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Old 08-05-2010, 06:52 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Best MPG Available, Simple As That

I was driving a V10 truck when the oil started gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. I was driving that truck for a variety of reasons, but when the oil starting flowing, I knew I could no longer put off making the big changes in my life that would support my aversion to oil.

I bought and drive a Prius for one primary reason: it is the most fuel efficient car I could find. Period. I live in Florida, and it works here. I will learn how to drive it more and more effectively, and this will be my first step in reducing MY personal part of the demand for more oil drilling. Going to diesel is still using oil. I want out of the oil cycle someday, and EV's are going to be the ticket.

One more point... MOST people I meet or experience have NO interest whatever in learning to hypermile or do ANYTHING AT ALL to reduce their oil usage. So if you can find some way to sell them a nice MAINSTREAM car like a Prius, that they can drive pretty much normally, and still reduce the oil usage... HURRAY!!!

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Old 08-05-2010, 11:45 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyatt
WILL NOT
Not to pick on you or your wife specifically, but this WILL NOT mentality (it's clearly not just your wife that has it) not only toward manual transmission, but toward a LOT of stuff (composting, biking/walking to work if you only live about mile away, having less than 2 children, trying/learning anything in general other than "the missionary" in life). People are not born with this, it's purely cultural. Just because it's pervasive, widely used or widely available doesn't mean it's healthy or wise or responsible or correct. Many people never get educated enough to even realize this, and who can blame them? I just think it's the worst to see people lucky enough (usually wealthy enough) to actually be exposed to the education required to deduce this idea, and still won't budge. I don't assume you or your wife are ignorant, I just wanted to contribute this view to the conversation - food for thought. WILL NOT is a cop out born of a nasty cultural addiction many of us have, and it needs to stop if we expect to sustain any kind of civilization.
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:17 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Wonderboy:
I understand what you are saying, but when my wife does not know how to drive a stick, and won't try, and there is a Prius with a CVT that gets great gas milage (oh, and I forgot to say has 8 airbags, that was a HUGE selling point), then why not make everyone's lives easier? It may have been a different story if the price difference was great, but it wasn't.
What you are talking about goes beyond manual transmissions, it's an "A-mer-i-ka" thing. There's a reason why most of the world sees the US as wasteful, stubborn, and needing to change. I know it can't be an attack on me or my wife, since we do composting, some gardening, and trying to reduce fuel consumption in and around the house as much as possible... no harm.
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:46 PM   #24 (permalink)
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As an afterthought to the O.P., I've only recently had the opportunity to drive both a gen 2 prius and a gen 3 prius (only about a week apart), and I drove the gen 1 before it came out (tour de sol in Burlington NJ). I must say that hypermiling techniques are made incredibly easy with these cars, and the heads up display is pretty useful. Excellent for city driving, and in all honesty, probably a good band-aid for people who want good mileage but refuse to drive manual. I don't like the extra weight of the batteries/motor, especially when traveling long distances ("highway driving"), and when driving the prius, I found myself wishing for a non-hybrid CVT that acted like a hybrid (easy EOC using a shifter knob similar to that in the prius). It just doesn't feel small and responsive, but then again I was just driving them for a few hours - I hadn't developed that close connection between human and car where I could REALLY have a feel for what was going on. I'd at least rather see someone driving around in a prius instead of some crown vic/lumina/impala/jeep/taurus. Meh.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:42 AM   #25 (permalink)
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They make a lot of sense in the US where a car getting more than 25 seems to be a 'good deal' Here in Europe even with higher fuel prices they seem to make far less sense, especially at the price they sell them for. Some comparisons of similar sized cars :

Cheapest Prius - 19,800 GBP
Peugeot 308 HDi - 16,190 GBP
Focus TDCi - 17,890
Citroen C4 (5 dr) HDi - 15,790 GBP
VW Golf TDi S (5 dr) - 17,840 GBP

These are only the 'mainstream' competitors. Start including the likes of Chevrolet (aka Daewoo), Kia, Hyundai and so on and you can start to get even bigger Diesels in for the same money. Full disclosure - add in auto trans (DSG, Sensodrive etc.) and the prices close up but then again most European drivers don't drive autos and you can't specify a manual Prius.

The difference in fuel economy between the Diesel models and the Prius is also going to take a long time to pay back. And that is using the official figures. Very few UK road tests I have read and owners I know (Gen2s and 3s, bit NOT hypermilers) get anywhere close to the claimed MPG in normal use - they just drive the things as normal cars here in the UK.

Combine this with the fact we do lower mileages than in the US (typical used car annual mileage is estimated at just 10K) and that new car owners tend to only keep their cars for 2-4 years mean that payback is probably never for them.

The few people I know with Prius's in the UK are mostly exactly the kind of people who bought them for the green image, precisely the thing Jeremy Clarkson hates. The remainder of them run also second cars which are not green - think X-5, Range Rover, Merc S-Class and so on. The Prius is their way of sticking two fingers up to the congestion charge which they are free from.

As for the insight there is a car more expensive that a Civic with only slightly better economy, less space and an awful ride. So why bother ?
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:38 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
The difference in fuel economy between the Diesel models and the Prius is also going to take a long time to pay back.
Yet if the European diesel models added a hybrid drivetrain, they would improve their fuel economy by the same factor that a petrol-engined hybrid does over a similar non-hybrid.
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:51 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I think that Toyota would be really clever to sell a diesel Prius along side a petrol one. That way, the general American public could see that diesels are better for FE without the old downsides, and it would make for one hell of a FE car.

On the other hand, huge amounts of resources go into building a hybrid, so I actually think that environmentally it would be better to just offer non-hybrid diesels at prices that are close to the petrol equivalent (even if that means jacking up the price of the gasser).
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:39 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I can vouch for the roominess of the Prius, having detailed a 2nd gen. After seeing one up close and cleaning it, finding the extra storage bins in the back and such, I have to say their charm is rubbing off on me. Maybe I'll pick up a used 3rd gen in later years.
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:46 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Yet if the European diesel models added a hybrid drivetrain, they would improve their fuel economy by the same factor that a petrol-engined hybrid does over a similar non-hybrid.
Some manufacturers like PSA (Peugeot and Citroen) keep pre-anouncing diesel hybrids but have been doing for quite a while. At the same time the Diesels seem to get better FE and power with each gen which is every 2-3 years.

For example in 2000 you could just about get a 110 hp Diesel in a VW TDi for loads of money. Now you can get a 105 bhp 1.5 CR Diesel in a cheap hatchback from Kia and get 60+ MPG without even trying.

And I think a very key problem for hybrids is that the drivetrain is not suitable for smaller cars like superminis (think Geo Metro sized) which Europeans love. Although they are getting larger and lardier (current Fiesta, Yaris, Aveo) adding hybrid batteries would be tricky without other side effects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tumnasgt View Post
I think that Toyota would be really clever to sell a diesel Prius along side a petrol one. That way, the general American public could see that diesels are better for FE without the old downsides, and it would make for one hell of a FE car.
Not sure this would make much of a difference as Toyota like all makers charge a premium for their Diesel models. The problem with the Prius in the European market is price - same problem for the CRZ Couple which is the same in numbers in GBP as the US price.

For example the Auris hatchback (Corolla replacement in Europe) prices :

Auris VVTi (Petrol) 15,830
Auris D4-D (Diesel) 17,385

Interestingly one selling point that Honda are pushing with the Insight is that it should have lower maintenance that a Diesel. Most Diesels have a DMF which goes wrong randomly and expensively or lasts forever, as well as a lot of other highly stressed and expensive bits - fuel pumps for example. The Insight doesn't is their sales line.

Mind you a CVT ? A CVT seems like the engineers solution to a problem of efficient transmission that the end user has to suffer.

The Insight is selling poorly to not at all over here and will probably be dropped. I suspect Honda may also make a non-hybrid CRZ if they produce them in the EU at some point. But it would probably have to have a better engine as the CRZ is apparently quite sluggish when the regen runs out.
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:02 AM   #30 (permalink)
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While I like the idea of CVTs, having torque converter is a killer. Hopefully someone will come out with one that uses an automatic clutch instead, in that configuration it would probably do better than a manual for a 'normal' driver.

Here in NZ the price gap for a diesel Toyota is getting much closer to the petrol versions, which is amazing considering that the engines are shipped from the factory in Turkey to Japan just for the NZ market. At launch the price gap was about $7000NZ ($5000US/3200GBP), whereas now it is only $2000-3500NZ. I see several Prii a day, and maybe one D4D Corolla a week, and considering that the Prius is $12000NZ more expensive than a Diesel Corolla Hatch (with pretty similar FE), I think people are willing to pay a extra for that "green" image, even if it isn't really there.
As the Prius has the green image already, if Toyota marketed a diesel version as being more so, it'd sell like hotcakes.

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