People used to ask me all the time what car to buy. Back before I became the hybrid guy, my answer was anything but a hybrid. My response was ignorant because I had not had much experience with hybrid cars, especially Prius.
Now, as a six-time Toyota Prius owner, I have learned a thing or two about the famed Hybrid. I would say that ignorance is no longer a factor here, but the experience is. Here is what I have learned from owning the Toyota Prius and why it is very much worth it.
Reason One: Affordability
What do I mean by affordability? I mean, that cost of ownership for Prius has dropped significantly over the years. People used to whine about having to replace a $4,000 hybrid battery, which I would as well. However, battery prices from dealers and aftermarket sources have dropped like a rock.
Professor John Kelly of Weber State University in Ogden Utah has reported that a new battery from his local dealer for a Gen 2 Prius is now $1950 with core exchange. Other places, such as Green Bean and Green Tech, have batteries ranging up to $1600 with free installation.
Many other hybrid shops around the country are charging about $500 for a reconditioned hybrid battery with the installation. Hybrid Battery Packs are no longer the issue here.
Another excellent point is that a used Prius with around 150,000 miles in decent shape can be bought for about $2,000 to $5,000 depending on the condition. I recently picked up my 2008 Touring for $2,300 with a lousy battery. I found a local guy who did a killer job (the car was out of state, so I was not going to do it myself this time) and got me operating again for $500.
My 08' has 140,000 on it, and I'm into it now about $3,700 for a car that is loaded. I have two key fobs, window tint, leather, Bluetooth, and a known good hybrid battery. This car will easily last me 100,000 miles or more. That is a price that almost anyone can afford.
Other points for affordability would include the cheap cost of tires. I found some great Bridgestone Ecopias for $95 a tire through Discount Tire Direct. Low cost of oil changes and other maintenance like brakes, which only need to be done about every 150,000 to 200,000 miles.
All of these things make the Prius a very affordable car to buy used, do a few repairs if necessary, and drive happy. These reasons alone make the Prius worth it, but wait, there is more.
Toyota Prius Fuel Economy
Many people buy the Toyota Prius for fuel economy. I bought it for other reasons, but I am happy with how well this car does on fuel.
Depending on where you live, you can expect to see anywhere from 40 miles per gallon up to 60 or more. Fuel economy also depends on what version of Prius you are driving as well. For instance, a plug-in owner who only drives 20 miles a day would get top mileage from their Prius, while a Gen 2 owner who lives in hilly areas ( like I do) would get around 43.
I had a Honda Civic that I dumped in favor of my Prius. At peak fuel efficiency, I would get 39 miles per gallon, but it was ultra-rare I would hit that number. I typically stayed around 33 to 35. Now with my Prius, I gained an instant 5 to 10 miles per gallon. That, to me, is a pretty significant cost saving.
All things considered, the car is very worth it for the fuel economy alone.
The Toyota Prius Capability
I loved driving my Civic. When I first was getting into Hybrids, I bought a Gen 2 Honda Civic Hybrid. I thought that if the regular Civic was so great, the Hybrid should be good too, right? Not really. There are loads of things I do not like about the Honda Civic Hybrid.
When I got my first Prius I knew instantly this was a far better option. My Civic Hybrid, while fuel-efficient, only gave me maybe 37 mpg where I live. The Prius, on the other hand, landed me 41, and that was before I went through and fixed a bunch of small things that boosted that to 45. But we are not talking about fuel economy anymore; we are talking capability.
The Civic cargo space was trash. You could not fold the seats down in the rear, and you for sure could not haul a 55" Tv, or a Jetski for that matter. The Prius is a great, versatile vehicle. I have loaded mine down and gone on long road trips taking everything we have needed and still had plenty of legroom for long travel.
I have hauled groceries, mulch, hardy backer board for tiling floors, and many other useful things. Prius is a very versatile vehicle when it comes to doing almost anything.
The question, Is The Toyota Prius Worth It? In my professional opinion, after having six of them, yes, it is worth it. Every Prius I have had has never let me down. hybridcars.com needs to rethink what they have said about Prius. Time has shown that Prius does tow the mark.
If you have been considering getting a Toyota Prius, do it. Take the plunge and enjoy the car. Have a great day, everyone. Be sure to follow our movement on Facebook at Green Car Movement for giveaways and to help the environment.
I look forward to seeing you in the next story. Learn Something New About Your Toyota Prius Today.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.