04-09 Toyota Prius

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269
Location
St. Louis, MO
Hey guys, So I'm thinking about selling the Saturn to get a comparably priced Prius, so I'll owe nothing or very little. I'm not looking for a car payment. I drive at least an hour each day for work and I'm looking for something with much better gas mileage as the Saturn gets 25 mpg. I'm familiar with hybrids as my boyfriend has owned a Prius before, and currently owns a Ford Fusion Hybrid. Anything I should know about the Prius? Is it worth getting a model with bluetooth, navigation, JBL speakers, Leather? Are there years that I should avoid? What overall should I look for in a Prius? Thanks in advanced for the information.
 
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Messages
12,946
Location
Middlesex County CT
My parents have a 04 and, I think, an 08. Cars have been virtually problem free, but they don't get a lot of use. Be prepared for usual armada of BITOG'rs who will sail into this thread warning of battery issues, just like they did 10 years ago, but have yet come to fruition. I would figure a low mileage 04,05 should be really affordable. I'd trust and older one over a newer one.
 
Messages
7,485
Location
S California
In taxi service they are close to bullet proof. They have no fan belt to drive accessories, the tranny does not shift gears and is not a CVT but a planetary box and has no reverse. Reverse is the electric motor. In taxi service the front brakes last 100-130K miles because of the regen system. In a fleet of almost 100 since 05 they have never replaced a main battery. The biggest service problem looking at the bills is something every car suffers from now and then, flat tires and accidents. There has never been a problem with the batteries in accidents. Even the lowest use cars average over 100K miles a year. As the Crown Vics wear out or get wrecked they are being replaced by the Prius and the conventional 4 cylinder Camry and the Toyota mini-van, but mostly the Prius. Toyota appears to be a good choice for reliability and cost of maintenance. If you drive enough miles the Prius makes sense if you don't mind the politics.
 

Lillikai

Thread starter
Messages
269
Location
St. Louis, MO
I told my coworkers that I was thinking about getting one and they all laughed and thought I was joking, and I just brushed it off. Politics don't bother me at all. I've heard they were good cars and I like the fact that they can get somewhere around 50 mpg. For being a 2008 my saturn has had A LOT of repairs, and I baby my vehicles, so I know its not from abuse or misuse. I can't say that I will purchase another gm vehicle any time soon, as I think quality control is a current issue. I feel like the Prius would be a good option. Thanks for all the comments.
 
Messages
7,485
Location
S California
Originally Posted By: Lillikai
Simple why do you trust an older one over a newer one?
Are you trying to compare a Saturn to a Toyota? Toyota has been a bit more successful for a lot of good reasons.
 
Messages
1,797
Location
Texas
Originally Posted By: OneEyeJack
Originally Posted By: Lillikai
Simple why do you trust an older one over a newer one?
Are you trying to compare a Saturn to a Toyota? Toyota has been a bit more successful for a lot of good reasons.
I think that was in response to this statement...
Originally Posted By: simple_gifts
I'd trust and older one over a newer one.
 

Lillikai

Thread starter
Messages
269
Location
St. Louis, MO
I'm not trying to compare. I was making a statement saying that my current vehicle is likely more unreliable than the competition. I thought Simple meant that he trust a 04-09 prius over the newer 2010+ model years. Guess I misunderstood the statement.
 
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Messages
161
Location
MN
I have 4 coworkers who drive hybrids and they love them. There has never been any problems with the drive train. The only hiccup is that after 8 years the main battery pack has had to be replaced in 3 of the 4 cars to an average price of around $3000. Not sure what the miles were on the different cars. When you live in MN the winters are a little tough on cars so that may have been a factor. So when you find one you like I would have the battery pack checked out by a mechanic if that's possible.
 

Lillikai

Thread starter
Messages
269
Location
St. Louis, MO
Ok thanks Kwijibo. I'll definitely have it checked out. It sounds like these cars are super reliable and if nothing but the battery has to be replaced for several years, I think that's great.
 
Messages
23,886
Location
CA
I don't think MO is a state that utilizes the CARB emission standards, so you are only going to have the 100k battery warranty. The batteries are generally fine, but replacement will eventually become necessary. Usually 150k-200k or 10 years is no problem, though people who operate in severe terrain will need replacements sooner. There are quite a few battery pack replacements popping up on Priuschat nowadays, but that's expected given the age of the Gen 2s. Likewise, due to the age/mileage of the Gen 2s, the option of getting a junkyard battery pack is pretty much out of the question. Your only real viable option nowadays is to get the reman pack from the dealer for around $3k. Otherwise, they're pretty solid vehicles with a fairly predictable track record. I would be inclined to stay away from the HID headlights because their performance is lousy and the bulbs are on the pricey side...plus they're somewhat problematic. The engine water pumps sometimes leak, but they're a cheap and easy fix. The inverter pump is sometimes an issue, but Toyota has voluntarily issued a service campaign to offer a one-time free replacement; it is otherwise around $150 for the pump. The instrument cluster sometimes go blank, but I believe there's an ext warranty out for 'em. The early 04-05 models will sometimes have radio/touchscreen failures, but you can get a replacement one from the junkyard for not much. Lastly, just remember that the brake system will require Techstream (or equivalent aftermarket tool) in order to initiate brake bleeding, and the cooling system is best serviced using a Airlift (or equivalent).
 
Messages
14,725
Location
Central NY
Originally Posted By: OneEyeJack
Toyota now charges an official $3,649 for a new first- or second-generation Prius pack, but a $1,350 "core credit" for your old battery.
It would still be $3649 battery. It will be $4999 if you don't give them your old one.
 
Messages
1,797
Location
Texas
Local to me is a business that will install a remanufactured battery for less than $1000. These businesses have sprung up all over, and many of them will come to you and do it in your driveway.
 
Messages
809
Location
Nebraska
http://www.dormanhybrid.com/ http://www.summitracing.com/parts/rnb-587-001?seid=srese1&gclid=CIel-_qx6L8CFQQT7AodB00AKQ <$1,800 for a replacement 04-09 Prius battery. There are websites on how to refurb a battery yourself, if you're so inclined. I've been researching hybrids lately (namely the Prius C) and I discovered that I was grossly misinformed about them in terms of how they drive (pretty much like a normal car), how reliable they are (Toyota hybrids are often more reliable than conventional cars from other brands), how much they cost to repair (cost of ownership is comparable to a conventional), their environmental impact (you burn less gas but there is a significant environmental impact in the manufacture and disposal of batteries), etc. However, there is a social stigma/prejudice to driving a hybrid, or, rather, a Prius. Some of that is positive, and some of it is negative, depending on your political views (which we shall not discuss). From an economic point of view, one thing that I've found is that hybrids generally are best for people who drive an average to higher than average amount of miles over the long term.
 

Lillikai

Thread starter
Messages
269
Location
St. Louis, MO
Originally Posted By: strat81
http://www.dormanhybrid.com/ http://www.summitracing.com/parts/rnb-587-001?seid=srese1&gclid=CIel-_qx6L8CFQQT7AodB00AKQ <$1,800 for a replacement 04-09 Prius battery. There are websites on how to refurb a battery yourself, if you're so inclined. I've been researching hybrids lately (namely the Prius C) and I discovered that I was grossly misinformed about them in terms of how they drive (pretty much like a normal car), how reliable they are (Toyota hybrids are often more reliable than conventional cars from other brands), how much they cost to repair (cost of ownership is comparable to a conventional), their environmental impact (you burn less gas but there is a significant environmental impact in the manufacture and disposal of batteries), etc. However, there is a social stigma/prejudice to driving a hybrid, or, rather, a Prius. Some of that is positive, and some of it is negative, depending on your political views (which we shall not discuss). From an economic point of view, one thing that I've found is that hybrids generally are best for people who drive an average to higher than average amount of miles over the long term.
I highly agree with this statement. A lot of people are misinformed. I've been studying hybrids and other means of transportation that doesn't require gasoline. My final research paper in high school in '06 topic was about energy efficient vehicles and alternatives to gasoline. Thanks everyone for your replies, they have been interesting and extremely helpful!
 

Lillikai

Thread starter
Messages
269
Location
St. Louis, MO
Been reading up on other forums and consumer reports. Lots of people are complaining about the headlights and tail lights going out on the 04-09 models. Also the acceleration while their foot is on the brake pedal seems to be a big issue still. That scares me, has there been any fixes for that? And people have been complaining about the navigation systems and how they go out/ and are terrible with giving directions. For example one person was at work and set their nav to go home and it took them to a dead end. (If its true that is pretty bad gps!) Those seem to be the 3 most talked about problems on consumer reports.
 
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Messages
12,946
Location
Middlesex County CT
Yes, headlights seem to be an issue; must have had a VW engineer on the team. I believe my father indicated the replacement cost for the high intensity headlights was something like $300, but toyota reduced the cost to "only $120" due to the number of failures; I thought the price for OEM halogens I got for my !echo! was bad, "only $40"
 

Lillikai

Thread starter
Messages
269
Location
St. Louis, MO
Originally Posted By: simple_gifts
Yes, headlights seem to be an issue; must have had a VW engineer on the team. I believe my father indicated the replacement cost for the high intensity headlights was something like $300, but toyota reduced the cost to "only $120" due to the number of failures; I thought the price for OEM halogens I got for my !echo! was bad, "only $40"
Dang thats expensive!! And to think people were saying that theyd get them replaced and then a couple months later theyd go out again! Wow thats bad engineering! +1 VW engineers have some really dumb ideas! Also do you have to replace the transmission fluid? I thought the system was basically non-maintenance in that an Ecvt has extremely low wear and the fluid is expected to last until the vehicle drives off its wheels.
 
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