"Drove the car for 14 years, to and from work, across country, everywhere, and it proved to be the most reliable car I ever owned. So reliable, in fact, that I just bought a 2016 Prius V. The car only had two repairs in 14 years, one just six months ago, when the rear struts were replaced. I recently gave it to a poor neighbor who needs a reliable car with good mileage for her job as a home health care aide in the rural county where we live. She will undoubtedly put a lot of miles on it, and I have no doubt it will be just as reliable for her as it was for me."
Cons: "Numb steering, cvt, potential for expensive repair"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Fill in the blank above, but the Gen 1 Prius is great fun. There are multiple reasons to love the car, and no need to wonder why this brand continues 15 years later to dominate the hybrid market. The overall engineering design and computer integration of the hybrid system is awe-inspiring. Almost seamless transition back and forth between pure electric and engine-assisted operation. I smile when I hear people talk about 41 mpg. I averaged 54 to 65 mpg every tankful for 8 years. My girlfriend and son got as "low" as 48 mpg in Alaska on the hills to town and back. I guess their mpg results could be called the lower 48 !
I bought the car as a two (model year) old used car with 60k miles and drove until 140k miles in 8 years. 60k in less than 3 years by the original owner is a lot, and presumably were mostly highway.
Reliability - Look at the brand name. Great reliability is their norm. I did have the Big Red Light (serious hybrid system problem indicator - Don't Drive) illuminate at 99,000 miles. Dealer analyzed, reset system, no charge. Hybrid system warranty was 10 yr/ 100k. Extreme cold weather caused occasional problem codes which always went away within minutes. The car preferred Florida where I had bought it.
Economy - In town, it all depends on the driver. The system is great and a little effort can yield 30% to 50% better economy than EPA numbers. On the highway expect 110 mpg minus your speed; easy enough to figure, huh? (note: headwinds and tailwinds affect highway mpg at almost 1:1 ratio.) In town, anticipate the traffic and be smooth for 55 to 65 mpg. I understand that 2010 and later models have the modern equivalent of a vacuum gauge to aid in visualizing what's happening as a result of your accelerator foot technique. Not surprisingly, mine still had the ORIGINAL brakes at 140k.
Driving dynamics - Frankly, it is numb. Buy a second car if you want the race car kind of fun. Used [insert little Japanese 2-seater, if you get my drift] should do it for you.
Interior - the cloth interior must have had magic regenerative powers, too. Either that, or elves came and changed out the upholstery when I stored it for the winter. The folks who bought the 10 year old car from me commented that the seats and carpet looked new. I have no explanation for that. Quality shows over time,I guess.
I loved the car. Just bought another 2003 with only 80k miles this morning as a present for a college student. I'm hoping she will get as many smiles from her Gen 1 Prius as I did. And write her own review, but maybe not waiting 10 years to get around to it."
Pros: "Reliablity, gas mileage, torque of elec. motor"
Cons: "Ugly body style"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned this car for going on 14 years. It is the most reliable car I've EVER owned, only two repairs in 14 years. That is why I am going to replace it with another Prius, which will be the first time in my 65-year life that I have bought two versions of the same auto. I see no need to even consider another car."
"I ordered my 2002 Prius in Aug. of 2001 & picked it up at the dealership in Dec. 2001, so we're going on our 14th year. She's been a terrific car, fun to drive, good in the snow (Colorado, you know) and easy on my wallet. It's not just the low gas usage or the added zoom with the electric motor overdrive on acceleration, it's those magical times when you're sitting in gridlock and there's no engine noise whatsoever because it's gone into "sleep mode" or when you're creeping at 20mph in traffic or going faster on a long downward incline and only the electric motor is moving the car. You're not only NOT using gas, you're not putting out any emissions at all. I did have new-Prius envy for those later model owners with hatchback cargo room and rear cameras. Now I'm envying Nissan Leaf owners with the same accoutrements and no oil changes or even infrequent gas fill-ups and absolutely no polluting emissions. I've bought tires a couple times, replaced wipers, a headlight, the gas cap, and the 12v battery pack a couple times. The big battery, the one that runs the electric motor, is still functioning. I only have 78,500 miles on this vehicle (I don't do more than commute to work or tool around town and I've only gone up into the mountains a few times, until traffic on those mountain roads just got ridiculous). If you can't afford an all electric, Prius is the next best thing."
"Bought it used very cheap, runs great, excellent in snow even with old tires .Very quiet, almost 50miles a gallon in the city. Love the interior and exterior and I think my next car will be Toyota too."