2010 Toyota Prius IV
What's NOT to Like?

and a comparison with the

Ford Fusion Hybrid (w/the premium 502a package)

I bought a new 2010 Prius in July 2009, from a dealer in CO, after extended searching on the net after a dealer I'd previously bought two Toyotas from in Idaho Falls, ID, reneged on a deal regarding the trade-in of a 2005 Camry XLE that I'd bought from them new.  After almost no time, Toyota sent me an email requesting an evaluation, but I deferred until I had time to check it out, although I'd bought it for my wife.  After two months had passed, I went to the email & tried to accomplish the survey, but it had "expired!"  I thought they'd want unvarnished opinion of the car, but what could they want after only 2 weeks?  This car is NOT all is touted to be, by the literature, by Consumers, or by friends.  There is a lot wrong with this car, except the gas mileage of course & even that's oddly off what is promoted.  I suggest you read the below and decide for yourself if a new Prius is what you really want; I know I don't like it much & you'll see why.

(Big Ford FYI...I contacted Ford, the big guys, online, to their "customer service" contact email delineating the issues about the Fremont Ford dealership in Lander, WY & a couple of the issues I had with their car - see below, to see if they could advise or remedy the problems.  Repeatedly, the advised me that they could do nothing about my inquiries or about the dealer.  They gave me a bunch of BS regarding their stance that each dealership is independent & should take care of my problems for me, despite the fact that the dealership is about 150 miles away from my home and was actively touting incorrect information in the first place when trying to sell me the car.  My thought is, if it's a FORD dealership, and they ARE FORD, they have influence over the dealership which they claimed NOT to have.  BS.  They would not, but said they could not, do anything for me.  If so, then exactly what, is "customer service" there for?  It's not enought to pursue under the lemon laws, but it's a Ford & they could do something if they wanted to.  So, if you need help, be advised, they're worthless, perhaps to the point of fraudulent, & you're not going to get it.)

This week, early Jan. 2011, I got rid of the Prius after 19 mos., & bought a new (from Fremont Ford in Lander, WY) 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, keeping my environmentally conscious streak going.  Below, in blue, are some comparisons I can make.

1.   First, let's discuss the ill-effects.
        For the first month I only drove the car on short trips.  But, I have what's called an ICD(now an actual pacemaker), or, a form of heart pacemaker.  I'd researched the net & other sources for info about EMR or EMI (Electro-magnetic radiation or, interference) to see if it might be a problem for me, figuring with all the cars that Toyota has on the road since the big hit the Prius Hybrid has become over the last 10 years or so, there'd be ample information.  Nope, zip, nada, zero, nothing.  I checked with my implant device's maker, Boston-Scientific for whatever they had, as the number of people walking around with one of these devices in their chest would just amaze the average consumer.  Again: Zero-info.  Toyota does have a warning about their "Smart-Key" system & that it can be disabled on request, but little else, and, sales reps on the showroom floors trying to sell you a Prius, know little if anything about this either and have to research it if asked about it.  (BTW, this item is in the car's owner's manual.)  By the second month, I'd made a couple of longer trips, over 100 miles, and had experienced on the first one, appreciable nausea upon exiting the car.  On the next trip, I suffered several difficult headaches.  Maybe it's the plastics, fabrics, glues, of a new car, or maybe its the EMR from the large battery pack in the rear that does or doesn't have adequate shielding to the passenger compartment.  Problem is, who knows?  Not Toyota.  Not Boston-Scientific.  Nor, any of the other implant device manufacturers, or Ford, or Honda, etc.  And, these cars are getting more and more pervasive on our roads.  Why is there no definitive research other than the inference to,"Trust us."?
1a.    A recent new trip to SLC & back, did not produce any nausea, headaches, or physical discomfort issues sufficient to renew my protest.
1b.    The trip home from the dealer was 160 miles, w/no apparent ill effects, although I haven't really had any more in the Prius almost since it was new.  And now, I've returned from a long trip to AZ, w/no ill effects.

2.   Comfort: poor
        a.  The car's seats leave your butt numb in about 15 minutes.  It's an expensive car for such a small amount of padding in the seats.  This results in constant shifting to mitigate the discomfort.  The seat heater controls are hard to reach and when you use them, there's two temps, HOT and not.  Ever hear of a temperature controller?  The heat/air system keeps changing when you push the mode button, supposed to do that I suppose, but it also keeps resetting the circulation to external when you probably want internal for warmth & that doesn't make much sense.  At least the car's a little roomier than previous models.
        a1.    The Fusion is a larger car & after driving more than several hours, I had no posterior fatigue pretty much at all.  The seat heaters have a quick/hot level, & a warm level, which is much more tolerable.
        b.  The ride is extremely firm whether that's a factor of the car's suspension or the type of rubber in the tires or the pressure necessary.  On a concrete highway, and most interstate highways are concrete, the constant whomping of the seams between slabs is annoying, especially when you meet seams going on & off a bridge or overpass.  Forget napping very well in the passenger seat.  There is also a very high-pitched whine from the tires on the concrete roadbed, as well as the noise when riding over a chip-seal roadbed.  The only road that's relatively quiet, is a good new asphalt stretch.  The whine & the noise notably interferes with the audio from the sound systems.  (Rolling up the window did nullify most of the low-rider's mega-bass non-musical rap system in the car two lanes over to my pleasant surprise however.)
   
     b1.        This is a VERY quiet car.  Consumers states it could be noisy on initial acceleration, but I found that inapplicable in my unit.
        c.    Remember, it's a very low clearance car so expect to misjudge often, how high that curb is, or how deep that depression will be to come out of without scraping the front of the car or the undercarriage.  The scraping discomfort quotient is fairly high as is the mental anxiety.
        d.   Armrests...
            1.    The ones on the door are way too low to have any value at all.  Fusion armrests are at a good height.  The center console is poor for holding items.
            2.    The top of the door is too high to have any value at all.
            3.    What size people did they design these cars for?
        e.    Steering wheel
   
            1.  It's not round.  Amazing concept.  So now, when we turn & the wheel spins back to neutral, it bops our hands on the spinaround so we can't catch it short if we need to, or it just bops our hands cause the designers thought it'd be cute to make it, well, not round.  Remember the axiom:  "If it ain't broke...."
            1b.    The Fusion's is round, but with protrusions at 10 & 2, & is very comfortable to handle.
            2.  While it adjusts, resting one's left arm/hand over it, gets very uncomfortable in a short period of time, rendering the arm tired to numb depending on your mood or your butt.  Moving the hot seat back & forth doesn't really seem to help any either.  Not sure why this is the case & not in other cars I've owned.
            2b.    Not a problem so far, as it adjusts up/down & extends.
   
     f.        Depending on the position of the steering column, the Fusion is a tad difficult to exit on the driver's side.

3.    More tires?
        a.   Too narrow.  A wider tread option which doesn't exist, is desirable, especially in climates like I live in where the winters are long, the snow is deep, and where it isn't deep, the ice can be black and treacherous.  Those narrow little suckers, all-weather notwithstanding, aren't going to cut it very well in the snowy, freezing conditions of Wyoming or elsewhere.
        a1.    17 in. tires - std. size tires, and, with some kind of rubber that holds road noise down, as the interior is VERY quiet.
        b.   Valve stems.  Whose brilliant idea was it to decide that if your tire needs replacing, wears out, needs to be rotated, etc., that the computer system that monitors such things goes kaputski?  So, spend some more money & don't forget to buy new valve stem/computer thingys whenever you replace your tires or recalibrate if you move them around.
        b1.    As far as I can tell, the Fusion is of the same type here.        

4.    One of the main reasons my wife wanted this car, was that the previous Camry had a spoiler (on a 4-cylinder no less that got 35mpg) and it was hard to look over while backing up.  Frankly, the Prius is worse.  It has that split rear window and the upper part of the window is distorted in the lower third.  When I inquired of my selling dealer about it and how it distorted objects in the rear view mirror like the road stripes, he knew nothing of it.  Later, he advised he'd had several others complain as well.  Has anyone offered to fix this?  Nope.  So use the camera/monitor as it was so designed.  Why?  It's lousy.  The car needs a beeper on the outside to warn of closing objects instead, like the sensors that Ford has on their rear bumpers.  (Disclosure: I have a 2004 Ford Windstar & those little sensors are great.)  If you try to turn your head/body around to see what is behind or to the side of you, there are those pillars between the front/rear doors, and the larger one at the side of the rear window.  They obscure everything & you can't use the camera to warn you if a child wanders behind the car when backing up.  And, the little wiper back there doesn't cover all there is back there on that window, so plan on getting out & using the torn and worn bug scrapers at the gas stations even more.  Crappy.  PLUS, get a little crap on your camera portal or on the rear windows & the image on the screen is blurry & worthless.  You have to constantly buff those areas for the system to be useful, as minimally useful as it is in the first place.
        However, I recently found out that if you lower the rear seats, that the view to the rear when turned around & watching while you back up, is much better.  But, they giveth & they taketh away.  If you leave the seats down, you can't open the center console!  Bonk.
        The Fusion doesn't have a spoiler on the Hybrid model.  While the rear hat rack rises from the rear seat & hold 5 speakers if you get the upper Sony audio system, it wasn't sufficiently difficult to see over when backing up.  ALSO, big item here, the Ford has sensors that beat at an increasing tempo the closer you get to an object behind you.  I've had this on my Windstar for some time, & it's all you really need.  Some models, mine included, has the backup camera, which I can only imagine needs to be kept clean as w/the Prius.  However, it has in the video, an added feature of digitally imposed borders for the vehicle & backup clearances.  Generally, the feature known as "Fit & Finish" seem excellent.

5.    You can't deal.  I had to buy my car on the internet, which is OK, but, no dealing there or in person.  You get what Toyota wants you to have at the price they want to sell it to you for.  No haggling.  Maybe you can get some touch-up paint, whoopee.  The cosmetics of color combinations is minimal both inside and out, as are the option packages.  Ala carte is history I guess.  What comes off the boat & is apportioned to your region, is it.  Take it or leave it or wait forever for what you want to show up strictly by luck.  We're Americans, haggling for a car is what we do.  Don't the Japanese understand that, especially for $22 to $36k?
        You can deal.  Just hope you get a dealer that knows what he's dealing with, mine was marginal in some aspects, like he, his supervisor, & others, thought my Sony upgrade audio system, had a 6 CD changer.  The standard car radio does, but the "fancier" Sony, does not.  See further info about this sorrily (sic? - I just like the word) designed system below.
        AND, trade-in right now on the Prius, is crap.  Whatever any dealer any where tells you about the great TI value on your Prius, or any other car really, don't believe it.  If the market is flooded (because the Prius is crap & owners are unloading them) or if the economy is down, or whatever, they ain't dealin' on new cars w/any worthwhile value.  And, Consumers car buying guide service, doesn't bother to take that in account when they give you their resale assessment.  I found their materials to be rather worthless anyway.  (I got more help from another Ford dealer who didn't get my deal, than anywhere else.)  Know what you want, what the market is doing, do your research, & you're really on your own.
   
     Plus, forget about any add-ons to your current car having any cache for the trade-in value, such as a clear bra, new tires, some cheesy factory add-on like the lighted doorsteps on the Prius, roof rack, etc.  All they care about is the original package, current condition, how long you've had it, & how many miles it has on it.  Anything else you added after you got it, worthless.

6.    The Nav system has some issues and hopefully I'll get those worked out with the dealer.  Not worth going into deeply here, but it could use help too.
        Haven't learned mine yet, but, so far from the maps I've brought up, the Fusion Nav seems much more user friendly & the maps are more detailed & easier to read.  Used it extensively on a recent trip & it's fairly useful.

7.    Who told Sirius that music should be so expensive?  No ala carte there either.  You'll only end up listening to a few specific channels & guess what, after a couple of hours you start hearing the songs you heard a couple hours earlier all over again.  I guess they only have a library of about 200 songs per channel, & at $140. a year - take it or leave it?  At least drop the service once the trial period runs out for a month or so & they'll call you with a half-price offer for the next 6 mos.  Rip-off, unless you actually like all the hip-hop, rap, and bullshit talk radio.  Who can take Oprah or even Elvis 24/7?  Make your own .mp3s, 150-180 songs to a cd or use your Zune or iPod instead.  See item 15.  Go ala carte & get what you want, for a much lesser annual fee, but doubtful, that'd be too intelligent.
        You get the first 6 mos. free in the Fusion too, as you probably do in many other cars.

8.    Let's talk cup holders & that console.  One, is just below the gear shifter & if you have a small cup, much less a large one with a protruding straw, forget about comfortably getting to the shifter in a timely fashion.  The second is under the center console door & also inhibits your hand & elbow & resting elbow if the door is open.  Bad bad bad design.  What a waste of space with that console.  You can't put more than one or two cd jewel boxes in the glove boxes or they won't close at all.  Where are you supposed to store those things?  Oh, you never play cds in that 4-player?  Couldn't even design a 6-player?  And that little change tray?  It keeps you from getting at stuff underneath it unless you empty it & lift it out, or spill everything in it getting to the stuff below you just have to have.
        The Fusion console cup holders are decent, but if you have a large cup....same problem.  The Fusion has a standard type gearshift lever unlike the more unconventional one in the Prius.  I asked, but the console cup holders do not have a cover, so if you don't use them a lot, they'll attract dust, etc., & eventually grow fungi if you don't clean them out at least for aesthetic reasons.  They are pretty w/all the colors you can assign to them to light up at night, which also project into the footwells inside the car.
        Aesthetics: You get the whopping choice on the hybrid, of 2 exterior colors, and another whopping 2 interior colors to choose from.  Are they made at the same factory & if so, why no variety in color combos?  Screw the customer?  Want anything that's not on the lot?  Plan on waiting 8 wks. from the factory.

My little jewel

Page author w/new Fusion, 1/11

9.    Who told Toyota or Ford, that Billy Mays dead guy, or Oprah for that matter, that using hands-free cellphones was a good idea?  They're just as distracting and dangerous as a bunch of beers, and just as stupid - listening Oprah?  Bluetooth in your car?  Brilliant.  Put us all at even more risk on the expressway at 75mph with some kid arguing with her Neanderthal boyfriend while primping her hair & sipping a soda with two of her other girlfriends in the car jabbering away too.  The idiot that put them (Bluetooth, or teenage girls or drunken yahoos or grayhairs w/Bluetooth) in the car & promoted it as a positive feature ought to be shot.  But I guess that's not indigenous just to Prius's.  Must be OK, Ford's very big on these features in their new models too.  There oughta be a lawsuit when someone's family member gets killed because of these availabilities that are distractions, when promoted as assets.
        This one has a SYNC feature for the cell phone as expected.  Not good.  I'll probably set it up & use it to answer the phone until I can pull over to talk or find out who it is to call them back.  Or, not answer at all.

10.    Engine/Gas mileage.  Sure winner, right?  Not so fast, literally.
    a.    We've been getting 52 & as much as 57mpg around town, about 45mpg on the open road.  Seems counter-intuitive for it to be that way, but I'd guess that using the braking/recharging system more in town is what does the trick.  However, the Nov. 09 ConsumerReports issue, says the mileage should be just the opposite?  It just ain't working that way for me.  And, the Eco mode in downtown traffic is almost dangerous - if you need to move quickly, fuggedaboutit.  How many of us remember to keep changing the mode?  Wintertime seems to be a different matter.  As the only factor appears to be cold temps, sometimes very cold in WY, it is a puzzlement that the mpg dropped to about 47 in town.  Still better than just about everybody else, but a significant drop from 57.
10a1.    The Fusion has only one std. driving gear, & it responds slowly at first when initially accelerating.  Within a couple of seconds, it gets going quite quickly, but, that may be too late if the need is immediate.  While Low is for engine braking, it could be used for quicker takeoffs from intersections.
10a2.  On a recent trip to SLC from Wyoming, I got mpgs of 42 going south & 39.5 coming back.  Temps were cold, but I drove it on cruise control most of the way at speed limits of mostly 75mph on the interstate & 65 on state roads.  This seems a bit poor for this car.
    b.    If you live around a lot of hills or mountain passes, plan on this - the noise factor again.  Going uphill, whether in Eco or Pwr, is noisy.  Can't plan on great gas mileage if you do that very often, but it's definitely noisy.  The engine braking going downhill is actually less noisy, but works nicely.  Passing on the open road & trying to kick it in Eco or Pwr - noisy.  (Probably noisy in the battery mode too.)
    c.    Cruise control.  Even a problem there.  If you use the brake to release the CC, there's a notable bump when you do.  It's merely disconcerting & annoying, but it's there, so learn to enjoy it.  AND, from time to time because of the relative position of the seat/gas pedal/cruise control switch, your knee can easily bump the switch & turn off the cruise control which you just have to reset.  Annoying.
    c1.    That "bump" when releasing the cruise control, is non-existent in the Fusion.
    d.    Mileage computation system...excellent.  To get your mileage in the past, the dashboard computer wasn't usually very accurate, so you had to divide your mileage if you remembered to zero it when you filled up, by the no. of gallons you just filled up with (if you were careful to top it off each time), and get your mpgs.  This computer is accurate & negates the need for the longhand math.
    d1.    Seems to be very accurate in the Fusion so far.
    e.    When I gave up this car, I was getting 57mpg around town, & almost 50 on the road, but again, about 47 in town in the winter.
    e1.    The EPA estimate on the Fusion is 41/35.  Fuel calculation didn't add up early on vrs. long-hand math, which said I was getting about 42mpg vrs. the computer's 45.  Over time it's been pretty good, but winter driving in this particular climate of cold/snow/altitude & not being able to use the cruise control on slick roads, is delimiting the mpg to about 36-39; still, not too bad & that's a combination of highway/town.

11.    Luggage space - don't drive it to another town for Xmas shopping, use the van or the Texas Cadillac.  Pretty much no room to put an actual paper map anywhere either, remember them?  You should, you'll still need 'em.
        It's a standard size car, so it's going to have more room.  The trunk isn't real large because of the battery pack, but it's reasonably adequate.  However, the rear seats don't fold down.  If you're a one car family, that's probably important, if not, not so much.

12.    It's really kind of an ugly, dorky looking thing, but streamlined I guess.  (Subjective evaluation.)
        The Fusion is a very attractive car, again, subjective. Many cars these days are similarly styled such as the Lexus or Camry.  Fit & finish is very good.

13.    Textured interior on dash, kick panels on doors, glove box, etc., mar, & pick up noticeable lint easily & are hard to keep clean, not to mention all the fingerprints you have to make & keep on the Nav screen.  Plastic looks cheap as does the fabric headliner.
        Very nice, comfortable interior, not cheap looking at all, very stylish & fairly well designed.

14.    I've no doubt missed a thing or two & will add it in here later, come back for another visit.
14a.  And I did.  Took a trip in the cold climates of WY/ID/UT & had lots of trouble with the climate control system.  The defroster, was poor.  If you turn it on, it shuts off the interior heating to divert to the defroster & in the process, it inducts air from the outside (closing the inside recirculating position) & you get cold inside.  It clears off the windshield fine, but the side window, almost not at all.  After several minutes, the windshield is done & you switch back to interior heat to warm your hands or feet, and in 5 min., you have to turn the defroster back on, and so on and so on and so on.  If you're on a long trip as I was, well, you get the redundant & irritating picture.  It's just bad.
        I can vouch that the Fusion climate control system is very quick to clear up windows & mirrors, and has separate climate controls for driver & passenger.
14aa.    I discovered later, that there is a dual position switch for defroster & heat to the feet.  I've used it, without much success at warming inside or with keeping the windshield completely clear.  It does help more in that position however.
14b.  The rear window defogger:  Also poor.  I use it & sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  I figured it was just under-endowed (I'll explain better in a moment.)
14b1.       Fusion: excellent.
14c.  If it's cold outside as it was this AM, & you go out to start your car which was parked outside overnight in cold weather (say -6) & has frost on the front & back windows, you'd better take a bucket of hot water.  Turning on the defroster is a waste of time.  Mine just does NOT work adequately.  I eventually had to scrape off the ice as the defroster wasn't going to help in any sort of a reasonable period of time.  But, that just scraped off some the ice & still left most of the window problematic, along with the attached ice on the inside of the driver window which didn't melt out either.  (At least with the interior windshield fog/haze, I got one of the Windshield Wonders with its micro-fiber cloth to clean that.)  After a while, the rear defogger made the car OK to drive & see out the rear.
14d.  Here's where I get back to you per 14b.  I took the car to a dealer in Salt Lake who worked on both problems & effectively did, nothing.  They said the systems were in Toyota specs & were operating properly.  If this is proper operation, well, designers, get back to work as it was TERRIBLE.  Can't fault the dealer I suppose, but the problem in a cold climate is almost extreme & to be told the car is operating properly, is NOT satisfactory, it simply is NOT.

15.  I also provided a list of songs in the sequence they played on the trip from WY to SLC to the service mgr. & asked him to check the radio's operation to determine why out of 169 .mp3 songs on the cd, it only played 51 before it started repeating & by no. 75 or so, was repeating many of the previously played 75 songs before going on to others not played yet at all.  By song no. 100, it had re-played one particular song 4 times!, and shortly after that was recycling 4 or 5 songs without going anywhere else at all.  The service mgr. advised that it was operating under Toyota specs & there was nothing they could do to correct it.  Totally unacceptable.  I have a Ford with an Alpine system in it & while it repeats songs out of the 169, it plays through most before repeating much at all.  If Alpine can do it, so can Toyota.  Otherwise, why bother having the random switch on the menu at all?  Very shitty.
        The Ford Fusion / Sony audio system is a quasi-ripoff.  They promote that it has a 10gb hard drive to store all your music in either .wav or it will compress them (to .mp3?).  BUT, can you Xfer .mp3s to the hard drive?  NO!  Put a USB drive in the slot.  It'll play from the USB, but will it download to the hard drive like it easily should?  NO!  It says you can put a CD in the player & it'll download to the hard drive, but will it.  Yes, and NO!  If you have a CD loaded w/.mp3s already from your music collection, it will NOT download them to the hard drive.  It will take a store bought CD w/.wav files & download them to the hard drive, or compress them to store more.  However, most store bought CDs will generally only have 1 or 2 songs that you want to listen to over & over, so, if you have a large cd collection, you'll have to insert hundreds of CDs, one at a time, to download one or two songs each, to folders in the hard drive.  A CD or even a DVD loaded with hundreds or over a thousand songs, CANNOT be downloaded to the hard drive.  In this day & digital age, how stupid is that?  What a waste of time.  What if you have a large quantity of .mp3 files that you've created from digitizing your LP or cassette collection?  You can't download them to the car's hard drive!  Try sticking an LP into the CD slot.  If you want to go out & waste another $50. or so, you can get a 32gb USB flash drive & put that into the port in the console, & it will play your .mp3 files, but, YOU have to spend more money after you've bought this fancy car stereo system, which I might add, my dealer rep told me was a 6 CD system, but it's not, it's a 1 CD outfit for the premium Sony sound system.  Apparently it's not just the sales reps that don't know what they're talking about or are scamming you, it's the engineers at Ford or Sony who don't understand how people use a stereo system in the digital age in the real world.  Think they might give you a credit for a poorly engineered system, get real.  As for the 12 speakers in the system, I did count 12, I'm just not positive they all really work.  I wouldn't put it past them.  Then, playing them on random off the USB drive you pay extra to use, probably won't happen, as 32 or even 16gb (or 10 for that matter), probably is too many for the premium system to digitally think about.
        Audio wise, the sound is nonetheless, fairly impressive, especially in the quiet cabin, and the spatial adjustments are very good.

16.    I had made an appt. with the out of town dealership svl. wks. in advance for my first 5k mile service check.  I had asked about any discounts or coupons to reduce the cost & was told it would be about a $55. charge.  When the bill came, it was $92.  Due to what they had told me earlier, they knocked off $20. & made it $72., still about $20. above the original cost advised!  Why?  It seems the 2010 Prius runs on 0-20 synthetic oil, so any service change at the appointed time, will cost more anywhere you do it, because of the type of oil required (apparently $40. more per checkup!!!!!).  They don't tell you this at purchase time.  Be forewarned.  Less gas takes you further: good for Prius.  Expensive oil though for the same distance.  Now comes: 3/8/10 - I get a letter from Toyota advising me of their change to this type of oil in new model Priuses.  However they say, the oil change interval is now at 10,000 miles instead of 5,000 - that certainly helps if it works.  Included was a new Warranty & Maintenance Guide for record keeping.  I wonder if this oil will be available in after-market stores?

17.    Snow, what a mess.  This car doesn't just get a little snow under the wheel wells, it gets a lot & packs it in.  So what?  Well, if you live in a snow climate and want to park your car in your garage, the mess that is generated from all that melting snow/slush/water, which can then freeze later, is really crappy.  The more I own this thing, the more hassles it gives me.  If I try to clean out the snow under the wheel wells before entering my garage, it's a somewhat time-consuming & arduous process, outside, in the cold & wind.  If I hadn't cleaned some of it out, the garage would really be a mess, but this car has crevices and areas underneath that hold copious amounts of the stuff.  Right now, I just hate to think about what I've not encountered yet &, what's next.  Driving up some hills on snow/ice can be problematic as well.
        So far, driving through snow/ice hasn't caused any trepidation & I feel much more secure for my wife driving this vehicle with the wider tires & comfortable ride.  However, the snow packing under the wheel-wells, is VERY difficult to remove & leaves large plops of ice & puddling in the garage if not accomplished, which will be the case more often than not.  A windshield scraper won't fit between the tire & the frame, so the best I can guess, is a small wooden stick which will make snow removal an extended process outside in the elements.  It is literally worse than the Prius.

18.  Regarding this massive recall.  Apparently the 2010 Prius is not at risk from the sticking gas pedal, or the computer glitch, or the gas pedal friction thingee or whatever it is that whoever it is, thinks is the problem everyone is faced with.  However, if one did have a problem, you can't exactly just put a Prius into neutral.  You have to move the shift lever to the left (neutral position) & hold it there for a second or two, to actually get it go into neutral.  Two secs or so isn't a short distance to travel at say 90mph if your accelerator is stuck.  Just popping it there & letting go, won't work.  You shouldn't have to put your foot on the brake to get it there either, as is recommended for the model cars that do have the recall issue.  Good luck on a mountain pass, especially on the downhill side.

19.  And now, a potential recall over brake problems, or a long wait by Toyota until they do issue a recall?  There have now been a quantity of complaints regarding braking by the 2010 Prius, where braking has been lost sporadically when driving over rough patches of roadway, potholes or bumps, or that the car's software is a problem, or that there's a one-second delay before the brakes engage when depressed.  So far, we have not noticed this with our unit, but considering the above history, we're on the lookout & will advise if it occurs.  (I know a lot of people are coming to this webpage for info about this car.)  Today (2/4/10), CNN reported that Toyota has not initiated a recall, nor are there any suggestions for this issue which is potentially worse than the accelerator issue, if you can't brake or stop your car.  So far, reports indicate that 37,000 Prius's are involved, and affects all Priuses (including mine) except those coming off the assembly line since late January.  I guess we'll have to wait on the NHTSA to force a recall as warranted.  It appears to have a 1-2 sec. lag in hitting the brakes v. the brakes actually engaging.  Is that a computer problem as it also involves the regenerative braking system.

    About the above.  It's now March 12 of 2010 & I've received no recall notice.  I did make an appt. w/a dealer & went today to Idaho to get the brake fix accomplished.  Strictly a mechanical fix I was told.  I haven't experienced a problem with this "issue," so we'll see if one ever develops.  And, it looks like there's some issue with the guy in CA (Jim Sikes) & that runaway incident on the interstate & his story as the car won't reproduce the much storied problem.  Hmmm.  Also, he told the press that the car could NOT be put into neutral.  ("I've since found out that's not possible, but I had no idea.") Either he's misinformed, dumb, or scamming, because I know it can, although as explained above, it's not an easily-known item to be aware of.

It appears that Toyota is going to issue a recall that's not a recall (2/9/10), for about 270,000 2010 Priuses.  Wow.  Fix something in the computer.  I hope someone knows what to do.  Now, it's called a "voluntary recall" on 133,000 units.  http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/toyota-2010-prius-abs-recall-153614.aspx   Letters are to be mailed to those applicable.  1-800-331-4331.  (I finally got my notice, 3 days after I got the fix done, on 3/15/10.  That didn't take long!)

My suggestion would be to keep pressing the brake, also shift the car either into neutral as described above, or to the B position (straight down on the gearshift) to put the car into an engine-braking mode to at least slow it down appreciably, and/or turn the engine off entirely.  (Of course, if you shift to N & then turn off the engine, you'll lose your power steering.  That will be a problem if you're going very fast & are on a curvy or downhill road.  Going downhill?  Engine braking (B) is probably your best bet, otherwise...good luck!  Try driving or steering to an uphill street ASAP, then when the car slows to a stop - try backing quickly into an obstacle.  Hopefully, you're wearing your seatbelt & all the airbags go off.

20.  While on trip (July 2010 from Jackson, WY to Salt Lake City, UT on back roads), speedometer goes black - rest of dash still operates as does car.  50 miles later, while parked at a rest stop checking fuses for speedometer enroute to Utah dealer: car dies.  Turned it on & all we got was "Check Hybrid System" indicator, even though electric motor still runs.  50 miles tow to dealer, Phil Meador Toyota in Pocatello, ID, who paid for tow & also provided a comp rental. While the issue started w/the odometer going out, I compounded the issue by checking the fuses & not replacing one in the right slot, which provided ignition to the gas engine.  Phil Meador Toyota rep in Poky was most helpful & courteous considering the predicament & outcome.  Car retrieved & runs fine for now.

21.  If you get the XM radio service w/your car, and you find you only listen to a few channels which replay their songs over & over w/little new music, and you choose not to renew your service - be prepared, because XM will call & call & call & call & call you to renew with robocalls, incessantly before & after your earlier subscription is over, plus a number of mailings.  If obnoxious impresses you, these guys will be high on your list.

NOTE: Oh yeah, this does not constitute any sort of specific, or legal, advice to control your car.  Don't come bitching to me or file a lawsuit if you encounter a problem.  I'm not an expert, I don't work for Toyota (or Ford), nor am I your guardian angel.  It's up to you to figure it out, contact Toyota (or Ford), or hope they get a fix/recall in place to solve any potential problem.  And, that also relates to all the above points of info I've provided earlier on the webpage.  Mostly, I consider them "words of warning" to the potential Prius (Fusion) customer.

(11/24/09 - I wrote to Toyota, they responded & I advised them to check out this webpage which they did.  Below is their response, so hopefully they will consider these factors in future generations.  They were professional & I didn't have to chase them down for a response.

Mr. Farmer,  Your feedback to Toyota about the 2010 Prius is greatly appreciated and we apologize for your concerns your have posted on your website.
We appreciate your feedback because the only way we know what our customers are looking for is when they tell us, as you have. We try to scope our customers out in advance, by researching the market, conducting interviews, surveys, focus groups and doing our homework, but there's no better source than a 2010 Prius owner who takes the time to tell us like it is.
We can't guarantee that changes would be made, but if it were, it would be driven by just this sort of honest communication.
Again, please accept our apologies for your disappointment and our sincere thanks for taking the time and trouble to let us know.
Your email has been documented at our National Headquarters under file #xxxxx and is available for management review. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us.
Quentin Holmes - Toyota Customer Experience)

Go ahead, you're doing the right thing environmentally, so long as you don't worry about implanted heart devices & EMR.  Logically and economically: think of something else.  I mean, all my friends love this car.  Of course the sales guys love the car, no haggling remember?  Try looking up demand vrs. markup.  Reneging on the trade-in is now a time honored tradition so I hear.  If Toyota wants to talk to me about paying me to consult on the Prius V, my email is just below this line, drop a note, or send me an email for another survey I can actually fill out, with a tip for doing so.

Walt's Homepage

walt@theastrocowboy.com

Early Nov. 2009
Latest update: Jan. 2011/Dec. 2011