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Old 14th March 2013, 21:41   #1
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Default The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!-hybridsynergydrive.jpg

I know many people don’t like the Prius. A haters favourite, if you will.

To be brutally honest, I wasn’t the happiest teenager around when we decided we were buying the Prius. I wanted a mean, angry car. A pimple ridden, anarchist-like, teenage vehicle that would scare little children and old people.

What came home however, was a cheerful car. A car with a wide toothy grin and pinchable cheeks. This, ladies and gentleman, was a baby!

The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!-prius.jpg

Spending the last 7 years and over 140,000 kms with the Prius, I’ve really grown to like it. Heck, I love it.

Why?


Driving the Prius is fun.

Push the power button and you’re met with silence. Lights flash on the digital dashboard, the touch screen interface flashes “Prius” at you, but at the end of it all, silence.

Disengage the foot-operated handbrake. Firmly prod down the brake pedal. Slot the joystick-like gear selector into “D” and you’re off. Quietly.

The Prius retains it’s own distinct character. 7 years on and the car still has a cool, suave, modern, gadget-y vibe to it. You don’t drive a Prius, you operate one!

In theory the Prius remains in pure Electric Vehicle (EV) mode at speeds below ~50 km/h, battery charge permitting. The battery charges itself (this isn’t a plug-in) through regenerative braking, and off the internal combustion engine.

0 to 50 km/h dashes are surprisingly quick. Dab the accelerator hard and the Prius squats, then lurches forward. The 400 NM (!) that the electric motor thrusts out at 0 rpm is well utilized! Similarly, at higher speeds, when you need extra power for that sudden overtake, the electric motor complements the petrol 76 HP, 115 NM engine nicely. The Prius never feels lethargic and there is never really any lag - it remains brisk through it’s powerband.

The transition from EV mode to EV + Petrol mode and back is seamless - while you hear the petrol motor come to life it doesn’t startle you. There is no sudden vibration or change in driving characteristic.

Don’t get me wrong - the Prius is by no means a fun-to-drive car in the traditional sense of the phrase. But then again, this isn’t a traditional car.


Great in-city handling.

In city handling is great. Honestly. The Prius is a fairly wide car, but a very good greenhouse and super light steering setup makes in city driving ridiculously easy. Parking? No problem.

Being mostly in EV mode in city aids the cause even more. Lane changes are brisk, and if you keep her “on the boil” (i.e in that sweet spot of 40-60 km/h) you make rapid progress.

The hatchback like split rear window does take getting used to though. Well sized ORVMs help new drivers immensely.


Reliability can not be undermined.

When the Prius was launched, it was new. While there had been hybrid attempts before, the Prius made hybrid technology accessible, popular and reliable.

Despite being packed with a new/not-so-well-explored drivetrain, the Prius is a true Toyota. We haven’t had a single issue to date, and with 7 years and 140 000 kms on the clock this speaks immensely for the product.

(And by not a single issue, I really mean not a single issue. Fill and shut usage with regular service every 15 000 kms.)

*touch wood*


Practicality.

The Prius has a very roomy cabin. Everything is packaged cleverly and you never rub shoulders with anyone. To note: the rear legroom has to be experienced to be believed*.

Being a hatchback the Prius creates for itself a well-sized boot. By well-sized I mean transport a new washing machine well-sized. Or haul millions of boxes of furniture from IKEA. The 60/40 rear split also helps. Tucked inside the boot is a full-sized spare wheel.

Keeping in mind that the Prius has two motors, batteries and a complicated powertrain, the way the interiors have been packaged for maximum man + luggage space is very cool. Two thumbs up.

*Seriously. Skoda Superb rivaling. If priced properly in India the Prius has all the makings of the ultimate chauffeur driven, urban hipster toting, fuel sipping, city machine.


Cracking sound system.

This is a bit of an odd one, but our Prius came with an optional JBL 8-speaker gig and it’s good. Strong bass, clear clarity and clean detail reproduction. Listening to good music + driving in the city (when it’s on EV mode, and thus super quiet) is really nice. Elevates the experience to a whole new level of geeky cool.


Good Fuel Economy.

We never bought the Prius for it’s fuel economy. We bought it for the cool new technology it was packing and the good fuel economy has been a bonus.

Ironically most of the kms clocked have been on the open road. Dad has a ~ 150 km daily drive to work and the Prius delivers best in the city. Despite this we have averaged 5.5-ish liters per 100 km over the years (translates to ~18.2 km/l). Which has been good enough to keep us from going diesel!

***

The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!-prius1.jpg

Negatives? Not many, but there are some, yes.


Highway handling.

The Prius is fine on the highway. As long as you don’t push her out of her comfort zone. Stick to a relaxed 110-120 km/h and the Prius remains composed. Push further and things get dicey. Fast.

Handling at high speed is most definitely not the Prius’s forte. Lane changes are wallowy and everything feels disconnected and vague. The light steering setup doesn’t help. While things do weight up a bit - it still isn’t comfortable.


Brake pedal feel.

This one’s a bugger. The Prius has regenerative braking. I’m not sure if this this is the culprit, but I sure don’t like the way the brake pedal feels.

The first 20% or so of brake pedal travel appear to have little-to-no effect on the braking. Push further and then it bites. Hard. It’s almost like a switch - you either brake or you don’t. Modulation isn’t easy and I’m not a fan of it’s characteristics.

Maintain a sane, preemptive driving style and you won’t find this too upsetting. Drive hard and you will be disappointed.


Front seats.

The front seats are... well, uncomfortable. Quite thin, not very bolstered and no under thigh support. Driving for >3 hours is tiresome. In an otherwise competent package, this is a real pain.


***

It’s a pity the Prius has become a haters favourite. It is a good, honest car that delivers on it’s promises. As someone who used to be a skeptic, I’m truly glad we own one.


PS: What can you expect on this thread? Random photos, service updates, potentially a mini-travel log and the works. Oh and if you’ve got questions, I’m all ears!

Last edited by anekho : 15th March 2013 at 03:39.
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Old 16th March 2013, 10:12   #2
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th March 2013, 11:04   #3
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Cool pics and a good Prius, but where is this? India or U.S.A?
But the diesel bit makes me think it's in India, help.
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Old 16th March 2013, 11:21   #4
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Excellent review! The Prius is a highly understated car. Sad that it has very few takers in India.

Any idea on the current gen Prius sold here in India? Do you think Toyota has set right all the shortfalls?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Cool pics and a good Prius, but where is this? India or U.S.A?
But the diesel bit makes me think it's in India, help.
From the number plate stickers, it looks like Sweden.
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Old 16th March 2013, 11:28   #5
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Cool pics and a good Prius, but where is this? India or U.S.A?
But the diesel bit makes me think it's in India, help.
Judging by the left hand drive and information in the profile, am going with gottenberg in Sweden. Diesel is very common as a fuel in europe purely for the mileage it offers, as opposed to the price that India offers. Most parts of the world have diesel and petrol priced fairly similarly

Last edited by pganapathy : 16th March 2013 at 11:39.
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Old 16th March 2013, 12:00   #6
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Nice thread. Heartening to see that you are doing your bit for Mother Earth and enjoying it too all at the very same time. How much do the replacement batteries cost and what exactly is the average life span? Would love to see more pics especially of the interiors.
Cheers
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Old 16th March 2013, 13:11   #7
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Cool pics and a good Prius, but where is this? India or U.S.A?
But the diesel bit makes me think it's in India, help.
Folks, it's the lovely country of Sweden. Anekho shuttles between Chennai and Sweden.
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Old 16th March 2013, 15:33   #8
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Anekho, apart from being a highly sensible driver, you are also very good photographer.
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Old 16th March 2013, 15:54   #9
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
Excellent review! The Prius is a highly understated car. Sad that it has very few takers in India.

Any idea on the current gen Prius sold here in India? Do you think Toyota has set right all the shortfalls?

From the number plate stickers, it looks like Sweden.
What a lovely review Anekho has written! I really enjoyed reading it!
I think his profile location says GOT which would, I guess, be Gothenburg, Sweden.
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Old 16th March 2013, 19:49   #10
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Arrow Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Nice review. I was always fascinated by hybrid cars, and those that do their bit for saving the environment. Being a Toyota, reliability would almost never be an issue; and the very title of the thread supports this fact. How many times did you have to change the tyres in these 1.4L kilometers? When the speed drops below 50km/h, does it again switch back to electric mode every time? Please post more pictures of the interiors.

I wish, India would see more and more of such cars. It's the duties and taxes, that take the pricing to stratospheric levels and kill the cars, in India.
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Old 16th March 2013, 20:17   #11
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

At over 30L ex-showroom, the Prius does not make much sense in India - owning it in the UK would only set you back by 18-19L in comparison. There is hope about prices of hybrids and EVs like the e2o becoming more affordable soon, with the Government now planning a serious policy push and subsidies towards developing & manufacturing cars with alternate fuel technologies.

When the actual implementation will happen, I wouldn't hazard a guess.
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Old 16th March 2013, 21:45   #12
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
I think his profile location says GOT which would, I guess, be Gothenburg, Sweden.
+1, see his registration plate, it shows a 'S' which must be Sweden

Excellent review !

I would like to see the power, torque curve of this particular car with its specifications like weight etc.

Spike

EDIT- More detailed pics of the car please.

Last edited by SPIKE ARRESTOR : 16th March 2013 at 21:46. Reason: see edit
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Old 16th March 2013, 23:20   #13
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Beautifully written. This is another typical Toyota, boring to own. A no non-sense car! Would love to see some interior pics too.

Congrats on those miles on the odo!
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Old 17th March 2013, 00:11   #14
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Default Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Very well written review of a really underestimated car. Many people make fun of this car but really Toyota has created an engineering marvel with Prius. Nice to have the Prius ownership experience thread with the car clocked over 1,40,000Km.
Regarding the handling part of it, have you always used the skinny tyres that Toyota recommends or use wider and grippier tyres?
India needs such cars and sad to see Government not giving any kind of duty waiver for hybrids and encourage eco-friendly cars.
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Old 17th March 2013, 01:19   #15
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Smile Re: The Much Loved, Ever Hated Toyota Prius - 140,000 kms!

Wow, thanks for the appreciation and positive feedback guys - much appreciated! I'll post interior photos as soon as possible! And yes the location is Gothenburg, Sweden.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
Any idea on the current gen Prius sold here in India? Do you think Toyota has set right all the shortfalls?
I actually haven't driven the third gen Prius as of yet! We were however invited to the launch here and had a good look at the display vehicle. First impressions? All the core values of our Prius + much nicer interiors and a more solid build!

Been intending to test-drive one for a very long time now, and as soon as I get to it, I'll post impressions on this thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pganapathy View Post
Diesel is very common as a fuel in europe purely for the mileage it offers, as opposed to the price that India offers. Most parts of the world have diesel and petrol priced fairly similarly
Diesel is in fact marginally more expensive than petrol here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Batfreak View Post
How much do the replacement batteries cost and what exactly is the average life span?
The hybrid power train comes with a 8 year/150 000 km guarantee. The battery pack is expected to cost ~25 000 SEK (~ 2.1L INR). Battery changes however, are very rare. Read about several 300 000 km + Prius's still running on the original battery pack!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Pujari View Post
Anekho, apart from being a highly sensible driver, you are also very good photographer.
Thank you Speed Pujari!

Quote:
Originally Posted by W.A.G.7 View Post
How many times did you have to change the tyres in these 1.4L kilometers? When the speed drops below 50km/h, does it again switch back to electric mode every time?
The summer tires are the OE Michelins! The Winter tires are Continentals, two brand new (one original tire was badly damaged, so we purchased two new ones) on the rear, and two original on the front.

Yep, at speeds below ~50 km/h it transitions to primarily EV mode, given that the battery is sufficiently charged!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
I would like to see the power, torque curve of this particular car with its specifications like weight etc.
Sure, I'll dig up the numbers and write a vital data post!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhar24 View Post
Regarding the handling part of it, have you always used the skinny tyres that Toyota recommends or use wider and grippier tyres?
The tires themselves are fairly dimensioned for the car (Summer: 195/55/R16, Winter: 185/65/R15). Grip per se hasn't been a problem, it's more the lack of steering feedback that bothers me!
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