Author Topic: Prius?  (Read 8545 times)

dizzean

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Prius?
« on: April 03, 2013, 06:54:24 AM »
We just finished paying off our CC debt and now we have our car loan or our student loans.

Right now we have a 2011 Ford Fiesta with 35k on it which nothing really wrong with it or anything like that but I find myself wanting to be able to haul stuff such as our bikes and other such stuff for the house (Foreclosure bought fort 60k last year so it need some work). I have a lead on a job that will let us go down to one car but my wife's line of work has made it considerably difficult for her to find a new job within biking distance so whatever car we have will be driven a considerable amount in the near future as she is a behavioural therapist that works in people's homes.

We owe $7500 on it right now and could sell it/trade it in for $9500.

Our local Toyota Dealership has a 2007 Prius with 83k miles on it that is certified pre-owned that has had all the maintenance done on it (water pump, brakes, and such) for $13000, it also qualifies for 1.9% financing but that's neither here nore there.  I guess the way I figure is that we would have our Fiesta paid off in 6 months at the rate we are paying down our debt we would have this one paid down in 8 months rather than 6 months and in the end we would have a car that is more fuel efficient, has more hauling capacity, and theoretically is more reliable (not sure the reliability of the Fiesta).

Is this a reasonable line of thought or am I being completely ridiculous in trying to justify a car change?

Another Reader

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 07:03:58 AM »
A Prius with 83k miles is probably coming up on a battery change.  Your Fiesta could be more reliable.  $13k is also a ridiculous price for a 6 year old car with that mileage. 

In your shoes, I would keep the Fiesta and buy or rent a small trailer to haul stuff.

Dynasty

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 10:08:21 AM »
If you have a house that needs work, an old beater truck or trailer would be a lot better than a prius.



dizzean

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2013, 11:10:46 AM »
If you have a house that needs work, an old beater truck or trailer would be a lot better than a prius.

I have a 1 car garage with a driveway that is also as narrow as 1 car, so a truck is only not viable financially but I just don't have the space for it. 

In regards to a trailer, I would really like to just be able to toss the bikes in the back of the car and drive to our destination, for example we are going up off the North Shore to celebrate our Anniversary and a 5 hour drive with a trailer just doesn't seem ideal.

Another Reader

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2013, 11:26:06 AM »
New Prius' around here can be had at a good discount from the sticker price.  You would be overpaying for that used one and it is likely going to have a battery replacement coming up.  You are rationalizing a purchase that does not make sense.  Get a bike rack and borrow a trailer when you need it.  Trading cars only makes sense for the dealer.

dizzean

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2013, 11:30:15 AM »
I would sell the Fiesta rather than do a trade in as it's clear to me that I could get more by selling it.

Starstuff

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 12:15:18 PM »
I made a similar decision just a month ago. I chose the Prius (2008 with 73k, $13,600), and I'm 99.9% sure it was the right choice. A well-maintained Prius will easily last 300,000 miles, and the batteries are known for their remarkable non-failure rate. You can find a lot of sources saying that you're way more likely to replace the transmission in your Fiesta than the battery in your Prius in the next ten years. (I sold Ford cars... a Fiesta is NOT a long-term vehicle. They're really meant to be local commuter vehicles- essentially gas powered bikes. I'd be shocked if that car lasted you longer than the warranty without some major repairs.) And CPO is always a good way to go, as an unlikely battery failure will be covered under warranty for quite a few more miles. I've been getting 39-42 mpg in cold weather/city driving, and I've been able to get 50-60 mpg in warmer weather/less stop and start situations. The car has a surprising amount of space, too. Between the roof, trunk, and a hitch rack, you could fit a lot of shtuff in this car, and bigger people fit comfortably in the back seat. (As for the winter driving rumors... I've been doing just fine on my steep, slushy driveway. It's all in how you drive.) Negotiate that price though... you could probably get it for $12k or so.

In short: do it!!

dizzean

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2013, 12:51:02 PM »
I made a similar decision just a month ago. I chose the Prius (2008 with 73k, $13,600), and I'm 99.9% sure it was the right choice. A well-maintained Prius will easily last 300,000 miles, and the batteries are known for their remarkable non-failure rate. You can find a lot of sources saying that you're way more likely to replace the transmission in your Fiesta than the battery in your Prius in the next ten years. (I sold Ford cars... a Fiesta is NOT a long-term vehicle. They're really meant to be local commuter vehicles- essentially gas powered bikes. I'd be shocked if that car lasted you longer than the warranty without some major repairs.) And CPO is always a good way to go, as an unlikely battery failure will be covered under warranty for quite a few more miles. I've been getting 39-42 mpg in cold weather/city driving, and I've been able to get 50-60 mpg in warmer weather/less stop and start situations. The car has a surprising amount of space, too. Between the roof, trunk, and a hitch rack, you could fit a lot of shtuff in this car, and bigger people fit comfortably in the back seat. (As for the winter driving rumors... I've been doing just fine on my steep, slushy driveway. It's all in how you drive.) Negotiate that price though... you could probably get it for $12k or so.

In short: do it!!

This post seems to justify every reason I am considering this and it's coming from someone who has never posted before?

Seems too convenient..smells fishy..

Starstuff

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 01:48:00 PM »
I'm new! But real!! Honest!! I just found Mr. M this week and I think I've read every post on the blog...

I'm not really sure how to verify that I'm real though....

dizzean

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2013, 02:22:20 PM »
I'm new! But real!! Honest!! I just found Mr. M this week and I think I've read every post on the blog...

I'm not really sure how to verify that I'm real though....
=D

I was just like "mmmm this seems fishy"

Does anyone know the equation to use to figure it will take X miles a year for Car A to be worth buying over Car B because Car A is more fuel efficient?

AJ

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2013, 02:45:39 PM »
A Prius with 83k miles is probably coming up on a battery change. 

Cite your source? Everything I have read has said that the post-Gen-1 Prius batteries are extremely reliable, with few failures before 150k miles.

But what jumps out to me in the post is the discussion of months till payoff - which strikes me as largely irrelevant, and sounds like a rationalization if I ever heard one.

You are rationalizing a purchase that does not make sense.  Get a bike rack and borrow a trailer when you need it.  Trading cars only makes sense for the dealer.

This. I am not at all against Prius's (?), but it sounds like an excuse to spend a bunch of money rather than just buy a bike rack.

smedleyb

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2013, 02:59:26 PM »
Is this a reasonable line of thought or am I being completely ridiculous in trying to justify a car change?

No and yes.

daverobev

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2013, 03:13:17 PM »
Not sure about the pedigree of North American Fiestas, but in the UK at least, the Fiesta is the small car of choice in terms of longevity and reliability.

How far does your wife drive? If not too far, you might consider getting rid of the Fiesta, and buying a minivan.

35k miles and nothing really wrong with it? Good grief, I should hope not. Cars should run on standard maintenance for hundreds of thousands of miles..

Stachsquatch

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2013, 05:45:18 PM »
I own a 2001 Prius with 130,000 on it and it runs like clockwork. The thing is an amazing machine. Don't you dare pay $13,000 for it though. I got mine for $5,900 and still felt I over paid a bit. And for goodness sake, don't even think the word "dealership" again. Craigstlist is the mustachian (and significantly cheaper) answer.

Starstuff

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 07:44:22 AM »
I'm new! But real!! Honest!! I just found Mr. M this week and I think I've read every post on the blog...

I'm not really sure how to verify that I'm real though....
=D

I was just like "mmmm this seems fishy"

Does anyone know the equation to use to figure it will take X miles a year for Car A to be worth buying over Car B because Car A is more fuel efficient?

I just used my average mileage (10,000) divided by miles per gallon (40) to get gallons per year (250) then multiplied by the rough cost of gas to get yearly fuel cost ($950 @ $3.80/gal). It's not going to be a huge jump from a Fiesta, honestly.

I would switch mostly for reliability reasons, if I were you. Fiestas are literally a joke among Ford mechanics. I don't want to be too "salesy" (I was a car salesperson, so cut me some slack), but I would run (or bike) like the wind away from that Fiesta before if falls apart. The transmissions are unreliable, the parts are cheap, and the build quality is overall low. They're not old enough to have a list of specific problems, but I haven't met a mechanic yet who would be caught dead driving one. And one experienced transmission mechanic told me flat out never ever to buy one because he firmly believes they will experience frequent transmission failures because of the flaws in the design. (I can get a little more technical if you want.) Of course, this is just my opinion, but I do feel like it's an educated one.

Not sure about the pedigree of North American Fiestas, but in the UK at least, the Fiesta is the small car of choice in terms of longevity and reliability.

How far does your wife drive? If not too far, you might consider getting rid of the Fiesta, and buying a minivan.

35k miles and nothing really wrong with it? Good grief, I should hope not. Cars should run on standard maintenance for hundreds of thousands of miles..

Daverobev, NA Fiestas aren't even cousins to their fantastic European counterparts. They're cheap junk cars more suited to short-term leasing than longevity, which is a trend among Ford cars. Ford takes advantage of the fact that Americans like to car swap, and so builds lower quality vehicles for American markets. I wouldn't trust a Fiesta as far as I could throw one, and I always felt a little guilty making a commission on one.

dizzean

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2013, 10:39:36 AM »

Starstuff

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2013, 02:11:17 PM »
(I can get a little more technical if you want.)

That would be awesome!

That was a super confusing quote chain. First, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_PowerShift_transmission

Basically, you're driving two manual transmission. That's why the mileage is so great. Problem is, it's a manual without a real brain behind it. You know that shaking you feel sometimes, especially when rolling out of a stop? This is essentially the same as riding the clutch in a manual. Shaking and gear grinding is "normal" for Fiesta/Focus, except that shaking and grinding are signs that you're driving the manual transmission wrong. When I was working at Ford, the general impression was that the company had found a great short-term way to boost sales with gas mileage, but they knew it couldn't last. There were a bunch of control module patches released, but no solution. At first they said it was just a break in period of 3,000 miles, then 5,000 miles, then 10,000 miles, then a patch, then they decided that it's just normal.

That's really as technical as I can get... But my understanding is that the dual clutch system works a little bit like letting an inexperienced driver drive a manual, and will do as much damage. It's essentially a software problem, I think, with some physcial issues related, but Ford has decided not to find a solution. The design has only been around for 2-3 years now, so any major problems are coming in the next few years. Transmission aside, the materials in the Fiesta are really bargain basement materials.

I really can't explain my objection beyond that in technical terms. When you work in a car dealership, a lot of knowledge is passed on general understanding. No one talks about it, but you understand that the new MyFord Touch is awful, or that selling a 2010 diesel is almost unethical because of quality issues, or that the Fiesta is a bad car. It's sort of an implicit understanding passed between management, the older employees, and everyone else. The service manager gives you a look, but says something else.  No one tells you how many Powershift transmissions come in with problems, but you understand it. It sounds a little hokey, but that's how a dealership works.

dizzean

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2013, 02:16:07 PM »
The dealership said that rattling was normal and was the tranny's computer "learning how you drive", and that it wasn't a problem!

I knew it wasn't!  I'm not a gearhead or anything but I know what a normal and not normal transmission noise is!

Nords

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Re: Prius?
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2013, 08:40:13 PM »
Is this a reasonable line of thought or am I being completely ridiculous in trying to justify a car change?
Yes.

What about keeping the Fiesta until something major comes along?  (Transmission, water pump, alternator, A/C... it won't take long.)  In the meantime you could buy a bicycle rack for the back (Performance sells many models online) and buy a roof rack for hauling (Handirack).  Those solutions will cost a couple hundred bucks and you could let the Fiesta limp along while it self-destructs... and while you're saving up more cash.  And if you need to haul that much stuff to the house then the home-improvement store could be persuaded to deliver.

We own two Priuses, a 2006 and a 2005, and they both haul.  No problem there, unless you're riding a longboard bigger than 10'6". 

I would not buy a Prius from the dealership.  Buy it from Craigslist and take it to a mechanic (maybe Toyota, maybe not) who can check the codes.  You could check the brake shoes (good for 100K miles), the oil, the coolant, the CV boots, and the age of the 12v battery.  Check the owner's paperwork for recalls-- if they don't have the paperwork then you don't want the car anyway.  There's really not much that goes bad on the power train, so the only other weak point would be the air conditioning compressor/evaporator or possibly the water pump for the inverter cooling system.  We bought both of ours used on CL and we've had no problems.  The 2006 survived a teen's driver training remarkably unscathed (the car, the teen driver, and the licensed adult in the passenger seat).

A Prius with 83k miles is probably coming up on a battery change. 
Oh please. 

The weakest "battery" in the vehicle is the 12v one.