasion I have to support Pch101.

    Diesel and gasoline have different molecular structures, different carbon footprint (per gallon) and different costs. So, don’t compare them directly.

    If you have to, use CO2 emitted per mile (or km), or $ amount per mile. And price in the extra cost of building diesel cars.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Diesel and gasoline have different molecular structures, different carbon footprint (per gallon) and different costs. So, don’t compare them directly.

    Actually, it’s not even that complex, not even to do with refining.

    All other things being equal, you usually find in comparing gasoline vs diesel engines, that the diesel engine produces less power. Power is fuel.

    Diesel forces give you the torque, which in typical driving is the more important number, unless you’re Jeremy Clarkson.

  • avatar
    wsn

    PeteMoran :
    July 27th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    All other things being equal, you usually find in comparing gasoline vs diesel engines, that the diesel engine produces less power. Power is fuel.

    Diesel forces give you the torque, which in typical driving is the more important number, unless you’re Jeremy Clarkson.

    ———————————————-

    By your own words, “power is fuel” and “diesel engine produces less power”, you must come to the conclusion that “diesel engine produces less fuel.”

    And no, engines consume fuel, not producing it.

    Engine torque is not important, because pratically no car’s engine drives wheels directly. There is something called transmission. It’s how you tune the transmission.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    Part of my comment was edited out. Bad form, Robert; I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I’ll try again a little differently in the hopes this one makes the cut:

    How do you expect people to trust “the truth about cars” when you give an article with obvious falsehoods top billing?

  • avatar

    1994 Honda Civic VX

    55 mpg

    2000 lbs
    VTEC tuned for economy

    Performance through light weight

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Orian: “I’m amazed that people keep bringing up Metros and Fiestas…”

    Me, too. Sometimes the B&B don’t quite live up to their reputation.

    M1EK: “How do you expect people to trust “the truth about cars” when you give an article with obvious falsehoods top billing?”

    I don’t know as I’d go so far as to say, “obvious falsehoods,” but I don’t think the article author thought things through. He’s got the facts but he apparently can’t draw reasonable conclusions from them.

    For example, in addition to my earlier observations, this from the main article: “Aside from a small badge and different wheels, the Honda Civic hybrid looked just like every other Civic. Did it sell well? No. Honda Accord hybrid? Nope. Is it any wonder the new Honda Insight is a Prius clone?”

    Did the author look at the relative success of the two vehicles, the Prius and Insight, and give some thought to what it means? I don’t think so…

    If people bought these things to show off green cred, a “hybrid” shape and a hybrid badge would be enough to sell the car. If these things are really important, the Insight should sell very well.

    But the Insight, although it’s priced lower than the Prius and has the advantage of being new (and slightly better looking, if you ask me) doesn’t sell as well.

    Nor does it perform as well or hold as much or as many in as much comfort (tall people can sit in the back of a Prius).

    Clearly, people are buying the things (or not) on the merits.

    I also don’t see why so many are freaking out about the smug factor, the “Pious” idiocy, the “green cred” or any of that other stuff. As examined to some extent above, why do people buy SUVs or Mustangs or whatnot? Most cars have some sort of image attached… What’s so evil about a car that says, “I care enough about my impact to do something about it?” Does it make other people feel guilty?

    Now, I’ve also seen a message to the effect, “You think you’re doing something in that Prius? Hardly! If you care about your impact you should give up cars… and housing and everything else, including reproducing (just short of FOAD).”

    Which is ridiculous. If a Prius owner were to give up driving altogether, etc, etc, there’s still 300 million other Americans driving various kinds of gas hogs and when his demand for fuel dries up, it depresses the price ever so slightly and simply encourages somebody else to use up the fuel that he no longer needs. In the meantime, he can’t get anywhere at all (the way our infrastructure is, your mobility absolutely sucks without a car, unless you live in just a handful of places with decent mass transit).

    So, Prius owners are willing to do their part or more but they can’t solve the entire problem (pick one or all: trade imbalance due to oil imports; depletion of natural resources, strategic vulnerabilities, CO2 emissions, gridlock) on their own; it’s going to take things that American increasingly regard as evil: cooperation, planning, redevelopment and some measure of selflessness and/or common purpose.

    I think it was in “Mere Christianity,” by C. S. Lewis, that I read something about charity which I believe applies here.

    Lewis had been asked, how much charitable giving is “right?” What he wrote is that one should give “rather more” than is normal “for one’s station.” In other words, don’t beggar yourself but do more than the minimum and strive to do better than your neighbor. And this isn’t in the sense of one-upsmanship but rather a matter of setting an achievable goal for oneself.

    If a Prius owner wants to save the environment, spending a little extra for that car is right in line with that sentiment.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    KixStart, no, I’m going to stick with obvious falsehoods. He clearly wants you to believe that the Civic Hybrid is as capable a vehicle as the Prius, which it isn’t by any objective standard. Later, he wants you to believe that the Prius is Corolla-sized and should thus be compared against a stripper Corolla. Again, this is objectively false.

    Then he throws in debunked stuff about the hybrid payback (as, to be fair, do many commenters – the FUD is catching). Even CR finally admitted the Prius beat out the Corolla on economic grounds after screwing up depreciation at first.

    Opinion would be how it drives. Opinion would be whether you like the controls.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    pch101; “I would prefer someone who rescues puppies over someone who likes to spend his weekends stomping on their heads.”

    “SUV drivers are a**holes, and the industry knows it. They want to tower over other drivers, and they wish to pilot a vehicle that will surely be the one that does the most killing in the event of an accident. These are the puppy stompers of the automotive universe”

    PUPPY STOMPERS… Ohhh, that’s priceless. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better example of the infantile reasoning of SUV hatin’ environmentalists.

    And the “psychological” profiling of SUV drivers… lol, those are great. I wonder what the psychological urges are that compel someone to drive a vehicle designed to look like a flaccid phallus… or is that an inverted vagina? Either way, it fits.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I couldn’t have dreamed up a better example of the infantile reasoning of SUV hatin’ environmentalists.

    Classic response, one that shows that you completely miss the point.

    Forget me for a second — it’s the guys who designed your SUV for you who think you’re a bunch of big jerks who want see their vehicles as weapons and can’t accept their status in life.

    How do you feel about that, to be disrespected so intensely by the company that made and sold you your truck? They were obviously happy to take your money, but they apparently aren’t particularly interested in hanging out with you at parties.

  • avatar

    KixStart,

    Very interesting point about the Prius vs the Insight. I agree that the insight is better looking–in fact, I think it’s far better looking. I like the look. I don’t like the look of the Prius. Given that, and the price, and Honda’s brand cachet, it is very telling that the Insight isn’t selling nearly as well as the Prius.

  • avatar
    stuki

    PCH: “I would prefer someone who rescues puppies over someone who likes to spend his weekends stomping on their heads.”

    Shortsighted in the extreme! More puppy “rescuers” means more recycling shelters, hence more widely available ways of “getting out of” a dog no longer convenient. Which means less back pressure against getting into one. Which again means more demand for cute little sorry looking puppymill product.

    Which, in the end, have resulted in pretty much every neighborhood in America being infested with untrained, under exercised and stimulated, poorly treated and all day abandoned yap trash; often to the tune of several per “rescuing” household. Owned, of course, by the exact kind of ‘dog lover’ whose lack of education, and so called compassion, leads them to believe a bark control collar running for a year or more on the tiniest of batteries, are capable of causing some sort of harm to a 50lb mammal. Much better for a flock animal to stand around abandoned all day, panic attack yapping with absolutely no response from anyone, you know.

    Oh, and to stay at least somewhat on topic of cars, the same back markers sustaining this idiocy will undoubtedly buy the largest, highest load floor ape tractor they can get hold of, to shuttle their yap trash back from whatever recycling center they picked them up at; feeling all good and compassionate about feeling sorry for their latest freely acquired maternal instinct masturbation device, after it plunges head first onto the garage floor with sprained elbows and shoulders, trying to get out of its owner’s puppy love sticker plastered doggy tractor. But hey, the thing is nice and soft and furry, and still wags its tail, you know! And it’s free, to boot.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I don’t spend my time fantasizing that someone may be “dissin” me

    That’s funny, because you spend a lot of time making defensive comments such as, “us pickupSUV drivers have had to listen to their shit for years now.”

    So you actually do spend time — quite a lot of time, in fact — worrying about what other people think of you and your choices. Which, incidentally, closely matches the psychographic profile of SUV buyers being concerned about appearances.

    In contrast, I can’t recall seeing a single self-pity post on this website from Prius drivers lamenting what the SUV folks have to say about them. Which, again, is ironic in light of which group is supposedly comprised of the rugged individualists. The puppies are looking a whole lot tougher.

    Which, in the end, have resulted in pretty much every neighborhood in America being infested with untrained, under exercised and stimulated, poorly treated and all day abandoned yap trash; often to the tune of several per “rescuing” household.

    Lemme guess — you own a cat?

  • avatar
    KixStart

    David Holzman: “I don’t like the look of the Prius. Given that,…”

    That bump treatment on the front of the Prius does it no favors.

    The back end is OK but with ~10 sec 0-60s, a Prius isn’t going to be showing its taillights to an awful lot of drivers. :-)

  • avatar

    @stuki: could you document what you are saying about rescue dogs and their owners?

    as a dog lover in Massachusetts, I’m constantly meeting people who are out with their dogs. I’d say at least half the people I talk to have rescue dogs, and they sure don’t look neglected.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ wsn

    With the benefit of doubt in your favour, I’ll assume you were trying out a humorous response.

  • avatar
    stuki

    David Holzman, Sorry if I was needlessly offensive. I’m sure there are plenty of rescue dog owners who treat their dogs well. Theirs are not the dogs you hear yapping fenced in all by themselves all hours of day and night. For all I know, the average rescue dog owner may treat his / her dog better than the average pet shop acquired “soon to be a rescue” dog. My point is that the glorification of the saintly dog rescuers has helped contribute to a culture of dog ownership where dropping one’s dog off at a shelter, is seen as a justifiable way of ending a dog ownership that has become “inconvenient”. After all, “Yappy will be OK. Somebody will give her a nice home.” Which again has led to more unfit dog owners, with attendant racket and other problems, than would have been the case if the only way “out of” a dog was the old fashioned dig a 6ft hole in the ground, throw in a bone, bang, and close the hole.

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    Talk about missing the point. Comparing a non-us diesel car of 20 years ago to a modern gas/electrix Prius was not meant to be a DIRECT comparison – obviously. The question was “Is the Prius REALLY That Efficient?” And my response is and the point of my posting was No, Absolutly not. Not when non-us diesel car of 20 years ago could do it.

    Does that mean the Prius is not a nicer car? No. I would actually prefer the Prius to my Fiesta. I bet it has A/C! Something lacking is my little green lettusmobile. No, it just means I’d expect we’d come just a wee bit further in our expectations in 20 years.

    Second, it is RELEVENT to compare diesel, gasoline, electric, coal, steam, solar etc. directly to each other. We may need to caveat that by stating what we are comparing (CO2 emmissions, cost, amount of dino juice used, etc) but since itis the the fuel for the propulsion of cars – they are directly comparable.

    By comparing Miles Per Gallon (US), the Prius is only slightly better than my 20 year old Fiesta, and not as good as the 5 series BMW diesel in “realistic” driving (per the test quoted above). So again, the question was “Is the Prius REALLY That Efficient?” And my response is still No, Absolutly not. Not when non-US diesel car of 20 years ago could do it.

    I’m sure I can find other comparisons where the Prius gets its hat handed to it and vice versa.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    And here’s Kurt with more FUD.

    The Prius is like twice the size of your old Fiesta, man. Give this nonsense a rest. If somebody comes up with a limo that gets 25 mpg, is it less of an achievement because the Yaris does 35? Of course not.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Not when non-us diesel car of 20 years ago could do it.

    I don’t understand why people have such trouble understanding that diesel fuel and gasoline are not the same fuels, which doesn’t make for straightforward comparisons.

    MPG and efficiency are not the same thing when comparing across fuel types. Just because they’re both sold in gallons does not mean that they’re comparable. Diesel fuel isn’t more or less efficient, it just has more oil in it.

  • avatar
    wsn

    I have to support Pch101 again.

    A typical nuclear electric generator would use dozens of gallons of nuclear fuel.

    A comparable capacity coal electric generator would use millions of gallons of coal.

    A comparable capacity hydro electric generator would use trillions of gallons of running water.

    Can you say that the nuclear fuel has the best mpg and the hydro has the worst mpg?

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    @Pch101

    Yet again, it IS a direct comparison for MILE PER GALLON of whatever (oil, gas, corn juice). If you want to say that you go farther for the AMOUNT OF OIL, then say that but that is not what I said. I said MPG of fuel and that is a valid comparison.

    I see what you are saying and I understand your frustration when comparing oil to gas. I better argument would be MP$ of which – again my Fiesta could win.

    @M1EK,

    You are wrapped around the notion of my Fiesta and not getting the fact that it was old tech even in 1988 yet it got very good miliage.

    So all we have learned in 20 years is how to get the same MPG safer, with power windows, A/C, and slightly more cargo space? You bring up the Yaris, why is it not better than a 20 y/o Ford?

    I’m not impresssed.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    wsn said; “I have to support Pch101 again.

    A typical nuclear electric generator would use dozens of gallons of nuclear fuel.

    A comparable capacity coal electric generator would use millions of gallons of coal.

    A comparable capacity hydro electric generator would use trillions of gallons of running water.

    Can you say that the nuclear fuel has the best mpg and the hydro has the worst mpg?”

    ——————-

    The cost of the electricity created by the Nuke plant is higher than the cost of the Coal plant. Plus, we have no decent method of getting rid of the waste.

    The cost of the electricity created by the Coal plant is higher than the cost of the Hydro. And it adds tons of poisonous filth to the air, ground, and oceans.

    The Hydro produced electricity is the cheapest, and by far, the cleanest.

    So, which “fuel” do you want to use? (i.e. which has the best “mpg”)

  • avatar
    M1EK

    Yay! Still more FUD from Kurt:

    You are wrapped around the notion of my Fiesta and not getting the fact that it was old tech even in 1988 yet it got very good miliage.

    So all we have learned in 20 years is how to get the same MPG safer, with power windows, A/C, and slightly more cargo space? You bring up the Yaris, why is it not better than a 20 y/o Ford?

    Yeah. All we’ve learned in 20 years is how to get better MPG (not the same) with power windows, A/C, anti-lock brakes, airbags all over the place, a LOT more cargo space, and room for actual grown adults in the back, with far cleaner emissions to boot.

    That’s all.

  • avatar
    tonyrenier

    I find it truly amazing that anyone would expect a Prius to compete with a Porsche, BMW, Mercedes…… The point of the vehicle is to get as far on a gallon of gas as possible, stop feeding the Middle east maniacs and produce the least emissions possible and still provide a comfortable environment both inside the car and for future generations. This is not tough stuff!
    The future is here whether I miss my ’67 GTO or not. The car is a technological wonder. I love my 2010 Prius as much as that brand new GTO “back in the day”. Will it do 0-60 as fast? Nope. Will it corner as well? Probably better.

    Tony Renier

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    Well, this was a VERY successful article.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I said MPG of fuel and that is a valid comparison.

    It isn’t a valid comparison if we’re talking about efficiency.

    We can obviously compare whatever we like (some things more reasonably than others), but the average person uses MPG as an efficiency measure at times when it is not, such as this.

    A hybrid is more efficient than any comparable diesel or gas car, to the extent that the electric motor converts more energy into power than could any gas or diesel engine. I don’t own or particularly even want a hybrid, but I don’t have a problem recognizing that.

  • avatar
    CV

    Point One-Point Four = yet another Prius-bashing article.

    The Prius and the original (not the new one) Honda Insight look like they do for aero efficiency. And you know what? The hatchback design is a lot more practical for carrying things.

    Look at the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Every review praises it. But try to carry anything besides a couple people in the back seat. The trunk is only 10 cubic feet. Surely you can drop the seats to make more room for cargo? Sorry, no. The Honda Civic Hybrid mentioned in this editorial has the same problem.

    Could it be, gasp, that people voted for the Prius with their wallets partly because they could fit things in it? If I had a long commute and could buy a new car, I would consider a Prius. My two dogs wouldn’t appreciate being stuffed in the trunk of the Fusion or Civic.

    Why should Prius owners do without power windows or air conditioning? Does the writer believe if you want good gas mileage you should have to suffer for it? What benefit would it be for drivers to sweat in 100-degree temperatures as they reach across the car while driving to put windows up or down? None.

    Car blog writers might ask themselves if they’re carrying around a Prius-sized chip on their shoulders. Ditto whether they have generated the “Toyota Pious” idea themselves.

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    In response to Pch101′s lengthy post about SUVs being tuned to the desires of the “asshole market segment”, I have a question: What vehicles were marketed towards assholes before SUVs became popular?

    Until the early-mid 1990s, there wasn’t nearly as much selection of SUVs and not as many of them on the road. Most looked pretty much like the pickup trucks upon which they were based, which were utilitarian boxes not nearly as menacing looking as the current crop. It’s safe to assume that the percentage of drivers that are assholes hasn’t increased significantly in the past 15 years or so. Presumably, such “psychographic market studies” existed before that time as well.

  • avatar
    mcs

    kurt: I have a 1988 Ford Fiesta with a 1.6 diesel. I get 40 MPG and I live in a mountainous area and drive with my foot in it!

    Try commuting in heavy stop-and-go Boston area traffic in your Fiesta and you will not see 40 miles per gallon. The fact is that the Prius gets far better mileage than a diesel Fiesta in my driving situation. I’m also willing to bet you’d see higher maintenance bills as well.

    Choose the right vehicle for your own situation. What works for you may not work for someone else.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    Great article, love the premise. Need to say three things:

    1. All people buy new cars for their image. Even the stripper models that they say WELL, I JUST NEEDED SOMETHING TO GET ME TO WORK. Thats their image statement.

    2. Cars such as the Dodge Viper CR and Honda S2000 CR have been built with maximum speed/efficiency in mind. Essentially these cars are the same as the regular high end model, but without unneccessary and weight/power hogging options; i.e., A/C, stereos, power windows. Reducing weight would obviously enhance the efficiency of any car.

    3. Its pretty great that we live in a time where fuel efficiency is important enough to argue about again. And the car options now are far better than the Chevette.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Wolven :
    July 28th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    The cost of the electricity created by the Nuke plant is higher than the cost of the Coal plant. Plus, we have no decent method of getting rid of the waste.

    The cost of the electricity created by the Coal plant is higher than the cost of the Hydro. And it adds tons of poisonous filth to the air, ground, and oceans.

    The Hydro produced electricity is the cheapest, and by far, the cleanest.

    So, which “fuel” do you want to use? (i.e. which has the best “mpg”)

    ——————————————–

    You statement actually support my point:

    A direct mpg to mpg comparison is invalid, if different fuel types are being used.

    In this case, even though fewer gallons are used, nuke fuel may not be as good as some other fuel type.

    In the same way, even though a diesel car may use fewer gallons of diesel, it’s may not be as good a gas-electric Prius. Diesel is dirty, unavailable, and un-sustainable (by that I mean in the US most cars use gasoline, if a significant portion believe in that diesel mpg crap and convert, diesel price will skyrocket).

  • 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.


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