Thursday, March 10, 2011

Addicted to the Prius

The number of Toyota hybrids sold over the past decade or so has officially passed the three-million mark, hitting 3.03 million back on February 28th, says Autoblog Green. Most of these are the Prius, and that pioneer green car has been joined by the Camry hybrid and a few Lexus models. What's most interesting is the speed at which Toyota is selling hybrids now: The first million took nine years, 10 months; the second million, two years and three months; the third million? 18 months.

When you talk to Prius drivers, they do have good things to say, me being one of them. There are a few criticisms too, including:
  • The rear window could be better. Most of it is covered by a tinted layer to reduce glare, but it also makes rear view vision less than clear.
  • The car is low to the ground and balanced, but it is a bit clunky and noisy going over speed bumps and the like.
  • The instrument panel is readable, but some of the data gets old. Is the Prius really getting 99.9 miles per gallon right now, and what does that really mean?
  • It's nice but not luxurious -- basic commuter car.
I would add a few good points to this:
  • It's safe, reliable, and dependable.
  • The interior is roomier and spacier than the first generation version, and a good one to pack luggage and drive somebody home from the airport.
  • The only problem I've seen on a 2006 model with about 100,000 odometer miles is the air conditioning touch screen control panel went wacky and had to be replaced.
  • The mileage is very good -- usually around 50 mpg combined, but that needle doesn't go down to zero for quite a while and you're only filling up about 10 gallons. As gas prices spike up consistently, the love affair with the Prius deepens.
  • The base price is about $23,000 these days. When people complain about hybrids costing $5K to $10K more than non-hybrid counterparts, it's hard to criticize the Prius for its price point.
And the verdict is? Call me a Prius addict.


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