The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Allen on July 15, 2016, 09:47:11 PM

Title: Cars: Used Prius vs Used Volt
Post by: Allen on July 15, 2016, 09:47:11 PM
We have a used Prius and it has been a fantastic car for our family, sipping the gas. As it nears its end of life, we are thinking about a replacement.

Used Prius are cheap and plentiful.  Upgrading to a newer version is my default choice.

I wanted to ask about the Chevy Volt.  They are available pretty cheap used as well, and they can be essentially 100% electric for my general use cases and only on rare longer trips would I have to burn gas.  Do we the MMM community have an opinion on the Volt?
Title: Re: Cars: Used Prius vs Used Volt
Post by: Vic99 on July 16, 2016, 02:41:07 AM
I have had a 2014 volt and it is great for my needs.  I give it an A-.   I've put 30k miles on it.

All electric drive train makes it a pleasure to drive.  In MA I get 45-55 miles/charge when temp is 55 F+.  In winter it goes down to 30-35 miles/charge.  Heater drains some and battery is less efficient in cold temps.  Definitely try to get one with heated seats.  Much more efficient.

It has some features you are used to with the prius like regenerative braking and shutting gas engine off when stopped at a light.

You can use a regular 3 prong outlet to charge.  If you don't completely deplete the battery on your trips it doesn't take as long to refill. You can buy a faster level 2 charge that cuts the charge time from ~10 hrs to 4.  Costs about $400-600 if you install yourself.  Although it would be nice to have, I do not need and thus don't have one.


Since most trips are less than full charge, I run 92% on electric and I put about 12k miles/year.
My life time mileage is 280 mpg last time I did the math since I run mostly on battery;
Even with low price of gas, cost of electricity is still less;
(Even better for me because I have solar panels so electricity is mostly free, plus I can charge at work)
"Sport mode" allows for excellent acceleration, or use "normal" to sip energy;
Fun to drive in normal mode, even better in sport.  Lots of torque means taking corners at higher speeds is fun;
Since gas engine is barely used, a lot less engine matintenance is needed;
Only one-two oil changes/year needed;
Has a USB port and blue tooth for phone, plus Onstar if you like that;

Only seats 4.  Tall adults may not like the back seat;
Visibility is decent, but I find I have to rely on mirrors more than in other cars;
Control panel can be a bit overwhelming at first, but you'll get used to it;
Title: Re: Cars: Used Prius vs Used Volt
Post by: Vic99 on July 16, 2016, 02:46:18 AM
If you plan on taking long trips to work or driving cross country a lot, a prius is probably a better choice.  Although not very mustachian, the new prius  gets much better mileage than pre 2015 Prius  at 52 mpg ish.

Gen II volt, 2016 + adds 10-15 miles on battery power.  Both gen I and II volt have a 10 yr battery warrenty.  No loss of range over time because you don't have access to all battery cells and thus never actually full drain battery while still getting 40-50 range.
Title: Re: Cars: Used Prius vs Used Volt
Post by: Choices on July 16, 2016, 09:36:35 AM
Title: Re: Cars: Used Prius vs Used Volt
Post by: clarkevii on July 16, 2016, 11:02:00 AM
I'd get a 5 years old Prius. I bet you can get one sub 10K. You would get over 50 mpg.

Hard to beat.
Title: Re: Cars: Used Prius vs Used Volt
Post by: SoccerLounge on July 16, 2016, 08:12:30 PM
As I've said elsewhere I have an Insight, but if I had to think about hauling kids or anything and needed more than two seats, I'd probably look at the Volt. I've been really impressed by a couple work colleagues' Volts and it seems they're less "glamorous" than some hybrids, so at least where I am they're reasonably priced used.
Title: Re: Cars: Used Prius vs Used Volt
Post by: Emg03063 on July 16, 2016, 08:16:48 PM
If you're going down that road, think about converting a used Prius to a plug in with an aftermarket conversion.  Best one I found for the money when I was looking is here: There are others, and I should mention I haven't done it myself because I drive an '06 Corolla and live 1.5 miles from work, so it didn't make financial sense for me, but you get the benefit of a plug in hybrid for what I would imagine would be much less than the cow of a used volt.
Title: Re: Cars: Used Prius vs Used Volt
Post by: Thinkum on July 16, 2016, 08:24:37 PM
Interested to know what makes your Prius at the "end of life"? Are you up to 300K miles or so? Did the hybrid battery start giving you warning signs? I have a 10 year old Prius and I hope to keep it another 10 years, so really curious as to your reasons.