"The Prius is a great car. Gas mileage only improved with additional miles (get almost 55 mpg at times).
However, between the additional initial cost of the vehicle, and the incredible costs of repairing ANYTHING hybrid related, you will NEVER make back the extra cost in gas savings.
As you continue to drive more miles, the hybrid components that need to be repaired and/or replaced keep increasing.
Have 300k miles on this one, and needs over $15k in repairs (new hybrid battery, etc.).
Buy a comparable Corolla for $6-8k, and between lower initial cost, and lower repair costs, you will save significant $$$ in the long run.
It's a pretty nice car otherwise. Though the 2001 is somewhat anemic in the "pep" department."
"I wanted a comfortable, easy-to-own, high-mileage vehicle that made me feel good about my "carbon footprint." I bought this car in 2003 and have not had a minute's trouble with it. I have replaced only the battery and the tires (which I would do with any car) and it runs like a top. Still gets 46-48 miles/gallon. Great!"
"An excellent car all around. Get lower gas mileage than most since I live in SF and am always going up and down hills - range around 39 to 42 - if I do a lot of freeway driving it gets better mileage. The tires pick up nails easily. I figure it is a heavy car. I had a strange problem with the 'starter' battery as it lost juice when I left the car unused for over a week and a half. Other than these problems, it is a great car, easy to drive, good pickup, quiet. Can't work on it yourself. Low emissions. I have a 2003."
"I've driven my Prius 110,000 miles so far. I have not had a problem that required me to have any mechanic - be he the independent or Toyota dealer mechanic - look at my car. Now, that's good!
Normal maintenance is the same for this car as it is for any car; change transmission fluid, change coolant fluids (engine and inverter), brake fluid and that's it! Brake pads still have a long way to go before replacement.
The only thing that I have found odd: I have had to replace the tires twice. The original tires lasted 40k miles; the first replacements lasted 38k miles; the current tires have 29k miles and I estimate replacing them in another 20k miles.
My lifetime gas mileage is 46.5 mpg. This car is phenomenal! When the plug-in model is released, I plan to trade my 2002 Prius in for that model."