"Having driven this car for nearly 9 years, I can say with absolute conviction that it is the most reliable vehicle I've ever driven or otherwise been exposed to.
Acceleration is adequate, handling is very good, but the maneuverability is outstanding. Dead reliable. Towed only once for a failed Anti-lock Braking System sensor. All other complaints were quickly and easily corrected in the first three years under warranty. First set of brakes were replaced at 83,000 miles
Fuel economy for a five passenger sedan is surpassed only by later generation models. Summer fuel economy averages 47 MPG while in winter it declines to 40 MPG due to extended warmup periods and trailblazing snow-covered streets. Invest in snow tires if you live in the snow belt -- you trade greatly improved traction for noise and a slight decline in fuel economy.
As mentioned by others, the seats are not very comfortable for long trips, but my 6'5", 260 lb. frame fits nicely into four of the five seating positions. Trunk space is adequate for groceries and weekend trips but little more. The interior has adequately resisted the abuse of a family of four and two 60 lb. dogs. All accessories function.
The exterior shows rust ONLY where collision damage had been repaired years ago. Paint is bright and clear. Exterior trim remains where is always has been. The body is tight. It exhibits no squeaks, rattles or groans.
It isn't the most attractive vehicle, but it's cute like a puggle. A used Prius of this vintage is the PERFECT pizza delivery vehicle. It's cheaper than a new economy car yet remains as reliable. It delivers much better fuel economy than current econoboxes ever could in that type of driving.
I love it and will drive it until it retires."
"Short trips, long trips, it doesn't matter. It is a real joy to drive! New Goodyear tires at 30,000, slightly oversized, really make the car hug the road in turns. If you don't exceed speed limits your mileage is excellent but if you insist on driving 75 mph or more and you really start to take a mileage hit. Even with gas prices above $3.00 I find that I consistently spend only 8 cents per mile for fuel. I find that statistic much more useful than tracking MPG. Purchased new in 2003 - zero problems. Always do suggested maintenance."
"I truly love my Prius.. I have no major issues with this car. There are a few things you should consider before buying one (any year).
Child car seats make putting your seat all the way back difficult (mainly a rear facing infant seat). If you have two car seats, no one could sit in the middle of them comfortably. Two rear facing infant seats and you have to pull front seats all the way up for someone to get in to back middle seat.
The gas mileage IS great. It cost me $17.50 @ 1.79 a gallon to fill and I get about 38 to 41 MPG. I believe newer models are better MGP wise.
I have a 2002 and have had it for 6 years now. The black on the windows tends to get rusty, you have to take care of it. My paint is still great, interior so-so (I have children), and all controls inside still working. 108,000miles on it now.
Test drive it - Really! Hybrids make lots of noise when 'on' and if you are not use to them, it can scare you when they are 'off' at stop lights et.
Once you have one you will not want to lose it!!!"
"As my Prius with 73,000 miles approaches its 7th anniversary, I consider how remarkably well this car looks and runs with so little required maintenance. Mechanically, the car remains tight and just as much fun to drive as it was initially. Fuel economy improvements continue as we still learn more about how to exploit its capabilities.
Despite daily battles with a pair of mutts in the back seat, the interior is only now starting to show its age with a couple of small punctures in the seat cushions. Paint is still glossy and clean. Rust spots appear ONLY where collision repair work was performed.
I downgraded the comfort rating because, despite the fact that my 6'5", 260lb. frame fits in the driver seat. 2 hour and longer trips require effort and frequent stops to relieve mild back aches due to seats designed for smaller folks.
As a used car, this is the ULTIMATE pizza delivery vehicle - clean, quiet, maneuverable and fuel efficient."
"I agree with the other reviewers: this Prius is surprisingly roomy, and very reliable. The only downside is styling, there is nothing fancy about this car. Unless you consider the standard LCD screen, which most people riding in my car for the first time think is super high-tech. I've gotten an average of 36-42 MPG over the last 5 years, and I drive aggresively (hard starts and stops) and use the A/C a lot. The car has held it's value very well, and has spoiled me with everything I get to take for granted: riding in the carpool lane by myself, great gas mileage, no car repair bills, 6-CD in-dash player.
I love the tight turning radius, the few blind spots due to the generously-sized windows, the easy to read center-mounted digital speedometer, and the roomy cockpit."