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Howard Rosenberg
04-06-2012, 1:14 AM
Well, the time's up on my current lease.

I love the car - 2007 KIA Rondo - great seats, small outside package HUGE interior room, 3 rows of seats. BUT this thing gets TERRIBLE mileage and the lack of a telescoping steering wheel has killed my neck since I got it.

I'm the only person in it about 98% of the time. The way I figure it, we need one more family car before there are NO MORE family trips. Then I can get what I REALLY want - a FIAT 500 Abarth - small, nimble, good performance and great handling.

So until then, I either get something small-ish with better mileage like a KIA RIO5 and get my wife the family car - she has her eye on the Mazda CX5. Or I get a Prius V for family purposes and get my wife a Subaru Impreza.

I test drove the Prius V today. Smooth ride, ok performance, terrible ergonomics, a weird plastic sunroof that doesn't open - BUT - great mileage with a huge interior capacity. Even if I end up getting half of what Transport Canada says, that'll still be 3x what I'm getting now in basically the same style of vehicle.

Any personal knowledge and experience or opinions and rumours would be welcome.

Thank you.

Howard

harry hood
04-06-2012, 3:32 AM
I don't know anything about the new Prius but my 2004 is the best car I've ever owned and I've been through a lot of them. When I bought it I was doing a heavy 90 mile round trip SF bay area commute and that's the the ideal for that car miilage-wise. I'm too tired to go out and look at my log book but my 5 year average for that time was something like 56MPG; I get between 55-60MPG depending on traffic and weather (the heater in particular can kill your mileage by forcing the engine to run when set above 69F). Your mileage will most likely be much lower, maybe even down in the mid-40s if you just make lots of short trips around town or just 70MPH on the freeway. Mechanically I've had no trouble and at 135K miles it still is on the first set of replacement tires (although I need to replace them again) and original brakes are at 80% last time I had them checked. I have the extended warranty on the batteries but I can't tell that the originals aren't working as well as when they were new. The ability to use the carpool lane at the time and not pay bridge toll was just icing on the cake, the car paid for its slight premium over the other car I was considering the first year in gas savings and now I just get to chuckle at these paying $4.40 a gallon for gas to burn while sitting in traffic. Comfort-wise it's probably high-end for small Japanese sedans but with the fold-down back seats I can easily fit cut down sheet goods and a fair amount of 8' lengths of lumber (I think my record was 15 2x6s but the last couple were sticking out the passenger window).

Alan Lightstone
04-06-2012, 7:16 AM
My 2008 Prius was bought back by Toyota under the Lemon Law after a prolonged legal battle that I won. I wouldn't recommend it in warm climates, but in Toronto, probably OK. Mileage was scary good.

Larry Edgerton
04-06-2012, 7:26 AM
I need to do something about fuel costs myself, so I was thinking a small wagon for the days I don't need a truck. Not many out there.....

The VW TDI's are in the same mileage range as the Prius, look a whole lot better in the parking driveway, and the wagon has a lot of room.

I'm reading up on reliability now.

Larry

Joe Leigh
04-06-2012, 9:45 AM
Firstly, no one buys a Prius looking for performance. That said no other car comes close as far as mileage. My company leases a fleet 2011 Priuses (Priui?) cars so I have about 6 months of experience driving them. I will say they are very roomy, extremely quiet and well appointed for a compact car. There is an initial learning curve to operating one but that fast becomes second nature. The technology and level of refinement is impressive but the real proof is in the numbers. I consistently get in the low 40's around town and 50-low 50's on the highway. My range is 400-450 miles per tankful.
The engine operation takes a little getting used to as it turns off frequently when not need and it's a little wierd to hear it turn off while you are sitting at a light. It's also strange to have air conditioning and power steering functioning while the engine is off. The electric only mode has too many limitations and is rarely useable. In my opinion the car spends too much time recharging the battery instead of consuming the battery. My battery indicator is constantly near full. The dash has some cool graphical display that shows when the engine or battery is being used to power the car as well as a bar graph to indicate how much energy is being saved at any point.
The fit and finish is good and like I said earlier the interior is very roomy. It's not for everyone, but outside of a straight electric there is nothing that can beat it for fuel economy.

Stephen Cherry
04-06-2012, 10:21 AM
A new car every 5 years? Sounds like financial and environmental irresponsibility to me. I've sworn off highly depriciating assets, and I would absolutely not consider financing a car. Why not take out a bank loan to flush the money down the toilet?

For the sake of the environment, why not just find a car you would be happy with for 10-15 years, and stick with that?

Joe Cowan
04-06-2012, 10:38 AM
I had a Prius and sold it too a friend that was driving a Suburban around the state. You do not buy a Prius for anything but getting your butt around cheaply (gas wise). It is a small car without any luxury. I was getting close to 50 mph when I drove it, but my wife would get upper 30's as she brakes hard and has a heavy foot. She wanted bigger and I caved in. Every family should have one car like this and one car that is more comfortable for special occasions.

Jamie Buxton
04-06-2012, 12:26 PM
If cost is your primary issue, not saving the planet, the problem with the ultrahigh-mpg cars is the initial cost. You have to drive lots and lots of miles to get back that higher purchase price. Most analyses I've read conclude that for most of these cars, you don't actually recover the initial cost, even with projected increased gas prices.

Scott T Smith
04-06-2012, 1:13 PM
We've had one since 2008. The positives: Very good mileage (between 45 - 50 for us), one note - tires make a difference in the mileage; ours dropped by 15% when we replaced the origianal tires with some Michelin "high MPG" models - surprising to say the least).

Practical from a storage standpoint. The back seat folds down flat and you can stuff a lot of items inside.

Dependable - we have had zero unscheduled maintenance on the car.

Performance is acceptable; I'd rate the acceleration as very good.

The con's: Our Ford pickup trucks are more quiet and luxurious than the Prius (and we have the top option package on the Prius too). The stereo system is not great either.

All in all, a great commuter car with fantastic mileage.

Matt Day
04-06-2012, 1:18 PM
I don't have any Prius experience, but I have a few friends with TDI's and they get great gas mileage. One of them has an mid-2000's Beetle TDI and he's never seen below 50 mpg if I recall correctly, he picked it up used too. I have not done my own research on the environmental impact of manufacturing the batteries that power the Prius, but that's a whole can of worms in itself.

If I were in your shoes, I'd make sure to look at TDI's too. One day, Subaru will finally bring it's diesel engine to the states then I might be looking for a new car!

Steve Meliza
04-06-2012, 2:37 PM
It's rare that I see a Prius, CRV, RAV4, or Subaru wagon that is able to go fast enough to reach the speed limit so you might want to keep looking.

Rumor has it that in the UK you can get small diesel cars that get 60+ MPG, can you get those in Canada as well? If I had the parking space and if I could get that kind of car in the US I'd leave the ~13MPG truck parked during the week and drive something economical to work.

harry hood
04-06-2012, 4:48 PM
Unless your talking about 299792458m/s speed limit not really. The Smart cars sold in Germany originally had a diesel model (and discounted Deutsche Bahn tickets since the range was so short) but there's no small production diesel car that gets 60MPG. I have a couple friends with Volkswagon TDIs and they reliably get 40MPG on the freeway but, other than a Jetta just being more comfortable and generally nicer than Prius, the Prius or Insight beat it for efficiency. For the price the new Fiat might be worth looking at, especially if you have a pickup for when you have to move something other than a couple people.

Tim Morton
04-06-2012, 6:10 PM
A new car every 5 years? Sounds like financial and environmental irresponsibility to me. I've sworn off highly depriciating assets, and I would absolutely not consider financing a car. Why not take out a bank loan to flush the money down the toilet?

For the sake of the environment, why not just find a car you would be happy with for 10-15 years, and stick with that?

Do you think he takes his 5 year old vehicle down to the landfill *rolling eyes*...i bet someone else drives it after he does. So win win...good for the economy...and good for folks looking for good used vehicles that can;t or choose not to buy new.

That being said...i am in a similar situation...3 years into my Mini cooper, which gets great gas milage and is a ball to drive...but i need omsething a touch larger. ( keep that in mind before you buy the fiat)

So i am looking at the VW Golf TDI, and the VW Jetta sportwagon TDI...they both feel way more fun to drive than a Prius.

Larry Edgerton
04-06-2012, 6:36 PM
What I need is the Euro version of the Ford Transit Connect [Dumb Name!] that has the turbo diesel/stick and is long enough length to be of some use. Give me the one that will hold a sheet of plywood! I have read claims of 55mpg imperial, so a touch over 40 US. The one they sell here is useless, and not all that efficient.

The federal diesel smog standards are ignorant. They are keeping a lot of efficient vehicles from our shores. I think our smog standards should reflect Europes exactly. Safety standards as well. This is costing us a lot of money up front, and the added weight is penalizing us at the pump.

There is nothing out there that is practical for a contractor that want to save on fuel costs right now. Its frusterating. I'm looking at cars because there are no other choices. Mahundra has a midsize direct invected turbo diesel truck that they want to bring over, but Federal regs and red tape are keeping it out.

Larry

Jim Becker
04-06-2012, 10:04 PM
Howard, we've owned two Prius vehicles (a 2002 and a 2008). They were great cars in most respects, especially the 2008. We started to consider the Prius V when it was time to move on this past fall because we've always enjoyed the excellent fuel economy and also have an appreciation for the concept of hybrid vehicles in the evolution toward less use of fossil fuels. (they are not perfect in that respect, of course, for a variety of reasons. We also have truly enjoyed the service and support that Toyota and our local Toyota dealer have provided for many years. (I happen to drive a 2006 Highlander Hybrid Limited myself)

That said, what caused us to take pause with the idea of a third Prius variant was two things: Difficult field of vision to the rear and horrible traction in the winter. Professor Dr. SWMBO has enough visual issues under normal circumstances that the view to the sides and rear ratcheted up several notches in our decision process. Getting stuck a number times in our own driveway in winter conditions didn't help matters. We also didn't like the way they have changed the center console in the current generation of Prius models from the more open arrangement that we enjoyed in the 2008 to something that felt closed and confining. In the end, we chose to purchase a Subaru Outback which provided the additional interior cargo space we desired (and the Prius V could also have filled with it's more wagon like design) as well as exemplary traction in any kind of weather. The sacrifice was doubling our fuel cost, but for us, the safety of a better view for Professor Dr. SWMBO's eyes and the more sure-footed traction was more important.

I would honestly love to own another Prius at some point, but for now, it wasn't the best choice for us when we made our buy last fall.

Ed Aumiller
04-06-2012, 10:10 PM
We have a 2011 Prius III, mileage averages over 50mpg (55 in summer, 47 in winter)... large enough for 4 adults or 2 adults & 3 kids....

It has 4 modes of operation, EV electric only... good for about 1 mile, Normal gas/electric slightly less mileage, Econo gas/electric, this is what we always use.. and Power mode for when you want to get on interstate fast etc, it will get up to speed to blend in easily... this mode surprised me when I first used it !!!

The newer Prius (not sure of model) can go 15 miles on electric which would be great for city driving...

I calculated that would have to drive it 100k miles to break even on prices at $4 a gallon... anything over 100k or if prices go over $4 gallon then will be saving money... (gas is now $4 where I live)

Michael Weber
04-06-2012, 10:20 PM
Jim raised one of the two points about my prius I don't care for. Namely, poor rear vision. The other thing I don't like is the stupid seat height adjustment. Maybe that's been rectified in later models. I get a consistent 50+ mpg on the highway if I keep it at the speed limit or below. About the same in town unless we do a bunch of short trips which kills the mileage because the engine runs almost the entire time in order to warm up. By the time it's warm, you have arrived so you don't get the benefit of battery operation which is what give the great mileage in town. Acceleration is fine and has never been an issue, and it can certainly get up to the speed limit or over as well as most cars. I believe, later this year or next they are coming out with and extended range model that gets up to 15 miles on battery alone. Considering that we make a lot of short trips, I'm eager to find out more about it and might make a trade after only 3 or 4 years of ownership although I typically keep my cars for 10 years or so.

Brian Elfert
04-06-2012, 11:08 PM
I don't have any Prius experience, but I have a few friends with TDI's and they get great gas mileage. One of them has an mid-2000's Beetle TDI and he's never seen below 50 mpg if I recall correctly, he picked it up used too. I have not done my own research on the environmental impact of manufacturing the batteries that power the Prius, but that's a whole can of worms in itself.


Any TDI that gets 50 MPG must have a manual transmission. I had a 2003 Golf TDI with automatic and the best MPG I ever got was 44 MPG on a long highway trip. For some reason, MPG dropped as it go to around 50,000 miles, but it may have also had to do with the introduction of ULSD fuel too. One TDI owner I know claims to have lost 10 MPG when ULSD came out. I needed a larger wagon type vehicle and couldn't afford the cost of a TDI wagon so I went back to a gas vehicle. I would prefer diesel myself.

The Prius is quite capable of cruising at 70+ MPH. Some Prius owners like to maximize MPG and will drive slower on freeways. A former co-worker had a first gen Prius. He would drive to work on city streets instead of the highway because he got 5 MPG better. Personally, I would have taken the highway and saved the extra 30 minutes a day. I know he could afford the extra gas.

harry hood
04-07-2012, 2:34 AM
They got past the emissions and safety testing and even had a (IMO) goofy direct sales pipeline in the works but then the economy tanked and they opted to "postpone" (their term). I was really looking forward to getting one and I think it would be very successful.

Larry Edgerton
04-07-2012, 8:31 AM
Any TDI that gets 50 MPG must have a manual transmission..

They have a dual clutch automatically shifted 6 speed manual now. No torque converter, so none of the automatic losses and all of the convenience.

Fuel mileage did suffer with the switch to ULSD. Not just cars but tractor trailors as well. We are paying a little extra on everything we buy for that. My manual trans diesel truck went from 21 to 17.5 mpg on ULSD, so I replaced it with gas.

Larry

Brian Elfert
04-07-2012, 11:17 AM
Some of the vehicles designed for ULSD are actually getting better MPG than older diesel vehicles. The engines can create dirtier exhaust that is then cleaned up by the new pollution controls. I have a diesel motorhome and I really haven't seen any change in MPG with ULSD.

Stephen Cherry
04-07-2012, 11:54 AM
Do you think he takes his 5 year old vehicle down to the landfill *rolling eyes*...i bet someone else drives it after he does. So win win...good for the economy...and good for folks looking for good used vehicles that can;t or choose not to buy new.




No, I don't think that the car goes to the landfill, but the owner certainly takes a bath. In my opinion, it's financial suicide.

Of course, new cars are shiny, and they do have that new car smell.

Shawn Pixley
04-07-2012, 12:12 PM
LOML and I have gone through these debates over the last several years. She ended up with the VW Jetta TDI wagon. It gets better mileage and comfort than the Element. The Element was a great and versatile vehicle but hd a lot of miles on it and was showing its age. The Jetta is very nice and she gets around 40 MPG.

I ended up turning over my sports car. We considered the Lexus CT 200h (the upscale hybrid). It was a very nice car. If my driving was more in-town and I didn't need to climb a steep grade at speed, I would have gotten it. Hybrids are best for in-city, stop and go traffic. I think I would have been very disappointed in the letdown of performance from my sports car. I really wanted the diesel 1 series BMW hatchback (refered to as a touring car in Europe). These are great cars but it isn't imported into the US. I ended up with a one year old BMW 3 series diesel. Its performance while not as "hot" as my S2000, is very good. It is smoother and quieter than the sports car. Being used, the first year depreciation (maybe more) had been absorbed by others. In the eighties, I drove a Peugeot 504 diesel for 360K miles before it finally died. I am a big believer in diesel technology. The current technologies are much superior than the were a few years ago. There are many good options now. But do check out the Lexus ct 200h, it is very nice.

Jim Becker
04-12-2012, 8:43 PM
I never felt any challenge around power with our 2008 Prius...the low-end torque on hybrids with the electric motors kicking in is pretty impressive. And will leave rubber on the road. My Highlander Hybrid is similar...it kicks butt.

Bryan Morgan
04-22-2012, 3:42 AM
My company is switching back to Tacomas and Matrixs and Yaris after using a bunch of Priuses for awhile. They just aren't very good cars. Most of ours fell apart (literally... panels just falling off) or had bad batteries. Too expensive to mess with anymore. They were used as fleet vehicles so keep that in mind.

Mac McQuinn
04-22-2012, 6:37 PM
There are some good 40 mpg choices out there now with the onslaught of several new gas powered compacts right around $20K or slightly less. IMO the Hybrids, Diesels and Electrics give up too much as an overall package. Some options;
Ford Focus SFE
Honda Civic HF
Mazda 3 Skyactiv I Touring
Chevrolet Cruze ECO
Hyundai Elantra
I've driven the Cruze ECO and Focus SFE and both were very nice to drive and handle great. I've a couple friends w/ the Cruze ECO and manual transmissions who are consistently getting 46-47 mpg Highway.
Good luck with your search,
Mac

Tim Morton
04-22-2012, 11:42 PM
I need to do something about fuel costs myself, so I was thinking a small wagon for the days I don't need a truck. Not many out there.....

The VW TDI's are in the same mileage range as the Prius, look a whole lot better in the parking driveway, and the wagon has a lot of room.

I'm reading up on reliability now.

Larry

I am also looking at the TDI Golf, and to a smaller extent the TDI sport wagon, and recently added the 2012 Suparu Impreza to my search. It doesn't quite have the same solid feel, but gets decent milage and is about 5 grand less than the Golf TDI. I test drove both over the weekend, along with the new mazda CX-5...all 3 seemed like decent choices...but i am leaning toward the Golf TDI...but maybe in the 5 speed.

Alan Bienlein
04-23-2012, 5:55 PM
All this talk about a hybrids to save on gas is crazy. My 1996 escort I paid $1000 for gets 35 mpg if I run the snot out of it and 40 mpg if I accelerate easy and drive the speed limit. I figure there is only about a $800 difference in fuel cost between the two of them for the type of driving I do for the year. So lets say you buy one for about $25,000 it would take 30 years just to break even yes provided gas stayed 3.79 a gallon. Does any one see the crazy logic in buying one of these?

Graham Wintersgill
04-23-2012, 6:44 PM
Personally I am not a fan of hybrids as I feel that not many people realize the environmental and financial cost of these big heavy batteries.
Over on this side of the pond petrol is hovering around 6.00 GBP per imperial gallon (4,564 litres) and the person I used to car share with has moved jobs so that was going to increase my fuel costs on the 350 mile weekly commute. I therefore looked at expanding the household fleet by getting a very economical car and ended up with a 3 year old Toyota IQ with 15,000 miles on it. 1000cc, 5 speed manual (Scion IQ your side and it is 1300cc with autobox but still returns5.1L per 100km) which I have had a week now. Still trying to get brim to brim figures but the onboard computer is showing over 60 mpg which is nearly double what I was getting in the Corolla and almost makes the car self financing on fuel saving costs.

Yes it is small but wife and number 2 son and me can fit in, we still have the corolla and if we have to take 2 cars for something it is no big deal with the expected consumption. Number 1 son has a VW golf estate if we need even more capacity.

Horses for courses but there are very few big pick ups over here.

Regards

harry hood
04-24-2012, 1:13 AM
The NiMH battery pack in my Prius weighs roughly 100 pounds, the weight of small passenger. When I do have to replace it (130K miles and it's still going strong) it gets sent back to Toyota to have the metals reclaimed, not thrown into a river like people seem to think. Frankly, I've never quite understood environmental objections to the batteries. Do you not buy cordless tools, laptops, and all of the other products that use NiMH batteries?

harry hood
04-24-2012, 1:17 AM
A Prius is not a 1996 Ford escort. Of course if you already own the car and are satisfied with it it would be silly to buy a new car.

Bryan Morgan
04-24-2012, 1:41 AM
Does any one see the crazy logic in buying one of these?

Its not about logic. Its about smug. :)

harry hood
04-24-2012, 2:58 AM
The Prius taxi cab fleet in San Francisco, which has got to be one of the hardest lives for a car, has held up beyond everybody's expectations from the last report I read on it. They didn't mention anything about body panels but mechanically their maintenance cost has been something like half of what would be expected if they had replaced them with another round of Fords. The Ford hybrids that were purchased around the same time are rare now so this might say more about Toyota versus Ford than anything else.

David Weaver
04-24-2012, 9:06 AM
I don't know what the ford hybrids were, but the fusion hybrid (at least last I heard about a year ago) has excellent reliability numbers, as well as really good mileage for the size.

I don't have a hybrid, but I wouldn't be averse to it if I could make it pencil out and fit two kids and stuff in one. So far, I haven't been able to do that because we only put about 8,000 miles a year on one car, and the second car only gets about 2-3k miles a year.

Tim Morton
04-24-2012, 9:35 AM
Its not about logic. Its about smug. :)

good fer youuuuu:D

Rich Engelhardt
04-24-2012, 12:29 PM
A new car every 5 years? Sounds like financial and environmental irresponsibility to me. I've sworn off highly depriciating assets, and I would absolutely not consider financing a car. Why not take out a bank loan to flush the money down the toilet?

That's utter nonsense...
It's simple to find a loan rate that's lower than the return you can get on a bank account/deposit.
plus, when you finance through a dealer you can always negotiate a better deal.
"Cash on the barrel head" does not impress anyone - except the gullible...

Everything in the car/truck selling business process is geared towards one thing and one thing only -- turns.
When you buy the vehicle, they turn you over to the F&I office so they can get their "shot" at you.
F&I turns you to service so they get their shot at you.
Service again turns you to sales so sales can get a future shot at you.
Take that turn away from the dealer & I guarantee you, the dealer is going to hold back.

If you really want to get the rock bottom price &/or the top value on your trade, go through all the motions to finance the vehicle, listen to the sales pitch for credit life insurance, credit health insurance, paint sealer, extended warranty,,,etc,,polity decline them - then make sure the note you sign for has no prepayment penalty.

Steve Meliza
04-24-2012, 12:43 PM
Dealers make most of their money through financing and service rather than the sale of the vehicle, I'll agree to that. The smart person buys a car a few years old with cash, bypassing the issues of dealer financing and the high initial depreciation. Leasing is for people who want to stay poor or haven't taken the time to sit down and work out the math of what their new car addiction is costing them. I own my truck, car, and motorcycle, they don't own me or make me answer to the bank each month.

I fully agree with the economics of owning a $1000 Escort rather than an expensive Hybrid that can take many years to break even. Be out of debt now with a cheap and economical car while saving up money that you can use to go green if that is your goal.

David Weaver
04-24-2012, 12:45 PM
If you really want to get the rock bottom price &/or the top value on your trade, go through all the motions to finance the vehicle, listen to the sales pitch for credit life insurance, credit health insurance, paint sealer, extended warranty,,,etc,,polity decline them - then make sure the note you sign for has no prepayment penalty.

Where can you get a guaranteed return the same as a car loan rate that otherwise has no hitch? For example, if you watch some of toyota's promotions, they'll put 0% financing on a vehicle that isn't selling well (like the v6 camry and the trucks back when gas first hit $4 a gallon) and in the mice type, they'll tell you that you can either have 0% financing or some amount of cash back - like $2k or something.

0% is only 0% if you're allowed to negotiate the price of the car without regard to financing, and the price would never be less otherwise despite the election of 0% financing and no services later.

There is another effect - it is a good idea to buy cars in cash price if you want to save, because you get the full psychological effect of the options on the car. Instead of being $25 more a month ("oh, i could swing that"), the cash price of an option might be $1500. When you think about parting with $1500 for something that you might get a moderate amount of enjoyment out of, then all of the sudden it doesn't seem worth the cost.

When I went to cash buying cars, I suddenly realized that I'd be able to get by with cheaper cars with fewer options - the difference with the last two has been on the order of $10,000 less than prior cars, and I don't miss all of the options and horsepower I gave up - I grew out of that after losing about $7k of that $10k spread on the last high optioned car I bought. For the amount of time I used it, I would never have bought those gadgets for $7k, it was a waste.

Sometimes you don't have the choice because of cash strain on other things, but most peoples' discipline to do all of the homework on the finance deal and then go through with paying off the financed deal immediately isn't up to par.

I'm not aware, btw, of any unrestricted and no-risk returns right now (one that returns the coupon or interest payment plus par no matter what). you can get fixed assets that have a little bit of return, but they have big downside potential if rates increase, and anything else like a CD would be tied up. Most of the other low rate financing deals look to me (at least as little as I've paid attention to them) to have a cash offer in exchange for them. If they're manufacturer offered 0% deals, the manufacturer has no incentive to underwrite them to you for free (after the shell game is done).

harry hood
04-24-2012, 5:29 PM
I don't know what the ford hybrids were, but the fusion hybrid (at least last I heard about a year ago) has excellent reliability numbers, as well as really good mileage for the size.

I don't have a hybrid, but I wouldn't be averse to it if I could make it pencil out and fit two kids and stuff in one. So far, I haven't been able to do that because we only put about 8,000 miles a year on one car, and the second car only gets about 2-3k miles a year.

They are first generation Escapes. We do OK with two kids in a prius although we have to use a roof rack for camping usually. A lot of people around here pull motorcycle trailers for camping although Toyota is adamant that the CVT cannot handle any towing. At 8000 miles per year though there's no way that would ever pay for itself unless you currently drive a fire engine powered by whale oil or something :)

Ed Aumiller
04-24-2012, 8:02 PM
Dealers make plenty off the financing aspect... A few years ago my Ford pickup broke down within a mile of Ford dealer...
After I got off work that day, went to the dealer with every intention of driving out in a new Ford pickup... I have always
arranged with my bank (small country bank) financing ahead of time so I could simply write a check for whatever I wanted
and negotiate a cash deal...
After going through selecting a pickup, I wanted the cash price to drive it away... they tried all the garbage about low rates,
etc... when I simply wanted the cash price, they referred me to the manager... told him I wanted the cash price...
Finally I told the owner to give me a price or I was leaving.... He would not give a cash price... said I was not going to buy
anything anyway...
Next day went to a Jeep dealer, picked one out and asked for cash price... he gave me a cash price... I paid it and the next
day picked it up....
Promptly drove that weekend back to Ford dealer, showed him the CASH price and receipt...

Could not believe that they would not give a simple cash price.... been driving Jeep / Chrysler products since....
(and now also a Prius)

Rich Engelhardt
04-25-2012, 11:04 AM
Promptly drove that weekend back to Ford dealer, showed him the CASH price and receipt...
All of which netted you zilch - beyond wasting the gas to drive to the Ford dealer.

There's an often used phrase in the car/truck sales business which I'll clean up a bit to post it here:
"There's a backside for every seat".

A dealer does not have a lot full of cars and trucks.
The have "units".
A dealer does not have "customers".
They have "ups".

I spent a little over a year working at a Chevy dealership as a Truck Sales Specialist. Honestly - that was my title/job function. I seldom got involved in the meat grinder of the new car sales side of the dealership - on the sales side.
The truck sales department was a bit different in that we operated a little closer to managment since we were considered an "investment".
We were all sent to school @ Chevy to learn about light and medium duty trucks, how to spec. them out, how to order them, how they differed from passenger vehicles in the way they were invoiced,etc, etc.
The most crucial difference between the truck deparment and the new car department was this:
We were told to become involved with the customers.
On the car side, it was all strictly business. Nothing personal was encouraged.

I hate to sound callous - but -by going back to show them, all you did was become the "joke of the day" around the dealership. No offence intended - but - I have no doubt in my mind at all that's exactly how it played out in the dealership after you left. I saw that happen over and pver and over.


There is another effect - it is a good idea to buy cars in cash price if you want to save, because you get the full psychological effect of the options on the car.
That's a given - even if you finance the balance.
There's no mystery about how much they cost.
Kelly Blue Book online will give you the exact invoice price of everything.
You should always know exactly where you stand from a $$ standpoint before you set foot on a dealer's lot.
Matter of fact, I recommend you know exactly where you stand two years before you set foot on the lot...
FWIW - I begin looking for a replacement vehicle after the first year - but - that's a whole different matter...

I'm not saying you shouldn't pay cash or pay off the note ASAP.
What I'm saying is that it's always in your best interest to lead the dealer to believe your going to finance through them.
I've had a few pleasant experiences where I did a whole lot better going through the dealer and financing vs paying outright.

David Weaver
04-25-2012, 11:47 AM
I agree from experience that you shouldn't tell a dealer you're buying cash outright right off the bat, because you never know what incentives they're being offered to finance vehicles.

David Weaver
04-25-2012, 11:50 AM
Could not believe that they would not give a simple cash price.... been driving Jeep / Chrysler products since....
(and now also a Prius)

Sales manager must've figured that they'd sell the pickup truck to someone with no sense about financing terms soon enough, and that he'd let someone else sell you a vehicle cash price.

Dealer last time told me that even with all of the retirees that live around here, over the last 15 years, he's gone from seeing about 50% cash buyers to about 10% cash buyers. If you can look up invoice price on the internet and bust someone down to it at sales, the dealership is only going to make money on service and finance.

(I haven't used dealer service in a long time, though I do use their parts counter - which is a fairly good deal here for OEM parts. Somehow they double or triple in price on the service invoice if you're paying for them at the next counter over).

Rich Engelhardt
04-25-2012, 2:59 PM
(I haven't used dealer service in a long time, though I do use their parts counter - which is a fairly good deal here for OEM parts. Somehow they double or triple in price on the service invoice if you're paying for them at the next counter over).
@ the Chevy dealership I worked at, each new vehicle invoice carried a 3% credit to the parts depatment.
If the invoce was $10.000.00, then Chevy would give the dealership a $300.00 credit to be applied to the parts department.
That money, which didn't show up on the invoic anywhere, was called the "3% money".
The dealer (owner) and general manager were the only two people that were allowed to get into that 3% money as part of a sales deal.

The service department bought parts just like anyone else. If a mechanic needed parts, they filled out an order for the parts and the service manager would go over to the parts counter, give them the order and wait for it just like any other customer. Only the parts department manager and the parts department employees were allowed behind the counter.
The parts were then marked up using the across the counter price as the cost.

Even Chevy and the dealership paid the marked up price for parts on warranty work and/or lot work.

One good way to get a royal dress down was to start up one of the V8's, move it a few feet and then shut it down cold.
That would "load up" the plugs and it wouldn't start up again until it was towed into the garage and the plugs were changed.
The GM warranty only covered one plug change per vehicle. After that, the dealership got the bill.
The crud we'd all catch for that was enough incentive to us to make sure we let the V8's run.

Daniel Berlin
04-25-2012, 4:22 PM
We've had one since 2008. The positives: Very good mileage (between 45 - 50 for us), one note - tires make a difference in the mileage; ours dropped by 15% when we replaced the origianal tires with some Michelin "high MPG" models - surprising to say the least).

Practical from a storage standpoint. The back seat folds down flat and you can stuff a lot of items inside.


"a lot" is an understatement.

I've fit a 5'x32" bathtub in the back of our 2008 prius before (rear hatch closes just fine with it in), and often use it to grab lumber shorts (6' and under fits with no issue).

When i'm at a big box store i regularly watch people struggle try to fit crap into their smaller SUV's that fits easily in my prius. (Of course, it's not going to have the room of a larger SUV or a pickup, it's also not quite wide enough to fit a full sheet of drywall in, sadly. I think it's 45 inches wide with no issues).

David Weaver
04-25-2012, 4:46 PM
The one vehicle I could never figure out the appeal of is the high 4x4 looking crossover vehicle that is short in length and has a steep rear. They look like they have all of the virtues of an SUV for mileage and a compact car for space, and at twice the price of any of them.

The infiniti FX series comes to mind.

The prius shape makes a lot of sense to me, as does the scion XB. Being a cheap individual, I got the current generation of the XB a few years ago. I'd be nice if it was a foot longer, had another half liter of engine, and had an extra speed in the transmission, but it wouldn't be nearly so cheap if it did (it is literally 1/4th the price of an infiniti Fx50, and has more cargo room with the rear seats folded down).

Ed Aumiller
04-25-2012, 6:55 PM
Rich, I may have been the joke of the day.... but the Ford dealer was only in business about 3 years.... I wonder why ??? Perhaps not selling enough ???
And I did not waste gas to go there, it was on the way to my girlfriends house....
When you live in a small community, word gets around fast on if someone is worth dealing with.... and the staff had hard times finding work elsewhere...