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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: mtnrider on May 10, 2015, 02:42:54 PM

Title: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 10, 2015, 02:42:54 PM
Sadly, I find myself in the position of needing a new car - it seems like a Prius is a good fit.  Here's what I've been thinking:

 - new vs used: I don't want new, but it seems like the discount around here for used Priuses is not very good.  (Toyota has a $2000 new Prius "incentive" which tilts the scale to the new car price.)

 - I don't see any reason to buy a higher class than the "Two."

 - I'm not going to finance it

 - not sure about doing a private party trade-in for my old car - there are serious mechanical and cosmetic issues that bring my car to the bottom side of the used car valuation.

Am I missing something?
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Syonyk on May 10, 2015, 03:49:15 PM
What's your driving profile look like?  And what are the mechanical issues with your existing car?  Dropping $20k+ on a new car is a good chunk of change.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: GueroKC on May 10, 2015, 05:50:52 PM
Every individual has their own unique situation and values, however...

In the vast majority of circumstances, buying a brand-new Prius is going to be a poorer financial move than buying a used non-hybrid car. An older Honda Fit, Scion XD/XA, or similar car will be cheaper to purchase, cheaper to insure, and get comparable gas mileage (Especially if most of your driving his highway driving. Hybrid gains in MPG are almost all in stop-and-go driving.)

If environmental impact is a big deal to you, small, non-hybrid cars can be very competitive in that arena, too. What they give up in fuel-efficiency, they make up for by not needing batteries.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 10, 2015, 07:18:29 PM

Driving profile: I walk or ride a bike to almost all of my local destinations - work, shopping, etc...   But I actually drive a few hundred miles a week - mostly due to family obligations.  That'll be true for the next four or five years.  I live in a small New England city.

The old minivan is 15 years old, has about 200,000 miles, and it needs a new torque converter+tranny, rear brakes/rotors, windshield, and a handful of minor things (rear wiper motor, power window motor, door rollers, struts).  I did a lot of work on this beast in the past myself, but my current landlords don't allow repairs - plus I don't have time to pull the tranny anyway.    The KBB value is around $1000 and we're talking about probably >$4000k to get it to pass inspection.  (And although I try practicing non-attachment, I love this minivan.  But I need something more reliable.  It's the failing transmission that pushed this over the edge.)

For non-hybrids, I've thought about used with the Civic, the Fit, and a handful of other cars, but they don't fit me well and aren't priced all that competitively either.  The Prius itself is a compromise - I'm tall, and I sometimes sleep in the back.  Actually, the 2015 Fit would work for driving, but not as much for sleeping.  I was surprised about the Prius - I'd driven a 2002 and a 2005 before, and they didn't fit me vertically, but I just squeeze in for the >2010 models without a sunroof.

I'd really like a used Prius, but the pricing (!) - they're asking $24k for a 2013 Model Two with 11k miles.  Or $12k for a 2010 with 100k miles.  Granted that we're talking about the "asking" price, but they're "asking" around $3k MORE than a new one than a 2013!  Overall, it appears to be a very efficient market with something like 10 cents per mile, with no huge depreciation.  (Partially due to the price incentives from Toyota, but with a new, more efficient Prius model coming out next year, I have to wonder if there'll be a depreciation hit then.  Not that it helps me now.)

I'm trying to look at other aspects too.  Insurance seems to be on par with other smaller cars, as is reliability and repair costs.

Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on May 10, 2015, 08:02:03 PM
Buy that Prius. I own a 2011 Prius II and I paid more for my car than you will pay for a new one - by about $4k. My points to you are:
- insane price incentives on the Prius right now due to the low price of fuel
- those price incentives will not last.
- the car is fantastic
- I can get 50mpg "any day of the week". My wife can do 54mpg on her commute.
- We can put 500 miles on a 10 gallon tank and refill every two weeks.
- I'm tall also (a tad over 6 ft) and the car fits me just fine.
- It's insanely comfortable, especially on long trips
- You'll get free maintenance from the Toyota dealer for two years. Free oil changes, etc. I spent $0 on mine the first two years.
- Some Toyota dealers offer free oil changes for life, etc. You gotta schedule them well in advance, but that's easy to plan for
- After that, I've not gotten hit with any big bills of any kind.

Negatives?
- It's not gonna throw you back in the seat when you mash the gas,
- You don't get that "tightly coupled to the road" feel,
- There's no manual transmission you can slam through the gears

In short, if you are confident in your own manhood and frugality, you can make out like a bandit with a Prius. I wouldn't trade mine for any other vehicle. NOTE: I am not affiliated with Toyota and I have no pecuinary interest whether you buy or not. I'm just a satisfied Prius owner.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 10, 2015, 08:12:44 PM
It's good to hear that mefla!  I've had my time of building fast cars, so I don't need to prove anything, and if I want to feel the road, I get a much better connection on a bike.

Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Travis on May 10, 2015, 08:50:59 PM
What is a Prius 2? I'm aware of the Prius, Prius V, and Prius C.  I'm in the market for one and I'm just looking at the Prius between 2006 and 2010 models.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 10, 2015, 10:22:50 PM
What is a Prius 2? I'm aware of the Prius, Prius V, and Prius C.  I'm in the market for one and I'm just looking at the Prius between 2006 and 2010 models.

It's a normal Prius, in the "Two" trim level.  No sunroof, no lane following radar, no HUD, no Sidewinder missile rails (!).  :)  This is generally the cheapest available level they sell for - the "One" level seems to be only for fleets.

I think the models you're looking for are typically called "Gen II" (second generation body)  The current Prius is "Gen III" and apparently next year, there will be a "Gen IV."  My understanding is Gen II are nice + the rear seats fold down flatter than the Gen III, which makes them better for sleeping.

Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on May 11, 2015, 06:35:42 AM
What is a Prius 2? I'm aware of the Prius, Prius V, and Prius C.  I'm in the market for one and I'm just looking at the Prius between 2006 and 2010 models.

It's a normal Prius, in the "Two" trim level.  No sunroof, no lane following radar, no HUD, no Sidewinder missile rails (!).  :)  This is generally the cheapest available level they sell for - the "One" level seems to be only for fleets.

I think the models you're looking for are typically called "Gen II" (second generation body)  The current Prius is "Gen III" and apparently next year, there will be a "Gen IV."  My understanding is Gen II are nice + the rear seats fold down flatter than the Gen III, which makes them better for sleeping.
+1 to what mtnrider said. The "two" designation is the trim level. But even at "two", you get four wheel disk brakes, cruise, temp-controlled A/C, remote locks, seveal-speaker MP3-capable stereo and I think this year's Prius Two includes a backup camera. With any Prius, you get a remarkable set of screens for great fuel consumption and performance data from the car.

One of my sons has an older Gen Two Prius (2005) and it's going strong, getting him 50mpg on his highway trips between New York and North Carolina. He tracks what he spends on fuel and compared to the Acura Integra he used to drive, he paid for the Prius just in fuel savings, saw a drop in the cost of his insurance and taxes, and has a ton more interior room and creature comforts. He can cruise on I-81 around 75-80 MPH while still getting 48-50 MPG depending on the weather and driving conditions.

I own two hybrids: A "Gen 1" Honda Insight, 2000 model and the "Gen 3" Toyota Prius, 2011 model. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, things they are better suited for and less suited for. But both cars can get in excess of 500 miles per 10.8 gallons (I'm aiming for 700 miles on my next 10 gallon tank in the Insight over the next two weeks).

BTW: Batteries last about 15 years. I just now replaced the hybrid battery in my Insight for $2075. I know people who have had to recondition and maintain their Prius battery, but so far I don't know anyone who's had to replace theirs.

Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on May 11, 2015, 06:50:46 AM
Now look...let me be clear: Buying a new Prius is "not mustachian" in the sense that it's not a 2-3 year old minivan, Scion Xa, Honda Fit or Corolla. You can, however, "get mustachian" if you buy a used Gen 3 Prius for $12k or so.

However, you have correctly pointed out that the used car market is fairly inflated: most people who have crappy credit are stuck with buying used, and the dealerships gig the hell out of them on interest rate. So it's a real racket. Plus, if you buy new, you get all kinds of benefits that ARE worth money you'd have to spend on the used car.

If you can pay cash for the car, great. If you can get 0% financing, great. But you will pay nothing for maintenance the first two years, you may escape paying for oil changes if you go to the right dealer, and you will get MPG numbers that far exceed what you can do with a civic, corolla or fit. (Last I checked, the Honda Fit SUCKED at MPG because Honda wanted to make it "sporty")

To reach 40mpg with a non-hybrid, you have to buy a model that's specifically built to hit that number. The older Hondas with the "HF" designation could get close to 40 on the highway. Newer Hondas have the "ECON" button, and I think there's a Corolla that can get near 40mpg. Otherwise, you are looking at 32-34 mpg most of the time.

That's still 10-20mpg less than you can do with a Prius under any circumstances. So while a Prius doesn't DOUBLE your fuel economy over, say, a new Corolla, you get efficiency capabilities with the Prius that, if you are interested in learning about "hypermiling", can give you choices you just don't have with a Civic or a Corolla.

And believe me, if you buy a Prius, there will come a time when it's capabilities will save your ass. The Prius can go 60 miles on it's fuel reserves after the gas pump comes on. You can slow down and drop into "EV mode" on the Gen 3 Prius - so when going through a big parking lot or a neighborhood, you can go full-EV and burn NO GAS. (When I turn off on the slow road to my house, I can go full-EV mode for over 1/3 a mile. The car is completely silent when it comes up into the driveway! :-) )

Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Jmoody10 on May 11, 2015, 08:20:18 AM
I feel like a ninja when my prius goes silent! I live on a rural dirt road and love sneaking up on grazing deer with it!
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Syonyk on May 11, 2015, 12:25:07 PM
Sneaking up on deer is useful if you have a rifle or shotgun. Otherwise I'd rather not be sneaking up on them in a car. I've had the damned forest rats run into the side on my car...
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Bob W on May 11, 2015, 12:34:14 PM
Sounds like you have your heart set on the Prius?   

So let's make it the best deal possible.   

Read a few blurbs on negotiating.

1.  Don't tell them it is cash
2.  Ask the what the absolute best price they can give you on the trade
3.  Say it like this and practice "What is the absolute best price you can give me on this today?"  Whatever number they say -  Reply -"I was thinking lower,  how much lower can you go?"
4. Do this on the 18th of the month. 
5.  Keep turning down their price (until they get near the dealer cost) and you meet the manager.
6.  Walk away.
7.  On the last day of the month about 4 pm walk in and offer them $500 less than their best previous offer.

In today's sales environment for Prius' you should be able to buy below the dealer cost. 

Then finance it at 3% at your local credit union and keep your funds invested. 
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: rtrnow on May 11, 2015, 12:54:12 PM

If you can pay cash for the car, great. If you can get 0% financing, great. But you will pay nothing for maintenance the first two years, you may escape paying for oil changes if you go to the right dealer, and you will get MPG numbers that far exceed what you can do with a civic, corolla or fit. (Last I checked, the Honda Fit SUCKED at MPG because Honda wanted to make it "sporty")

To reach 40mpg with a non-hybrid, you have to buy a model that's specifically built to hit that number. The older Hondas with the "HF" designation could get close to 40 on the highway. Newer Hondas have the "ECON" button, and I think there's a Corolla that can get near 40mpg. Otherwise, you are looking at 32-34 mpg most of the time.


The fit easily averages 34-35 in mostly city driving for me, and I do not try to hypermile. With some mild hypermiling, I hit 38 easily and sometimes maintain over 40. I payed 11K for the fit with 45K miles and now at over 100K miles it has needed nothing other than routine maintenance. I can buy a hell of a lot of gas for the extra 10-15K you'll spend on that prius. I also get to drive a stick and have a car that is easy to work on myself. All maintenance thus far (oil changes, brakes, valve adjustment, spark plugs) I have done myself with no experience using forums and youtube. I doubt things are that simple on the prius but I don't really know.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 11, 2015, 08:42:30 PM

Well, my heart's not set on it - that's why I posted here, to get some countervailing opinions.

Some things I've rejected:

 - thinking outside the box: move closer to my kid.  That would end up a net-negative since I'd have to drive to work in traffic.

 - bike to the kid: way too far to be practical

 - use a rental to travel: I like this idea, but it's not cost effective, and would be harder in the winter

 - buy a craigslist Prius or small car: they are ridiculously close to new car prices (modulo mileage) + there's time invested in finding one

 - buy a smaller car: OK, but I'd have to choose which to lop off - my head or my feet?  :)  Seriously, I /could/ squeeze into a smaller car, but the price differential is not that much, and I'm hunched over enough at work.  The 2015 Fit would "fit", but they're asking $19k for used models with low mileage.

 - buy a sedan: the Accord or Camry aren't hatchbacks, a PT Cruiser is inexpensive used, but has not-so-great reliability.  I like Subarus, but don't need AWD + clearance since I don't ski anymore.

But really, given the constraints, I don't think there's anything else practical other than to suck it up and get a new car.  Like GueroKC said, everyone has their unique situation.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 11, 2015, 08:49:44 PM
Sounds like you have your heart set on the Prius?   

So let's make it the best deal possible.   

Read a few blurbs on negotiating.

1.  Don't tell them it is cash
2.  Ask the what the absolute best price they can give you on the trade
3.  Say it like this and practice "What is the absolute best price you can give me on this today?"  Whatever number they say -  Reply -"I was thinking lower,  how much lower can you go?"
4. Do this on the 18th of the month. 
5.  Keep turning down their price (until they get near the dealer cost) and you meet the manager.
6.  Walk away.
7.  On the last day of the month about 4 pm walk in and offer them $500 less than their best previous offer.

In today's sales environment for Prius' you should be able to buy below the dealer cost. 

Then finance it at 3% at your local credit union and keep your funds invested.

Oh this is interesting.  I had heard to walk in and tell them I'd be buying with cash because the guarantee of making a sale is currently better for them since they're trying to up their sales numbers. 

I'd have to drive to a number of dealers, so I was just going to email them all a form letter to get the negotiations kicked off.  It would say that I'd like to buy their car for $xyz*, when can I come by with a check?

* where xyz is a few hundred below the Consumer Reports New Car Pricing number, minus the $2000 cash incentive.

But yeah.  I'm totally prepared to walk away.  Actually, I'd probably walk away anyway just to sleep on it.






Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Syonyk on May 11, 2015, 09:17:08 PM
Dealerships hate cash.  They make a good bit on selling off the loan.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Travis on May 11, 2015, 09:24:58 PM
Quote
buy a craigslist Prius or small car: they are ridiculously close to new car prices (modulo mileage) + there's time invested in finding one

What years are you looking at?  Both here and where I'm moving to are a few 2008-2010 models under $9k with around 150k miles as both private and dealer sales.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on May 11, 2015, 09:28:26 PM
Sounds like you have your heart set on the Prius?   
So let's make it the best deal possible.   
(...amazing shit here...)
Damn Bob, you are the Darth Vader of car negotiating, man.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on May 11, 2015, 09:38:05 PM
Some things I've rejected:

 - thinking outside the box: move closer to my kid.
... (other stuffs here)...

Oh crap. I better understand your mission for the car now, and why you are looking at a new car of ANY kind....you have a mission for the car that is in-no-way mustachian and you've already assessed the alternatives, ruled them out.

A new Prius is a pretty good choice, especially if you are making some trip > 50 miles twice in a weekend.  And you damn well don't want this car failing on you while you are on the road. That would be a catastrophe for several reasons.

NOW I also get the "sleeping" option too. It's not quite as good as a minivan that way, but then you throw MPG out the window. It'll work for that, especially if you use a decent foam pad.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: danactsalot on May 11, 2015, 09:44:19 PM


 - buy a smaller car: OK, but I'd have to choose which to lop off - my head or my feet?  :)  Seriously, I /could/ squeeze into a smaller car, but the price differential is not that much, and I'm hunched over enough at work.  The 2015 Fit would "fit", but they're asking $19k for used models with low mileage.


Have you actually tried sitting in smaller cars? Most cars in the past 10 years can actually handle taller, bigger people fairly comfortably. Unless you're Shaq, you should be fine...

With you mostly doing highway driving, a used diesel would probably be the most economical and environmental option. Used car market is tight for them, too, but probably not as bad as the Prius. VW Jetta, Golf, Chevy Cruze could all be good options.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Syonyk on May 11, 2015, 10:50:35 PM
A reasonably recent used diesel is an utter maintenance nightmare waiting to happen.  The things they have to do to the engine to make it meet US EPA emissions regulations utterly destroy any inherent simplicity or reliability of a diesel.

I'd rather have a Prius than a new diesel car, and I say this as one who despises Priuses and the utterly bland economical motoring they represent.  Also that they seem to be unable to exceed 55mph in the left lane.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Sid Hoffman on May 11, 2015, 11:15:52 PM
$2000 off MSRP is NO WHERE NEAR ENOUGH!!

Truecar for a high COL area (Alexandria, VA) is showing $4900 off suggested.  Just last week there was a thread on TCL about a guy who got $4500 off a new Prius (http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?7163198-Sign-me-up-for-the-Prius-brigade) ($31,450 sticker, $26,900 transaction price) in Philadelphia.  You need to work with a different dealer.  This is the final year of the 3rd generation Prius and Toyota's blowing them out to clear inventory before the new one hits dealerships for the 2016 model year.

For the record, back when I was married, we had a 2010 Prius Two, no options except the protection package or whatever it's called, which is basically some clear strips over the door edges, rear bumper, and I think the floormats.  Anyway, it was a perfectly fine car.  My ex-wife still drives it.  60,000 miles in nearly 5 years, no problems but regular maintenance.  I personally think anything above the base model is a waste.

Still: hammer on the price.  Call multiple dealerships until you get the best price.  $2000 off MSRP is a joke at this time for the Prius.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: ClaycordJCA on May 12, 2015, 01:14:23 AM
At least in Northern California, Toyota is offering 0% financing on all Prius' through the end of the month. May want to see if that same deal is being offered in your area.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on May 12, 2015, 05:18:43 AM
A reasonably recent used diesel is an utter maintenance nightmare waiting to happen.  The things they have to do to the engine to make it meet US EPA emissions regulations utterly destroy any inherent simplicity or reliability of a diesel.

I'd rather have a Prius than a new diesel car, and I say this as one who despises Priuses and the utterly bland economical motoring they represent.  Also that they seem to be unable to exceed 55mph in the left lane.

Why does everyone keep forgetting that diesel fuel is as much as a buck a gallon more expensive than gasoline most places? Only way you can make a diesel pay off is to add the components to let it burn vegetable oil. Also, no one seems to understand that diesel/kerosene has more energy/kg than gasoline, and that's why it "gets better gas mileage".

I'm with Synonyk....Yeah, shuh. Rather have that crappy 'ol Prius. :-) :-) :-)
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on May 12, 2015, 05:28:20 AM
$2000 off MSRP is NO WHERE NEAR ENOUGH!!

Truecar for a high COL area (Alexandria, VA) is showing $4900 off suggested.  Just last week there was a thread on TCL about a guy who got $4500 off a new Prius (http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?7163198-Sign-me-up-for-the-Prius-brigade) ($31,450 sticker, $26,900 transaction price) in Philadelphia.  You need to work with a different dealer.  This is the final year of the 3rd generation Prius and Toyota's blowing them out to clear inventory before the new one hits dealerships for the 2016 model year.

For the record, back when I was married, we had a 2010 Prius Two, no options except the protection package or whatever it's called, which is basically some clear strips over the door edges, rear bumper, and I think the floormats.  Anyway, it was a perfectly fine car.  My ex-wife still drives it.  60,000 miles in nearly 5 years, no problems but regular maintenance.  I personally think anything above the base model is a waste.

Still: hammer on the price.  Call multiple dealerships until you get the best price.  $2000 off MSRP is a joke at this time for the Prius.

+1, totally with Sid on this. The base model still has a lot of amazing features. ABS, electrically-powered A/C compressor, four wheel disc brakes and remarkable instrumentation, for example. They don't strip that stuff off the base model, it's cheaper to just build them all the same. And brakes last for-freakin-ever. I've got nearly 70,000 miles on mine and the brakes show little sign of wear.

Only trouble I've had is with the rear shocks. Toyota installs shocks on their cars that seem to explode after 60,000 miles just to throw some dollars at the dealership service departments. I buy KYB shocks and do them myself. AWESOME shock absorbers and they last the life of the car thereafter.

And BTW, MSRP on a Prius Two is $24, 650. (I didn't pay that, our prior car was destroyed in a car crash and insurance paid 2/3rds of that...)
Local dealerships in central NC have been offering $4k off that PLUS the 0% financing. So you could walk out the door with a new Prius Two for under $21k.

We see Corollas going for about $15-$16k. At $21k, you'll recoup the Prius' higher price in about 4 or 5 years depending on what the price of gasoline does, then you are livin large on the pump at 50mpg after that.

Now these are ADVERTISED prices. You don't even have to be Bob W. to get those prices. :-) :-) :-)
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: rtrnow on May 12, 2015, 08:21:00 AM
Dealerships hate cash.  They make a good bit on selling off the loan.

Depends on the dealership. I had always heard this so I didn't mention that I was paying cash at a local Mazda dealer. After negotiating the price, the salesman started to talk financing and I quickly said I'll be paying cash. He left the room and then came back and took an additional $250 off the price that I didn't even ask him to do.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Syonyk on May 12, 2015, 08:27:06 AM
Huh. OK.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on May 12, 2015, 08:59:13 AM
Some dealerships do pressure you on loans, though. My sister walked into one with a check already written out for what she was willing to pay. Nevertheless the salesman wasted a lot of time trying to get her to finance, at one point saying "but it's better for me if you finance".
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: olivia on May 12, 2015, 09:05:35 AM
I went with a new Prius last year for the same reasons you listed.  I love it and have no regrets.  I did all my negotiating ahead of time online with multiple dealers who were located along a roughly 300 mile stretch of I-95.  Once I found the best price I got 0% financing and put $0 down. Took a few hours to do paperwork and such because Saturday was the only day I could get it done, but it was pretty painless.

Most importantly, what color are you going for?  ;)
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Bourbon on May 12, 2015, 09:12:48 AM
Sounds like you have your heart set on the Prius?   

So let's make it the best deal possible.   

Read a few blurbs on negotiating.

1.  Don't tell them it is cash
2.  Ask the what the absolute best price they can give you on the trade
3.  Say it like this and practice "What is the absolute best price you can give me on this today?"  Whatever number they say -  Reply -"I was thinking lower,  how much lower can you go?"
4. Do this on the 18th of the month. 
5.  Keep turning down their price (until they get near the dealer cost) and you meet the manager.
6.  Walk away.
7.  On the last day of the month about 4 pm walk in and offer them $500 less than their best previous offer.

In today's sales environment for Prius' you should be able to buy below the dealer cost. 

Then finance it at 3% at your local credit union and keep your funds invested.

If you are set on buying new, what worked better for me was to email dealerships.  We did this when purchasing my wife's van. 

Once we were certain on what we wanted, email every dealership in area or that you are willing to drive for asking for their price. 
Get your lowest price, send that out to the other dealerships and see if they can beat.
Repeat.

In our case we were offered a below invoice price off the bat from a dealership about an hour away.  The local dealership where we had test driven wanted to play games, so we drove an hour and saved several thousand. No haggling in person, we drove down and they had the car ready.  We did some paperwork, declined additional warranty etc and were out the door.

We did wind up going with dealer financing though, they were offering 0.9% which beat the credit unions rate.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: KCM5 on May 12, 2015, 09:45:12 AM
We have a 2010 Prius we bought certified pre owned a couple of years ago and it's awesome. That said, if they had the same incentives they do today, we would have bought a new one. After years of crappy cars that need repairs a couple of times a year, it's a joy to have something that only requires regular maintenance!

Since your interested in sleeping in your car, have you seen this? http://www.habitents.com/

I don't have one so I can't personally recommend, but I think it could be pretty cool and give you quite a bit more space.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 12, 2015, 09:51:42 AM
For smaller cars - really, I don't fit.  I'm not Shaq sized, but I'm uncomfortable in them.  Last summer, I spent a couple days and around 500 miles in a Fit.  It's a nice car, but I don't like having to scrunch down to drive.  I was actually originally thinking of the Prius V, due only to the extra one inch of headroom, but I think I can make the Prius work for the few thousand dollar price difference.

Truecar (which is slightly biased) has the price at
base:21780, regfees:351, dest:825, incentive:-2000 = $20,956
That's a bit more than $4000 off the MSRP.  I figure that with the Consumer Reports pricing sheet*, I could do slightly better than that.

* here's a sample (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/aps/sample-new-car-price-report/index.htm)

Quote
Oh crap. I better understand your mission for the car now, and why you are looking at a new car of ANY kind....you have a mission for the car that is in-no-way mustachian and you've already assessed the alternatives, ruled them out.
Yes mefla.  I'm suspicious of the "I'm doing it for the children" line of reasoning, so I didn't play this up.  My kid likes the minivan anyway.  :)  And it helps teach him about frugality and not relying on material validation; and kids are tough on cars, etc... but yeah, this equation does have constraints on some variables.

habitents - I might make one of those, or just try throwing some mosquito netting up.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 12, 2015, 09:55:35 AM
Oh color!   I assume that was facetious, but it's one of the only things I can change about the car, so I did a bit of research. :)

Silver is the most popular color, but bright colors get slightly better resale value.  I'll probably go with silver because road salt,dirt, and minor scratches seem to be less visible on it.  Suggestions welcome.  :)
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on May 12, 2015, 11:10:09 AM
I'm seriously torn about my next car being a prius or a RWD, 6 speed, V8.........The driver in me craves the V8, the mustachian the Prius.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Mother Fussbudget on May 12, 2015, 11:29:03 AM
+1 on Bob's tactics. 

And I do more pre-dealership-visit legwork:
1. research on-line, know exactly what package you want, and what stock & prices the nearby dealers show on-hand. 
2. get their best offer on-line (or on the phone).
3. negotiate with the next dealer saying, "I can buy this car from dealer X today for $Z - can you beat that?"
4. lather, rinse, repeat, and be willing to visit a dealership 50 miles away if it saves you $1,000 bucks.

[in my 2nd used Prius - gen I 2003 & gen III 2010 - 48+ city / 53+ highway every day]
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Another Reader on May 12, 2015, 12:03:09 PM
One of the local Toyota pushers in San Jose had several 2015 Prius Two's on special last weekend for $19,888, or $5362 off MSRP.  I'm sure they will have a few more up this weekend.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: rtrnow on May 12, 2015, 12:18:58 PM
I'm seriously torn about my next car being a prius or a RWD, 6 speed, V8.........The driver in me craves the V8, the mustachian the Prius.

Compromise with Subaru BRZ.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on May 12, 2015, 12:25:56 PM
I'm seriously torn about my next car being a prius or a RWD, 6 speed, V8.........The driver in me craves the V8, the mustachian the Prius.

Compromise with Subaru BRZ.
I would get a mustachian  miata.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: olivia on May 12, 2015, 03:06:08 PM
Oh color!   I assume that was facetious, but it's one of the only things I can change about the car, so I did a bit of research. :)

Silver is the most popular color, but bright colors get slightly better resale value.  I'll probably go with silver because road salt,dirt, and minor scratches seem to be less visible on it.  Suggestions welcome.  :)

I have very strong feelings about car colors and was curious.  :P  I have a red one, but I also really like the dark grey color.  Silver is good too.  Black also looks great but would show dirt and scratches so easily I wouldn't be able to do it.  I HATE white cars, and the white Prius actually costs $395 more for some strange reason when you do the "Build a Prius" tool on the Toyota website.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: aj_yooper on May 12, 2015, 03:28:13 PM
To me, the Prius sounds like the buy for you.  I have been considering one myself and going down to one vehicle.  We always buy new and run them until the wheels fall off.  And, I would definitely take the 0.9% financing instead of cash.  Sign me up!  Silver color.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Sid Hoffman on May 12, 2015, 03:54:55 PM
I was actually originally thinking of the Prius V, due only to the extra one inch of headroom, but I think I can make the Prius work for the few thousand dollar price difference.

On this topic, did you already make sure to adjust the Prius seat?  Even the base model has a lever to adjust the seat height up and down.  For example I fit much better in the driver's seat with it lowered down from the position that my wife would adjust it to.  I'm only 6'1" so I can't comment on how it fits someone truly tall in the long term.  Also I'm pretty willing to compromise.  I drove an older Miata for a while, and that was a car where my head would touch the ceiling with the top up.  Didn't care, car was too fun to mind the tight squeeze to fit inside!  :)
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 12, 2015, 04:14:28 PM
On this topic, did you already make sure to adjust the Prius seat?  Even the base model has a lever to adjust the seat height up and down.  For example I fit much better in the driver's seat with it lowered down from the position that my wife would adjust it to.  I'm only 6'1" so I can't comment on how it fits someone truly tall in the long term.  Also I'm pretty willing to compromise.  I drove an older Miata for a while, and that was a car where my head would touch the ceiling with the top up.  Didn't care, car was too fun to mind the tight squeeze to fit inside!  :)

Oh, the Miata.  My coworker has one.  They're nice!

The nice thing about the Gen III is that my head doesn't hit the roof when I sit up straight.  But, I do look through the tint in the windshield.  I figure that I'll get the windshield replaced with a clear one after a rock hits it.  (That happens once every few years here.)  I'm pretty sure I got the seat down all the way - I've driven my friend's, and he's about my height.  (Edit: he has the fancy-pants electric seat, not sure if that makes a difference.)

One of the local Toyota pushers in San Jose had several 2015 Prius Two's on special last weekend for $19,888, or $5362 off MSRP.  I'm sure they will have a few more up this weekend.

That's a very good data point!  Thanks!


I have a red one, but I also really like the dark grey color.  Silver is good too.  Black also looks great but would show dirt and scratches so easily I wouldn't be able to do it.  I HATE white cars, and the white Prius actually costs $395 more for some strange reason when you do the "Build a Prius" tool on the Toyota website.

Olivia, those are my feelings exactly!  If it comes to it, I wouldn't mind red or that dark grey.  The red is really nice, but I was a little afraid that it could look like a sports car (ha!) and invite police to take a second glance.

Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 12, 2015, 04:45:18 PM
Financing:  this almost deserves it's own thread.  The options are:

 1. 0% 5 years + $1500 incentive
 2. no financing + $2000 incentive
 3. Credit Union: 1.5% financing 5 years

It's hard to compare on a risk-adjusted basis.  I can make around 1.75% on a 5 year CD, but that's not really comparable since I wouldn't have the full $20k cost of the car for the whole 5 years as I'd be paying it down.  So it's more like .8% rate for a savings account.  A savings withdrawal calculator (http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/savings-withdrawal-calculator-tool.aspx) tells me that even with 0% financing, I'd be left with only $424 instead of the $500 I'd have had from the "no financing" option.  And that doesn't include taxes, any requirements the underwriting bank might put on the car (insurance?), or the slight annoyance of remembering to check the automatic payment.

I could finance and invest that money in a riskier asset like stocks, but that's almost like borrowing to invest in the market, like a margin account.  I wouldn't be interested in starting up a margin account, so I probably wouldn't take the financing to have more cash in the market.  (If the market goes up 5% per year, I'd be missing out on $2500.  Ouch.  But if I get laid off while the market tanks, that would be a double ouch.)




Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Prepube on May 12, 2015, 05:58:52 PM
Just another tip for finding the best price on the lot... Ask which cars have been on the lot the longest.  If you don't care about color, you can get the best deal on the cars on the lot longest because the dealership gets incentives for moving the cars quickly.  If a car has been on the lot for more than 90 days, it starts to lose value for them, and they are more willing to make a deal.  If the salesman says that they have no way of knowing which ones have been there longest, he's bullshitting you and you should ask for a manager. I paid under their cost for a Prius C last year (for my daughter), partly because it had sat on the lot, overlooked for six months.  I absolutely love my Prius IV, too. I'm over six feet, and it fits with room to spare.  Go to the dealer with lots of knowledge in your head re: trim levels and models, and buy the cheapest one on the lot.  The warranty is the same regardless.  I get 55 mpg driving 60 miles per day in the mountains above Denver, and it handles the hills just fine.  I love this car.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: ACLR8R on May 13, 2015, 11:22:19 AM
Have you searched Craigslist elsewhere? I know right now in AZ there is a 2011 Prius 3 with 70k for $12.5, or a 2010 2 with 50k for $13.9. Really new cars for probably around 1/2 of new. A plane ticket and road trip away!

I always search the entire SW as I like to get my cars cheap and sell them for a profit after about a year or 10k miles.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: formerlydivorcedmom on May 13, 2015, 12:52:39 PM
I bought a 2015 Prius Two in November.

The only thing that I miss that this trim package doesn't have is the ability to auto-unlock the doors by touching the passenger side handle.  Not worth the increased price.

Where I live, used Prius's are also almost the same price as the new, so it didn't make sense to buy one, given that the new has the full warranty and two years of free maintenance.

I regularly get 50-55 mpg on each tank..  My husband gets about 46-48 (he likes power mode).

I HATE the giant blind spots.  Other than that, I love the car.

The best price in our area was actually advertised on the website of a dealer about 40 miles away.  I had done business with them before, and their internet prices are always pretty low - no other dealer would match it.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: VasyaPupkin on May 13, 2015, 08:55:41 PM
If you have Amex credit card, they offer a handy car buying service that shows what your price should be based on sales stats in the area and connects to dealers that will honor that price. May save a bit of $$ and hassle. Love my Prius 3- I can load 16 bags of mulch in it and still be doing 50 mpg :)
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: tomsang on May 15, 2015, 06:02:47 AM
Sounds like you have your heart set on the Prius?   

So let's make it the best deal possible.   

Read a few blurbs on negotiating.

1.  Don't tell them it is cash
2.  Ask the what the absolute best price they can give you on the trade
3.  Say it like this and practice "What is the absolute best price you can give me on this today?"  Whatever number they say -  Reply -"I was thinking lower,  how much lower can you go?"
4. Do this on the 18th of the month. 
5.  Keep turning down their price (until they get near the dealer cost) and you meet the manager.
6.  Walk away.
7.  On the last day of the month about 4 pm walk in and offer them $500 less than their best previous offer.

In today's sales environment for Prius' you should be able to buy below the dealer cost. 

Then finance it at 3% at your local credit union and keep your funds invested.

I would strongly recommend not following this advice if you are buying a new car unless you like the drama of negotiating in person.  If you do it will cost you money, but maybe you get enjoyment out of the drama.  If you are set on buying a new anything.  You are buying a commodity.  Something that all of the dealers have or can have the exact product with the exact features.  There is nothing special about buying from one or the other.  If you talk with them in person they will try to tell you there is a difference.  Avoid the trap.   

You should not negotiate the price anywhere near the dealership.  The key is to figure out exactly what you want down to the minute detail, spelling out exactly what you want including financing.  Put all of this in an email and send it out to the 10-30 dealers within 200 miles of you.  The most time that you should spend is the time figuring out exactly what you want and putting it in an email.  I throw a phone number down to show that I am real, but tell them that I prefer email and that I am going to buy on the specific date/time from the dealer that offers the lowest price on the product that I want.  The phone calls or energy will be in calling all of the dealers and getting their internet manager's email addresses.  In some cases, you will be connected with them as they are trying to entice you to come in to their trap.  Politely just say that you are buying this car on this date and that to save their time and your time you are spelling it out in email so there is no confusion.  If through the email or a phone call a dealer asks a relevant question or you change your mind on something, make sure that you communicate to all of the dealers the updated information.  You want to ensure that you are negotiating a commodity vs. features that are offered.  Also make sure to use a SPAM email account as you will be put on their email lists.  When they call, I am very polite but tell them that I am really busy so please just put it in email so I can compare it to the other offers.  This sends a message that you are a serious buyer, that there are other competing offers, that your time is valuable and that you can't be dicked around.   

I believe that it is better to buy a car on the last day of the month/quarter.  I would send this email out two or three days before buying the car.  Figure out exactly what you want then email them something like this with MSRP so they canít jerk you around with something else.  MSRP off of KBB or any of the sites out there.

I have purchased cars for myself and friends this way.  Total time commitment after you know what you want is less than 3 hours with zero stress and dealing with the emails when you have time or desire to deal with them vs. stuck in a room waiting for an answer from the mystical sales managers and needing to walk off the lot several times to show them that you are serious.  Let them negotiate with the other dealers vs. you. 

One of those hours is getting all of the email addresses, one hour responding to the emails over the two days, half an hour negotiating with the final two or three dealers through email and the final 1/2 hour is signing the paperwork and them showing you the car.  They will try to offer you different years, used, different brands, etc.  Politely decline and say please send me your best price on the car that was requested.  If they don't have it, then you have 9-29 other dealerships that you can buy from.  Again keeping it a commodity. 

Once you have the lowest price out the door from the dealer, then I will approach the closest dealers and see if they can beat or match my price.  It is a 50/50 if they will.  Them saying no, tells you that you got a good deal.

I have them email me all of the paperwork ahead of time and schedule an appointment to pick up the car, drop off the cashier's check, and hand over the keys.  For one friend that I helped buy a new car, we were in the dealership for approximately 15 minutes to sign the paperwork, drop off the check and pick up the keys.  He was blown away that the transaction had zero stress and faster than ordering lunch.(which he bought)

Cash will get you a better deal if the dealer is offering the 0% or low percent mortgages.  If you want them to finance add that to the email with your credit score. Again keeping everything apples to apples.           

I have cc'd all of the dealers so they know that they will not get the deal unless they are the cheapest.  Some will drop out immediately with a snarky email as they don't want to waste their time, which I feel is good as it doesn't waste my time.  Remember it is important to list MSRP and other very specific details to ensure that you are getting an apples to apples deal.  They may come back and say that they don't have something specific and you can choose to allow this change or not.  Note that in some places the differences in sales tax could be 1% of the value of the car, so figuring out the net bottom line amount is key in the negotiation. They will also ask who is negotiating.  I usually don't tell them, but let them know that there are a few from out of state or out of territory to keep them off guard.

Note MSRP, Dealer Invoice, Dealer Cost, etc. have no relevance to what you will pay for a car.  Typically through this process you are buying a car for hundreds to thousands off of Dealer Costs so that tells you how accurate Dealer Costs are.(One was $7,800 below Dealer Cost). Once you have the final price you can negotiate if you want to trade in your other car or sell it yourself.  By keeping the transactions separate you are comparing apples to apples vs. mudding up the water.

Here is an email that I have sent.
 
I am interested in buying a new 2015 Nissan Leaf

I am looking for an all-inclusive price for a 2015 Nissan Leaf with:
Model S: MSRP of $29,010
Onboard 6.6 kw charger and Port MSRP 1,770
Splash Guards MSRP $190
Carpeted Floor Mats MSRP $125
Rear Cargo Cover MSRP $300

Prefer Formal Black exterior and Black interior.

If you can include all charges including tax, documentation fees, advertising fees, transportation fees, lease fees, residual purchase price and imputed interest rate that would be great.  I would like to buy it on May 31st.

I have already test driven the various Leafs and other vehicles so I don't need to do a test drive.  I will not be trading in a car or using financing. 
 
If you can email me your best offer and contract that would be very helpful in choosing a dealer.

Thanks for your help,
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Another Reader on May 15, 2015, 06:15:47 AM
I have bought maybe 50 new cars over the years for myself or on behalf of friends and family.  Tomsang's approach is the one I use.  Basically, it involves whittling the candidates down to the two or three dealers that understand the cars are a commodity and move a lot of them because of their competitive prices.  It works and there is very little effort involved.

You will overpay significantly if you use any of the buying services, including Costco.  Never pay any attention to Truecar, KBB fair price, or the invoice the dealer wants to show you.  Again, you will overpay by a substantial amount.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 15, 2015, 07:17:14 PM
Thanks everyone!

So consumer reports now pairs with truecar for pricing info, and truecar gets its info from the dealer.  Does anyone have suggestions for a good independent pricing agent?  Fightingchance gets good reviews, but I don't see how one guy can know the invoice, holdback, dealer incentives, and so on, for the entire US.

Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Sid Hoffman on May 15, 2015, 10:16:28 PM
Just start contacting dealers via email.  Tell them you've got one dealer who can sell you it for $X, where $X is the pricing you get from CR/Truecar.  If anybody contacts you with a better price, then great.  If nobody else has a better deal, then the CR/Truecar price is what you go with.  There's no substitute for contacting local dealers once you know what a fair price is to begin with.  Most people go in already having no idea what they are supposed to be starting at, so you're already 90% done by having an aggressive starting point that you know is workable, and not nonsense.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Travis on May 15, 2015, 10:26:01 PM
(buying advice)

Would you recommend the same tactics when pursuing a used car?  I have a few examples of the same model in mind, but they're different years and mileage and so have a range of prices.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on May 16, 2015, 06:56:22 PM
(buying advice)

Would you recommend the same tactics when pursuing a used car?  I have a few examples of the same model in mind, but they're different years and mileage and so have a range of prices.

Travis, you can compare non-like vehicles in the used market, but that complicates things a good bit. I have a buddy who regularly pits Honda against Toyota, but he does a tremendous amount of up-front research comparing similar models, and he's always prepared to walk away from either one - in other words, they are truly interchangeable to him.

I think Sid was saying this earlier: It's to your advantage to make the car a fungible commodity. That way all sales compete on equal footing and can distinguish only on price.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Another Reader on May 16, 2015, 07:21:46 PM
Using Truecar will guarantee you will overpay by thousands of dollars.  Truecar gets the info from dealers, who have zero incentive to report accurately.  You want to be on the lowest price end of that bell curve.  If you use Tomsang's approach, you will get the best price with the least hassle.  I have done this for decades, and with the internet it is a lot easier now than it was by telephone.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Travis on May 16, 2015, 07:41:04 PM
(buying advice)

Would you recommend the same tactics when pursuing a used car?  I have a few examples of the same model in mind, but they're different years and mileage and so have a range of prices.

Travis, you can compare non-like vehicles in the used market, but that complicates things a good bit. I have a buddy who regularly pits Honda against Toyota, but he does a tremendous amount of up-front research comparing similar models, and he's always prepared to walk away from either one - in other words, they are truly interchangeable to him.

I think Sid was saying this earlier: It's to your advantage to make the car a fungible commodity. That way all sales compete on equal footing and can distinguish only on price.

I had a feeling it wouldn't quite work since the vehicles aren't interchangeable.  I'm looking at Priuses across a 5-year spread of model years and the mileage goes from 100-200k with prices from $7-$10k.  I'm somewhat hampered by lack of inventory since quite a number in the area are either newer or more expensive.  Am I being unreasonable trying to buy one within that year/mileage/price range?
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on May 16, 2015, 08:09:42 PM
I had a feeling it wouldn't quite work since the vehicles aren't interchangeable.  I'm looking at Priuses across a 5-year spread of model years and the mileage goes from 100-200k with prices from $7-$10k.  I'm somewhat hampered by lack of inventory since quite a number in the area are either newer or more expensive.  Am I being unreasonable trying to buy one within that year/mileage/price range?

I did a quick check of www.carmax.com near me and a 2007 Prius with 70k on it can be had for just under $11k.  One of my sons bought a 2005 Prius with about 160k on it for $4800. (It had prior fender bender but it wasn't awful. ) I don't think you are being unreasonable about THAT mileage/price range, if that's what you mean.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Sid Hoffman on May 17, 2015, 05:07:19 PM
Shopping used cars is not the same as new.  With new cars, all the advice given here is very valid because you're getting the exact same car no matter who you buy from, and it's a car that hasn't been used and potentially abused.  With used cars, you really have no way of knowing what's going on with it.  If you buy CPO, you're getting a car that has passed a lengthy inspection and carries a warranty.  Sometimes that warranty is quite good, even, like another 5 years and perhaps 50,000 miles or so.  Typically it's at least 2 years and 24,000 miles powertrain, often with a 1 year bumper to bumper.

Carmax does a major inspection and reconditioning on any car they sell.  I've taken the tour of one of their reconditioning centers even and it's pretty impressive.  I've also purchased a car through Carmax and it was immaculate.  They come with something like a 7-day refund policy and 30 days bumper to bumper warranty, and have relatively affordable extended warranties available.  Similar to buying CPO, you are paying for all that inspection and warranty too.  A CPO or Carmax car will always cost you more because it's been reconditioned and carries that warranty.

The odds are generally in your favor to buy a high quality cheaper car private party or through a no-name dealer, but you then assume all risk upon yourself.  It comes down to how comfortable you are with risk.  The Prius, especially if you buy '07 or later (they revised the battery logic around then) or buy an '04 or later that's already had the traction battery replacement done is generally a safe bet on two fronts.  First, they're very reliable cars to start with.  Second, they're very boring cars to drive and thus generally only owned by adult drivers who don't beat on their cars.

So the odds are in your favor, but it's up to you to decide how comfortable you assuming the risk for yourself.  In the case of the Prius, I know that in my area I can generally find a 2nd gen Prius with 150-250k miles either with a replacement traction battery or an 07+ model for $6-7k in what appears to be relatively good condition.  By good, I mean I'm willing to overlook some paint damage, a few serious but non-punctured dents, and heavy wear in the trunk and/or back seats.  Meanwhile a CPO Prius with 90k miles or a Carmax Prius with 120k miles could be $10-12k.  For me, I'd rather spend less and roll the dice again, but then again I only drive 4000 miles a year and do not currently use my car to commute to work, so I am not at risk of having a broken down car prevent me from getting to work on time.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 29, 2015, 08:12:50 PM
To bring some closure here, and get my mustachian creds back...

I ended up NOT buying a new car.  In fact, I found a way to fix the old car somewhat inexpensively.  It's a bit of a gamble but I'm crossing my fingers that it will hold up through the next winter. 

Thanks to everyone for your advice - it will be used, but hopefully not before next year.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on May 30, 2015, 09:00:37 AM
To bring some closure here, and get my mustachian creds back...

I ended up NOT buying a new car.  In fact, I found a way to fix the old car somewhat inexpensively.  It's a bit of a gamble but I'm crossing my fingers that it will hold up through the next winter. 

Thanks to everyone for your advice - it will be used, but hopefully not before next year.

Wait a minute, wait a minute...


Driving profile: I walk or ride a bike to almost all of my local destinations - work, shopping, etc...   But I actually drive a few hundred miles a week - mostly due to family obligations.  That'll be true for the next four or five years.  I live in a small New England city.

The old minivan is 15 years old, has about 200,000 miles, and it needs a new torque converter+tranny, rear brakes/rotors, windshield, and a handful of minor things (rear wiper motor, power window motor, door rollers, struts).  I did a lot of work on this beast in the past myself, but my current landlords don't allow repairs - plus I don't have time to pull the tranny anyway.    The KBB value is around $1000 and we're talking about probably >$4000k to get it to pass inspection.  (And although I try practicing non-attachment, I love this minivan.  But I need something more reliable.  It's the failing transmission that pushed this over the edge.)

For non-hybrids, I've thought about used with the Civic, the Fit, and a handful of other cars, but they don't fit me well and aren't priced all that competitively either.  The Prius itself is a compromise - I'm tall, and I sometimes sleep in the back.  Actually, the 2015 Fit would work for driving, but not as much for sleeping.  I was surprised about the Prius - I'd driven a 2002 and a 2005 before, and they didn't fit me vertically, but I just squeeze in for the >2010 models without a sunroof.

I'd really like a used Prius, but the pricing (!) - they're asking $24k for a 2013 Model Two with 11k miles.  Or $12k for a 2010 with 100k miles.  Granted that we're talking about the "asking" price, but they're "asking" around $3k MORE than a new one than a 2013!  Overall, it appears to be a very efficient market with something like 10 cents per mile, with no huge depreciation.  (Partially due to the price incentives from Toyota, but with a new, more efficient Prius model coming out next year, I have to wonder if there'll be a depreciation hit then.  Not that it helps me now.)

I'm trying to look at other aspects too.  Insurance seems to be on par with other smaller cars, as is reliability and repair costs.

So, you have a 15 year old minivan with 200,000 miles on it that needed a new transmission/torque converter, rear brakes/rotors, and things like struts and power door hardware. That sounds like about $8000 worth of work. (BTW: Those sound like classic DODGE minivan problems.)

You did a GREAT job if you figured out a way to fix the vehicle inexpensively, but what did you do to get all those horrible, expensive things fixed?!?!

FWIW: I just resurrected a 15 year old Honda insight hybrid (instead of buying a Prius). I'm happy that I achieved it, but it took me a month of work in my spare time and I'm still fixing things I would not consider within the capability of the average shadetree oil-changing owner. I put about $3.3k into the car and I'm getting payback at between 7-10% monthly.


Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 31, 2015, 08:27:55 AM
So, you have a 15 year old minivan with 200,000 miles on it that needed a new transmission/torque converter, rear brakes/rotors, and things like struts and power door hardware. That sounds like about $8000 worth of work. (BTW: Those sound like classic DODGE minivan problems.)

You did a GREAT job if you figured out a way to fix the vehicle inexpensively, but what did you do to get all those horrible, expensive things fixed?!?!

FWIW: I just resurrected a 15 year old Honda insight hybrid (instead of buying a Prius). I'm happy that I achieved it, but it took me a month of work in my spare time and I'm still fixing things I would not consider within the capability of the average shadetree oil-changing owner. I put about $3.3k into the car and I'm getting payback at between 7-10% monthly.

1) I got lucky.  2) I only "fixed" it enough to keep it going until next year.  I hope.

I spent a day googling the transmission issue.  It's not unusual for Hondas to develop a problem with the torque converter lock-up solenoid, which turns on the CEL with a transmission code.  I had a mechanic fix that for a few hundred, and the CEL hasn't come on for a week now.  It was a gamble, but it seems to have paid off.

Everything else isn't fixed.  I still need a new windshield to pass inspection.  One or both door rollers may fail entirely eventually, but then I'll keep them closed.  I'll keep the power windows mostly closed to spare the motors.  The rear wiper is too weak to move heavy snow now, but it's still OK for rain.  The struts are weak, but good enough as long as they pass inspection.  And the rear discs have enough surface area to last another winter.

It's a short term solution.  In the meantime, I'm keeping my eyes open for a good deal.

BTW: I'm jealous of you pulling apart your Insight!  How do you find working with a hybrid?  I've only spent time with combustion engines and I admit that all the "high voltage" warnings worried me a little.

Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Syonyk on May 31, 2015, 12:15:30 PM
BTW: I'm jealous of you pulling apart your Insight!  How do you find working with a hybrid?  I've only spent time with combustion engines and I admit that all the "high voltage" warnings worried me a little.

"Don't be stupid" covers an awful lot of territory with vehicles and high voltage. :)
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: DeltaBond on May 31, 2015, 01:31:46 PM
Someone mentioned the environmental impact of the Prius, and its definitely not the greenest car, by any stretch.  If you're wanting to spend less at the pump, why not just go all electric.  Anyway, here's my humble forum information... a friend was in a wreck in a Prius, that wasn't even that substantial of a wreck, but the Prius deflated like a balloon and here we are 6 months later and most of the bones have healed, but a lot of the pins have had to stay in her arms and legs.

Now for deer, another friend in a more substantial car hit a deer at a low speed of around 40 mph, as in, not highway speed, and she is still recovering 4 months later - punctured lung, broken rib, broken legs, and top it off with a stroke that happened on the way to the hospital.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on May 31, 2015, 05:09:19 PM
Someone mentioned the environmental impact of the Prius, and its definitely not the greenest car, by any stretch.  If you're wanting to spend less at the pump, why not just go all electric.  Anyway, here's my humble forum information... a friend was in a wreck in a Prius, that wasn't even that substantial of a wreck, but the Prius deflated like a balloon and here we are 6 months later and most of the bones have healed, but a lot of the pins have had to stay in her arms and legs.

Now for deer, another friend in a more substantial car hit a deer at a low speed of around 40 mph, as in, not highway speed, and she is still recovering 4 months later - punctured lung, broken rib, broken legs, and top it off with a stroke that happened on the way to the hospital.

Sorry about your friends.  :(  'round here, the moose will kill you, the deer just maim you.

About the Prius itself - yeah.  It isn't the safest car available.  I think a big machine with a full frame, wide stance, and many airbags protect best.  My van is relatively safer (modulo stability control) than a Prius.  But the Prius is a relatively safe car for the size.  See http://www.informedforlife.org/. 

I'd really like an all-electric car - but it just isn't practical for me - solely in terms of range.  There's no convenient quick chargers in northern New England.

Maybe if I extend the life of my van long enough, I can buy a Tesla X.  :)









Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Dicey on June 01, 2015, 07:50:31 AM
Following for tomsang's excellent advice...I might buy a new car some day...
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: KCM5 on June 01, 2015, 07:58:31 AM
Someone mentioned the environmental impact of the Prius, and its definitely not the greenest car, by any stretch.  If you're wanting to spend less at the pump, why not just go all electric.  Anyway, here's my humble forum information... a friend was in a wreck in a Prius, that wasn't even that substantial of a wreck, but the Prius deflated like a balloon and here we are 6 months later and most of the bones have healed, but a lot of the pins have had to stay in her arms and legs.

Now for deer, another friend in a more substantial car hit a deer at a low speed of around 40 mph, as in, not highway speed, and she is still recovering 4 months later - punctured lung, broken rib, broken legs, and top it off with a stroke that happened on the way to the hospital.

Sorry about your friends.  :(  'round here, the moose will kill you, the deer just maim you.

About the Prius itself - yeah.  It isn't the safest car available.  I think a big machine with a full frame, wide stance, and many airbags protect best.  My van is relatively safer (modulo stability control) than a Prius.  But the Prius is a relatively safe car for the size.  See http://www.informedforlife.org/. 

I'd really like an all-electric car - but it just isn't practical for me - solely in terms of range.  There's no convenient quick chargers in northern New England.

Maybe if I extend the life of my van long enough, I can buy a Tesla X.  :)











The Prius does have stability control! (if that's going to be a selling point for someone).

I can see how knowing someone who has been in an accident in a certain car can color your view of that car. Glad to hear that the friend is getting better, Delta Bond. I think in general it's pretty important to look at crash test and real world rating when it comes to purchasing a car. And, most imporatantly, set your life up to limit your driving - can't crash a car you're not driving.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: bryan995 on June 01, 2015, 09:11:13 AM
Datapoint for you:

I paid $25K OTD for a brand new 2012 Prius three a few years back. 

If I were to re-do things I would stick to a used older car.  Or maybe a newer/new corolla/civic with 0% interest.

The prius has served us well, constant 48 mpg and no issues what so ever.  It can also haul a huge amount of stuff.  The back seats fold down flat.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: jj20051 on June 01, 2015, 09:39:22 AM
I'd highly recommend buying a 2012 - 2013 ford fiesta (sedan). If you drive like I do you'll get 45+ MPG without holding back on the throttle. It'll run you about $11k - $12k, but it'll have a lot of life left in it (and should be under 30,000 miles).
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Sid Hoffman on June 01, 2015, 11:08:56 AM
I'd highly recommend buying a 2012 - 2013 ford fiesta (sedan). If you drive like I do you'll get 45+ MPG without holding back on the throttle.

Anecdote does not equal data.  The fleet average fuel economy for the 2012-2013 Fiesta is about 35mpg on fuelly.com, which is slightly higher than the EPA combined rating of 33mpg.  Since there is a huge amount of data bias on fuelly.com (only people who care about good fuel economy use the site) I think it's safest to drop the anecdotes and stick to actual data.  Otherwise it leads to all sorts of individual data point decision making, such as people saying that you need to invest all your money in 1 hot stock, because one person made double their money in 3 months by investing all their money in that stock using this one simple trick!
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on June 01, 2015, 07:13:04 PM
So, you have a 15 year old minivan with 200,000 miles on it that needed a new transmission/torque converter, rear brakes/rotors, and things like struts and power door hardware. That sounds like about $8000 worth of work. (BTW: Those sound like classic DODGE minivan problems.)

You did a GREAT job if you figured out a way to fix the vehicle inexpensively, but what did you do to get all those horrible, expensive things fixed?!?!

FWIW: I just resurrected a 15 year old Honda insight hybrid (instead of buying a Prius). I'm happy that I achieved it, but it took me a month of work in my spare time and I'm still fixing things I would not consider within the capability of the average shadetree oil-changing owner. I put about $3.3k into the car and I'm getting payback at between 7-10% monthly.

1) I got lucky.  2) I only "fixed" it enough to keep it going until next year.  I hope.

I spent a day googling the transmission issue.  It's not unusual for Hondas to develop a problem with the torque converter lock-up solenoid, which turns on the CEL with a transmission code.  I had a mechanic fix that for a few hundred, and the CEL hasn't come on for a week now.  It was a gamble, but it seems to have paid off.

Everything else isn't fixed.  I still need a new windshield to pass inspection.  One or both door rollers may fail entirely eventually, but then I'll keep them closed.  I'll keep the power windows mostly closed to spare the motors.  The rear wiper is too weak to move heavy snow now, but it's still OK for rain.  The struts are weak, but good enough as long as they pass inspection.  And the rear discs have enough surface area to last another winter.

It's a short term solution.  In the meantime, I'm keeping my eyes open for a good deal.

BTW: I'm jealous of you pulling apart your Insight!  How do you find working with a hybrid?  I've only spent time with combustion engines and I admit that all the "high voltage" warnings worried me a little.

It's easy for me, since I'm an electrical engineer by trade and training. When I bought the car in Feb. 2001, I always knew i'd replace the battery when it wore out. I was quite pleased to get 14 years out of the little bugger, and some things I've learned indicate I might have been a little too hasty to replace it - lots of owners are reconditioning the battery themselves. But I'm happy with the swap-out, I got way more capacity in the new battery and it shows in the performance of the car.

Now, let me be honest: I stand on the shoulders of giants with this work. insightcentral.net has boatloads of information on this little car, which was the key to fixing it and getting it back on the road. In addition to the fact that I (and the others on insightcentral) are absolutely nutso about this little car. 

Quote
I'd really like an all-electric car - but it just isn't practical for me - solely in terms of range.  There's no convenient quick chargers in northern New England.

Maybe if I extend the life of my van long enough, I can buy a Tesla X.  :)

This is precisely why I fixed my Honda - I'd like to put another few years/tens of thousands of miles on the little car and eventually get one of the "Everyman's Teslas", the Model 3, but hopefully one a few years after they have been introduced, on the used market.

Hey, I'm a geek, but no reason to lose my mustachian creds over it! :-)
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on June 01, 2015, 07:19:11 PM
Quote
1) I got lucky.  2) I only "fixed" it enough to keep it going until next year.  I hope.

I spent a day googling the transmission issue.  It's not unusual for Hondas to develop a problem with the torque converter lock-up solenoid, which turns on the CEL with a transmission code.  I had a mechanic fix that for a few hundred, and the CEL hasn't come on for a week now.  It was a gamble, but it seems to have paid off.

Everything else isn't fixed.  I still need a new windshield to pass inspection.  One or both door rollers may fail entirely eventually, but then I'll keep them closed.  I'll keep the power windows mostly closed to spare the motors.  The rear wiper is too weak to move heavy snow now, but it's still OK for rain.  The struts are weak, but good enough as long as they pass inspection.  And the rear discs have enough surface area to last another winter.

It's a short term solution.  In the meantime, I'm keeping my eyes open for a good deal.

mtnrider, that was EXCELLENT WORK! Congratulations on finding a low-cost solution for the transmission problem!!!

I encourage you to consider fixing each item in-turn - brakes, struts/shocks, door rollers and wiper assemblies are all do-able items, and each one you fix, the vehicle will perform better and better.  There are a number of ways to measure the payback from doing work to fix a car, but no matter how you do measure it, you surely come out better when it's a quality product from the start, like a Honda.

The longer you can wait, the more it works to your advantage. The best thing I ever learned is to never buy a car because you HAVE to, buy a car on YOUR timetable, and put it off as long as you possibly can, saving now for the purchase later.

think about it and consider doing a little more work on that minivan. I haven't regretted one second of the work I've put into my Honda. I'm gonna drive this baby till the wheels fall off or I croak, whichever comes first.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: DeltaBond on June 03, 2015, 09:04:59 AM
People always want to point out "safe car for its size", but we're not on the road with all cars of the same size.  I'm in TN and we have all kinds of vehicles on the road.  Seems people who buy Priuses are mainly focused on the gas mileage as being "environmentally friendly" and aren't paying much attention of the environmental impact of making the car, the batteries, etc... I'll just leave you with this, my '14 Honda Accord, much bigger and safer than a Prius, has a CVT transmission and I get between 36-45 mpgs!

Tesla's, depending on which state you're in... sure, electric is nice in not having to buy gas, but if you're concerned about the environment, pay attention to where your state gets its electric power.  In TN, we have hydroelectric, so its not like other states who use other means.  Something to think about, anyway.  I'd prefer public transportation, honestly.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: StacheOfInnerPeace on September 09, 2015, 04:51:53 PM




Cash will get you a better deal if the dealer is offering the 0% or low percent mortgages. 
[/quote]

Hi -

Can you explain this further? I am considering getting a 2012 or 2013 used Prius, but I am tempted by the very similarly priced new Prius' with 0% financing. I can pay cash for the new or used cars.

I was tempted to use the 0% financing and just continue to invest every month in my typical stock/bond mix...the only downside I can see to this is the slightly higher "longterm"/overall cost of the new car, lost depreciation (although used aren't much cheaper here), and that insurance would be more on a new and financed car than on a used, fully owned car.

Am I missing something here?

Thanks, Stach
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Dicey on September 10, 2015, 12:13:18 AM
Quote
Cash will get you a better deal if the dealer is offering the 0% or low percent mortgages. 
Hi -

Can you explain this further? I am considering getting a 2012 or 2013 used Prius, but I am tempted by the very similarly priced new Prius' with 0% financing. I can pay cash for the new or used cars.

I was tempted to use the 0% financing and just continue to invest every month in my typical stock/bond mix...the only downside I can see to this is the slightly higher "longterm"/overall cost of the new car, lost depreciation (although used aren't much cheaper here), and that insurance would be more on a new and financed car than on a used, fully owned car.

Am I missing something here?

Thanks, Stach

Hi Stach, You've just resurrected an older thread. The quote is wonky and I'm not sure who you're quoting. They could be of fishing or flying or something by now. To increase the likelihood of a response, you might want to try PMing the person who wrote that directly.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Sid Hoffman on September 10, 2015, 01:04:36 PM
On the topic of pricing of current "new" Priuses, the 2016 model was just announced with more features and 10% better fuel economy as well as, ahhh, we'll just call it daring styling.  It's pretty common to have blowout pricing and financing deals on the final months of the old model, especially in cases like this where the new model has a bunch of new tech and gets 10% better fuel economy than the old one.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Syonyk on September 10, 2015, 02:20:27 PM
The 2016 looks less-ugly than the previous ones.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: mtnrider on September 16, 2015, 06:45:55 AM
I like the 2016 Prius style.  But I also liked the 2015 models.  :)  In fact, I bought a 2015 recently because my van once again needed repairs at a bad time.

For those who are considering negotiating on the old model, I payed $20k for a "Two."  You can do better, if you have time.  I strongly suspect I could have had it for $19,500 if I had an extra couple days to play the extended game - walk out, etc...

So far I have around 52mpg, mostly highway.

Good luck all!
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on September 16, 2015, 01:51:48 PM
I like the 2016 Prius style.  But I also liked the 2015 models.  :)  In fact, I bought a 2015 recently because my van once again needed repairs at a bad time.

For those who are considering negotiating on the old model, I payed $20k for a "Two."  You can do better, if you have time.  I strongly suspect I could have had it for $19,500 if I had an extra couple days to play the extended game - walk out, etc...

So far I have around 52mpg, mostly highway.

Good luck all!

Yay! It's always good to hear the rest of the story on stuff like that. You did way, way better than I did. I bought my 2011 model at a very bad time, but had no choice, just as you did. (We'd lost our vehicle in a car crash.)

Congrats on the MPG!
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Can't Wait on September 17, 2015, 03:37:51 PM
I must admit that I have not read every post so far.

Having said that - I routinely see higher mileage used 2010 and newer Prius' for sale in the 8-10k price range. I would buy one of those in a heartbeat. They can attain 200-300k miles easily with very little maintenance.

I would take advantage of the stigma against high mileage hybrids now while you can. Replacement battery packs can be had for cheap and can be replaced by yourself. There are a myriad of youtube videos showing you how to do it.
Title: Re: Buying a 2015 Prius Two - suggestions?
Post by: Faraday on September 18, 2015, 03:23:41 PM
.... They can attain 200-300k miles easily with very little maintenance.

I would take advantage of the stigma against high mileage hybrids now while you can. Replacement battery packs can be had for cheap and can be replaced by yourself. There are a myriad of youtube videos showing you how to do it.

I have both a 2011 Prius and a 2000 Honda Insight hybrid. I just recently replaced the battery pack myself in the 15 year old honda, did it myself for $2000. The new battery has 2Ah more capacity and has been performing STELLAR since I installed it.

The Prius battery is a great deal larger than what's in my tiny little Honda, but what usually happens with those batteries, the connectors on the cells get loose and corroded and have a poor connection. you can remove the battery, take the connectors off, clean them and the terminals, put anti-corrosion goo on them, and reassemble. Your pack will then be "reconditioned" and be in better shape than it was before you worked on it!