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What to Look for When Buying a Prius

by Clay Smith 16 Aug 2019
What to Look for When Buying a Prius - 12Volt.Solutions

If you are in the market for a hybrid vehicle, you have probably considered a Toyota Prius. The Prius is by far the most popular hybrid vehicle in the US. That is partly because it was one of the first.

The Toyota Prius was first introduced as a concept car in Japan back in 1993. The first official generation mass-produced Prius hit the market in 1997, and since then there have been three more generations of Prius (4 in total).

Another reason why you see so many Prius’ on the road today is that Toyota makes them. Toyota has been dominant in the American market for both traditional and hybrid vehicles for generations. They have become known for reliance and durability.

Of course, there is the obvious “green” factor. Right around the time that the Prius came on the scene, America was buzzing with the term “going green.” People were becoming more aware of what is happening to the environment and seeking new ways to do their part to reduce our carbon footprint The Prius fit the bill like a glove. It came around at the perfect time with its 50MPG rating (2010 models and newer).

Just because a car is popular does not mean that you should go out and get one without knowing the facts. So if you are thinking of buying a new or pre-owned Toyota Prius, let us tell you what you should know.

What Does a Prius Cost? 

One of the first questions you will have to ask yourself is whether you want a new or used Prius. You will want to know the price differences between new and used to help inform your decision.

The average price for a brand new Prius is around $24,000. However, that price is just for the base model. If you are looking for a new Prius with all the bells and whistles, you are looking at a median price of $32,000. The price of a used Prius will depend on the age of the model. 

For instance:

The average price of a used 2016 model Prius is about $20,000. The price goes down significantly if you take a look at first-generation models, which can range from five thousand to nine thousand dollars.With used cars, the price will also depend on the condition of the vehicle, mileage, and location. 

Like the idea of a pre-owned Prius? The next section will give you some important information before buying.

A Brief Education on Buying a Used Prius

The first thing you are going to want to consider: 

Make Sure You Like the Way it Drives

Is that a Prius doesn’t drive like a regular car. The main thing people have trouble adjusting to is the lack of engine noise. Usually, when you put your foot down on the gas, you hear a correlating sound from a combustion engine. That isn’t the case with Prius’. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the sometimes noiseless way a Prius drives before you buy.

Decide What Features You Want

Next, you will need to decide which features you want. Take into consideration things like standard 2009 Prius models don’t have rear passenger side-curtain airbags. They do, however, come standard with all-wheel ABS systems. Other common standard features for this model include: keyless door locks, heated mirrors, trip computers, audio controls on the steering wheel, and remote start.

The newer generation Prius XLE models also have newer features like rain-sensing wipers, lighted exterior door handles, and parking assist.

buying a prius

How Long Do They Last?

Prius’ also tend to last for a long time. Most owners can get close to 200,000 miles out of their Prius’. So let’s say you get a used Prius that has 100,000 miles on it. If you maintain it well you can conceivably get another hundred thousand miles out of it.

Consider the Different Generations

Be aware of the common problems associated with the model you are considering as well. Many people complained about the first generation Prius because it was very small and offered little in the way of interior space. The second generation had several recalls – the most dire of which involved the intermediate steering extension shafts that had faulty metal splines.

Find Out All You Can About the Battery

Getting as much info as you can on the battery is also very important. Typically Prius’ come with battery warranties for eight years or 100,000 miles and ten years or 150,000 miles. Ask the previous owner if the battery was ever replaced and how much longer the battery is covered under warranty. This is important because it usually costs between $2,500 and $3,000 to replace the nickel-metal-hydride Prius battery. Prius batteries have been known to last 12-15 years so be sure you know what year you are buying.

How are Repair Costs & Maintenance?

Finally, you should be aware that Prius’ tend to be more expensive to repair compared to non-hybrid cars. One study showed that the average repair cost for a hybrid was 8.4% more expensive than non-hybrid repairs.

However, Prius’ typically don’t need repairs as often as non-hybrids. They are easier on the braking system (a common and costly mechanical problem), and they don’t need oil changes as frequently as non-hybrids. Plus, a significant reason why Prius’ cost more to repair is because of a lack of cheaper after-market parts for hybrids. Hybrids are relatively new, so mechanics who know how to repair them are relatively scarce. Both of these factors that drive up the cost of Prius repairs will improve over time. As more third-party manufacturers make parts and more mechanics are trained to repair hybrids, the cost of repair will only go down.

Keep these factors in mind when you are shopping, and you are sure to avoid regretting your decision to buy a Prius.

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