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Old 06-10-2009, 11:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The hybrid allure - my quest to learn about and acquire a Prius

For about a month now, I've been looking into possibly replacing the Matrix with a 04-09 Prius. Initially, when I was looking at getting a Matrix, I wanted a Prius. However, roughly two years ago when I was looking, the prices were way out of my price range. We could barely afford the great deal we got on our 03 Matrix. Thankfully, times have been good to us, and of course the Prius' out there are getting older and more affordable. So, we now are looking into getting a Prius. So, I just kind of wanted to share the process and what I'm learning as I go about this all.

I am a member of the Milwaukee Hybrid Group. Oddly enough, after being a member for two years, I had never actually driven a hybrid vehicle. I've gone for rides in a few of them, but never drove one. Anyway, it was time to change that. Last week, I called up the hybrid group leader and asked if I could get in touch with anyone who would be willing to let me and the wife go for a drive in their Prius. He gladly accepted and we met up at an event that they were doing over the weekend. He said we could take his wife's 04 Prius out for a spin with his son who is an excellent ecodriver, quite knowledgable about hybrids, and also the lucky owner of a 1st gen Insight. Just before we left, he grabbed the scangauge out of his car so we could watch a few things and try out a few driving techniques. So, I jumped in and drove it around on some country roads at speeds anywhere form 35 to 55 mph. He taught me how to pulse and glide (which is ridiculously easy), use super highway mode, and warp stealth. After a while it was the wife's turn. She drove it, more aggressively than me, but still reasonable. She also brought it back to the parking lot we left after a short jog on the highway. Once up to speed, I was amazed to see that on level ground, she was cruising at 65 mph, and still getting 55 mpg with a steady foot. That just completely blows the Matrix out of the water. The most I've ever gotten out of it was 48 mpg at lower speeds. Once back to the parking lot, we checked the uncalibrated scangauge and it read a trip average of 60 mpg.

So, with these cars now dipping down into the price range I can deal with, I'm pretty much sold. Now I just wait until I find one that fits my bill.

I've been using hankshelper.com to do my local searching. Its a great site that searches ebay, craigslist, autotrader, cars.com, and oodle all in one search.

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Old 06-10-2009, 02:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I too would love a prius. I actually initially rejected them last fall, because I couldn't fit in it comfortably. I have since learned it is possible to modify the chair rails and push the drivers seat back a bit, and that I would probably fit then. However, i'm already comitted to my course. I'll probably put on about a half-a-million km's on my cobalt before it's time for another car. There are a lot of times i think however, i could KILL ANYTHING for mileage if I had a Prius.

I wish you the best of luck in your search. All my research tells me that the Prius is reliable, and that the up front cost is the biggest issue! Get a good deal and enjoy hypermiling it for the both of us.

-Steve
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The prices of used Priuses in the US are really really low compared to Canada. It probably would have been difficult to find a used one up here for less money than your Cobalt cost, stevey_frac. In the States it's another matter! (Probably doesn't help that our starting price is near $30k.)

With the Canuckistani peso marching towards parity with the US buck again, I'm sure more of them (and other types of new & used cars) will start finding their way across the border.

Prius is a blast. I still remember test driving a 1st gen at the local dealer. (And later a 2nd gen.) I remember thinking: this is the coolest car I've ever driven! Geek appeal. (EV mode in that gen 1 car planted a seed in my head that eventually grew into the ForkenSwift.)

I've been waiting for a gen 3 model to show up on the lot. I'll be dropping by to bug the sales guy for a spin (always full disclosure: "I have absolutely no intention of buying one of these, but if you're not busy...." )
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! /cry


(not sure if this link will work)
Auto Trader Canada | Truck Trader Canada | Boat Trader Canada | RV Trader Canada

1/2 the price of my cobalt. Almost double the EPA mileage. Wow i wish this car had been for sale when i was buying my cobalt.
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, thats an absurdly low price. Scam perhaps?

If its not, get another loan and sell the Cobalt!
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd loose too much money on the cobalt. Bought it at 10,5. I MIGHT be able to less it for 7. And the loan i have against it is closer to 15. I'd have a hard time engineering a loan structure that would let me make that work. And then i'd have to spend money on it to make it fit me. And i've bought a house, and all my money is going into that until october.

Hows your hunt going Daox?

-Steve
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It seems all the good deals are down in Chicago. Thats a 2hr+ drive for me, so I can't make it during the week (and traffic would be insane anyway). It seems everything in Wisconsin (vs Illinois) is $2000 more. So, I'm still waiting for the right one to come along... quite impatiently too.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have a notion that the thing to do is buy a car from south of the salt belt. Definately worth it if you're buying an older car.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Keep looking Daox...we have to get you in a Prius soon! With the 2010's being released nationwide by end of June/early July there should be a decent amount of used Prius on the lots looking for owners (or owners of used Prius dumping them in private sales to get the new 2010).

I don't think we'll see a rush to hybrids (like last year) even if gas continues to rise past $3 so you might see some great deals out there soon! It's still a buyers market so it's just a matter of time for you!
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Good point, Robert, but probably not an issue for 2004 and up, which is what people are looking for in used Priuses.

As long as you have it rust treated when you get it, and every year or 2 after that, it won't fall apart beneath you.

Matt: good point about the gen 3 2010's. They should put downward pressure on the prices of the used gen 2 cars.

Why don't you think people are going to respond to gas prices like they did last year? Desensitization?

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