Thursday, August 31, 2017

Out with the Prius

So after around 4 years of ownership, we bid adieu to the Priusmobile. It was an interesting ride through hybrid territory, but we're going to be joining the statistic that goes back to ICE cars after owning a hybrid. The reason for most people will depend on 2 variables and how important they are when compared to one another: the yearning for power/fun vs economics.

  • I think one of the main questions a person will have is the reliability of both a hybrid car and the Prius itself. I can say that it's impeccable; both as a Toyota and with a hybrid drive train. Nothing major ever happened and all I ever did was change the oil, filters, tires, battery, wiper blades, and ATF fluid. After being in the Vegas heat, various small plastic pieces like the overhead light covers seemed to break, but these were cheap replacement parts. The car was highly reliable and could easily run for thousands of more miles.
  • The MPG was good compared to an ICE car, but it did deteriorate over time. The max I ever got was 53MPG, but that was when I first purchased the car and across a very flat surface. After that, daily life in a temperate environment/traffic was around 48MPG. After moving to crazy Vegas, it went down to 43MPG. All of these numbers are much better than any average car, but still, compared to the marketing of what a Prius could do, it fell short.
  • Space was good as well. The largest thing we ever fit in it was a huge elliptical machine box from Sports Authority. I still can't believe it fit in there; I wish I took a pic.
  • Initial acceleration from 0 is good since it's using both the gas and electric engine to give it a torque boost.
  • Slow as fuck. If you're just doing city traffic driving it's not bad, but when you need to accelerate to get out of trouble or get onto the freeway, that is when you notice that it's super lacking in power. If you've ever driven an econobox and were literally flooring it, this is the same feeling.
  • Agility of a boat. The car handles like a large boat. The ass of the car is an anchor and it waddles through turns...totally not a fun experience having a torsion beam for the rear suspension.
  • Smells. The car's fake leather started to smell pretty bad in the heat. It was an odd chemical stench that couldn't be covered up or cleaned up. Add this to the HVAC moldy smell that I tried to address before and all you get is a weird-odoriferous car.
  • In the 115+ degree heat, the electric engine started to not turn on upon initial ignition. It felt as though it was in a safe mode until the cooling fans of the engine kicked in and could circulate the coolant. This was super annoying and assisted in the MPG to plummet in the car. The good thing is that it was predictable with regards to when it happened and how long you had to drive before the car started operating normally again, but still annoying.
So the Prius was a solid car, but it did have its deficencies. For a boring person, an old person, or a thrifty person, the Prius is a no-brainer car. It's much better than any other econobox like a Yaris or Versa, but it really does lack balls and the 'fun' of driving. If I wanted to maximize my wallet I would've kept it and just dealt with it until it broke down at 300K or so, but life is too short to be driving something so plain and mediocre. The hybrid aspect of any car is a cool concept as it really does help fuel economy at lights, stop signs, and stop/go traffic, but the extra cost, smaller gas engine, and overall reduction in power isn't really worth it. When prices for full-electrics go down after they reach 200 miles between charges, it'll be a no-brainer of what direction folks will be going towards. But a hybrid was a good in-between technology to help the general population along.