After having my 2011 Toyota Prius for almost exactly 2 years, Toyota began a 0% financing for 60 months program. Then, Bell Road Toyota contacted me, and said they could get me into a new 2013 for the same price per month I’m paying on my current vehicle. I was slightly interested, since most of my payments were going towards interest currently. (10.8%… ouch) Luckily, all of this was during my vacation to Phoenix, so I wrapped it into that trip.
I notice the series 3 Prius has modifications through it’s lifespan… very different for car manufacturers to do subtle changes and still keep the same series number. None the less, there were screen enhancements and an added menu screen on the dash selections.
I went with the Toyota Prius Persona, since it was one of the few chances I had to get a white that didn’t look icky… a pearlesque white with a texture look. The interior has a faux leather material throughout, and the stereo is GPS enabled along with Toyota Entune-enabled. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with internet use over my iPad, so no joy there.
The driving feels about the same, although the suspension is tighter and more “performance”. There are subtle little differences with the body like segmentation of the tail lights, and daylight running lamps, along with projection headlights. The 17 inch wheels that come with the vehicle take some learning to properly handle the fuel economy. Either way, 15 inch wheels are far more fuel economic, but only by a small amount for myself.
I’m happy with it, and that’s what matters. She looks beautiful, and handles fine against every car who has gone up against her so far. Lots of people try and pull the “alpha” approach on the streets when they see the car, and most times it’s just something that can’t be allowed since it’s approached in an unsafe way. I find it better to escape the situation than to allow people to do reckless things.
EDIT March 7, 2014:
I’ve had quite a transition between Dallas, TX and Phoenix, AZ with needing to commute between the two cities a 4 or so times due to interview, family issues, and moving. Every one of those times I’ve used this Prius for transportation, and I currently have approximately 15,000 miles. I can’t say anything different – it’s a great car, and the only thing I’d change would be the larger wheels to go back to the smaller wheels for fuel economy purposes. That being said, it’s only a small thing. Visually, the rims I have (no hubcaps, it’s a nice rim set from Toyota) are much nicer looking than the hubcap’ed version on the smaller wheels. I find that makes up for the fuel economy issues, since I’ve been able to offset the lower fuel economy by judiciously using the fuel pedal to coast more towards the middle of the guage. It’s only a 2-4 mpg difference really, so it’s not extensive. I average about 49-50 mpg, now. In the Phoenix/Chandler/Queen Creek area, I average about 51-53 mpg due to the flow of traffic.
EDIT May 30, 2014:
After Toyota released a software “recall” for my Prius model, I took it into the dealership to have the software updated. There are some technicals related to why the software update was necessary, but effectively it wasn’t managing the electricity properly, and on some vehicles it was blowing out a capacitor which was rather expensive to replace.
After the software update, the fuel economy is significantly better on the car. According to the dash MPG rating, I range between 53-57 MPG now, and the battery capacity is notably better. If I drive like I was in the beginning part of this post, I average about 60 MPG, which I have to admit is quite a difference. The dash MPG rating is a little optimistic, and in reality the MPG I’m getting when calculating gallons with miles is about 52-53 MPG.