Stuff That Works: A review of Toyota Prius C
So, I am now the proud owner of a 2012 Toyota Prius C. After a couple of months and almost 3,000 miles, I am very happy with my decision.
Wait - Cliff, how did you end up with a Toyota - aren't you Mister Buy Local? True enough, what I wanted to buy was a Ford C-Max, their version of electric/gas hybrid. First, it was a bit out of my price range. More importantly - I started reading some of the chatter online about it. Seems the milage claims by Ford are a bit optimistic. In fact, there are some lawsuits in process about the C-Max. Not a strong recommend for a car.
Then I thought, well maybe I should get a Ford Festiva - oops, Julie pointed out they are made in Brazil. The next Ford was a Focus (built in US) and they are pretty sharp, but to dress one up nicely puts the sticker north of 25k - out of range for my pocket book at this point.
My next leap was - if I am buying a car made overseas I might as well get a Prius. My brother is on his second one, after putting 150k on the first one. I know a lady with 138k on hers and neither one of them had a problem with their cars. My brother let me take his on a nice extended test drive and rode along to tell me how things work and to tell me all the details of owning two. Les is a car nut who pays attention to every detail - the fact that he signed up for another one spoke volumes for quality.
So I found this one at Grand Rapids Toyota. A lady bought it, paid to have it rust proofed and have a power sun roof put in and then traded it in with 5,000 miles on it for a bigger car. Her loss, my gain. I bought it with an extended warranted for a tad over 20K.
I am 6'3" tall and have NO PROBLEM with head room or leg comfort in my C. I can even fit in the back seat without folding up like an accordion.
Having driven a 1999 4 cyl RAV 4 for almost 6 years, the power available in the 4 cylinder hybrid C is fine for me. In fact, the C accelerates better than my RAV 4 did.
Holds the road very nicely, good quiet ride. With the roof open, there is wind noise under 20 mph, but then it gets quiet. The factory headlights are WONDERFUL - I live in the sticks where the deer abound and they LOVE to play in the road. These lights pick them up very nicely.
The stereo is no butt thumper, but it does a nice job and I can plug in my MP3 player. There is Bluetooth for hands free phone calls.
By far the big appeal is MPG. On my current tank of gas, I am posting an average of 53.4 mpg. Seriously. (About the same as what I average on my KLR 650!) I wager that if I lived in town, then my milage would be even better. Nothing I enjoy more that going into Grand Rapids and being able to drive around in full electric mode. The Toyota system for charging the batteries from the movement and braking of the car is pure genius. The transition between electric power and gas is seamless - and I mean seamless.
I am spending less than half on gasoline than I did with my 22 mpg RAV4. What I save in fuel goes a long way to making my $375.00 car payment. This car is amazing - Julie likes it as well.
Cold Weather Update: Here it is January 21, 2014. Lots more miles, still extremely pleased with the vehicle. It is worth noting that c-c-c-cold temps like we are getting this year in Michigan do play hell with the gas milage. Today it is sunny and 8 degrees - we have had many sub-zero wind chill days. Under cold conditions and with snow my C gets low to mid 40's in the MPG department.
June 23, 2014 Update: I am getting better at driving the car in a manner to maximize the MPGs. My last tank averaged 59.4 mpg and the running average for my last 1,385 miles is 57.4 mpg.