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Buying a Prius in California - can you help?

Joined
10 April 2000
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Location
Silicon Valley
hi,

i'm interested in purchasing a new prius for my wife. i've checked out the toyota forums and don't see any significant diff (technical or financial) between the '05 and '06 models, so i'm ready to go now. if you have connections or can suggest a dealer (based on your personal experience with the dealer), please pm me.

btw, when i visited stevens creek toyota today (in san jose, california), the salesman was as useless as teats on a bore - absolutely brain dead... i guess you can be when people are lining up with cash in hand and paying list, then waiting for months. uh-mazing.

thx in advance for any thoughts/suggestions.
hal
 
I can help. Buy an 06 Civic hybrid instead. I wouldn't reco a Toyota for several reasons: 1. they are competitors to Honda 2. they have no soul.
 
Not worth the money. The difference in price (market or sticker) between it and a non-hybrid similarly equipped Corrolla cannot be made up in how much you save in gas.

I for one would not put my family in that car. It is a paper bag of a car.
 
My sister has the '04 model and she likes it so drive what ever rocks your boat. Call over to Piercey Toyota and ask for Anhtuan (pronouned Antwan). He's been there for about 15 years and is a straight shooter, no BS type of guy. The number there is 408.436.8890 and they have a website at www.pierceytoyota.com. I meant Anhtuan through some volunteer work he does and mention that Tai sent you as he knows me ;)
 
FYI: I'm not big on hybrids since they don't make economic sense. In a Prius, the extra cash (even more if you overpaid) doesn't justify the savings in fuel. You'd have to drive around 60K miles every year for five years (or more) before you break even or gas would have to cost $10 gallon to offset the difference. All these numbers were derived in comparison over buying a standard Corolla. People don't buy hybrids to save gas. They buy them to feel good about getting great fuel economy or those that are conscious about producing less pollution. Nothing wrong with that. You make the choice.
 
Vytas said:
FYI: I'm not big on hybrids since they don't make economic sense. In a Prius, the extra cash (even more if you overpaid) doesn't justify the savings in fuel. You'd have to drive around 60K miles every year for five years (or more) before you break even or gas would have to cost $10 gallon to offset the difference. All these numbers were derived in comparison over buying a standard Corolla. People don't buy hybrids to save gas. They buy them to feel good about getting great fuel economy or those that are conscious about producing less pollution. Nothing wrong with that. You make the choice.
vytas,
thx for the thoughts, mine in return:

* paying 26k (which is mouse-nuts of a price for a car, i'm sure we'd all agree) for a car that delivers 45+mpg is not a bad thing.

* given this will be (primarily) a commute-driven car, the mileage starts to sound even better.

* my wife and i are interested in reducing our/the country's oil dependency.

* my wife and i are interested in being part of the solution to pollution rather than vice versa. (as i noted in another recent thread, i prefer motorcycle/bicycle to driving when possible)

to others who have suggested the honda hybrid, i'll check it out -thanks. we're honda people 1st :) having said that, the last time i reviewed mileage specs for the civic hybrid, it didn't come close to the toyota - and it's reduced consumption/pollution we're shooting for.

thx for the feedback, folks.
hal
btw, there are a couple of other members who haven't posted here that have prius' and they love 'em for what they are....
 
PushHands said:
My sister has the '04 model and she likes it so drive what ever rocks your boat. Call over to Piercey Toyota and ask for Anhtuan (pronouned Antwan). He's been there for about 15 years and is a straight shooter, no BS type of guy. The number there is 408.436.8890 and they have a website at www.pierceytoyota.com. I meant Anhtuan through some volunteer work he does and mention that Tai sent you as he knows me ;)
will do, thanks Tai!
 
If your concerned about polution, don't forget about the huge battery in the trunk that requires enough polution to produce that = the polution to produce 25 regular cars..and then after the battery has lost its life it has yet to be recycleible so it goes in the land fill.. :rolleyes:
 
If you really want to save the earth/stop pollution, buy a quality diesel. They are getting better every year.

Hybrids may one day be able to do that, but for now they are an inefficient ends to an honorable goal.
 
Buying a hybred also alows its manufacturer to sell more SUVs as the US has an average Fuel econemy requirement on cars sold in the US ...so for every Prius you buy they can sell 5 more highlanders.
 
zahntech said:
Buying a hybred also alows its manufacturer to sell more SUVs as the US has an average Fuel econemy requirement on cars sold in the US ...so for every Prius you buy they can sell 5 more highlanders.
Even the Highlanders can come as hybrids now.I think they are great cars as well as the Honda's(of course).You only really notice the fuel savings if in traffic,highway I believe you run mostly on fuel.
 
UPDATE: Re: Buying a Prius in California - can you help?

folks,

thx to each of you for reminding me of the negative reasons against using a hybrid. sadly, there appear to be few commercially viable non-consuming / non-polluting means of transportation available to the average schlep like me at the moment... oh, except the feet-thing and the bicycle-thing - both of which i use fairly routinely.

cheers.
 
Hal- lookit you putting your money where your mouth is! Thats pretty cool.

That said- even the Prius doesn't hit the Prius's numbers on fuel econ.

I rented an 04 from Enterprise here in Dallas to drive 326 miles up to Tulsa in early spring 04- It was mostly highway driving.

Here are my thoughts on the trip.

Car has many cool gadgets- and a decent sound system.
People look at you- which is good and bad (I got pulled over- but it was only because the cop couldn't see my temporary plate stuck in the nearly horizontal rear window)
Accelerates like a normal 4 cylinder car- nothing that will blow your mind.
Cruising @ 75 mph (speed limit in OK.) I was getting between 35-38mpg according to the neat little trip computer- Definently better than my Lexus that averages 26mpg- However...

In a former life I sold cars- VW'S, Hyundai's, and Hondas to be specific.
The Milage on the TDI Diesel Jetta, and Golf models was consistantly in the 40+ range, the estimates in the window stickers were often found to be pessimistic- I had drivers reporting milage in the 50mpg range. These cars had more practical cargo space, whereas the Insight, and as I later discovered the Prius have a very shallow boot to accomodate the batteries stored beneath that floor.
Jetta and Golf TDI- widely available, and you can actually get one $$cheap$$ if it has been sitting around while regular drivers go after the VR6, and 1.8T models.

Bonus- I saw a group of hippies convert a TDI jetta to run on biodiesel, and later it was made to burn used Vegetable oil. No petroleum distilates at all!
I saw them do this on Morgan Spurlocks "30 Days" series. I think it was on F/X.

Anyway- just thought I would muddy up the thread to intro another economical option to escalating fuel costs.

Philip
 
Queenlives-
I own an '05 Prius for my commute car; I love it. Despite all the chatter above, it is not a paper bag. The car is quite big with a lot of interior room. It runs fine and has never given me a problem, presently at 13,500 miles since February.

The cars gets between 45 and 50 MPG for me. I got the loaded one with Navigation and blue tooth. I love the blue tooth feature, it is great. I have navigation in my other car and if you drive a lot to places you are unfamiliar with, this is the way to go.

As for the money, yeah it is a little expensive. I got mine for MSRP with the 7/100 Toyota extended warranty and a couple of other accessories for $29,600 OTD.

I have since installed full leather interior, heated seats, tinted windows, mud-flaps, clear-bra, 17" Scion wheels/tires, and XM radio. The car is very quiet, rides nice and handles fine (no NSX). I enjoy driving it.

The additional benefits of knowing that I am getting twice the mileage of most cars on the road and that Arnold just signed the bill to allow us to drive solo in the commute lane and cross the bridges during commute hours for free is great too. Only 3 hybrids made the cut, Prius, Honda Insight and Civic. The Accord did not make it nor did the Lexus or Highlander.

So to recap, not a paperbag, and I used to think it was ugly, but it has grown on me and I like the way it looks now.

OK, I bought mine from Asif and Aman at Toyota Town of Stockton, 209.473.2513. 2150 E. Hammer Lane, Stockton, CA 95210. These guys were terrific, no hassle and no extra costs because they could get the car. They got me mine in 3 weeks and that was before they were readily available.

Good luck, Michael
 
A recent article:

For Toyota, it's a question of whether the tank is half-empty or half-full. The automaker is the unquestionable leader in the fast-growing U.S. hybrid-electric vehicle market. But HEVs are coming under increasing criticism for failing to deliver the sort of mileage manufacturers like Toyota are promising.



The Japanese automaker's Prius has become the world's best-selling hybrid, while the U.S. has become Toyota's biggest market for the gas-electric midsize sedan, accounting for about 60 percent of worldwide Prius sales. With additional hybrids coming into production, such as the recently launched Lexus RX400h, Toyota is looking to sell one million hybrids annually by 2010, according to Don Esmond, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and "if you put a pencil to that, (the U.S.) would be doing 600,000."



The question is what it will take to get there. While the recent run-up in U.S. fuel prices has made the economic equation for hybrids increasingly attractive, that may not be enough to nurture a truly mass market. And in the coming years, Toyota and its Lexus luxury arm are likely to shift focus to expand the appeal of HEVs, according to senior company officials.



After a slow and uncertain start, many analysts have come to agree that hybrids are gaining momentum, aided in part by the run-up in U.S. fuel prices. But other observers remain skeptical.



"We see the general desire for these types of vehicles growing," said Jeff Martini, vice president of the Polk Center for Automotive Studies. "However, the compelling argument to actually buy one has to be made more strongly," he added.



Critics contend that the cost of hybrid hardware - generally adding $4000 to $9000 to the price of a comparable gasoline-only vehicle - is difficult to offset through increased mileage, even with $2.50-a-gallon gasoline. "When you just use the argument of fuel efficiency, the purchase of a hybrid car is not justified," acknowledged Kazuo Okamoto, the new head of R&D for Toyota Motor Co., in a recent interview with London's Financial Times.



The equation is only more off-balance when real-world, rather than promised, mileage is taken into account. While Toyota claims Prius gets close to 60 miles per gallon, consumers report it more typically delivers around 40 mpg. Esmond admitted there is a notable fuel economy gap, but insisted it is the result of government tests automakers rely on, rather than any attempt by Toyota to mislead its customers.



And indeed, other hybrid manufacturers, such as Honda, concede similar discrepancies. But none of the HEV makers is willing to provide a more realistic figure, said Honda planning director Dan Bonawitz, because the higher numbers are "a competitive advantage."



Perhaps, but the growing chorus of complaints could sour current and potential owners, some analysts warn. And as a result, manufacturers are looking at other ways to boost the appeal of hybrids. Honda, for example, has been emphasizing the higher performance of its Accord Hybrid, which launches from 0-60 a full half-second faster than the conventional V-6 Accord.



Lexus is also promoting the performance of its RX400h, and the luxury unit's next hybrid could usher in an entirely new line of high-performance HEVs, said the Toyota division's new general manager, Bob Carter. A final decision has not yet been made, but Lexus engineers are developing a distinctly different version of the Toyota Synergy Drive used in the Prius.



Next year's GS450h is expected to feel more like a conventional sports sedan, with a mix of software and hardware changes meant to replicate the feel of a conventional sedan going through rapid gear changes.



"You may see Toyota and Lexus going in two very different directions," Carter told TheCarConnection.com during an interview in California.



But even the Toyota division will put more of an emphasis on performance, added Esmond, during the same interview. It will put more emphasis on the other advantages of hybrid technology, such as the significant reduction in emissions, including the greenhouse gas, CO2.



While hybrids are taking some heat right now, analyst Jim Hall, of AutoPacific, Inc., doesn't foresee a serious backlash over mileage. There are "plenty of other reasons" why they'll continue to gain ground in the U.S. market, he said. In some states, hybrid owners gain access to carpool lanes, even while driving alone. Several cities now let HEVs park without paying at meters. And then there's what Hall calls "the cool factor."



For some Prius buyers, the biggest plus is the positive feedback they get driving their distinctive vehicles down the street. Ironically, Lexus seemed to miss that point with the RX400h. The most common complaint, said Esmond, is not mileage, but the fact that the gas-electric SUV is almost indistinguishable from a conventional RX330. "They want us to badge this thing so people know they are driving a hybrid," said Esmond. (Honda officials admit they've had similar complaints about their Accord and Civic hybrids.)



Toyota is in the midst of a major internal debate over whether it should produce more hybrid-only models, such as Prius, or continue offering hybrid options for its mainstream models. Whatever the ultimate decision, future Toyota and Lexus HEVs will be much more distinctive, Esmond promised.
 
H-carWizKid said:
Hal- lookit you putting your money where your mouth is! Thats pretty cool.

That said- even the Prius doesn't hit the Prius's numbers on fuel econ.

I rented an 04 from Enterprise here in Dallas to drive 326 miles up to Tulsa in early spring 04- It was mostly highway driving.

Here are my thoughts on the trip.

Car has many cool gadgets- and a decent sound system.
People look at you- which is good and bad (I got pulled over- but it was only because the cop couldn't see my temporary plate stuck in the nearly horizontal rear window)
Accelerates like a normal 4 cylinder car- nothing that will blow your mind.
Cruising @ 75 mph (speed limit in OK.) I was getting between 35-38mpg according to the neat little trip computer- Definently better than my Lexus that averages 26mpg- However...

In a former life I sold cars- VW'S, Hyundai's, and Hondas to be specific.
The Milage on the TDI Diesel Jetta, and Golf models was consistantly in the 40+ range, the estimates in the window stickers were often found to be pessimistic- I had drivers reporting milage in the 50mpg range. These cars had more practical cargo space, whereas the Insight, and as I later discovered the Prius have a very shallow boot to accomodate the batteries stored beneath that floor.
Jetta and Golf TDI- widely available, and you can actually get one $$cheap$$ if it has been sitting around while regular drivers go after the VR6, and 1.8T models.

Bonus- I saw a group of hippies convert a TDI jetta to run on biodiesel, and later it was made to burn used Vegetable oil. No petroleum distilates at all!
I saw them do this on Morgan Spurlocks "30 Days" series. I think it was on F/X.

Anyway- just thought I would muddy up the thread to intro another economical option to escalating fuel costs.

Philip

i appreciate your thoughts, philip... my wife's not a diesel person (neither am i, but this car would be replacing her gs400 not either of my rides) but perhaps i'll check them out one last time before moving forward.

thx again.
hal
 
Cairo94507 said:
Queenlives-
I own an '05 Prius for my commute car; I love it. Despite all the chatter above, it is not a paper bag. The car is quite big with a lot of interior room. It runs fine and has never given me a problem, presently at 13,500 miles since February.

The cars gets between 45 and 50 MPG for me. I got the loaded one with Navigation and blue tooth. I love the blue tooth feature, it is great. I have navigation in my other car and if you drive a lot to places you are unfamiliar with, this is the way to go.

As for the money, yeah it is a little expensive. I got mine for MSRP with the 7/100 Toyota extended warranty and a couple of other accessories for $29,600 OTD.

I have since installed full leather interior, heated seats, tinted windows, mud-flaps, clear-bra, 17" Scion wheels/tires, and XM radio. The car is very quiet, rides nice and handles fine (no NSX). I enjoy driving it.

The additional benefits of knowing that I am getting twice the mileage of most cars on the road and that Arnold just signed the bill to allow us to drive solo in the commute lane and cross the bridges during commute hours for free is great too. Only 3 hybrids made the cut, Prius, Honda Insight and Civic. The Accord did not make it nor did the Lexus or Highlander.

So to recap, not a paperbag, and I used to think it was ugly, but it has grown on me and I like the way it looks now.

OK, I bought mine from Asif and Aman at Toyota Town of Stockton, 209.473.2513. 2150 E. Hammer Lane, Stockton, CA 95210. These guys were terrific, no hassle and no extra costs because they could get the car. They got me mine in 3 weeks and that was before they were readily available.

Good luck, Michael

good feedback, too, michael - thanks very much. i'll contact your guy as well as the other that was suggested by tai.

have a good weekend.
hal
 
ANYTIME said:
A recent article:

For Toyota, it's a question of whether the tank is half-empty or half-full. The automaker is the unquestionable leader in the fast-growing U.S. hybrid-electric vehicle market. But HEVs are coming under increasing criticism for failing to deliver the sort of mileage manufacturers like Toyota are promising.



The Japanese automaker's Prius has become the world's best-selling hybrid, while the U.S. has become Toyota's biggest market for the gas-electric midsize sedan, accounting for about 60 percent of worldwide Prius sales. With additional hybrids coming into production, such as the recently launched Lexus RX400h, Toyota is looking to sell one million hybrids annually by 2010, according to Don Esmond, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and "if you put a pencil to that, (the U.S.) would be doing 600,000."



The question is what it will take to get there. While the recent run-up in U.S. fuel prices has made the economic equation for hybrids increasingly attractive, that may not be enough to nurture a truly mass market. And in the coming years, Toyota and its Lexus luxury arm are likely to shift focus to expand the appeal of HEVs, according to senior company officials.



After a slow and uncertain start, many analysts have come to agree that hybrids are gaining momentum, aided in part by the run-up in U.S. fuel prices. But other observers remain skeptical.



"We see the general desire for these types of vehicles growing," said Jeff Martini, vice president of the Polk Center for Automotive Studies. "However, the compelling argument to actually buy one has to be made more strongly," he added.



Critics contend that the cost of hybrid hardware - generally adding $4000 to $9000 to the price of a comparable gasoline-only vehicle - is difficult to offset through increased mileage, even with $2.50-a-gallon gasoline. "When you just use the argument of fuel efficiency, the purchase of a hybrid car is not justified," acknowledged Kazuo Okamoto, the new head of R&D for Toyota Motor Co., in a recent interview with London's Financial Times.



The equation is only more off-balance when real-world, rather than promised, mileage is taken into account. While Toyota claims Prius gets close to 60 miles per gallon, consumers report it more typically delivers around 40 mpg. Esmond admitted there is a notable fuel economy gap, but insisted it is the result of government tests automakers rely on, rather than any attempt by Toyota to mislead its customers.



And indeed, other hybrid manufacturers, such as Honda, concede similar discrepancies. But none of the HEV makers is willing to provide a more realistic figure, said Honda planning director Dan Bonawitz, because the higher numbers are "a competitive advantage."



Perhaps, but the growing chorus of complaints could sour current and potential owners, some analysts warn. And as a result, manufacturers are looking at other ways to boost the appeal of hybrids. Honda, for example, has been emphasizing the higher performance of its Accord Hybrid, which launches from 0-60 a full half-second faster than the conventional V-6 Accord.



Lexus is also promoting the performance of its RX400h, and the luxury unit's next hybrid could usher in an entirely new line of high-performance HEVs, said the Toyota division's new general manager, Bob Carter. A final decision has not yet been made, but Lexus engineers are developing a distinctly different version of the Toyota Synergy Drive used in the Prius.



Next year's GS450h is expected to feel more like a conventional sports sedan, with a mix of software and hardware changes meant to replicate the feel of a conventional sedan going through rapid gear changes.



"You may see Toyota and Lexus going in two very different directions," Carter told TheCarConnection.com during an interview in California.



But even the Toyota division will put more of an emphasis on performance, added Esmond, during the same interview. It will put more emphasis on the other advantages of hybrid technology, such as the significant reduction in emissions, including the greenhouse gas, CO2.



While hybrids are taking some heat right now, analyst Jim Hall, of AutoPacific, Inc., doesn't foresee a serious backlash over mileage. There are "plenty of other reasons" why they'll continue to gain ground in the U.S. market, he said. In some states, hybrid owners gain access to carpool lanes, even while driving alone. Several cities now let HEVs park without paying at meters. And then there's what Hall calls "the cool factor."



For some Prius buyers, the biggest plus is the positive feedback they get driving their distinctive vehicles down the street. Ironically, Lexus seemed to miss that point with the RX400h. The most common complaint, said Esmond, is not mileage, but the fact that the gas-electric SUV is almost indistinguishable from a conventional RX330. "They want us to badge this thing so people know they are driving a hybrid," said Esmond. (Honda officials admit they've had similar complaints about their Accord and Civic hybrids.)



Toyota is in the midst of a major internal debate over whether it should produce more hybrid-only models, such as Prius, or continue offering hybrid options for its mainstream models. Whatever the ultimate decision, future Toyota and Lexus HEVs will be much more distinctive, Esmond promised.

thx for the additional perspective.
hal
 
People should also check out compressed air cars and ones with inertial based energy recapture systems.

Hybrids are merely a way to get back some lost kinetic energy that the car normally spends heating the brakes up.

What would be nice is a lossy hybrid system which could be plugged in overnight. Overnight power rates are FAR lower than during the daytime. If you could use this type of scheme, it equates to roughly $.25/gal gas. Granted, it still consumes energy, but the cost to you is always cheaper.

But, just so's ppl know, hybrids are purchased primarily to get you into HOV lanes.

However, this is a new technology, so expecting it to dominate immediately, especially since Hybrids are entering on the LOW end of the car spectrum, is foolish. Hybrids need to be high-end additions, like the upcoming Honda supercar should be. Then, trickle that down into lower-performance models.

Hybrids on already gas-stingy cars make no real "difference" in things. My parents had a 91 Civic DX that got 40mpg...whoopie. Rabbits from back then were getting 60 or 65mpg on diesel. This is because diesel has more energy per unit volume in it than does gasoline. But, it's very sooty and causes lots of aerosol pollution and child asthma and stuff. A very low-power diesel engine w/ a high power lossy hybrid system should be what a "city car" is. Drive on electricity until no longer possible. Set your battery drain scheme to give you whatever range you need to commute and not much more.
 
Cairo94507 said:
The additional benefits of knowing that I am getting twice the mileage of most cars on the road and that Arnold just signed the bill to allow us to drive solo in the commute lane and cross the bridges during commute hours for free is great too.

This is the only reason I'd consider a hybrid -- the free use of HOV lanes. As others have pointed out, hybrids don't make personal economic sense (the car will be long dead before your increased gas mileage pays for the higher car cost). Plus, the battery disposal issue.

But time is money, and whizzing past cars during commute hours is a great benefit.

I got nothing against the Prius as a car -- it'd be a great car at $20,000, but for $30,000 it's just too expensive.
 
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