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Featured User Review: Toyota Prius

Friday August 28th, 2009 at 9:88 AM
Posted by: Derek

2007 Toyota Prius

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Featured Review: 2007 Toyota Prius

by Mark Lindsey

Price Paid: $25000.00 from Wilde Toyota-West Al
Review Date:
September 15, 2007
Overall Rating:
5 of 5
Value Rating
: 3 of 5
Used product for:
Less than 1 month

Year / Model Reviewed:
2007 Prius

Summary:
May be the best vehicle I have ever owned. So far has surpassed my high expectations. If you are looking for a car that is embedded with the industry’s finest technology, engineering, AND the best fuel economy, then this car is for you.

Strengths:
Anyone looking for a Prius and reading this review has obviously decided that hybrid technology and fuel efficiency is their primary focus, or they would likely would not be very interested in paying a premium for that technology. Well, my daily commute is 184 miles so you might imagine that fuel economy was at the top of my list. I just got tired of wasting time and money stopping to fill up, plus I really do not have a desire to be on a first name basis with the gas station guy! The first week I owned this car I was averaging 48.5 mpg. And, that’s almost exclusively driving on the interstate, which is projected as the lower of the two mileage estimates (performs even better in urban settings). I’m expecting even better performance over time as the car is broken in and I learn to drive it more efficiently, both of which has been reported by most other consumer reviewers.

A close second strength is all the other technology embedded in this vehicle. I purchase the #4 package and am completely impressed with the long list of technological advancements that make this car so user friendly (did I mention I spend 3 hours of my life in a car every day?), and fun to drive. First, the on-board computer/touch screen display is outstanding. Don’t underestimate the importance of how this technology helps the user get the most performance out of the vehicle. The performance data it reports is not just “cool,” but usable as a means of informing the driver how to adjust driving habits that impact performance. The smart key system is real nice as I am often loaded down with stuff and don’t have to have the key/remote in my hands to gain entry. Push-button start, electronic displays, iPod port, Bluetooth for hands-free cell use, HID headlights (really do make a difference for night driving), and engine immobilizer theft deterrence system are ALL value added features that help me LOVE this car.

Finally, it is comfortable and spacious.

Weaknesses:
Truthfully, I am going to have to be a little picky here to even come up with a list of criticisms. But in the interest of providing a balanced review there are a couple of things I can report that an interested buyer might want to know. The cabin noise level at highway speeds on stretches of cement-laden expressways is a little loud (better on paved stretches). From what I’ve read in editor’s reports, this is due to relatively little use of sound deadening materials. That’s because they add weight and weight is the arch-enemy of fuel economy. This theory cannot be dismissed as I notice the car’s fuel performance actually increases as the gas tank empties (yes, it is that sensitive to weight).

The Bluetooth/hands-free features are a little difficult to use and not user-friendly. It’s easy enough to link the system to your phone, but using the other hands-free features like voice-command, and phonebook features are not intuitive. I have a PhD and still haven’t completely figured it out. I’ll have to sit in the car with the manual this weekend to get the hang of it.

The suspension is a bit tight, which is a double-edged sword. On one hand, this car handles and corners pretty well with little over or under steering. The price to be paid for that, of course, is a medium-harsh ride on rough stretches of road. This is compounded by its light chassis weight, but that’s a fair trade-off for increased economy, in my opinion. All in all, this car’s highway ride will not feel like your grandfather’s Buick Park Avenue.

Like I said, I purchased package #4 with cloth seats. I would have ponied up more $$ for #6 with leather seats, but they weren’t that nice and with no heated seat option I opted to save the money.

Only other weakness I can think of is lack of availability. I ideally wanted the #5 in black or gray – not a single one in the Midwest, and red was not an option for me. Buy the ext warranty just in case with all the electronics.

Similar Products Used:
I really researched this purchase. I scoped out the Civic and Altima hybrids, but neither came close to Prius’ combination of economy, technology, and quality. I used to own an Accord (’90) and drove it for 250K+ miles until it rusted out. It was a great vehicle, and this car reminds me of how satisfied I was with that at the time. I own a 2002 Envoy my wife drives for her short 5 mile commute, so I feel like we have the best of both world’s in terms of use and flexibility. Hey, I’m not getting anything for this glowing review other than satisfaction in maybe helping someone else discover what I have about this vehicle. I’m not a tree-hugger by any stretch, but 48.5 mpg, 98% less pollution output, and less quality time spent with the gas station guy is reason enough to cry out from the mountain-top.

Cars similar to the Toyota Prius Hybrid:

Honda Insight
Honda Civic Hybrid
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Nissan Altima Hybrid

One Response to Featured User Review: Toyota Prius

  1. nintendo dsi r4 says:

    I have had great service with low maintenance from all of them and we are expecting that the Pruis will be even better. Sad to say we drove GM cars up until that time (1960 – 1994), but when our last GM started giving us trouble in less than 50,000 miles, we switched to toyota and never looked back.





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