Author Topic: A question concerning a Prius  (Read 9997 times)

pucksr

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A question concerning a Prius
« on: August 04, 2014, 03:56:51 PM »
Situation:
Drive 15,000+ miles per year(Unavoidable and I get reimbursed for some of them)
Own 2002 Silverado (14 city/19 highway) with 200,000 miles(bought it new in a former life)

Considering: Prius( +/- 45 mpg)

Options:
2011 Prius w/ 98,000 miles =$11k
2006 Prius w/ 150,000 miles = $6.5k

I was going to just keep running my truck into the ground, until I realized my gas savings would pay me over $2,000 a year. Coupled with the fact that just about any car I buy will be more reliable than my truck at this point, it seems like a no-brainer.

I was going to buy a 2006ish Prius until I saw the newer high-mileage one. The company that owned it apparently did regular maintenance(according to carfax) and they were using it in South Texas so it isn't unbelievable that this was used for shuttling someone between the major cities(rather than taxi). I like the idea of the newer generation Prius in general, as I think it is a better deal. I also want the newer generation because of the increased legroom(I am 6'5").
I kindly request the assistance of the Mustachians!
I have followed the blog for awhile, and I find you all to be a rather pragmatic bunch. Everyone else I talk to seems to be bringing subjective and silly issues into the discussion. (i.e. Prius looks silly, I always like to buy new!, what if you need to haul something)

Credaholic

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2014, 04:26:24 PM »
I'd go for the newer Prius despite the price jump. Your battery will be warrantied longer (I think it's 8 years total, so the 2006 is about to be out of warranty) and at 6'5" you will hugely appreciate the leg room. I love my 2007 Prius, but I'm considerably shorter. My 6'4" husband finds riding in my car a little tight, so I think the leg room will go a long way to keeping you happy.

Also, I specifically bought the Prius when I reformed to a Mustachian lifestyle because the layout was so similar to my Lexus RX. I can fit just about the same amount of stuff in the trunk thanks to the hatchback style. Rent a truck for a day if you need to haul bigger loads! :)

pucksr

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2014, 04:31:24 PM »
I'd go for the newer Prius despite the price jump. Your battery will be warrantied longer (I think it's 8 years total, so the 2006 is about to be out of warranty)


The warranty on the battery is also mileage based(at 100k miles)


and at 6'5" you will hugely appreciate the leg room.
Well, I did discover you can purchase seat extenders for about $200. I don't know about the safety of such a device and would rather have it be something designed by Toyota(though not against it if I buy a 2006)

As a side note: I am about to have 2 kids(both in car seats). Any problem fitting 2 car seats in the Prius?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 07:12:14 PM by pucksr »

Bruinguy

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2014, 06:23:47 PM »
If you havn't sat in both, I'd recommend it to figure out which one you like better for the legroom.

I actually preferred the '08 to the newer generation for legroom (I'm tall too).  In the newer generation, the center console goes from between the seats and connects to the front dash. In the older generation, there is a few inches in betweenm the console and the dash.  I felt I could spread out a little more due to that gap in the older generation. 

pucksr

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2014, 07:13:59 PM »
If you havn't sat in both, I'd recommend it to figure out which one you like better for the legroom.

A friend has a 2nd gen prius.
I rented a 3rd gen prius in Miami.(That is how I figured out how roomy they can be)

I am pretty tall and lanky. My biggest problem is "knees in the steering wheel". I drove a Ford Ranger when I was a kid and swore I would never own another car that was so cramped.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2014, 07:27:56 PM »
As a side note: I am about to have 2 kids(both in car seats). Any problem fitting 2 car seats in the Prius?

No problem at all. We have had two rear-facing car seats in our 2007 Prius for over a year now. Just make sure to go with reasonably sized car seats, and not the massive luxury thrones that people with the Suburbans buy for their kids. At 6'2", I can get a little cramped on long trips, but I mean long trips - we drive 9-14 hours to see our families several times a year. For a 2-hour drive, room is not an issue at all.

FWIW, I would go with the newer Prius if it were me.

Nords

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2014, 07:35:09 PM »
Options:
2011 Prius w/ 98,000 miles =$11k
2006 Prius w/ 150,000 miles = $6.5k
I've had no problems with our 2006, and you could easily get another 100,000 miles-- seven years-- out of it. 

I think it boils down to test-driving both cars and buying the one with the better audio speakers.  The base model of the 2006 also lacks an AUX input jack for an iPod.

pucksr

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2014, 08:09:41 PM »
My thoughts were that age would add more problems than hard use. All things being equal the batteries will decay, the insulation on the motor will become brittle, and the rust will kick in.

In that scenario a few years is a huge advantage over a few thousand miles.

easton

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2014, 09:52:31 PM »
I made this same choice two years ago albeit with higher prices. I went with the newer generation. I'm 6 ft tall and the 2nd gen was slightly too small in the drivers seat for me. I couldn't slide the seat back far enough to ever get comfy. I can imagine you having that same problem at 6'5. I think in general the 3rd gen is also just a more solid car. Lots of major/minor improvements in terms of road noise, comfort, mpg, electronics, safety features, solid gas tank vs the older bladder, slightly larger.

As for hauling stuff, since it's a hatch back the prius has a ton of room. It honestly probably has close to the same amount of usable space as my 2 door explorer had that I traded for my prius due to being old and unreliable and getting awful mpg like your truck. You can easily haul 2x8's in it (possibly a few 2x10's if angled) and a ton of boxes.

Also, depending what climate you live in, the 3rd gen will get you 50+ mpg, so that'll slightly lower your fuel expenditures over the 2nd generations. I live in PA and get 51-55mpg over summer depending what type of driving i do and 46-48 mpg ish in winter due to the cold/different fuel mixtures.

I'd def go with the 3rd gen in that situation especially given that's at least 3 yrs of driving difference in miles between the 98k and the 150k

easton

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2014, 10:03:58 PM »
Also, depending where that car was originally sold, certain states got 150k battery warranty vs the standard 100k, so check that out.

Another cool tip, if you have the VIN you can register it as "your car" at http://www.toyota.com/owners/web/pages/home , it will show you the history of the car and all maintenance that was done at an official Toyota dealer. I did this to about 15 different Prius's when I bought mine and it was cool to see what maintenance or repairs the cars had done.

DarinC

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2014, 10:09:58 PM »
Either one is good choice IME. The 3rd gen has more room in the front, less room in the back, and more room in the trunk. It gets ~10-20% better mpg depending on how you drive it, is a bit faster, and it has better high speed stability/tracks better for most people since it's wider.

Regardless of which one you pick, you should change the transaxle oil right off the bat, unless you have records showing it was changed recently. The batteries are pretty durable, but their weakness is being left out to bake, so I'd stay away from a car that's been left out in the sun with the windows rolled up all day. They can both tow small (~1500lbs or less including the trailer) loads fine.

If you do run into trouble, they're fairly inexpensive to refurb if you're handy, or you can buy a used module.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/prius-traction-batteries-11328.html

monarda

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2014, 10:18:26 PM »
We bought a 2004 Prius with 188K miles a couple of years ago for $6K
The only hi-mileage car kind of repair we had done was replacing both front wheel bearings.

Are both in equally good condition in terms of the interior? We picked one with the nicer interior (we sat in a couple of hi-mileage priuses when we bough this one from a dealer).

Also, we put a trailer hitch on ours. Mostly use it for a bike rack, but also have pulled lightweight trailers occasionally.

Credaholic

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2014, 12:08:31 AM »
I just installed a second car seat for daughter arriving any day now and no issues. I didn't realize the 3rd gen also gets about 5 mpg more! This thread is making me want an upgrade...must back away ;)

pucksr

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2014, 08:55:57 AM »
Well it sounds like the consensus is that they are about equal in value/$. All things being equal, I think I will take the newer one with the better mpg and more legroom.
Thanks for the advice Mustachians!

I actually did a bit of sleuthing and figured out the former owner was BNSF. I am going to assume that most of the miles it racked up were on the highway(easier on the battery).
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 10:00:04 AM by pucksr »

okashira

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2014, 11:29:47 AM »
Well it sounds like the consensus is that they are about equal in value/$. All things being equal, I think I will take the newer one with the better mpg and more legroom.
Thanks for the advice Mustachians!

I actually did a bit of sleuthing and figured out the former owner was BNSF. I am going to assume that most of the miles it racked up were on the highway(easier on the battery).

What throws off this comparison is that $11,000 is a straight up HOT DEAL for a 2011 prius in good shape.

blackomen

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2014, 11:59:26 AM »
The 2006 could be in for battery problems several years down the line..  not saying it's not a great deal in spite of it but it's something you need to be prepared for.

The 2011 is a better deal if you intend on keeping it for a long time..  but if you tend to change cars frequently, then go with the 2006.


Kansaslover5

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2014, 02:17:53 PM »
Can't you get an extended warranty for the batteries from USAA?

ginklord

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2014, 02:27:41 PM »
My wife has been looking for a car (she's 6'3") and she found the Honda Fit to actually be roomier. We're looking at a few now.

You may want to check it out - mpg is great too.

pucksr

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2014, 03:49:56 PM »
Problem is the 2 car seats. Fit isn't exactly car-seat friendly from what I can tell.

Kansaslover5

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2014, 11:12:46 AM »
I have a question as well. I'm debating between a used Toyota Corolla or a used Prius....the Prius for the same year/mileage tends to be about $2000 more than a corolla....but the gas savings is significant. I'm not sure which way to go. If I get the Prius I'd likely go for one around $9,000 but that usually comes with well over 100K in miles...What do my fellow mustachians think?

ginklord

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2014, 02:39:04 PM »
Problem is the 2 car seats. Fit isn't exactly car-seat friendly from what I can tell.

We checked out a 2007 Fit and the car seat for our two year old fit rear facing behind the driver side, with the driver's seat pushed all of the way back. It was pretty awesome - better than our current Nissan Altima. It's also wider than the Altima, with plenty of room between the two seats (our six month old daughter will sit behind the passenger seat).

It really is an incredibly spacious car, but you need to see it to believe it.

pucksr

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2014, 02:58:50 PM »
Problem is the 2 car seats. Fit isn't exactly car-seat friendly from what I can tell.

We checked out a 2007 Fit and the car seat for our two year old fit rear facing behind the driver side, with the driver's seat pushed all of the way back. It was pretty awesome - better than our current Nissan Altima. It's also wider than the Altima, with plenty of room between the two seats (our six month old daughter will sit behind the passenger seat).

It really is an incredibly spacious car, but you need to see it to believe it.

My bad, since we were talking about hybrids I was thinking of the Honda Insight.
The Fit is probably fine.

pucksr

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2014, 03:21:51 PM »
I have a question as well. I'm debating between a used Toyota Corolla or a used Prius....the Prius for the same year/mileage tends to be about $2000 more than a corolla....but the gas savings is significant. I'm not sure which way to go. If I get the Prius I'd likely go for one around $9,000 but that usually comes with well over 100K in miles...What do my fellow mustachians think?

So, my 2 cents because I have debating this a lot and trying to be pragmatic.
The Prius has an engine that is designed to engage/disengage frequently. It was literally designed for this purpose, while most cars are designed with the expectation that the engine will run continuously for a long period. There are other newer cars that have a similar design, but the 2008 Corolla was not designed this way. The result? Wear and tear on the car is very different. Short usage is not any worse for this car than long usage.

The car uses an electric motor for assist purposes and after 2010 can run entirely off of the battery for low speed driving.
The average "service life" of an electric motor is 30,000 hours. That is roughly the equivalent of 1 million miles. Toyota probably overdrives the motor, but most other car components are not designed for 30,000 hour lives. Result: The electric motor is also going to have less wear and tear than the ICE(Internal Combustion Engine)

The braking is regenerative. This means that each time you brake you essentially turn the electric motor into a generator. Once again, taking wear and tear off of the more failure prone devices.

Conclusion:
The Prius and any electric car should have longer service life than a similar ICE based car. This is generally confirmed by the service records on the Prius. As for my decision between a high-mileage car vs. an old car I have come to the conclusion that high-mileage is the way to go. The greatest destructive force on a high-mileage car is going to be the transmission, which isn't particularly taxed on a Prius. A life of 150,000 miles isn't abnormal on a transmission on a much more power engine, so I would feel safe saying that the 50/50 failure point on a Prius is closer to 200,000.

Your particular situation:
The one thing that MMM and life lessons in general has taught me is that we are not very pragmatic thinkers. We don't use logic, we use gut feelings.
Calculate your savings: 12,000 miles @ $3/gallon.
Prius: $800 per year for gas
Corolla: $1161

Imagine you were taking out a loan on this car. Not saying you would, but imagine it.
Corolla = $8,000 over 5 years at 3%. That is a payment of $143.75+$96.75 for gas=$240.50
Prius =$10,000 over 5 years at 3%. That is a payment of $179.69+$66.67 for gas = $246.35

You can calculate the break-even point for your own situation, but the point is that the fuel efficiency of the Prius is going to allow you to buy a roughly 20% more expensive Prius.
Now, what are you getting for your 20% higher payment? Old Prii do seem to retain their value slightly over other brands of cars. If you own it for more than 5 years you will start saving even more money.

One final thing, in my decision-making it allows me to take different routes. The Prius gets GREAT city mileage. I have the option of driving a route through city streets or driving on the highway. I currently favor the highway because it saves me money. The highway route is roughly equal in time, but it can be congested. The city street option? No traffic. However, because it involves about 2 dozen stop signs, it is rough on my old truck AND it costs me more to drive that route. I always favor the highway. In other words, a Prius for me will allow me to choose the route that I want rather than the route that is best for my vehicle.

Ybserp

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2014, 04:55:45 AM »
My family has a 2006 Prius. We bought it used in 2009 and have been very happy with it.

About Prius batteries---
* They last a really long time. Sure the warranty expires at 8yr/100k or 10yr/150k depending on which state it was bought in originally, but the meantime between failures for the thing is on the order of 200k.
* If you have to replace a hybrid battery, you can know in advance your approximate cost. 2nd gen Prius (2004-2006): $3,649(part) +labor -$1,350(credit for returning broken battery). 3rd gen Prius (2007-present): $3,939(part) +labor -$1,350(credit for returning broken battery).

blackomen

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2014, 01:29:02 PM »
Also, if your commute is almost entirely highway with not too much stop and go, the Corolla might surprisingly be a better fit.  I have a 40 mile one way commute and my 99 Honda Civic gets high 30s to low 40s MPG on that route vs my fiancee's Prius which averages about 45 mpg on the same route.  Although her commute is shorter (10 miles 1 way), it's almost entirely stop and go.. we actually found better gas savings having the Prius take the shorter commute.

pucksr

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2014, 05:34:20 PM »
Agreed. Prius is great for city. Just good for highway.

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MicroRN

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2014, 01:30:38 AM »

As a side note: I am about to have 2 kids(both in car seats). Any problem fitting 2 car seats in the Prius?

Nope.  We have 2 in huge Britax carseats, and they fit just fine.  It's actually a standard sized sedan, it just looks tiny. 

pucksr

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2014, 12:16:21 PM »
Well it sounds like the consensus is that they are about equal in value/$. All things being equal, I think I will take the newer one with the better mpg and more legroom.
Thanks for the advice Mustachians!

I actually did a bit of sleuthing and figured out the former owner was BNSF. I am going to assume that most of the miles it racked up were on the highway(easier on the battery).

What throws off this comparison is that $11,000 is a straight up HOT DEAL for a 2011 prius in good shape.
So, just to update. The dealer sold the car out from under me. I shopped around for another month and wound up getting one for under $10k(2011). It has a lot of miles, but it is in GREAT shape.
Moral of the story? There is no such thing as a "must act fast" deal. If you can find someone selling something for a price, you can almost guarantee that you will be able to find it at an equal or greater value in the future.

MooseOutFront

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2014, 12:48:01 PM »
So, just to update. The dealer sold the car out from under me. I shopped around for another month and wound up getting one for under $10k(2011). It has a lot of miles, but it is in GREAT shape.
Moral of the story? There is no such thing as a "must act fast" deal. If you can find someone selling something for a price, you can almost guarantee that you will be able to find it at an equal or greater value in the future.
Thanks for the update.  I'm back on my must find a prius kick and your update is a nice reminder that I don't have to force the issue at the first hint of a good deal.  Tough to do with car shopping for some reason.  That reason for me being pain in the ass factor, at least partly.

pucksr

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2014, 01:32:23 PM »
I will tell you this, I bought the car in Texas.
San Antonio and Houston seem to have the best prices.
One dealer in San Antonio essentially had two good 2011 prii.(sold both)

The low dealer prices make it easier to get a low price in general. The 2015s wont be out until February, so that pressure doesn't exist yet. Gas is getting a bit cheaper though, which helps.
2011s are a pretty good deal right now. They upgraded Gen III 2012s, so most people don't buy a 2011. They would rather get the 2012 for a bit more money.
The 2010s are super popular because they were the first year of the Gen III. A higher mileage 2011 is difficult to move.

Any place that lists a 2011 for under $13k is good starting place. If they list it for more than $13k, then avoid them. They are hoping that someone will ignore the mileage. I saw that alot. If they get into the $13k range, then they are calculating the value of the car accurately.

MooseOutFront

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #30 on: September 19, 2014, 01:57:32 PM »
Like you, I am not scared of the high miles, but I have decided that I really want  a 2010 or 2011.  My search just now did show better pricing in SA and Houston.  My sweet spot would be about a 110k mile 2010 or 11 for $11,000 or less.  I feel like I found a couple that fit that just now so that gives me confidence that I can find one a bit closer than what I just saw.

forummm

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Re: A question concerning a Prius
« Reply #31 on: September 19, 2014, 06:43:21 PM »
Another option is an electric car. With the mileage you put on it, the low cost of electricity (1 cent per mile for me) is great compared to gas (about 10 cents per mile for a Prius in the city). And the tax credits ($7500 federal, states ranging from $0-$6000 on top of that) and $3500 rebate from Nissan make the Leaf a great deal. My brand new Leaf cost me $13.5k net. I'm going to trade in my 2010 Corolla and buy a 2nd Leaf. And if you can't take full advantage of the tax credits, the used Leafs are pretty cheap too (due to the tax credits keeping resale values down). They are selling for about as much as I paid net for mine new.

I love the Leaf (and I'm 6'3" and fit very comfortably).

See for much more info:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/index.php?topic=20128.0