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Buying a Prius
Old 11-06-2008, 01:22 PM   #1
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Buying a Prius

I have been traveling for the last few years and my trusty old Jeep Cherokee has been great for my short visits back home. Now that the Jeep is 11 years old it's time for me to get something more reliable that gets better gas mileage. I have been wanting to buy a Prius and typically I always look for lightly used cars so I don't have to take the drive off the lot value drop. It seems like the market is primed up for some great deals but demand for the Prius might not make them such great deals on that model.

I am wondering if you all have any suggestions on timing to buy a new car (just before New Years)? What are your thoughts on a Prius (new vs. used) since demand is so high on them right now? Are there any other hybrids I should be looking at?
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:27 PM   #2
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How many miles/year do you plan to drive? A hybrid may not be the answer.

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Old 11-06-2008, 01:32 PM   #3
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Toyota's profits are way down this year:

Stocks slide, Toyota warns of 'unprecedented' crisis

I think that just getting something like a Camry, Corolla, etc. would make a huge difference to you as far as gas mileage. It might be easier for you to find a good deal on a conventional car with good mileage than on a hybrid.

At some point, when your mileage is good enough, that very last mpg just isn't worth the cost.
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:33 PM   #4
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I am looking at moving way out to a suburbs so I would be putting pretty good mileage on the car. I also like to take cross country road trips, it would be great then too.
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:33 PM   #5
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Not sure about prices today, but up till a few months ago they were ridiculously expensive. If you want to save money, you can do the math on that. If you want to be green, it may prove to be more cost effective to buy a lightly used civic/accord/corolla/yaris and then donate the difference to buy up some "carbon offset credits" or "green energy credits" or something like that.
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
Not sure about prices today, but up till a few months ago they were ridiculously expensive. If you want to save money, you can do the math on that. If you want to be green, it may prove to be more cost effective to buy a lightly used civic/accord/corolla/yaris and then donate the difference to buy up some "carbon offset credits" or "green energy credits" or something like that.
ALL of those will have high used car values because they are in high demand. Priuses are still at a premium.

I think you could get a Ford Fusion or something like that at a GREAT price........
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:43 PM   #7
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Don't think Prius is the best choice for a discount, but I sure do love mine. The average of 53 MPG ain't bad either. But the most fun is that optimizing your power use is like having a permanent video game on board (gotta remember to watch the road sometimes).
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:01 PM   #8
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Don't think Prius is the best choice for a discount, but I sure do love mine. The average of 53 MPG ain't bad either. But the most fun is that optimizing your power use is like having a permanent video game on board (gotta remember to watch the road sometimes).
Agreed. Sure, there are more efficient & green forms of transportation, although most of them have pedals & gears.

Prius owners aren't necessarily trying to save the world, they're looking for a fun way to drive a car that has great value and low operating/maintenance costs. Our kid gets the driving practice she needs without being a gas hog, and it's a lot cheaper to insure her in a Prius than in our other cars.

The best way to educate yourself about owning one is to visit PriusChat.com, especially for local owner's groups. Now that gas prices are collapsing again, I think that the Craigslist & AutoTrader boards will start fillng up with them again.

My problem is having people walk into the car when I'm on battery going through parking lots. Especially the ones juggling a cell phone and a latté. I've learned to carefully time when I hit the horn so that none of the beverage ends up on the hood or the fenders...
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:20 PM   #9
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I am looking at moving way out to a suburbs so I would be putting pretty good mileage on the car. I also like to take cross country road trips, it would be great then too.
Understand that the Prius advantage over conventional cars is greatest in urban stop and go driving and least on highway trips. If you're commuting on an expressway and taking interstate road trips, the Prius advantage over a high milage conventional care is not so great.
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:43 PM   #10
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um...have you ever heard Jeff Dunham's routine about the powder blue Prius and the Hummer that he and his wife "own"? see the Comedy Central site, they may have a short clip. Dunham is a very talented and raunchy ventriloquist with an amazing cast of special characters. i saw him in Ithaca 2 yrs ago and my face hurt for 2 days from laughing.

other than that, i never owned a Prius.
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:19 PM   #11
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I find it curious that many of the replies jumped to the conclusion that the OP was looking for a Prius (or other hybrid) soley for the gas mileage, but it was never stated nor did anybody actually asked him what his reasons were. Perhaps we should start there. Also, almost everyone ignored his actual questions (yes other alternatives were mentioned, but no other hybrid alternatives).

"I am wondering if you all have any suggestions on timing to buy a new car (just before New Years)? What are your thoughts on a Prius (new vs. used) since demand is so high on them right now? Are there any other hybrids I should be looking at?"

So what are you primarily looking for in a car Andy? Is it just gas mileage or are there other reasons you like hybrids? I think just before Christmas or anywhere around that time is probably a great time to buy if you are looking for a deal.

Edit: BTW, I'm in total agreement with most here that from a gas mileage/cost perspective there are better cars for the money. I'm a big fan of the Corolla myself.
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:29 PM   #12
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Re timing, I think gas prices are the most important factor. I bought my Escape hybrid in January 2007 and got a $3500 manufacturer's rebate on top of the tax credit. Not sure if these will come back, but it might be worth checking.
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Old 11-06-2008, 04:12 PM   #13
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The Honda Civic hybrid is also a very good car. If you are looking for something a little bigger, the Camry hybrid is also quite nice. You really have to think about your reasons for buying a hybrid though...long miles at high speed are not a hybrid's forte...they do better in stop and go traffic, in terms of gas mileage improvement. A Yaris may be good value for money if it is only a commute car.

In terms of timing, I got a really good offer on an Accord (from the dealer) some years back on New Year's eve....they were slashing inventory for tax purposes. Another tip is to go visit the dealers for test drives, then get on the internet, several dealers of the car you decide you want. I bought a toyota Tundra in June last year at $500 over manufacturer invoice, by going thru the net. When I got there to pick it up, they told me that "today is your lucky day...there is also a $5000 manufacturers rebate on this model". I had been looking for a V6 tacoma so I could pull trailers but still have a small truck. At the end of the day, I paid about $8,000 less on my Tundra with a big V8, lots but not all the bells and whistles, than I would have paid for a V6 Tacoma at the time with the same bells and whistles. And, the gas mileage for my 381hp V8 is only 1mpg less than the advertised mpg for the V6 Tacoma. Since this truck is for big jobs anyway, not for daily driving, it was a good trade-off. Moral of the diatribe is to figure out what you need the vehicle to do for you and figure out what trade-offs are acceptable to you. Then look for the solution to your problem, not the brand and make of car. As always, YMMV.

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Old 11-06-2008, 04:41 PM   #14
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I am looking at a Prius because I like their looks, interior, and have read such amazing things in Consumer Reports about being the highest rated in so many categories. The type of driving I will do is mostly local around the suburban neighborhood (groceries, shopping, etc) with trips into the city every so often. I will not be commuting every day and road trips (if lucky) will only be once every year or so.

I am going to stick to my Chritstmas/New Years timing since (I think) they have to pay property tax on the car to the City if it's on the lot January 1st. That will hopefully give some dealers incentives to close a deal.

I once heard about a method of outlining the exact specifications you want and then sending it to the fleet manager of multiple dealers. Included are instructions to send you their best offer on XYZ day. You also tell them that if they contact you before that day you will not buy from that dealership. I hear you can get a heck of a deal that way, anyone tried that?
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:31 PM   #15
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I once heard about a method of outlining the exact specifications you want and then sending it to the fleet manager of multiple dealers. Included are instructions to send you their best offer on XYZ day. You also tell them that if they contact you before that day you will not buy from that dealership. I hear you can get a heck of a deal that way, anyone tried that?
I used that method in 1995. I got the car I wanted for the price I wanted, no haggling. I'm still driving it and enjoying the ride!

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Old 11-06-2008, 05:33 PM   #16
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My family just bought a used Camry last Friday, so we're familiar with the market for Toyotas, at least in this corner in Florida. My opinion: this is the best time to be a car buyer in decades. The large Toyota dealer we bought from had a crowd of salespeople standing around looking bored and a bit desperate. A Toyota dealer down in Venice, FL was advertising a 2009 Prius for $19,000 (plus junk fees, I'm sure) - amazing!

As an engineer, I'm a bit concerned about the additional complexity associated with a hybrid - lots of things to go wrong. However, my mother has had great experience with hers, and in general the Prius' reputation for reliability seems good. I like watching the Prius' real-time powertrain display - pretty cool.
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:41 PM   #17
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Look at the Honda Civic hybrid. Substantially cheaper than a Prius and gets better mileage in highway driving. (I have averaged 54.5 mpg over 22k miles in the last 10 months.) It also looks exactly like a normal Civic inside and out (I did not like the the "futuristic" interior of the Prius when I test drove it).
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:20 PM   #18
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I think I'll hold out for the new Prius or the new Honda Insight, both reportedly 2010 models that are supposed to hit showrooms Spring 2009.
Confirmed: This is the 2010 Toyota Prius - Autoblog
2010 Honda Insight Hybrid - Official Honda Web Site
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:07 PM   #19
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I am looking at a Prius because I like their looks, interior, and have read such amazing things in Consumer Reports about being the highest rated in so many categories. The type of driving I will do is mostly local around the suburban neighborhood (groceries, shopping, etc) with trips into the city every so often. I will not be commuting every day and road trips (if lucky) will only be once every year or so.

I am going to stick to my Chritstmas/New Years timing since (I think) they have to pay property tax on the car to the City if it's on the lot January 1st. That will hopefully give some dealers incentives to close a deal.

I once heard about a method of outlining the exact specifications you want and then sending it to the fleet manager of multiple dealers. Included are instructions to send you their best offer on XYZ day. You also tell them that if they contact you before that day you will not buy from that dealership. I hear you can get a heck of a deal that way, anyone tried that?
You can save yourself the trouble by using carsdirect.com. The basically do the same for you, but you only have enter your data once. When carsdirect first came on the scene, I couldn't figure out how they were offering such amazing prices. Then as the business got more well known, their method of going straight to fleet became more widely known.
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:28 AM   #20
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I am looking at a Prius because I like their looks, interior, and have read such amazing things in Consumer Reports about being the highest rated in so many categories. The type of driving I will do is mostly local around the suburban neighborhood (groceries, shopping, etc) with trips into the city every so often. I will not be commuting every day and road trips (if lucky) will only be once every year or so.
I have a 2006 Prius and get 46-47 mpg overall in mixed driving, which was about the same as CR's "real world" mileage figure. Consumers' Union had lots of good things to say about the Prius that year. I don't know if they've reviewed it again since then. Their evaluation was that a Prius was one of two hybrids that would actually save you money over the first five years—unfortunately I don't recall what the other one was, and the tax credit on a Prius is much lower than it was two years ago, if there's any left at all. CR reviewed the Yaris this year and didn't think highly of it. I don't know what your budget is for the purchase, but it sounded to me as if for about the same money ($12-15K), a used first-generation Prius might be a smarter pick than a new Yaris.
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