"I researched for 1.5 years for a new or a reliable small car. The Prius was more costly than other cars, but its reliability, gas efficiency and roominess compensates for it. When I first looked at the Prius, I hated the styling, but now I just love it. The 2006 interiors are 6" longer than previous Prius years. The back seat accomodates people 6 feet and taller easily--something important for me with budding teenage boys in a family of tall people. You have to learn how to drive this car! It cannot be driven like gasoline only cars. Learn how to maximize the efficiency by monitoring the consumption screen when first driving. Also, do buy the extended warranty. The battery is guaranteed for 8 years, but the standard car warranty is important to cover the cost of those expensive non-Toyota made electronics and the transmission should it fail ($10K to repair). Yes, the reliability is there, and I've had great success, but there is always one bad apple. I miss the luxury of my Jeep Laredo, and it would be nice to have a more plush and better overall interior. It is adequate, but not as nice as it could be. Many friends who have Prius models state the same. I love not only the gas mileage, but the super-quick fill up at the pump. I can come, pay and leave while the SUV next to me is still filling. The trunk/hatch is very roomy for a small car. After looking at small car trunks and other hatches like the PT cruiser, it is a dream. The back seats and front passenger seat fold down to accomodate longer items. I can fit 3 suitcases, a tent, 3 sleeping bags and misc other items, and on shopping day, all those grocery bags fit beautifully in the hatchback. BTW, do get the rear hatch net and the rear bumper applique. I don't like the ventilation system, and rate it fair for clearing foggy windows on rainy days. AC/heat are great. The kiddos love the car with its roominess, arm rest and all those cup holders. Its narrow body is desirable for city lot parking, and it does not feel narrow inside. Another plus for me is the high-feeling seating. After downsizing from high-riding jeep, it is nice to sit higher than other small cars. Low carriage, especially in the front is an adjustment. There is a nasty blind spot on the front right when turning left into traffic. The rear backup camera is a necessity. All in all, I love this car. It is a hybrid, so if you are looking for a great family or commuter car it's perfect. If you are looking for a high performance car, look elsewhere for a sports car."
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