• Gordon Posted: 6/11/2008 11:46pm PDT

    Before I bought my 2005 Scion xB (new), I looked at a Prius. I didn't like the uneven power delivery, the unknown service headaches ahead, the battery lifetime, and the smallish interior, not to mention the high-pitched squeal the switching power supply produced from under the hood. Finally, the $5000 premium over the xB meant that it would take me 12 years to break even at $2 gas IF the Prius actually got 49 MPG or whatever the claim was at the time. So today, that payback still would be 6 years, and I'd be facing possible battery replacement on the Prius at the end of the payback period.
    I've been very happy with the 30 MPG xB (town driving), which was voted the "greenest" car by CNW Marketing Research in 2006!

  • Tom L Posted: 6/13/2008 10:26am PDT

    I predict that the "full" hybrid is going to become extinct as so-called plug-in Hybrids (which are primarily electric vehicles) go mainstream. Meanwhile low cost start-stop tech will become standard on all internal combustion cars (at the minimum you need a more robust starter and a computer to decide when to shut the engine off)

  • Joe Posted: 6/13/2008 1:04pm PDT

    Paul, you need to check your bias at the door.
    I promise you toyota is not losing $10,000 on a prius that has an ancient NiMH battery and an electric motor in it.
    Secondly, its not about what consumers pay on a prius vs. a corolla, its about giving a few thousand dollars extra to Toyota rather than giving (almost the same) money to oil companies and hostile nations.
    If an american wants to give Toyota a premium for the car, when they will only save 80% of that in gas costs over a few years, you should encourage them, not claim they are ignorant for not understanding the economics involved.
    If you're going to keep whining about not saving enough gas money to justify the cost of the prius, at least be fair and acknowledge that many hybrid owners would rather give toyota $10,000 than give Iran and oil companies $5000.
    I look forward to the first plug-in hybrids. I'll adjust my driving so I can recharge or never drive more than 40miles/day and never buy gas again. I don't give a damn if it costs me $10,000 more than a corolla and you tell everyone I'm ignorant.

  • Paul Posted: 6/13/2008 7:51pm PDT

    Ah, Joe, I think you need re-read my article. The EARLY-gen Prius was heavily subsidized, bt there remains a debate over whether Toyota now makes a profit on the car -- and if so how much. Meanwhile, I wouldn't use the word "ancient" to describe the NiMH battery. It is not the ultimate state-of-the-art, but is still the industry standard in hybrids and in much consumer electronics, too. The evolution to LIon is just beginning, other than in the highest-tech systems, like cellphones and laptops.
    I don't disagree, by the way, that MANY people would rather pay Toyota (or Ford or whomever) for their hybrids v giving the money to Iran or Venezeula. But if the fuel economy advantage of the hybrid is grossly overstated, as it is with many models, then the consumer is being misled. I have a feeling that in any other market, if you bought a product that didn't deliver what you expected, you'd be demanding a refund, throwing a fit and perhaps even seeking class action relief. I think that hybrid makers need to have the truth out there and only then can consumers judge intelligently. If emotions play in, at that point, fine. After all, people spend lots of money on big engines they generally can't use, too.
    Paul E.

  • Quincy Posted: 6/26/2008 8:56pm PDT

    The payback period of my 2006 Prius over a comparable gasoline car (Camry 4-cylinder) was 1 year when gas was at $3 a gallon.
    I got a $3100 Federal Tax Credit, which made my '05 Prius only $1000 more than a comparable Camry. And no, the Prius is NOT a compact car-- It has almost the same amount of interior space as a Camry, which is why the EPA classifies the gen-2 Prius as a Midsize car.
    I'm not sure what Gordon is babbling about on the Prius battery. It's covered by an 8-year / 100,000-mile warranty. If the one in my Prius fails before then (which is unheard of), Toyota will replace it for me free.