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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm 38, have a new wife, new home and a 5 month old. I love cars, love speed but I'm starting to find myself wanting to get off of the consumer treadmill, to disconnect from spend spend spend culture and wanted you all to either encourage or talk me out of buying a used 1st gen Prius. They seem to run forever and I can find them for sale all day for between $3-5k. I currently have a stage 3 mk6 GTI and love the car and the power but it requires a lot of love to keep her happy. Car is probably worth around 15k, has about 43k miles... but do I need it? Do I need a Fwd car that has 400hp for a 6 miles commute to work everyday? I have an '82 BMW R100 I got for free that I can tinker with and will eventually tickle my need for speed when I get her running again.

What say you all? Will I regret letting go of the GTI or does financial independence via the purchase of an old hybrid a worthy trade off? There is something really attractive the Prius; it seems to be the ultimate, elegant solution to the commuter vehicle. (did I just say that?) Any of you gear heads resort to such a drastic change?

EDIT: 2nd gen Prius
 
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I've driven these cars and they're about as exciting as a contemporaneous Echo. That said, the fuel economy and practicality are pretty good. I think you'll be fine as long as you have one fun vehicle for the weekend. Your motorcycle probably fits the bill, right?
 

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I've had a Prius (3rd gen) for about three years. Nothing wrong with it and it's never given me a problem but I'm dying to get into something different/more fun.

That said, that's my average ownership cycle with cars anyway so no matter what I would have bought three years ago, I probably still would've wanted something else by now.

I wouldn't buy a first-gen Prius solely for the fact that you'll be going way backwards in creature comforts (it's like being in a hybrid Echo). I'd try to at least find a good second-gen.
 

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Do you mean the 1st-gen sedan that was only sold here for a few years? One of my friends has had one since it is new and never had any trouble but it is really getting pretty dated.


Or are you thinking of the 2004+ Prius hatch? I would skip the earlier sedan but the 2004+ hatches are boring yet really solid vehicles -- some of Toyota's most reliable.


Still, they are getting on in years and you might have to start thinking about battery pack replacements which can be pricey. If you want something basic/cheap/reliable, I would look at the Yaris and Fit. The Yaris is about as refined as that Prius sedan but it is actually kind of fun with a stick (in hatch or sedan form; the sedan is surprisingly roomy). The automatic is durable but is kind of dumb (programming-wise). Be aware that they didn't get standard ABS until around 2009 or 2010.
 

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Buy a Prius. When you get sick of it in a few years and buy a fun car again, it will feel so much more fun.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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The nerd in me wants a used Prius to hone my hypermiling skillz and to modify with manual electric-only mode, plug-in charging, and newer/better battery packs. For me, efficiency is almost as fun as going fast.

I'd still need something that handles with a manuél on the side, though.
 

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I second the 2nd gen suggestion. More practical than a sedan, roomier, not a bad place to be in the higher trims. Try to find a low-mileage I-tech model (loaded). Not much of a price difference with the base and much better amenities.

I wouldn't worry about battery packs unless you're getting way up in mileage (250k-300k miles). Even then, independent shops are popping up with reconditioned packs for not much more than, say, t-belt money at a shop.

I miss our Prius. It was great at what it did. But can't fit 3 car seats across.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I second the 2nd gen suggestion. More practical than a sedan, roomier, not a bad place to be in the higher trims. Try to find a low-mileage I-tech model (loaded). Not much of a price difference with the base and much better amenities.

I wouldn't worry about battery packs unless you're getting way up in mileage (250k-300k miles). Even then, independent shops are popping up with reconditioned packs for not much more than, say, t-belt money at a shop.
I miss our Prius. It was great at what it did. But can't fit 3 car seats across.
Thanks for the comments all! I definitely meant the Gen 2 Prius, thanks for info there. What's a good online resource for these?
 

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My dad had a 2nd gen. For whatever reason the car stunk. I mean, smelled bad. It was like someone pissed on the seats and never cleaned them. At the time my parents were taking care of both of my grandmothers who were suffering from dementia. I legit thought that's what had happened, by accident, because he used to take one of them to the store to get them out of the house, go shopping, etc. When he passed away my mother had the car detailed and sold because she's a truck person (LOL, at 74, still drives a manual 2WD Tacoma) and the detailer said they all smell like that.
 

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I really dislike the Prius, They're boring to drive. Why not go for a manual Corolla or Civic? It would still be cheap, without the feeling of having sold your soul.
 

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I really dislike the Prius, They're boring to drive. Why not go for a manual Corolla or Civic? It would still be cheap, without the feeling of having sold your soul.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The Prius is a great car. Every car is boring after a while.
 

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I can easily get you into a second gen for that kind of money. I've got a friend who's thing it is to buy second gens with problems and fix and sell them. He generally buys them for under $1k and sells them for between $3500 and $5000 with mileage ranging from 140k to 275k miles. And they're usually from SW KS or eastern CO.

Fly out, drive it home.

Chris
 

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I'd rather drive a yaris. And driving a yaris every day is my personal version of burning in hell.
 

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I really dislike the Prius, They're boring to drive. Why not go for a manual Corolla or Civic? It would still be cheap, without the feeling of having sold your soul.
Here is what Consumer Reports wrote about a manual Corolla:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...re-is-such-a-thing-as-too-barebones/index.htm

Jim Travers in Consumer Reports said:
The clutch and shifter have no feel whatsoever, and that makes the Corolla not only unrewarding to drive, it makes it difficult to do so smoothly. Methinks anyone who buys one might question their decision, and probably go back to automatics forever. Maybe that’s part of the plan.

That said, I grew to like the Corolla after spending a few days in it. The clutch actually makes a good match for the shifter, steering, and brakes; they don’t have any feeling either in traditional Toyota fashion.
 

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I'd rather drive a yaris. And driving a yaris every day is my personal version of burning in hell.
The early Prius is refined but not fun at all, with dead steering and weird brakes.

With a decent set of tires, a hatch/5-speed Yaris is not refined like the Prius but can still be fun IMO. It is sort of like a Fit with a reasonable 5th gear (80=3500), slightly more compliant suspension and A/C that works in Texas. The chassis is pretty neutral, and if you flick the wheel the rear end will come right around. It only weighs ~2300 lbs; my 3-door does 0-60 in the mid 8-second range and never feels like it needs more power to me (for what it is). It has really good 60-90 MPH passing power in 3rd, like if you need to pull out and pass someone doing 60-65 on a 2-lane road with a 70-75 MPH speed limit. It is fun in the mountains where you can just leave it in 2nd from 15-60 MPH and barely ever touch the brakes.

I am not an automatic hater but the Yaris is a totally different car with the automatic (like the old days). The auto is dumb (bad logic), shifts randomly and adds about 2 seconds to the 0-60. I feel like most people who hate the car have formed an opinion based on automatic rentals.
 

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The early Prius is refined but not fun at all, with dead steering and weird brakes.

With a decent set of tires, a hatch/5-speed Yaris is not refined like the Prius but can still be fun IMO. It is sort of like a Fit with a reasonable 5th gear (80=3500), slightly more compliant suspension and A/C that works in Texas. The chassis is pretty neutral, and if you flick the wheel the rear end will come right around. It only weighs ~2300 lbs; my 3-door does 0-60 in the mid 8-second range and never feels like it needs more power to me (for what it is). It has really good 60-90 MPH passing power in 3rd, like if you need to pull out and pass someone doing 60-65 on a 2-lane road with a 70-75 MPH speed limit. It is fun in the mountains where you can just leave it in 2nd from 15-60 MPH and barely ever touch the brakes.

I am not an automatic hater but the Yaris is a totally different car with the automatic (like the old days). The auto is dumb (bad logic), shifts randomly and adds about 2 seconds to the 0-60. I feel like most people who hate the car have formed an opinion based on automatic rentals.
What's the average MPG of a Yaris?

Also a Yaris might be a tight fit for two people and a child in a rear-facing seat.
 

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I hear the first gen Insight gets similar mileage with better handling and a manual trans. They look cool too but I can see how two doors may be an issue for you.

 

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We had one in our fleet from new to 2012. The 2nd gen cars are nearly faultless, at least with less than 150k on the clock.

The interiors rattle (especially the hatches), the seats are terrible, the traction control is terrible (it will cut all power in the wet which makes for dicey moments), they have a propensity for uneven tire wear, and the steering/brake feel is terrible. The regenerative braking, in particular, is unsettling--as you slow to a stop, it feels like the regen system decouples, leaving only the vacuum assist--which causes the level of braking assist to change.

Other than that, 40+ mpg is readily attainable, they are quite practical, visibility is decent.
 
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