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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:
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.
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.
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.
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