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Old 05-13-2008, 08:33 PM   #1
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2007 Prius vs other sub compacts

I just thought I would pop in and contribute a bit. I am very interested in purchasing a more economical vehicle and there is a ton of research that you can do out there but nothing compares to actual field test. I was in an accident recently and took the opportunity to test drive various rental subcompacts. I am in the automotive industry and frequently drive 500+ hp time attack cars.

My test case involves multiple commutes between Orange County California and Phoenix Arizona approx 400 miles of flat desert on highway 10 as well as daily commuting from Orange County to San Diego approx 60 miles, 90% highway miles. I tried to use cruise control on the cars that had them but I maintained reasonable open road highway speeds of 75-90mph Vehicles tested are the 2007 models of the Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Cobalt, Chrysler PT Cruiser,and a subcompact Kia that I forgot the model name.

I'll be brief with all but the prius because afterall that is the vehicle most here are probably considering.

Chrysler PT Cruiser--
The Good--cargo space and roomy
The Bad-Everything run away from this car. Absolute CRAP

Chevy Cobalt
The Good--Surprising overall for a chevy. decent mpg approx 28mpg roomy, I liked the transmission gearing and smooth exterior lines
The Bad--cheap interior materials, poor braking power and no power features

Kia
The Good-- comfy,decent looking, roomy, great mpg approx 32 mpg the transmission final gear was sitting just over 3k rpm at highway speeds which was nice for mpg.
The Bad-- not much it was a decent rental and actually my top pick

I would like to focus mainly on the Prius because I had such high expectations from everything I had read. The other vehicles I didnt expect much at all and rightfully so. I did test drive the prius for about 10 minutes and overall I was impressed and seriously considering purchasing.

The Good-- initially impression was great overall in all aspects, surprisingly roomy interior
The Bad--

I rented the prius and transfered my things over from the Kia. The Kia fit all of my bags in the trunk where in the prius I filled the hatch and some of the back seat. I then set out for Phoenix on a half a tank.

After about 30 minutes of wowing over how cool it was things started to annoy me. The interior was just way to gadgety. The touch screen I found to be unsafe because it requires you to take your eyes off the road to use properly. I went about 150 miles of manual driving then cruise controled the rest of the . The rest of the cars I had no problem geting conmfortable with as far as controls and convenience. The Prius I found to be way to gadgety (word?) overall with all the hideaway compartments. after 6 hours in the vehicle I still was not completely comfortable interacting with the car and found myself fumbling to interact with the driver controls both touch screen and manual. The ride was decent in a straigh line the body roll and oversteer just seemed unsafe at higher speeds. when finally arriving in phoenix I had managed to average an unimpressive 38mpg.

Overall I would say this is a nice car is more for a short commuter with varied driving conditions that can take more advantage of the "glide" mode. Personally I didn't find it suited to for my long distance route and it costs 50% more than the KIA and the increased mpg just doesnt offset the premium. I will be trading it in for the KIA tomorrow.

Sorry for Prius bashing a little but this is my just my opinion. Sorry for the rushed write up. I just wanted to get the info out there.
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:54 PM   #2
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if you drive mostly highway, a civic vx can beat the prius since the engine has to be on the whole time while its at the highway. the prius is great for city driving. have you considered a yaris, corolla, civic, or a fit? those get good mpg #'s and are still very reliable
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:01 PM   #3
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Why are you comparing the prius with "other sub compacts"? The prius isn't even a compact car. Its a midsize car in the same league with the accord and camry.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:19 AM   #4
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I think some of his comments hinted at the comparable space. I agree, the Prius isn't necessarily a subcompact, but as far as MPG go, it's the best way to compare.
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Old 05-14-2008, 05:51 AM   #5
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I gotta say I am really impressed with kias. In 2002, my dad bought a brand new absolute stripped kia rio for $7500! It has no AC, no power anything, didn't even come with a radio. No power steering. Just a little box with a little engine and five-speed manual.
He has had no problems with his car. He didn't really even maintain it properly. It's got close to 100k, we'll see how much longer it goes. I know you can't get one that cheap anymore even if you can find a stripper. But I put a lot of miles on that little car myself and it held up really well. It gets upper 30s mpg in the city and right around 40 on the highway.
Good luck!
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Old 05-14-2008, 08:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust View Post
I think some of his comments hinted at the comparable space. I agree, the Prius isn't necessarily a subcompact, but as far as MPG go, it's the best way to compare.
By definition, a midsize car has between 110 and 119 cubic feet of total interior space (passenger + luggage volume). The Prius has 112 cubic feet of interior space and therefore defined as a midsize car by the EPA.
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/24882.shtml
Compare to a toyota Camry at 116 cubic feet.
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/24403.shtml
Or a BMW 528i at 113 cubic feet.
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/24029.shtml

The PT cruiser is an SUV.
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008c...f.jsp?id=24591
The chevy cobalt is a sub compact at 100 cubic feet
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008c...f.jsp?id=25079
I think most people just assume that if a car is fuel efficient it must automatically be a sub compact.
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Old 05-14-2008, 09:39 PM   #7
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I understand what the numbers say. Just because the numbers say something will fit, doesn?t mean the dimensions are right. I was simply commenting on the statement made by the OP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mycotopian View Post
I rented the prius and transfered my things over from the Kia. The Kia fit all of my bags in the trunk where in the prius I filled the hatch and some of the back seat. I then set out for Phoenix on a half a tank.
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Old 05-21-2008, 04:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBMorse View Post
I gotta say I am really impressed with kias. In 2002, my dad bought a brand new absolute stripped kia rio for $7500! It has no AC, no power anything, didn't even come with a radio. No power steering. Just a little box with a little engine and five-speed manual.
He has had no problems with his car. He didn't really even maintain it properly. It's got close to 100k, we'll see how much longer it goes. I know you can't get one that cheap anymore even if you can find a stripper. But I put a lot of miles on that little car myself and it held up really well. It gets upper 30s mpg in the city and right around 40 on the highway.
Good luck!
Jeremy B
My parents have it's incest cousin, the Hyundai Elantra, and I'm blown away by this thing. For just over $10k brand new, it's fully loaded, power windows/locks/steering, cc, cd player, etc... They've put on over 60,000 miles in just over 5 years, and not a single problem, squeak, or rattle. All this, plus they have never had a fill with less than 30mpg.

This is why I came this close (my fingers are like really close) to buying a little Kia Rio, I wish they still sold their stripped down under 10k models, but I"m afraid gov. bullegislation has forever prevented that.
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Old 05-21-2008, 04:25 PM   #9
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I'm hugely tempted by the Elantra, and the Rio... very good value these days. I wouldn't touch some of the older used ones with a bargepole, but they've come on in leaps and bounds.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:04 PM   #10
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I agree. The touch screen is the stupidest gimicky design in the Prius.

I don't know how you got 38mpg for the trip. That is very impressive in the wrong sense. I cannot get less than 40mpg in a Prius. That would mean driving 95mph nonstop, which I cannot do because the car is too ponderous at that speed. The Prius is good at 73-74mph and slower.

I agree Kia/Hyundai are coming up. They suddenly got stylish to boot.
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