It’s been for a long time on my mind, so when in August we got a family tax credit lump sum, we decided to invest it in a good petrol-saving family car. Studying the market showed that the Prius is very reliable and cheap to run and maintain.
It comes in 3 generations (now in 4 but I did not look at the latest at all – not my price range).
- The first version until 2004, was revolutionary but is oldish now.
- The 2nd version 2004-2009 is super efficient – the best on the hybrid market by far.
- The 3rd version is as efficient as the previous Prius and it is larger. I can’t afford a car that recent and I don’t really need larger.
There are plenty of 2009 Prius cars on TradeMe. I found one that had only 82,000km and costs NZ$12,000 (delivery to my door included).
It arrived on a beautiful day and was not easy to start (a combination of foot and button press is required and all explanation is in Japanese). It was quite hilarious to have a new car that could not start and we had to take the truck transporting it to the garage!
Then I loved it. It is smooth and easy, it has an excellent handling, fun to drive. It is near silent while having a good sound system, making trips a pleasure. There is absolutely no change when the engine kicks in or stops. Seamless.
And, yes, it has an amazing low petrol consumption. So much that I forget to refill it! It has a display showing how many kilometers you can drive with 1 litre of petrol and if/when the battery get refilled or feeds the engine. I think it is quite a mind shift to count in km per litres, instead of the usual litres per 100 km. When it says I can only go 2 km away with one litre, it’s quite an incentive to stop accelerating. On average, with my main use being short distances in town, a full tank goes more than 850 km.
In average on the first 1,000 km the car drove 21.3 km per litre. The next 1,000 km, it managed 23.4 km per litres. Just changing the way I drive. An evening when streets were empty, I managed to cross the town only on the battery at about 40km /h. Yet, when there are cars behind me, I make a point of accelerating as required so that they don’t think my hybrid car is useless! It does have an excellent acceleration which consumes quite some petrol. Going uphill too, it can be quite fast, using energy accordingly. Which reminds me, all cars do use a lot of energy going uphill or in acceleration but they don’t have the screen to tell you so it’s easier to forget.
Beyond the car design, there are many ways to reduce petrol consumption. Awareness, awareness…
Since I have it, I’ve heard positive and envious comments and also denial ones. I was told that changing batteries cost a fortune yet found out that batteries are designed to live the car lifetime so exceptionally need to be changed. I was told it takes more than a normal car to build and dispose. That’s wrong, Toyota makes a point of having this right too.
When I see my petrol bill, I simply wonder why everyone does not have one. So go for it!