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Entertaining Thoughts of a Good Used Vechicle
Old 06-03-2013, 10:28 AM   #1
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Entertaining Thoughts of a Good Used Vechicle

Okay...so now I'm thinking about getting a good used car. In particular, a Toyota Prius C (I know, it's not as nice as a regular Prius, but I like driving tiny cars).

Here's a question for you. For service, do you take your Prius to a regular ASE certified mechanic. Or do you stick to Toyota dealers. Should ASE mechanics know about hybrids and such? Or do they go "Huh? what's that?" when they open the hood
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:43 AM   #2
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What's the usable life of the battery pack and what does it cost to replace? I have read that some have a life expectancy of 100,000 miles and a replacement cost of more than $6,000. This question has always bothered me in relation to used hybrids.
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:49 AM   #3
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The Prius C must be the ultimate LBYM gas sipper!

It seems the battery life is a bit of a non-issue, Nodak.

Expensive Hybrid Car Battery Replacements Are Unnecessary - Ask Our Experts Blog
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:48 AM   #4
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The Prius C must be the ultimate LBYM gas sipper!

It seems the battery life is a bit of a non-issue, Nodak.

Expensive Hybrid Car Battery Replacements Are Unnecessary - Ask Our Experts Blog
Thanks for the link.
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Old 06-03-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
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I haven't bought a car or even test drove one or am totally committed in buying yet (waiting on a second opinion on car repair) and I already have "buyer's remorse."

My mind says I like either a used Prius C or a used Honda Fit. Comparing the two, the Prius C trounce the Fit on gas mileage, but the Fit trounces the Prius C in cargo space. Of course, there are other factors to look at, but those two come to mind for me.
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:28 PM   #6
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I take my prius (2006 regular model) to a certified Toyota mechanic, but not to the dealer. However, a few weeks ago, I had all my little warning lights come on, and after a trip to my mechanic, it showed an error with the hybrid battery pack that they couldn't do anything with.

I had 141k miles on it, took it over to the dealer, and since I'm in CA (batteries covered to 150k in CA), they replaced the entire battery pack with no cost to me.

I'm still super happy with my prius, and now plan to have it for another 100k miles, since I don't expect to have any other major expenses on it. After 140k miles, I'm not surprised to have an expensive repair, I was just surprised that it was the battery, and was super lucky to have it covered by the warranty.

I'd compare an older regular prius too, since it probably has equivalent cargo space as the fit, but might still get better mileage. I love the cargo room in my prius.
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:15 PM   #7
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Okay...so now I'm thinking about getting a good used car.

Here's a NYT article on tips for buying and servicing a used hybrid car Tips for Buying and Servicing a Used Hybrid Car - NYTimes.com

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Old 06-03-2013, 05:00 PM   #8
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My mind says I like either a used Prius C or a used Honda Fit.
I think these are both absolutely exceptional cars, and honestly, I don't think you can possibly go wrong in choosing either one over the other.

The popular press says that buying used cars isn't always as good a deal as it once was. So, do your research, to make sure that buying used is a better deal for you than buying new.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:08 PM   #9
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My mind says I like either a used Prius C or a used Honda Fit. Comparing the two, the Prius C trounce the Fit on gas mileage, but the Fit trounces the Prius C in cargo space. Of course, there are other factors to look at, but those two come to mind for me.
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I think these are both absolutely exceptional cars, and honestly, I don't think you can possibly go wrong in choosing either one over the other.

The popular press says that buying used cars isn't always as good a deal as it once was. So, do your research, to make sure that buying used is a better deal for you than buying new.
+1

The gas mileage advantage is city stop and go driving, not highway, if I recall a previous discussion on the Prius. Have you driven each? How do they feel?
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:32 PM   #10
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+1

The gas mileage advantage is city stop and go driving, not highway, if I recall a previous discussion on the Prius. Have you driven each? How do they feel?
One data point, I get 50+ in-town and highway in a 2011 Prius. YMMV...
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:52 PM   #11
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One data point, I get 50+ in-town and highway in a 2011 Prius. YMMV...
From other threads I thought the highway miles were all gasoline powered while the city stop and go had a component of battery, with the better mileage favoring city.
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:03 PM   #12
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From other threads I thought the highway miles were all gasoline powered while the city stop and go had a component of battery, with the better mileage favoring city.
Not in my prius, although some other hybrids work differently.

Basically the prius has a small electric motor, so as long as you're only pressing the accelerator lightly, it will only use battery power. Any time you press it harder, it uses gas.

So, stop and go is really bad, unless you can accelerate really slowly. It's much better to accelerate once, and maintain a moderate speed. "city driving" of long stretches of 35 mph would be ideal, but that kind of traffic doesn't happen around me at all. I usually get slightly better highway mileage than my city driving, which is lots of stop signs and stop lights.
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:11 PM   #13
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From other threads I thought the highway miles were all gasoline powered while the city stop and go had a component of battery, with the better mileage favoring city.
The big advantage of the hybrid is in stop and go traffic because of the regenerative braking and engine off at stops. My hybrid gets a little better mileage than an equivalent 4 cylinder during highway operation due to the Atkinson cycle engine which is a little more efficient than an Otto cycle.

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Old 06-03-2013, 07:06 PM   #14
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From other threads I thought the highway miles were all gasoline powered while the city stop and go had a component of battery, with the better mileage favoring city.
Not quite. They differ by make but my hybrid has the battery cutting in and out at highway speeds. Going up a hill the battery often provides some power for much of the climb. And, as mentioned before, the electric motor's power curve allows the gasoline engine to operate using the more efficient Atkins cycle since the electric motor can compensate for the weaker areas of the Atkins cycle.

Exactly how they balance this is up to the computer's programming.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:35 PM   #15
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Here's a NYT article on tips for buying and servicing a used hybrid car Tips for Buying and Servicing a Used Hybrid Car - NYTimes.com

omni
Thanks for the article. There aren't any qualified hybrid repair facilities ner me according to the link. I guess that makes me tied to a Toyota dealer if I want specific hybrid work which is another factor in the equation that I really haven't thought about much. I don't like service at dealers.
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:59 PM   #16
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Here is an article from today's National Post that compares the fuel consumption of hybrids. The Prius C wins!

PS. Ignore the (Canadian) prices unless you live here.

Top 10: The most fuel-efficient hybrids you can buy | Driving | National Post
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:38 PM   #17
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FWIW, the two reasons I bought a Honda Fit Sport were the cargo space and the mpg. I average 35-38 mpg around town, and 41-45 highway. The cargo space is huge.

Honda Fits tend to maintain their value, like all Hondas, so you might not save much by buying used.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:28 AM   #18
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FWIW, the two reasons I bought a Honda Fit Sport were the cargo space and the mpg. I average 35-38 mpg around town, and 41-45 highway. The cargo space is huge.

Honda Fits tend to maintain their value, like all Hondas, so you might not save much by buying used.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.
I've found myself going back and forth between a the Fit and Prius C. I've actually listed out pros/cons of my three options. 1) to go ahead and repair and keep what I have (almost 20 year old Neon), 2) Fit and 3) Prius C.

Some of my thoughts:

Option 1 (fix Neon):

Pros:

- easy way out..Just tell place to fix it, and pick up the car when ready

- if fixed, will get my money's worth before another auto over the last year or two I've already plunked down pretty much to keep the car maintained and repaired

Cons:

- the car is a death trap. One accident and splat.

- repair could be a lot for a very old car

- can I be confident another big repair is not just around the corner?


Option 2 (Honda Fit -- I haven't driven one but have been in my sister's Honda Fit):

Pros:

- I really like the layout of the dash. Seems very well layed out

- excellent cargo (love them magic seats)

- great visibility

- can get repaired at any repair shop

- very safe car

Cons:

- MPG not as good as Prius C



Option 3 (Prius C - I haven't driven one)

Pros:

- Great gas mileage

- help save the world (I like being green)

- very safe car


Cons:

- most expensive outlay of three options

- will need specialized repairs (at a dealer?) since it's hybrid
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:23 AM   #19
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From other threads I thought the highway miles were all gasoline powered while the city stop and go had a component of battery, with the better mileage favoring city.
This is mostly true, though as others have mentioned, the motor/battery can provide some boost under some conditions (I wasn't aware that was a significant effect, but it might be).

But there is another effect. In a hybrid, the engine can be quite a bit smaller, since it relies on the motor/battery for some of the acceleration power. It doesn't take a very large engine to move a car at 70 mph, but it takes a much larger engine to provide the acceleration we expect. In general, hybrids have smaller engines than their equivalent non-hybrids. A smaller engine will be more efficient when cruising - lower pumping losses and lower friction losses with smaller pistons, etc.

All else being equal, a 2.0 liter engine will provide better cruising mpg than a 2.5 liter engine. Apparently, enough to offset the extra motor/battery weight of a hybrid.

I wasn't aware of the Atkinson cycle that travelover mentioned. Sounds like it is basically a valve timing thing which is adjusted to be more efficient during lower power modes. Looks like that can also be used in non-hybrids:

2013 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD Test - Review - Car and Driver

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The heart of the efficiency is the Skyactiv 2.0-liter four. At times, thanks to a wide-ranging variable-valve-timing system, it can operate as an Atkinson-cycle engine by *tardily closing the intake valves. This diminishes the effective compression ratio while maintaining the high, 13.0:1 expansion ratio. Partial-load efficiency gains come from the wider throttle openings (and reduced pumping losses) necessary to provide the desired power.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:22 AM   #20
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Some of my thoughts:

Option 1 (fix Neon):

Cons:

- the car is a death trap. One accident and splat.

I can relate to the "splat" factor! Prior to owning the Fit I drove a little Honda Civic hatchback for 17 years. Great little car in every way, EXCEPT that I would have been a goner if I'd been hit by anything larger than a tonka toy. The only airbag was for the driver's seat.


Option 2 (Honda Fit -- I haven't driven one but have been in my sister's Honda Fit):

Pros:

- very safe car

Cons:

- MPG not as good as Prius C

I should have listed safety as the other reason I bought the Fit. Very high marks.

As you say, however, it will never compete with the Prius in mileage.
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