• Mar 20th 2010 at 12:45PM
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2007 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery

With all of the negative coverage pouring in over Toyota's recent problems, how about a story that breaks away from the trend for a moment to recognize the achievement of the 2007 Toyota Prius? The vehicle was recently named the top compact car in long-term dependability by J.D. Power & Associates.

The award recipient is chosen based on consumer response to surveys sent to owners of three-year-old vehicles. Thousands of surveys were returned and the Prius garnered the top spot in the compact class once again. The 2007 Prius now holds the same honor with both the 2005 and 2006 model year vehicle.

To date, the Prius is the only hybrid to ever hold a top spot in the long-term dependability study by J.D. Power. We'll see if recent recalls, ongoing investigations, braking problems and other mishaps prevent the hybrid from a run at the award for the fourth consecutive year. The J.D. Power survey was completed prior to news of Prius woes. We anticipated that the current public image of the vehicle may influence future survey results and reduce owner satisfaction ratings, but still send our congrats to Toyota for its achievement.

[Source: J.D. Power]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      You have to hand it to them, their owners are dam loyal and they love their Priuses. Man there is a lot of Toyota hate out there! They just keep making good (if perhaps boringly good) cars. If you make more cars than anyone else you are probably going to have a lot of recalls.
      Kudos to Toyota.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A little off topic, but this little tidbit does relate to Prius. Felix Kramer's
      informal charting of customers who have converted their Prii to
      plug-ins, and his new announced project to convert... (read all at link)
      • 5 Years Ago

      "A hybrid is the most complex car money can buy right now!"

      HSD hybrid car like Prius has the least number of moving parts! Hybrid electronics are maintenance-free and they do not move! Therefore, the car is more reliable! In addition, they come with long warranty (usually twice longer).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Finally some good Toyota news. Thank you ABG.
      • 5 Years Ago

      "A gas car does not have an electric motor, electric motor inverter, cooling system for the inverter, battery charging and management electronics, or a power-splitting CVT transmission."

      So why does a gas car need a bigger space under the hood? All those hybrid components you listed fit under the hood smaller than a non-hybrid. In addition, there are significantly less moving parts.

      You need to look up how complex a non-hybrid transmission is. Look up pics fo 8 speed automatic, DSG, manual labor tranny, etc... None of them come close to HSD (power split device with two MGs).
        • 8 Months Ago
        Nearly every thing you said makes the EV's that much better than the Priora. A Swiss watch is small but that does not mean it is not complex. The EV that Toyota refuses to build is better in every way except range. Toyota needs to recoup that R&D that cost so much to make everything small under the hood. So no EV's and no plug in's until GM forces them to compete in the plug in market. Those plug in mods to the Priora will make it even more complex, maybe they will give up and break down and make a EV at that point.
        • 8 Months Ago

        "The EV that Toyota refuses to build is better in every way except range."

        You left out the price, charge time and interior room. The battery reliability and safety are still questionable.

        In my opinion, Toyota build realistic mass-producible cars. They did not set an unrealistic goal like the 80 MPG Supercar set by PNGV. They came out with the original Prius that can be mass-produced, return profit and double the fuel economy.

        If an electric car can be build at a reasonably price without giving up existing (easily taken for granted) features, I see no reason they will not build it. If you look at Toyota's goal for the ultimate EcoCar, gas-electric hybrid is just one of them.

        PHV Prius seems to be the next logical realistic product. 13 miles range may sound low but it covers 51% of the commute. That is a great start if you ask me. It may not cover 75% of the commute (with 40 miles range) but 13 miles range just gives the most bang for your buck. In my opinion, it is a very wise decision. Once the first PHV Prius production starts, it will be easy to increase the range and reduce the cost with Kaizen.
      • 5 Years Ago

      "How is a car that has two powertrains less complex?"

      Because it makes up the entire drivetrain. A non-hybrid drivetrain consists of an ICE plus a transmission. Prius shifts between gas and electric -- high torque from MG is the "low gear" while low torque from Atkinson ICE is the "high gear". This eliminates the need for a dedicate gearbox like a non-hybrid.

      If you look carefully under the Prius hood, you will notice how small it is. It is the size of a compact car rather than a mid-size non-hybrid car.

      • 5 Years Ago

      "Yeah, it's a matter of seeing the fuel economy end emissions as more important than anything else."

      You have no idea.

      "Those specialty parts are ridiculous to replace when they eventually break."

      What's wrong with paying more for a more reliable part? You save on the labor!

      Prius is now a mainstream car. It is third best selling Toyota car and it outsold a lot of non-hybrid cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This seems to be in line with some statistics from a car association I saw here in Sweden where Prius had the fewest large faults of the 49 most common cars. I was amazed, considering its a complicated hybrid.

      Sadly, our model (Peugeot 207) was second worst when it came to small faults, and I can guarantee thats right. I think we have been to the shop 30 times in 3 years. Every other problem is actually INDUCED by a sloppy work done by Peugeot themselves.
      • 5 Years Ago

      "Prius owners are so damn loyal, they defend them to a fault."

      Non-hybrid owners are so damn loyal too. They defend them without a full understanding of eCVT to a fault. They even ignored the complexity of the existing cars and do not see the simpler design.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @neptronix: Replying to your points.

        1) "Any other transmission" maintenance is 60k miles. They do not last long and warranty is short. They are really inferior to eCVT.

        2) eCVT is more efficient than a manual tranny. Not because of conversion loss but because the ICE can be at the most efficient RPM at optimal throttle. Prius ICE remains above 75% load and the power is adjusted by means of RPM (not throttle). When the load gets too low, Prius shuts off the ICE completely and rely on the HV battery. Name a manual transmission car (of similar size and performance either hybrid or non-hybrid) that get 48 highway MPG!

        3) Prius HV battery is 99 lbs (not "tons"). Your lead acid battery is around 50 lbs. Think about it. Don't make it sound like Prius has the battery pack of an EV. All those extra hybrid component also function as part of the transmission, brake (regen) and reduce gas tank weight.

        4) I made the point to show the complexity you claimed does not add up. From the way you made it sound, Prius would not have a mid-size interior (more than Fusion hybrid, believe it or not), weight around 3,000 lbs and a relatively short hood.

        5) Again, focusing on the moving part of the powertrain rather than the entire drivetrain. I recommend this site to understand how HSD simplified the entire drivetrain and the associated power loss.

        • 8 Months Ago
        @EVsuperhero: Toyota applied for the PNGV but they were declined because they were not American company. None of the PNGV concept hybrids from the big3 never made it to production. It is ironic that the biggest market for Prius is the United States (now becoming a hit in Japan as well).

        See below links for the documentary about PNGV SuperCar and how Project G21 (Prius) got started:

        • 8 Months Ago
        Actually my e36 is not known for electrical problems at all, but it did have an unreliable cooling system from the factory and if you don't replace the rear bushings, the subframe will tear - those are the main doozies. Every electric part of my car works flawlessly, and it's 14 years old.

        Well i was arguing about the mechanical complexity when you chimed in, so i dunno how it turned into a reliability argument. Your replies all over the place didn't help.

        Electronic parts are indeed more reliable, but what i'm trying to convey here is that the prius has an electric drivetrain's worth of parts underneath the hood and that does not negate the hybrid advantage of eliminating the alternator, starter, and battery - in terms of reducing complexity.

        On the reliability argument -
        The prius' voltage inverter, battery management, and inverter cooling system are likely to eventually need repair or replacement over time, and forget about rebuilding the transaxle. These parts may last a hell of a long time, but when or if they bust, it's gonna hurt.

        Unfortunately these horror stories are from dealerships because nobody makes aftermarket parts for the prius that i know of. Independent shops don't typically have a clue on how to repair the Prius either.
        • 8 Months Ago
        " ""Any other transmission" maintenance is 60k miles. They do not last long and warranty is short. They are really inferior to eCVT."

        That is not true at all. Some manufacturers make crappy transmissions, but most don't.
        I drove a 16 year old maxima with an automatic transmission with 240k and the transmission was in great shape.

        My '96 BMW has 170k on a manual transmission and it runs like new, even considering that it's been ran half-dry for a year by the previous owner.

        "ICE can be at the most efficient RPM at optimal throttle."

        I thought we were arguing about complexity of the system here.
        I think we all agree that a motor running with drive by wire on an atkinson cycle is more efficient, but it isn't less complex.

        "Prius HV battery is 99 lbs (not "tons")."

        I'd hoped you knew i was exaggerating. Oh well.

        "I made the point to show the complexity you claimed does not add up. From the way you made it sound, Prius would not have a mid-size interior (more than Fusion hybrid, believe it or not), weight around 3,000 lbs and a relatively short hood."

        Maybe you misread me.. I never said the physical size of the powertrain was enormous, only that the prius contains two powertrain's worth of parts ( minus an alternator, starter, and some gears, if you're comparing to a non-CVT car ).

        "I recommend this site to understand how HSD simplified the entire drivetrain and the associated power loss."

        There's no argument here that what's under the hood isn't more efficient than a regular ICE car.. the original argument was that the prius is 'less complex' or has less parts, when that is far from the truth.

        As for the parts, who knows what they cost to replace. The cars just aren't that old yet.
        But it's pretty common sense to say that a ton of low-yield parts that are only sold in one model are going to be ridiculously expensive to replace.

        Here are some preliminary repair reports for 2000-2005 models, though:

        ~$3000 battery.

        ~$8500 transmission replacement.

        ~$1000 headlight and ~$3500 brake actuator.
        • 8 Months Ago
        That is a good website seawolf, it is great how they developed all the mechanisms to increase gas mileage. I book marked that Prius manual page. Did Toyota even participate in the PNGV program? Just curious, maybe it helped them develop some of this stuff.
        • 8 Months Ago

        The topic is reliability. Your argument about complexity relating to reliability is unfounded. What is your definition of complexity? I see more moving parts add mechanical complexity and it leads to failure hence reduces reliability. Microprocessors have no moving parts and more lines of code in the software does not make it less reliable. They are more reliable than the mechanical moving parts being replaced.

        Your BMW is notorious for electrical failure. I see why you relate anything electrical to unreliability. I don't think I misread your attempt to exaggerate and vague to mislead. Those cherry picked lemon Prius along with the dealership rip offs does not represent majority of satisfied Prius owners. He could have shop around different dealerships or get online support for DIY. I can find horror stories of any car out there.
        • 8 Months Ago
        The topic is about Prius being the most dependable car per the survey. That's due to it's simple mechanical parts.

        Mongoose MFC and TechStream Lite are available for under $1,500. There is no excuse for any mechanic to claim they are unable to repair the Prius. The repair manual is available online for $2 per day.

        Toyota already dropped the price of the HV battery. As Gen3 Prius become a mainstream vehicle, the parts for it will just get less expensive and more reliable. I envision repairing a hybrid being less work than a non-hybrid due to the ability of the computer to pin-point the exact problem. This would leave all the guess work.

        Good discussion.
        • 8 Months Ago
        How about you hit the reply button from now on. You just made 8 posts out of thread order and context.

        Anyways i read through your points.

        1. My BMW didn't have a scheduled transmission fluid change either but at 100,000 miles it was nearly pitch black when drained at 145k miles, just like any transmission.
        Mechanical friction will do that.

        2. CVT and eCVT are similar in complexity. Manual transmissions may be more complex, but they are extremely efficient.

        3. A prius has a voltage inverter, battery charging electronics, a voltage inverter cooler, large electric motors, and tons of batteries. All of the makings of an electric car are in the prius & if you've seen some electric conversions, there are still a lot of parts in there.

        4. Engine bay size has nothing to do with it. The entire assembly is roughly the same size. The 1.8L 06+ Civic has a smaller engine bay than a Prius.

        5. As for reducing rotating parts, the prius has the same amount ( outside of the transmission ) but it has more control over which parts it rotates & at which time.

        More efficient, but more complex.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah it just goes and goes...
      • 5 Years Ago

      "And does the Prius allow the driver to select gears by mere thought? No, it uses switches like in any other car."

      Yes, it does. When you move your foot on the accelerator pedal, the torque output at the wheel is adjusted by the "computer". This is done 1,000 times every second! There is no need to select gears since there is only one (the right gear).

      This eliminates shift shocks and shift delays.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh my God. What are people saying here about why the Prius is supposedly so reliable?

      "It's just what having more control over engine operation and a relatively simple transmission allows engineers to do." Really? A computer will prevent rings from wearing out? I didn't know that! If a driver wants to drive a Prius 90 miler per hour just like Steve Wozniak, will the computer's "control over engine operation" prevent that from happening--ignoring the unintended acceleration debacle going on.

      "All the added complexity involves stuff like power electronics that tend to be relatively durable compared to mechanical stuff, so if integrating all that allows engineers to optimize engine operation and eliminate a relatively complex transmission then as a whole reliability will increase because the engine/emissions system/complex transmission still tend to be the weak points of most vehicles." Really? Most of the car repair stories I hear are not directly related to the engine and transmission. Hmmm... stuff like suspensions failing, power windows not working, dead fuel pumps, door water leaks, leaking heater cores, stereo not working. Major engine and transmission problems after a car is only 5 years old is a thing of the past.

      "No fancy direct injection, no tricky cams and high ultra high RPMs, no turbos, no superchargers. Even more, no belts to wear out and snap. No clutches to wear, no gear selection mechanism to fail." Really? That describes most automatic transmission cars nowadays, except for the part about belts--and you see those being replaced every couple of years in a regular car, right? And does the Prius allow the driver to select gears by mere thought? No, it uses switches like in any other car.

      "No, this is flat out wrong. This is one of the most common misconceptions about Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive System. There is one hybrid powertrain in the Prius. HSD won't work without a petrol engine and won't work without its electric motors, so there are no 2 powertrains in it, only 1." Really? Gas runs one powertrain, electric drives the other. Like a gas engine and transmission... just because they work together, doesn't mean they they are one. If a Prius electric drive motor has to be replaced by a mechanic, does that mean that he's also going to swap out the gas-powered engine as well? If you're paying to have this done to your Prius, you aren't having just the wool pulled over your eyes--you have a full-size wool sweater stuffed into your eye sockets.

      Prius owners are so damn loyal, they defend them to a fault. You can see above how their owners distance their cars from other "archaic cars" as apparently any systems that are prone to breaking in an "archaic car" are not present in a Prius. They live in such a world of make believe that they don't report problems with them just so others can fall for the same ploy,buy one, and join them in their exclusive club. The situation is similar to one lady at work who has an Audi S4... people around the office drool over it in the parking lot and say how much they want one... but that's because she never talks about now much money has dumped into repairs of the damn thing!
        • 8 Months Ago
        Neptronix, A poster was being pedantic and corrected me when I said that Pii was the correct term for the Prius plural. After learning this I must correct you and say Priora is correct. Or you may choose what you like according to Toyota. Muscle car guys are bad. I only run small blocks. He, he.

        I think when a mechanic must diagnose problems with Priora, lol, they have much more on there hands to diagnose than if just a ICE or EV alone. I think any independent mechanic would tell you that. Two or more of everything. Motors, batteries, brake systems, Toyota did a great job of putting it together and making it reliable but there can be no doubt it is more complex, even Bob the Marine jet pilot from GM that is retiring will tell you that. Can't remember his last name right now.

        3:22AM (3/21/2010)
        Just to be pedantic, No. :P


        • 8 Months Ago
        Yeah, it's a matter of seeing the fuel economy end emissions as more important than anything else.

        Just the same with my BMW, it's a financial black hole, but nothing drives just like it so i continue to feed the beast.

        Prii generally have a good maintenance record, but if you hunt around carsurvey.org, some of the repair costs on aged models are effin ludicrous. Those specialty parts are ridiculous to replace when they eventually break.

        Green car drivers are pretty blind to the costs, but let's be honest, muscle car drivers are waaay worse.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Priora? i'll try to remember that :P

        Let's just say that this BMW owner is scared of the repair costs and diagnostic complexity that a Prius will have :p
        • 8 Months Ago
        As I mentioned in another thread, the 2004-2009 Prius was also most reliable car in TrueDelta and Consumer Reports surveys. There is no evidence for your assertion that the thousands of owners who participated in these surveys lied about the problems they had with their cars.

        Anti-Prius wackjobs are so damn loyal to the idea that hybrids must be bad, they are blind to how impressive it is that the only 50mpg new car you can buy in the USA is a mid-size practical hatchback that's also very reliable.

        And I don't drive one! (though every block in my neighborhood has half a dozen normal folks who do.)
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