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."
"I currently have 191,000 plus miles and the car has been terrific. I drive 80 highway miles daily to work and it has never put me down. Didnt change brake pads until 110,000 miles. Changed small battery twice and once under warranty. It recently started cutting off every 20 minutes of driving and discovered it was the main hybrid battery after taking it to 2 toyota dealers. The first dealer could not figure out the problem and after letting the car sit for a year at home i took it to a second dealer in memphis, tn and they discovered the main hybrid battery was bad. Spent a total of $3500 for the battery and labor it is running like a new car. I also had to change the 4 spark plug coil wires and plugs when the car had a miss in the motor. I thought for a minute that it was the motor going bad after spending all that money on the hybrid battery.However, I have put another 900 miles since and have had no more problems. I purchase a 2011 Prius during the time i let the 2002 sit a year in the driveway. It is the package 4 with leather and all the extras. However, I enjoy driving the 2002 within the city and to work!!!"
Pros: "Durability, gas mileage, comfort, ease of use"
Cons: "Tire wear, stability at higher speed"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Our Prius is going on 10 years and we haven't had any major issue; on a new technology vehicle like first gen Priuses, it is pretty amazing.
Batteries were changed under warranty by Toyota and the car keeps on going with the same great gas mileage!"
"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!"