Author Topic: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?  (Read 550 times)

WisconsinFI

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Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« on: May 28, 2019, 11:41:24 AM »
Hi all, looking for advice. We have a 2007 Ford Fusion with about 95k miles. It gets mid 20's mpg. We've put a lot of money into the car over the last few years, with a lot going into the suspension (our roads suck) but also tires, brakes, new thermostat, the list goes on. It's in good shape at this point, but we'd like something that gets better gas mileage. We ride bikes frequently for city trips when the weather cooperates but often travel to a vacation spot about 1 hour away on weekends. KBB shoes the median value of the car of $3800.

I've found a Prius for $8500 with 91k miles. Looks to be in good shape with some quality owners who have owned since new.

Question is, should we sell our car and buy a Prius? We're a 1 car family. Thanks in advance!

Syonyk

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2019, 11:49:22 AM »
How many miles/yr do you reasonably expect to drive, and what's the typical trip length?

At $4/gal gas, the Fusion at 25mpg costs $0.16/mi in fuel.  A Prius at 55mpg costs $0.072/mi.  That's a difference of $0.088/mi.

To recover $4500 in costs at that delta requires driving ~50k miles.

WisconsinFI

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2019, 11:59:31 AM »
How many miles/yr do you reasonably expect to drive, and what's the typical trip length?

At $4/gal gas, the Fusion at 25mpg costs $0.16/mi in fuel.  A Prius at 55mpg costs $0.072/mi.  That's a difference of $0.088/mi.

To recover $4500 in costs at that delta requires driving ~50k miles.

We're probably around 10k/year give or take. Maybe some more road trips in our future as we look to be a bit more nomadic as we start a family and my wife stops commuting (baby on the way in fall).

Syonyk

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2019, 12:18:56 PM »
How much of that is longer trips, and how much is shorter (<30 mile) drives?

A Volt (PHEV, so 30-ish miles of battery range on the 1st gens then has a ~40mpg gas motor for longer travel) comes out ahead of a Prius in a vast majority of driving situations, in terms of operating costs.

WisconsinFI

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2019, 12:35:28 PM »
How much of that is longer trips, and how much is shorter (<30 mile) drives?

A Volt (PHEV, so 30-ish miles of battery range on the 1st gens then has a ~40mpg gas motor for longer travel) comes out ahead of a Prius in a vast majority of driving situations, in terms of operating costs.

It's probably half and half if you average out the year. Summer weekends we're typically driving 60 miles one way, all highway. I hadn't thought about the Volt, but it looks like the prices (if you can find one) make them pretty affordable.

Syonyk

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2019, 12:52:15 PM »
If you can swing it, a Gen 2 Volt (around $15k) should last a very long while, and run lower fuel costs than the Prius by a good margin - you can do 40-50 miles highway on the 2nd gens on battery, and if you have power at the remote end (even 120V is fine), it'll typically be charged for the trip home.

Ours only rarely gets plugged into 240V - we charge almost entirely on 120V, and manage 300-500 miles per gallon of gas used.  Power is fairly cheap out here ($0.10/kWh most of the year for the bulk of our power), though, which puts the Volt ahead.

But even a Gen1 will get you 30-35 miles at highway speeds (depending on the highway speed), so you'll be using less gas than a Prius for the trip, plus doing all your shorter stuff on almost entirely battery.

bacchi

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2019, 01:24:40 PM »
Volts are more fun to drive, too.

Syonyk

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2019, 02:22:55 PM »
Eh.  I've never driven a Prius, but the Volt isn't a particularly quick or fun to drive vehicle.  It drives like an EV, but not a terribly fast one, and it corners like a FWD car (though with a fairly low center of gravity - it does corner pretty flat).

That said, being more fun than a Prius is entirely possible.  I just don't drive ours that hard, though in "low/sport," it can be prodded into getting out of its own way.

six-car-habit

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2019, 03:59:25 PM »
 It'll cost an extra $5000 to get into this Prius you think you want, assuming you will have to pay some taxes / cost of registration.

 Don't kid yourself into thinking suspension parts replacement will be any cheaper on the Toyota.

 For the long road trips, i can't imagine the prius will be able to fit as much stuff into it as the Fusion.  I suppose you could drop another $700 on roof cross bars, and a "clamshell" roof container for the new rig {?}

WisconsinFI

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2019, 05:06:18 PM »
It'll cost an extra $5000 to get into this Prius you think you want, assuming you will have to pay some taxes / cost of registration.

 Don't kid yourself into thinking suspension parts replacement will be any cheaper on the Toyota.

 For the long road trips, i can't imagine the prius will be able to fit as much stuff into it as the Fusion.  I suppose you could drop another $700 on roof cross bars, and a "clamshell" roof container for the new rig {?}

I appreciate your thoughts. I struggle since we put so much money into the Fusion. The nice thing is all of these parts we've done are warrantied for 3 years. We certainly don't need a fancier car but we've been putting $1-$2k into it every year it seems and all the more painful is that we don't drive it much  Based on strictly the math we should just keep it.

WisconsinFI

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2019, 09:44:02 AM »
I think I will hold off for now but did find a 2013 Volt with 96,000 miles for $8,500. What concerns me a bit about these vehicles is the cost to repair what seems like a pretty complicated car.

ApacheStache

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Re: Should I sell our car and buy a Prius?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2019, 10:53:51 AM »
We've put a lot of money into the car over the last few years, with a lot going into the suspension (our roads suck) but also tires, brakes, new thermostat, the list goes on. It's in good shape at this point, but we'd like something that gets better gas mileage.

Putting money into a car as it ages is just part of the car ownership process, and purchasing a Prius with 4,000 less miles on it than your Fusion won't let you escape that fate. Knowing that any vehicle is going to break down over time, I set aside ~$50 a month into a preventative car maintenance fund to pay for any vehicles repairs, maintenance, car insurance and car tabs. I've been doing this for a few years and it really reduces the stress when things begin to fail on the car.

What's your primary motivating factor for getting a new vehicle? Better MPG to save money? Eco and environmental reasons? For traveling to the vacation spot? If your main goal is to save money, there are a lot of alternatives that don't involve purchasing a different vehicle namely, learning how to perform your own car maintenance.

Also what sort of cost comparisons have you done? Are the insurance rates lower or higher for the Prius or the Volt? How much are registration and yearly car tabs going to cost? Will the Prius need service (tires, brakes, struts, etc.) in a few months? Speaking of which, how is the Prius going to handle the crappy roads near your house?

It also seems like there's a bit of uncertainty in what you want out of a new vehicle. If that's the case, it'd recommend thinking it over a bit, taking a lot of test drives, scouring the internet to learn more about the vehicles and renting a car for a week to ensure it meets your needs. Who knows, you may take the Prius on a test drive for a week and you might hate it or the novelty might quickly fade.

Lastly, check out https://www.carcomplaints.com to get a better understanding of some of the issues you'll likely see with a new vehicle.