More Advice about Hybrid Cars
More advice about Toyotas
I am going to be in the market to buy a new car in the next year. The car that most
appeals to me is the Camry Hybrid. I liked everything about it except the trunk
space, which is tiny. It's smaller than the trunk space I have in my Civic sedan.
poorly designed in my opinion, with the battery smack in the middle. In any case,
the Prius, a smaller overall car, has a lot more trunk space than the Camry. It's
to fathom. We looked at the trunk in the regular Camry and it's absolutely
enormous. Anybody out there have a Camry Hybrid and can comment on the reality
of living with that tiny trunk? Anyone out there drive a Prius and can comment on
how it's working out for you to live with the size of its trunk? I would really like
get a Toyota hybrid as their technology works really well for the type of driving I
(just putting around town to and from BART, the grocery store, etc.). We do not want
an SUV (e.g., the Highlander), even if it's a hybrid. Thanks!
frustrated wanna-be hybrid owner
We have a Prius and find it has a lot of trunk space. I love
being able to either pull over or retract the flap meant to hide
what's in the trunk. Gives you even more space.
We have used it to pick up ppl from the airport with two largeish
suitcases, suitbag, smaller bags each with no trouble.
Off the top of my head, the last time it was truly jam-packed for
just getting around town there were two foldout strollers
(Maclarens, so kind of slim but still big enough), a big bottle
of landry detergent, four paper bags of groceries, assorted
toddler clothes, several 1l bottles of water, car cleaning
products in bottles, a handful of Tetrapak-style boxes of drinks,
a diaper bag.
We virtually never use the backseat as overflow. We're expecting
our second kid any day now and I'm not concerned about fitting in
the extra stuff we're going to have to cart around.
Love the Prius
We recently purchased a Prius and have been amazed at how much space it
a hatchback so it technically doesn't have a ''trunk'' but, if you fold
the seats down,
you can get a big load in it. My husband drove up to a conference in
week and had to bring a ton of stuff - as in 10+ duffle bags - with him.
It all fit
easily and he averaged 51 mpg on the journey. The finish details of the
nicer - seats, dash, etc. - but for pure fuel efficiency and cargo volume
I think the
Prius wins out. If you don't fold down the seats, the cargo space is
not huge. You also have the option of only folding one seat down so you
seat a third person in the back and have extra cargo space.
Love our Prius
We've had a Prius for a bit over a year and adore it. We bought
it for the gas mileage but have been thrilled with lots of other
features, including how much it can cart around. Given that the
seats fold down completely (and easily), we've been able to
transport (separately) a crib, a large futon frame with futon,
and other big items and it's shocked people every time. As a side
note, I get better mileage (53 mpg) driving on the highway than
puttering around town (due to stops and starts)-- this isn't
consistent with the way it's marketed, so wanted to caution you.
Not sure how that compares to the Camry.
I was also in the market for a Toyota Camry Hybrid, but am so
glad that I discovered and bought the Nissan Altima Hybrid
instead. Test drive both and you'll see why...the Altima is far
superior in response and handling as well as design/styling
(read Consumer's Report about both and Google reviews). It's
aluminum frame is also about 500 lbs. lighter than the Camry
and therefore drives much nicer and gets better milegage. It
also has a 5 star crash rating and six air bags.
Nissan leases Toyota's hybrid technology. The reason why many
don't know about the Altima Hybrid is because Nissan is not
marketing them...it's more about the company just complying to
low emmission regulations at this point. This is to your
advantage because these Altima Hybrids are just sitting in the
dealerships taking up room.
Go to www.Edmunds.com and get the dealer invoice price and then
go to a Hilltop Nissan and start at that price for your
negotiations, not at the manufacturer's sticker price. I was
surprised how motivated they were. But I ultimately purchased
from Antioch Nissan because they had the color I wanted (ask
for the fleet manager because he can get the lowest deals
whereas the floor sales guys can't).
The ONLY thing I dislike about my hybrid is the loss of trunk
space. It's bigger than the Prius, so it takes more batteries
to move more bulk. But the Prius wasn't as roomy instead for my
growing kids. And I have to admit that I like having a hybrid
that stands out from yet another Prius...aesthetically and
finding it in a parking lot!
I can't speak to the Camry, but I love how roomy my Prius is. I
just got back from a Memorial Day camping trip, and it was
amazing how much stuff we crammed into the car (plus two bikes
on a roof rack). One thing you may not not know about, is that
there's a little compartment under the floor of the hatchback
where an extra battery can go. We use this compartment for
storing all kinds of stuff -- a tent and three camp chairs and
a yoga mat to use this weekend's example. Go Prius!
We have a Prius and two kids (3.5 and 1.5 yr old) and are happy
and a bit surprised to say that the trunk space has been big
enough for us to do 5+ day road trips to southern cal where we
bring a portable crib, a couple of small suitcases, a couple of
duffles and all of our other stuff. It's packed pretty tight,
but it works just fine and i can still see out the back. I've
seen people put luggage racks on top of the Prius but we haven't
yet needed to do that. (It's also nice that when we've done the
trip at night, we can go all the way from Oakland to LA without
stopping for gas which might wake up the kids). No problem with
going 75 to 80 along with everyone else on I-5, but the mileage
drops down to 45 or so for us at that speed with the car weighed
I have a prius and 2 kids. The trunk space is ok for most
things. I can get a week's worth of groceries in there, even
when I've forgotten to take out the soccor ball, sweatshirts.
etc. We only put the umbrella stroller in it, though, because
the bigger one doesn't easily lay flat. Our other car is a
stationwagon, and despite the gas mileage, we have to take the
wagon on long road trips or camping. I have an HOV sticker, so
I didn't even compare to the camary.
I have the older (standard) Prius, and the trunk space is great.
I regularly fit my kid's bike in there, with lots of other junk.
He's three and has one of those chunky plastic tricycles. I think
for a small family, it'd be fine. If you're a bigger family, a
prius might not work for you.
I looked at both the Camry Hybrid and Prius earlier this year and
ended up purchasing the Prius. The car is much better than I
Surprisingly, the Prius has substantially more back seat legroom
than the Camry. 4 adult males really do fit in the car comfortably.
It also has a covered storage compartment in the bed of the cargo
area, which is plenty big for storing a laptop computer bag and
things like umbrellas, sunscreen, hats, but definitely not enough
for the kids' soccer gear.
--happy prius owner
We're thinking of getting a new Prius and are wondering what
people think of the latest models (05 and 06) -- the BPN reviews
archived are for earlier models.
I was a bit concerned about safety after seeing Consumer Reports
didn't give the Prius the best score for road safety (although it
didn't get a bad one). Anyone had any accidents in the Prius and
found it worse than other cars?
But assuming we go ahead :) I'd also love to hear people's
recommendations for dealers now that it's several years since the
last batch of postings on this topic. We live in SF but would buy
in the East Bay or on the Peninsula if there was a dealer with
great recommendations there.
One last thing: the Prius now comes with a bunch off ''extras''
options. If you got these, what were you happy/not happy with?
We recently bought a 2005 Prius at Berkeley Toyota. We had a
relatively okay experience with our salesperson, although the
person doing the paperwork misspelled my husband's last name when
they filled out the registration information -- and it still
hasn't been resolved. Minor annoyance. Otherwise it was an easy
We got the basic options package with the seat warmers and I LOVE
them. LOVE the butt warmers! We wish we had gotten the GPS system
as well. The neat thing about the 2006 model is that it has a
port to play your mp3s through the audio system. Now that would
be cool! Wish we had that.
All in all, we love our Prius, love the gas mileage (47mpg, both
city and highway combined), and are really glad we took the plunge.
Bought my late 2005 model Prius from Hilltop Toyota and am very
satisfied. Hadn't bought a new car in over 10 years and was
amazed that the car is mostly ''plastic'' which may be the reason
for the just okay safety rating. I got airbags all around
(front, back, side), ABS brakes, and a higher grade CD player and
they're all fine. No problems, but the Prius does take getting
used to. What I DON'T like is the poor rear window view (may be
a safety hazard as well, but you just need to use your side
mirrors) and sometimes it goes into electric mode rather
jerkily(not a driving issue). On the other hand, I average 41 to
58 miles per gallon and have low emissions - not to mention the
ability to use the HOV lanes.
For what it's worth, our son bought a 2005 Prius 2 weeks ago at the Hilltop dealership. It was a pretty typical dealership experience-- fairly nice salesman, but a somewhat slimy sales manager and a slimier paperwork guy (trying to sell you those extended warranties and implying you're pretty stupid if you don't)-- also, making you wait a long time (for unknown and probably artificial reasons!) after you've verbally agreed on price. For good or bad, there's not a lot of negotiating going on, since the Prius is in such high demand. In fact, our son was mightily pleased that there was no additional markup over the invoice on the sticker. ($23K sticker, out the door, it was ~$25K) He had one option package: side air curtains + electronic keyless entry (which were bundled together). So far, he is pleased with how the car is running (got 45mpg combined city/hwy with the first fillup)
hi. i'm in the market for a new car and i really want to buy
the toyota hybrid. i am however a bit concerned about all the
news about the electrical problem - car just stopping at 50 mph
on freeway - that is being investigated now. i would like to
hear from someone who has had that problem (i know alot of
people who have NOT had the problem and love the car. does the
car stop without any warning? is it a slow down so that you
have time to move to shoulder of the road? once fixed is it
For more information on Prius stalling incidents, go to www.priusonline.com
and search ''stalling.'' You'll find multiple threads addressing this issue.
According to the posts it seems this was a problem on a very few late 2004/
early 2005 models and has been fixed. Most important, reports are that is
was the gas engine that stalled - the electric motor still functioned, allowing
drivers to get off the road safely. Given worse problems with other cars that
got less attention, I can't help but wonder if the Prius's popularity is causing
ruffled feathers in Detriot...
Happy Prius Owner
Re: Considering buying a hybrid
We've had a Prius since June 2002, and we've been happy with it
as our only car for a family of four. Maintenance so far has
been free under the warranty with Toyota of Berkeley. It
doesn't get the promised gas mileage. We asked the Toyota of
Berkeley service department about that, and they said oh yeah,
don't worry, it's not just your car, none of them get the gas
mileage they're supposed to. It's still good mileage, though.
Our car is comfortable and easy to drive, and it has a great
turning radius. We have a toddler's car seat and an older
child's booster seat in the back. Another child or a small
adult can squeeze in there too, but it's very tight. There's
only room for two people in the front. It's fun to drive
around Berkeley and spot all the other Priuses.
We bought a Prius in Aug. of '02.
You can buy them used now in Berkeley, I saw two in a lot next
to Funky Door Yoga on Shattuck.
The new one just came out and looks better - split fold down
rear seats is one feature I wish we had.
We bought ours at Hayward Toyota because they actually had 5 on
sale - $2000 off, which I now see was a pretty rare occurence.
We used the sale to get the extended warranty they offered which
cost $1500 and 4 years bumper to bumper - so now we have 7 years.
It's an interesting warranty because if you don't use it you can
get the money back at the end of the 7th year! The trick is to
decide whether to use it that first time for maybe a small issue
not knowing whether there will be any more to come, because then
you lose the whole $1500.
We have not had to pay for any maintenance - including oil
changes - we go to Berkeley Toyota for our maint.
My mother-in-law just took the car on a two week trip around the
southwest and loved the car!
We are getting 40mpg in the city and 50 on the highway, but it's
also the very clean burning engine that is very important.
We like the power windows - we have cruise control and it's
great to have on long drives for better mileage and comfort.
The mileage in the city was supposed to be higher, but I think
the new one gets better mileage and has more power.
The rear-end sticks up high (to provide more trunk space) but it
can be difficult for shorter people to see behind the car.
My friend bought a civic hybrid partially for that reason.
We LOVE our Toyota Prius. We bought this car in early 2001 and
it has been reliable, comfortable, and definitely saved us
money in gas. The Prius gets better mileage in the city,
whereas the Honda Civic hybrid gets better mileage on the
highway. (If you want more info on this, just email me. My
husband actually studies this stuff for a living). Overall, we
get about 42 miles/gallon. For city driving, this is closer to
50-55 miles/gallon. Our mileage is much lower than this,
mostly because we live at the top of a big hill in Oakland.
Going down the hill, we get 100 miles/gallon (actually, we
don't use any gas at all, because the car actually recharges
the battery when you are going downhill (it also turns off the
engine when you are stopped at a light - a very cool feature
that sometimes makes people think you have stalled, when in
reality you're just saving the world from nasty exhaust fumes).
This car is much more comfortable than our 1991 Acura Integra,
especially for my 70 yr. old mother, who has a much easier time
climbing in and out of the passenger or back seat area.
There's plenty of room in the back for a child (or a dog, for
that matter) and the trunk is surprisingly roomy (we've used it
for trips up to Yosemite and taken all of our camping gear).
When you buy a new Prius (and the 2004 model is supposed to be
even better than our 2003) at Berkeley Toyota, they give you a
great warranty. WE don't pay for any upkeep (oil changes,
break pads, tune-ups, spark plug changes) for the first 3-4
years. Additionally, there is a 7-year warranty on
all ''hybrid'' parts, to make you as an owner of new technology
Please feel free to email me with any other questions. Your
best bet is to go test drive one of these soon. You will
probably need to order one 1-2 months in advance of it's
arrival date in the lot.
We are now waiting for the next generation of hybrids before
buying our next family car (the hybrid SUV).
I read with interest the recommendation of a good Honda
saleswoman (I will definitely give her a call); now, can anyone
recommend a Toyota salesperson in the Berkeley area? When I buy
my Prius or Insight, I want to deal with someone efficient and
Tim (sorry, I don't remember his last name) at Toyota of
Berkeley on Shattuck was terrific when I bought a car there in
1999 -- low key but efficient and knowledgeable, and no typical
car salesman nonsense. In fact, he was the antithesis of the
stereotypical car salesman that I so dread running into. He is a
jazz musician, and this is his day job which he got after
becoming a father. I don't know about other salespeople there
but the garage/maintenance people are also really great.
We had a really terrible experience at Berkeley Toyota. We went
in ready to buy, told them that and and the salesman just jerked
us around and kept adding in expenses and we finally left to buy
it at Oakland Toyota. It was wierd because we really just wanted
to buy it and weren't being difficult at all. Oakland Toyota
wasn't particularly impressive either. I had a friend who bought
her car in Walnut Creek and was very pleased. Good luck!
We too had a bad experience at both Toyota Berkeley and Toyota
Oakland. Have been ignored several times in the Berkeley shop.
and got really jerked around in the Oakland shop. We were
clear we wanted to purchase an Echo, so, after feeling pretty
bruised, ended up at Toyota Walnut Creek, and had a pretty good
Has anyone bought a Prius? Do you like it? Can buyers bargain
on the price, or do they just have to pay the asking price?
Thanks for any advice. I'm thinking of buying one from Toyota of
We bought a Prius last June, delivered in November. So far we
enjoy it a lot. We tried to bargain, visited every Bay Area
dealership and called some out of area. The story was that Toyota
forbid them to alter the price. We ended up at Toyota of
Berkeley. They were the most knowledgeable. Marty was very
patient and knew a lot.
We had leather put in and with our 2 year old and the food messes
in the car this has been great. When we bought it leather was not
a factory installed option but the dealership put it in and it
Here are my gripes about the car: It gets about 40 mpg. It was
supposed to get more like 50 - for us the mileage has not lived
up to the hype. But I am happy with 40 mpg and enjoy filling up
only every other week. It does good in stop and go traffic, but
not good if you are running a lot of short errands and stopping
and parking a lot. The stereo controls are not good. The
touch panel and the logic of how to change stations etc is
difficult to do without looking at the screen. In my Caravan the
audio controls are great and I can push buttons, etc. without
taking my eyes off the road.
When you first drive it, it's a little strange. At a stop light
you might think the car had stalled because the engine turns off
and it's so quiet. After a bit of panic the first few times I've
gotten used to it and running off of the battery.
I am happy we bought the Prius and am looking forward to the
hybrid minivans that will be coming out soon.
Hi. My husband and I bought a Toyota Prius through Berkeley
Toyota around Thanksgiving. Of course, we had ordered it long
before, and that's when it arrived. We could not bargain on the
price, but it is worth noting that the actual cost of
producing the car is much higher, and the price you would pay is
a heavily subsidized one. We found Berkeley Toyota very easy to
deal with and pleasant. We love the car! My husband uses it to
commute daily from Berkeley to Hayward, and we get about 450
miles on a tank of gas. The car is heavy and feels substantial,
and rides very smoothly. It is also amazingly quiet and quite
soundproofed. It handles well, and is fairly spacious inside, but
when my daughter is in her carseat, and my two teenaged stepkids
are in the backseat with her, it feels a little tight. The trunk
is not deep, but very tall, and holds more than I would have
expected. All in all, we are delighted with the car, and feel
like we made a very smart choice for our first new car. Good
A happy Prius owner
Hi Jennifer - We bought a Prius last March and love it. We get
about 50 mi/gal and feel really good about driving an SULEV (80 -
90% LESS polluting than a standard sedan). It has plenty of
pick-up, an amazing turning radius, sufficient trunk space, a
sweet 3 years free maintenance and 3 years free roadside
assistance. We have a one year old and do lots of trips from SF
bay area to LA and up to Northern CA.
The price is subsidized (they sell for just over $20K but & cost
about $35K to make) and fixed - the only negotiation I ever
heard of was on the Yahoo Prius Group discussion board.
Sometimes you can buy one thru the board for a little under
I think they now come with a split foldown rear seat and side
impact airbags. We bought before the US crash test results came
out. They had be estimated for 5 stars but got only 4. That was
a dissappointment considering the prevalence of SUVs on the
You'll get your best gas milage if you stay under 60 mph, but
our long hwy 5 trips at 70+ mph result in mid-40's mpg.
Regarding Berkeley - see the yahoo prius group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toyota-prius/ database section
method=reportRows&tbl=2 to see any reviews. I think they sell
more Prius than any other dealer. Since you need to use dealer
maintenance that would be a good thing because they'll have the
most knowledeable mechanics.
I applaud you considering buying this hybrid vehicle. I think
that hybrids are one of the best ways we can quickly impact air
quality in the bay area.
Best of luck & hope to see you on the road!
Bought the Prius late last year. Love it. Best car I've ever
been in. Quiet, smooth, handles beautifully. No bargaining, but
it's already a bargain at 20 K when it costs 38 K to make one.
They're selling them faster than they can make 'em. 3 month
wait list. Proven consumer satisfaction history in Japan where
they've been on the market for several years. My mechanic
heartily approves--no problems.
My 62-year-old mother has one--from the very first batch sold in
the U.S.--and she loves it. It's been 1.5 years now and she's had
no problems. I've driven it a number of times and the ride is very
smooth, and the car is surprisingly roomy. If you're short, it's
very easy to see over the long, flat dash--that is, assuming you
can take your eyes off the computer display showing how the power
transfers from electric to gas! The car has a lot of zing, too--
I've driven city and freeway and rural driving and never have any
trouble accelerating to pass or whatever. My mom gets nearly 50mpg
but does very little city driving. She finds the only drawback is
the small trunk (that's where the battery pack is). Definitely get
We have a Toyota Prius which we have had for about a year, and
are very happy with. It is comfortable, handles well, gets great
mileage (we average just above 50 on highways and 40 locally,
despite it being billed as the other way around), and is
surprisingly roomy inside for a car its size.
At the time we bought it, there was no price negotiations. It
was a set cost with only 2 options--floor mats and CD player. My
understanding is that they also added cruise control as an
option. I don't know if there are any others.
We did not, however, have a good experience with Toyota of
Berkeley, and ended up purchasing the car elsewhere. The Toyota
of Berkeley people tried to pressure us into buying the Prius
they ''just happened to have'' on the lot and paying an extra
$2000.00 for not having to wait for it to come from the factory.
They told us the wait for a new one was 3 or 4 months and that
anyone who said it would come sooner was lying. They claimed to
be the #1 sellers of the car and that they therefore got them in
more often than other places. We did a little research and found
out that Toyota was trying to keep the sale of the Prius tightly
controlled to keep it on the ''up and up.'' The cars were ordered
centrally on a first-come-first basis. If anyone cancelled an
order, it was to go to the next person in line. They said some
dealers were putting in fake orders, getting the cars in, and
then telling people they had one in stock due to a cancellation
so that they could sell the cars for a premium. We assume that's
what Toyota of Berkeley did. We went through standard channels
and got our car in less than 2 months. Apparently there isn't
really even a wait on them anymore so this may not be relevant
However, the other thing that Toyota of Berkeley did which we
weren't happy with was that they ran a credit check on us
without our authorization and then refused to give it back to us.
We now take our Prius to the dealership in Oakland for
servicing, and have been happy with them.
Good luck with your car purchase.
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