By on January 28, 2014
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Mishie writes:

Hi –

I love your blog. Its been an invaluable resource in my efforts to purchase a car. I have a pretty long daily commute and I’m a bit of a greenie so I’m really interested in purchasing a hybrid. I’ve looked at a number of models including the new Honda Accord hybrid but I’ve hesitated in buying the model I really wanted – the Prius – because of reports of acceleration and braking issues. Do those issues still persist?

I’m also pretty partial to the Lexus RX450 but since its a Toyota, I’m guessing its plagued with the same issues. I’ve looked at the Ford Fusion (not entirely sold on its reliability), the Honda Accord (too new and no room for a spare tire), and the Hyundai Sonata (read about their braking issues also). Is there a reliable hybrid out there? I have very little aptitude for mechanics so feel free to respond as if I’m ten. LOL!

Thanks,
Mishie

Sajeev answers:

Don’t worry, there are no stupid questions…provided they aren’t addressed to Sanjeev. But I digress…

That said, drop everything and go buy a Prius now!  Are you letting recalls and the media frenzy around unintended acceleration stopping you?  If on the remote chance this happens, put the vehicle in neutral and regain your sanity.  Because unintended acceleration can happen to anyone.  Try to kill the panic as fast as possible, and get the car under control with a flick of the shift lever. Okay?

And what of the Prius braking problems?  Done.  Over.  They certainly replaced a bad part/design and “bled” the brake lines to make sure everything works correctly. For decades now, braking systems incorporate safeguards (like multichannel brake fluid distribution) to keep this from being a life threatening problem. And they don’t call it an emergency brake for no reason!

Stop worrying about problems commonplace in the car biz, or continue to worry and take the bus. Put another way: there are NO BAD CARS. Even the Smart Car isn’t necessarily bad. And while Land Rovers are unreliable wallet killers and Corollas are perfect to the point of boredom, the differences between a “good” car and a “bad” car are nearasdamnit to statistically insignificant.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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54 Comments on “Piston Slap: Overhyped Hybrid Analysis Paralysis?...”


  • avatar
    smartascii

    Prii from a generation ago do have a couple of very minor driveline quirks that may relate to what you’re talking about, but they are minor. Well. Depending on where you live, they’re minor.

    The first is that the traction control system is very overactive in order to prevent the electric motor from overspeed situations. This occasionally manifests itself as a refusal to move forward in slippery stuff. If you live in Buffalo, for example, this could become a deal breaker. If you live in San Diego, you’ll never even notice.

    The second issue feels much more alarming, although I believe a software update has been created to address it. The car uses regenerative braking for mild to moderate deceleration, and transitions (fairly seamlessly) to conventional friction brakes at very low speeds or in severe braking. The regen brakes can’t pulse, though, so if ABS engages, the conventional brakes have to take over. The issue arises when you’re braking in the mild-to-moderate range and a tire slips. What happens is that the regen brakes stop and the friction brakes start, but for a split second between the two modes, there’s no braking, and it feels like your brakes just… quit. It’s scary, but as I said, I believe a software update is available that addresses the issue.

    Otherwise, Prii are pretty reliable vehicles. Boring, sure, but as a commuter appliance intended to give you green cred and good gas mileage, they’re great.

    I don’t know what model years you’re looking at, but I think both of these problems were addressed in the current generation, so it may be a non-issue in your case.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The verdict is stkill out but $3,000 repair bill might persuade a case againist complex drive trains when modern day non-Toyota 4-cylinder see 40 mpg.

    http://m.green.autoblog.com/2014/01/27/nhtsa-investigating-30000-toyota-camry-hybrids-brake-assist/?post=1&icid=autoblog_river_article

    • 0 avatar

      If you have a long commute, I think the best option is a non-hybrid like a VW Golf TDI. You’ll see similar gas mileage and lower repair bills. Plus, there’s nothing green about how the batteries in the Prius are made.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Yup. Exactly right. And it corners like a bandit, with a great fun factor….which Prii don’t have.

        —————–

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        A TDI is about the only thing that *can* beat a Prius on straight highway runs, but that has to be weighed against how often you have to visit the dealership.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “Lower repair bills.”

        Good one!

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          “Lower repair bills.”
          That in itself is questionable / debatable; there is no doubt that the maintenance costs on the TDI will be higher.

        • 0 avatar
          redliner

          Yeah, I laughed too.

          Drive a TDI? get ready to:

          -Buy expensive synthetic oil
          -“Enjoy” Mercedes-Benz/BMW levels of reliability after the warranty is over.
          -Deal with VW’s notoriously bad dealer network.

          VWs do ride nice down the highway though, and honestly, after having logged thousands of miles in both, I can say that the Prius is not pleasant on long trips, mostly do to the drone-o-matic transmission design, but it is ultimately more efficient and it has gee-wiz sort of appeal.

      • 0 avatar
        benders

        Long commute still could mean lots of traffic lights or stop-and-go traffic where a hybrid would shine.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Lowe repair bills on a VW compared to a Toyota?? haha yea right.

      • 0 avatar
        love2drive

        The nature of the commute is critical – if you have a long commute that’s all highway, a Hybrid won’t give you much as it’s running on the gas engine for most of the trip. If it’s long meaning lots of traffic and such, then maybe. But I would argue that the smaller sub compacts getting high 30’s/40 probably have a lower cost of ownership and are doing as much to conserve as a hybrid. Most “real world” numbers put Prius at high 30’s low 40’s, and you can get than in an all gas subcompact and save money over the life of the car. I don’t give “green” points just for having a hybrid, but for whatever it consumes at the end of the day…

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “If you have a long commute, I think the best option is a non-hybrid like a VW Golf TDI. You’ll see similar gas mileage and lower repair bills. Plus, there’s nothing green about how the batteries in the Prius are made”

        NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

        I’ve owned both a TDI and a Prius. We still own the Prius because it’s a far more reliable car with a vastly better TCO.

        There are just way more failure-prone $3000 parts in the TDI. Transmissioms, injector pumps, lots of sensors, all mixed together in a high-performance / low reliability / difficult to repair package.

        The Prius has plenty of expensive parts, sure, but they actually work for the life of the car. Also, while repairing the Prius requires knowledge that many mechanics don’t have, it’s quite easy to work on when you get down to the nuts and bolts.

        The Prius is just better transportation. End of story.

        Now, the VW was more fun to drive, when it ran. Just because it was fun doesn’t mean it was’t a piece of shit and also a mistake to own.

        The Prius will get you there every day, I’m boring appliance-like comfort. And that’s a big win for a com,uter car..

  • avatar
    Rday

    My 04 prius was the best car i have ever owned. only had one minor problem with the display and toyota fixed that under warranty at 86k. My girl friend will be buying a new prius V. the prius is the best car that i have ever owned. you cannot go wrong with any prius period.

  • avatar
    carve

    Sheesh…people take the media too seriously

    There’s no unintended acceleration problem, and even if there was, it’s something anyone who has a license already knows how to deal with….or at least they’re supposed to.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TNqcxPeg_U

    There’s just one little known issue: if you’re throttle ever really is stuck wide open, as long as you’re certain you’re pressing the brakes and not the gas, DON’T PUMP THE BRAKES. Stand on them until you stop. Pumping them a couple times under full throttle will kill the power assist.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Daughter is a realtor in Dallas. She bought a Prius a few years back and is still driving it. Over 100k and I believe all she has done is change tires, oil, and the battery. The one that starts the car not the main battery. I think she made an excellent decision and so does she. YMMV

  • avatar

    > there are NO BAD CARS

    okay, not 1988 Hyundai Excel or Renault LeCar bad, sure, but the Mitsu Mirage would be an terrible choice given the competition.

  • avatar
    Toad

    The Accord on it’s own is a great car (for a moderately priced, mid sized four door sedan); every review I have read said hybrid version is terrific and delivers real world 50mpg. If you really want a hybrid I think you would be much happier spending a few extra bucks to get the Accord.

    Of course, with the Accord you don’t get the smug credits that the Prius offers, but you can always throw a “Coexist” bumper sticker on the Accord and hope for the best.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I would be more put-off by the Prius’ poor frontal-small-offset crash ratings, but the 1990 Honda Accord EX that I grew up in probably wouldn’t have fared so well in such a collision, either…so you can take that for what it’s worth. If you like the Prius, get it.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Cross shopping a 25 mpg RX450 with a 50 mpg Prius would strongly suggest that you don’t actually care about fuel economy. (At $50,000 for the RX it seems unlikely you’re concerned with the regular kind of economy, either.)

    So be honest with yourself. The car doesn’t matter, you want the greenbean badge on the trunk.

    They sell those on ebay for $8.95. Put one on the car you already have. You’ll be farting with the recirculator on in no time.

  • avatar
    salguod

    The Prius has been one of the most reliable vehicles in True Delta’s survey and others. Battery issues are not common. I just bought my wife a 2007 Touring with now 120K and it drives like new. I expect to get another 80K-100K out it with little trouble.

    Even if the traction battery fails, because they are so durable a used battery from a wreck is a good alternative. Even if buying new, there are aftermarket batteries that are cheaper than the OEM.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      search out consumers magazine reporting of buying and testing a used generation two Prius with more than 200,000 miles comparing it to their results from their new one they tested back in the day. No difference

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    My brother and I had this discussion recently. He really wanted to buy a European car but was scared to death of all the terrible repair bill rumors. We went back and forth on the virtues and potential problems vs. the relatively higher cost to purchase a equivalent Honda/Toyota/Acura/Infiniti he was looking at instead. In the end I said “if you really want to drive a BMW then go ahead and get one now. You might love it, you might hate it but it isn’t going to put you in the poor house”. He ended up finding a 2008 328i with 37k miles for around $16k and he is thrilled with it. I have to admit it seems like a much nicer car than the any of the Japanese brands he was shopping for the same price. Most of those had 80k+ on them and were just as old or even older.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That doesn’t sound like a particularly good deal on the 328.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @Corey – I didn’t think so either but he is in Portland and claims that cars cost a lot more out there than usual. And we did check the book value, it seemed like a pretty good price for such low miles.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Hmm well fair enough! I think if I were him, a decent drive and some money saved would be well worth it.

          Everything in WA is too expensive from what I hear/read.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            I can see his point too though, he was car shopping for weeks and it gets tiring driving long distances to look at used cars that end up being crappy in person. Plus he and his wife were living with one car at the time, logistically it was difficult, and I am not sure he could have saved much… even here in Florida I didn’t see any equivalent BMWs for any less and we have notoriously cheap cars. Where can he go? Seattle? San Francisco? Shopping price on new cars is easy since they will all be perfect, but used cars are much harder. And CPO BMWs were at least $2-4k higher.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I retired 5 years ago and gave my business to my Son-in-law. My wife and i wanted to see the USA before we toured overseas. In 2009 i purchased a VW TDI Jetta with manual and sunroof for $23,000.00. We went all over the USA for 3 years and ran up approx 55,000 miles. On a trip to the Keys in Florida i stopped to fill up the car and the fellow at the next pump had a Georgia state vehicle Prius hatchback i asked him how he liked the car and he said the mileage was great for in town driving but on the open road anything over 55-60 MPH caused the mileage to drop. I was doing 65-75 in the Jetta and my mileage was approx 42-44 MPG. I sold the Jetta in late 2011 with the above mileage for $20,000.00 and with the goverment payout for the Diesel and no sales tax my only cost to run this car was a new set of tires. The car never gave me a problem but the price of diesel was going up and i wanted a new GTI. My travels now are around the world. Life is good.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “On a trip to the Keys in Florida i stopped to fill up the car and the fellow at the next pump had a Georgia state vehicle Prius hatchback i asked him how he liked the car and he said the mileage was great for in town driving but on the open road anything over 55-60 MPH caused the mileage to drop.”

      Caused the mileage to drop from what to what? We logged almost 5K mostly interstate miles on a trip this year and the trip came in at 52mpg, overall. I am almost always going 5 over and sometimes more, which was 70-75.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        When I drove my wife’s Prius from MD to NC I averaged 52 mpg and 70 mph.

        Yeah it’s another anecdote but IMO the conventional wisdom that hybrids don’t do well on the freeway is bunk. The stop and go city driving that people think is best includes a lot of mpg killing acceleration from those stops. If you can cruise along steadily on the freeway you’ll do very well.

        However the Prius is very sensitive to altitude changes. Raleigh to Asheville NC on I40, mpg in the 30s. In the 60s on the return trip. The difference represents the energy needed to lift the weight of the car up 1500+ feet.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    We’ve had our Prius v (the wagon, not the liftback) for around 18 months now. It is rated at 44city/40 hwy. I’ve averaged 40mpg driving mostly 55mph highway and 70mph interstate through WV mountains. My wife sits in stop and go school traffic once or twice a week after her night shift at the hospital, but that is the only “city” driving we see. It is a great car for anyone that likes big inside, small outside. She was instantly comfortable driving it even after 7 years of daily driving a MINI. It fits all of our daughter’s baby stuff with ease and the back seats are very configurable and comfortable if someone needs to sit back there with the baby. It has done better than I expected in the snow; having it in eco mode lets you ease into the throttle to keep from slipping.

    That said, I am replacing it and my 4Runner with a Rav4. We realized that having 2 vehicles that were family haulers was sort of overkill especially since we’re done having kids. I’ve been itching to get a sports car for a while, so we’re replacing 2 vehicles we really, really like so I can scratch said itch. If it made sense, at all, to have 4 vehicles, I’d keep the Prius and the 4Runner because they are simply brilliant cars at doing what they were designed to do despite being as opposite as they come. If they made a hybrid Rav, I’d no doubt go for it. I really enjoyed the way the HSD operates from an engineering perspective. It is very clever to use the electric drive motors to replace the starter and alternator completely and the brakes mostly.

  • avatar
    thunderjet

    If you want the Prius get it and don’t worry about the “unintended acceleration” issue. It’s a non-issue.

  • avatar
    tinbad

    It’s exciting to shop for cars, I have just been there and had to make the same decisions so I figured I’d share the experience.

    My gf bought a 2008 Prius brand new that got her to 80,000 miles and counting, she is averaging about 40mpg in mixed hwy/city driving. She bought her car when she lived in LA and there was a huge shortage of Prii. She ended up getting it for MSRP, but it wasn’t unusual for people to pay over MSRP. Luckily it isn’t as crazy anymore to buy a 45mpg commuter. I just purchased one in the form of the 2014 Fusion Hybrid. I’m getting 43 MPG with mostly highway driving (doing 80/85mph where I can) on a 65mile each way commute – 45/47 MPG is possible without my heavy foot. My gf even managed to get 50mpg in city driving the other day.

    So having driven both extensively, I can say that the Fusion handles better, is quicker and gets better MPG. As for reliability, I purchased an additional 6yr/125k warranty + all included maintenance from Ford just to have that peace of mind. I would have probably done the same with Toyota or any other commuter vehicle I’d need to rely on daily. Go test drive every option and keep in mind that you’ll probably be spending 2/3 hrs a day in there so make sure you like it on the inside as well. For example I was OK with cloth seats but after driving the base Fusion for a good 30 mins the pokey feeling of the seats started to annoy me so I ended up getting a higher trim version for better comfort, for me it was totally worth the extra $4k.

    Good luck and may the car gods be with you!

    • 0 avatar
      Grumpy

      The Prius must be dead reliable. 80% of the cabs in my city have been Prii for years–the others are minivans modified for clients with disabilities. Many of these cabs run 24 hrs/day and it doesn’t seem to take them long to get over 300,00km and I have been in several that had over 500,000. (very little snow) Downtime for repairs is kryptonite for a cab and that is the ace in the hole for the Prius–according to the drivers, they never break.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I’m on my second Prius. The tdi VW’s were very tempting, but the cost of diesel, combined with the comparatively costly regular maintenance drove me back to the Prius.

    They are really good cars, and I don’t feel they are that much more boring then so many other choices out there. If you like techie stuff, it’s a great choice. I love watching how the engine and motor complement each other and accomplish what a non-hybrid cannot.

    My biggest gripe with the Prius is the engine noise at higher rpm, when accelerating, especially in the winter. Otherwise, the car is pleasant to drive and dead nuts reliable.

    On road trips, I’ve slept in mine in lieu of a long hotel stay. With the rear seats down there is plenty of room to stretch out. If it’s cold or hot outside, he climate control will cycle the engine on and off to keep the temperature comfy.

    I’ve seen over 120 mph with the Prius and it was stable as can be.

    I autocross my Prius, and get quite a few looks. But I’m having fun, so F-em. I’ve also done a Performance Driving Experience with mine at the Milwaukee mile. 30 minute runs, 4 runs in an evening, at speeds approaching 100 (hey, it’s a Prius) and the car never missed a beat.

    I tow with my Prius. I have a 15 foot fishing boat and a cargo trailer. The Prius tows both with ease and gets over 30mpg while doing it. I can even pull both down my street using nothing more than the electric motor. People do a double take when the Prius whooshes by, with a boat in tow. Makes me laugh when I’m at a light, towing my trailer with my tractor on board, or a bunch of landscaping crap, and next to me is a jacked up F-250, or a diesel dually. Towing and hauling nothing.

    I have snows mounted on my Prius, and this winter has proven it to be quite unstoppable, plowing through the deep snow, and skating across ice in Muskegon, MI, with no issues. Last week I braved the third world conditions of Gary, IN unscathed (imagine snow so deep it’s become its own pavement, but with huge snowy potholes).

    I have the solar roof that cools the car down on hot days. The JBL sound system is darn good. And the nav and bluetooth work seamlessly with my phone and tablet. Spacewise, I’ve carried myself, plus 4 women and all their crap (for a weekend trip) and we were plenty comfortable.

    Mileage is really good. Reliability, awesome. Cargo space nice.

    Something else: in this day of gunslit windows, the car feels old Honda airy. The cowel is low, the views out nice and clear. There is even a hint of steering feedback, which is more than I can say for our Hyundai Santa Fe, or the Jetta I just rented last week.

    So, it works for me.

    • 0 avatar
      CopperCountry

      +1 joeveto3. Not only is there nothing to fear with a Prius purchase, the Gen3 versions stop/go/handle like a “normal” car.

      I’m not a prototypical Prius owner – I was first drawn to it by the promise of significant fuel cost savings (and I also consider it budgetary insurance against the potential for skyrocketing fuel prices,) but I was sold by the driving experience. Coming from an ’07 Fit as my last daily driver, I thought I’d really miss the manual trans, but eCVT in the Prius c offers a different kind of driving satisfaction. It still handles great (comes standard with ‘conventional’ tires, just like you’ll find on any other car,) is surprisingly good on launch (don’t try to dust anyone who might have an “attitude” though,as they seem to really get peeved about a Prius beating them off the light,) and gives you fuel economy commensurate with how you’re driving it. I also drive it in MI winters w/Michelin X-Ice tires, and it goes everywhere the Fit did, and might even handle a little in snowy conditions (lower cg?)

      But joeveto3 has taken Prius ownership to new heights which I hadn’t considered. Autocrossing? Towing? … but come to think of it, why not? As long as the inverter can get rid of the heat, let ‘er rip! (and if you were to exceed the the heat rejection capability of the cooling system, I believe that you’ll get a warning light before any irreversible damage would occur.) And about battery replacement cost?, don’t sweat it. The cost of replacement batteries is trending down, and it’s unlikely that one would be needed before 250k miles anyway (and how much would an auto trans rebuild or a clutch replacement cost on a conventional car with the same miles? – probably more than a decent used battery pack.)

      The Prius isn’t a ‘statement’ car anymore, it’s mainstream, so jump in without reservation.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I agree about the noise at high RPM on the Prius.

      It will do those high speed uphill merges just like any car, but our 2nd gen Prius sounds like you’re stomping on a kitten when the pedal is on the floor.

      The ergonomics of the car seem to be set up to discourage aggressive driving. I sometimes wonder if the engineers who designed the Prius thought the sound of the engine at WOT was a fuel-saving feature….

      Still, I love the car. It’s been rock solid, reliable, efficient, useful, and has just generally ,Ade every dsay for the last 10 years or so easier. And all with ground-breaking technology (for the time). That’s a pretty impressive feat of engineering, amd it seems tk habe replaced Civic/Corolla in a lot of ways.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        One hugely under appreciated ergonomic feature of the Prius is the design of the center console and cup holder. It is the perfect height for resting my arm on and the cup falls perfectly to hand. It’s a minor thing I know but nice for longer drives.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Have to throw it out there that, yes, the smart is indeed a bad car. The only bad car left on the marketplace, but an inferior choice to everything including a ’93 Cutlass Ciera.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    If you really want a Prius go buy one. They are incredibly dependable and efficient. Just don’t expect to get any enjoyment out of it because they are very numb miserable cars to drive.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    The TDI is one of VW’s most reliable products and as Sajeev says, there is no bad car out there. If you are going to spend time in a car, you might as well enjoy it, the VW will be much nicer driving experience for the sake of a fractional difference in maintenance costs and dealer visits. Besides, as a greenie, with out the huge cost and environmental footprint of manufacturing the battery, electric motor,an internal gas engine, all the bits that make them work and then having to dispose of it all when it’s worn out, the TDI starts looking greener and the hybrids a bit toxic.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Firstyly, little greenies don’t grow up to be big greenies until they realize that big commutes are a no-no. Moving closer to work is the answer they would give you. Even if it means living in a crowded high crime area.

    Secondly, regarding the “guessing they are plagued with the same problems” bit. Guessing is so 1996. We have the interwebz now. Try Priuschat for actual non=guessing owner stories.

    Thirdyly, unintended acceleration? A tempest in a teapot my little Mish-mish.

    Lastyly, consider the above humor and get thee over to Priuschat forums, stat!

  • avatar
    Tinker

    >the Honda Accord (too new and no room for a spare tire)

    Okay, not sure what this has to do with buying a car, I have not experienced a flat on any car I purchased since 1997, and that involved severe tire damage to TWO right-side tires. So, I had to wait for a flat bed, and replace the tires any way. My wife got a flat on her Isuzu a few years ago, it lost pressure overnight, but she tended to ignore tires, and she didn’t air them up. (She called the Goodyear dealer, they came out, plugged it, aired it way over pressure, and left.) So, I would suggest you very likely can do without a spare at all.

    But, the real story is the spare is just dead weight, that you have to drive around with, in your trunk, costs you gas, and does very little for you.

    New cars today are sold with tire pressure sensors, that seem to be fairly trouble-free. My wife drives a 2011 Mazda CX-7. These work fine for her. It was only after initial purchase, and a cold front dropped temps, she took it back to the dealer and added a bit of nitrogen to her tires. No problems, other than that. (Yeah Nitrogen, dry N2, so the electronics don’t get moisture in them.) More hassle/expense than _I_ want, but I maintain my tires. Must be the Motorcyclist in me.

    If you want an Accord, get one.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I got a flat on my Frontier the first week I had it. Not sure what I picked up but it was a large hole, but able to be plugged. Fortunately it had a normal spare that matched the other tires albeit on a different rim so the dealer swapped tires and the plugged one is now the spare. Got one on the wife’s Hyundai not too long after that. I maintain my tires too…a lesson taught the hard way via an interstate blowout on my old KLR650.

      Anyway, yes, flats still happen and when they do it is nice to have a spare versus a can of fix a flat.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    I’m not a fan of the Prius myself- BUT simply because it isn’t my cup of tea. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just prefer more engaging cars, is all.

    The acceleration and braking problems aren’t real. The Prius that you saw on the news from a few years back; a guy claimed that he couldn’t stop his Prius and had the help of a California Highway Patrol Crown Victoria, brought the car to a stop. This was during the height of the Toyota Sudden Acceleration scares and of course Toyota wanted to investigate this particular case. This happened in San Diego and the Prius was brought to the dealership that I would be eventually hired at. My coworkers that were there at the time told me that particular Prius was roped off and no one was allowed to touch it. They brought in people who designed the car from Japan and anyone relevant. They pored over EVERYTHING on the car. Turns out it was indeed a hoax. The owner had a very questionable history and was in extreme debt trouble. He was trying to con Toyota into paying him off and getting a new car free. When Toyota discovered that nothing was wrong with the Prius with proof, the guy did indeed “go away”.

    Also in favor of the Prius, I think the main HV battery has a longer warranty- I THINK. I sell Toyota parts and mainly when I see a bad HV battery, it’s usually replaced under a warranty…. that being said, ask a Toyota Service Associate first! They should be able to give you details on the HV battery and warranties therein. Also on the Prius, they are 2 batteries; the main one is what I call the “HV” battery. It’s roughly fuel tank sized and is generally underneath the car in the back. That’s the expensive one. The second one is what is known as the “auxillary” battery. This one is small- (bigger then a motorcycle battery, but smaller then a conventional car battery) and is trunk mounted.

    The Prius is a good car and is certainly more reliable then a Volkswagen. Sure the VDubb would be a better driver, but there’s too man VW horror stories….. that’s what scared me off a Jetta GLI not too long ago.

  • avatar
    LesM

    “If on the remote chance this happens, put the vehicle in neutral and regain your sanity”

    There is no “neutral” in a Prius. The way out of that unlikely jam is to press the start/stop button for over 10 seconds, which should kill the engine.

    The Prius is a decent-enough city car, but I wouldn’t get one for highway use. It’s unstable in crosswinds and gutless on hills. It also has no front-end feel, which makes it a very scary ride in rain or snow. Also, the seats are typical Toyota: anyone over 5’10” has to drive with their knees in the air, which can tire you out quickly.

    There’s a good number of cars that get over 40mpg highway and feel much more planted and relaxed on long runs.

    • 0 avatar
      salguod

      “It’s unstable in crosswinds and gutless on hills. It also has no front-end feel, which makes it a very scary ride in rain or snow.”

      Yes. I recently had to drive 600 miles in our 2007 Touring in icy/snowy roads and it was nerve racking.

      The dangerous lack of steering feel is the main reason why, after this Prius, I don’t think we’ll have another.

    • 0 avatar
      Eddy Currents

      LesM,

      There is misinformation in your post.

      There is Neutral in a Prius. Move the shift lever to N and hold it there for .8 of a second.

      Shutting down the hybrid drive system requires a 3 second hold of the power button.


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