So back to the car. Well first thing's first: we're averaging 49.8 MPG with mostly city but sometimes mixed driving. That's insane. In the old Fitmobile we were only able to get it up to 40 MPG once on pure highway driving that was flat and straight. So yeah the MPG stuff for this hybrid is quite legit.
I've also noticed that I'll get a 2-3 MPG increase if I drive in Eco mode vs Normal mode so I usually just leave it in Eco. I really haven't noticed a downside from driving in Eco mode other than needing to get used to the throttle response. All the power from both engines are still available, you just have to press the accelerator down further or faster.
For the steering wheel controls they are sorta futuristic since you can gently press down on a button and the HUD display will change to show that you are pressing a specific key. It's sorta like a digital camera in that there are 2 finger-pressure settings for focus and to actually take a picture.
The right-side steering wheel buttons control the HVAC system in a really crappy way. The center button changes the system from internal to external circulation. How often does a normal person even make this change? How about 5 times a year maybe. The other two other buttons control the temperature. I'll add in as an aside that automatic climate control sucks ass. I really want to know who really uses this feature because on all 3 cars I've owned that have had this, no manufacturer has implemented it correctly.
Ideally in a manual-control mode, the two buttons for temperature should be for fan speed up and down, and the circulation button should be replaced with the AC on/off switch. That would be the optimal setup for the right-side steering wheel controls.
The headlights on the Prius are quite dim at night time and I don't think it's because I've been spoiled with the Xenons from the Infiniti. It totally feels like they give out the same lumens as an amber streetlight in a bad part of town.
The hands-free Bluetooth in this car is very quirky and stupid. You have to push a button and say a ladder-list of commands to make a simple phone call. It should be as easy as: push button, say "call x" , and it dials. But in this car there are at least two additional steps in the middle in order to make a call. The logic is stupid. Additionally the Bluetooth version is not high enough where you can stream music from your phone. Supposedly the Bluetooth version that comes with the Nav package is able to do this. My bad...should've done a bit more research.
In terms of maintenance, I've changed the CVT fluid on this car as well as the oil and both air and cabin filters. After all this, I have three complaints. The first is that there's this wretched plastic engine splash shield that uses these plastic nubbies instead of bolts. This makes the prep work time prior to doing a task go up quite a bit because taking the nubbies off suck. They also break quite often so I had to order a bunch of extra ones off of Ebay. The item numbers are: 90467-07201 and 90467-09227 if anyone is interested. It would be OK if the shield was of good quality but it's not. There's also an engine oil flap in the middle of the shield that is partially broken on my car because of crappy quality and design, so yeah I'm annoyed.
The second thing is that the oil filter is one of those actual filters instead of a disposable one that is all encased. This means that you have to take off a plastic housing and then remove the old filter and replace it with a new O-Ring and filter. It would've been much easier and cleaner to just use a normal, fully-encased oil filter.
Third thing is that the Prius does NOT utilize a regular 65mm filter wrench. It uses a freak 64mm one with 14 pleats. And this of course is an OEM Toyota/Lexus custom part, so I would recommend buying it off of Amazon prior to doing an oil change. I found this out the hard way and wasted time going to Napa, Autozone, and Oreillys before giving up and going to the dealership to pay full price. Fuckers...
One super annoying thing was that whenever you put the car in reverse it would make this beeping sound that was constant and very loud. It was oh so annoying and many people online complained about it. I was able to get rid of it by buying this OBD2 Bluetooth Module off of Amazon and connecting it to my phone and DLing an app to send it codes. I followed the instructions found on this site. Lots of trouble for having something so unnecessary built into the function of a car.
So yeah the car is excellent for what it is, a commuter-mobile. The only amenity in this car that is worthwhile is the Homelink garage door opener since everything else "cool" is really only a letdown like the quality of leather, heated seats, and Bluetooth.
If you drive it and remember that it's only a method of getting from point A to B and you're OK with the price, then all is good. But most people will certainly not "care" about this car as if it were something special because it doesn't feel special. It only feels efficient and slightly futuristic. Yeah I always find it interesting to go back and forth between the Prius and the Infiniti. It's such a night/day difference between an econo-box and a performance sedan. Guess which one I'll vote to drive every time my wallet (cost of gas) isn't involved...
Update: 4/17/2015 - AC Foul Smell Removal