• 61

Occasionally, owners of older hybrid models complain of diminished performance as the vehicle ages. Specifically, the complaints seem to focus on a gradual decrease in gas mileage as the hybrid's battery pack slowly loses its ability to hold a charge. Well, Consumer Reports recently set out to assess the ability of an aging hybrid and discovered that the tested model – a 2002 Toyota Prius with 206,000 miles on the odometer – performed almost identically to a new 2001 Prius that CR put through its usual battery of tests nearly a decade ago.

After thorough testing, CR's numbers show that the first-gen 2002 Prius returned an overall fuel economy of 40.4 miles per gallon, which is virtually identical to the 40.6 mpg that CR recorded when testing the new vehicle back in 2001. Likewise, CR found that, with 206,000 miles on the clock, the old Prius' acceleration numbers had only dropped by a few tenths of a second for both the 0-60 miles per hour dash and the quarter-mile run. With numbers like these, it's no surprise that CR concluded that this nine-year-old Prius has, without a doubt, retained its youth

[Source: Consumer Reports | Image: IFCAR – C.C. License 2.0]


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  • 61 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The fact the latest Prius gets 10 MPG more, is also quite the accomplishment Toyota. Bring on the plug-in Prius! Way to go Toyota!
      • 4 Years Ago
      And how much would you say this prius is worth right now? My 2002 ICE car is worth about $2000. This car is still worth probably $5000. Remember all those people who complained that a hybrid is $3000 more than a comparatively equipped gas car? People still use this argument, none of them realizing that you generally recoup the initial price difference between a hybrid and an ICE car when you sell. And you enjoy the lower cost of ownership. But nobody still understands that hybrids make ECONOMIC sense from day 1.
        • 4 Years Ago
        > My 2002 ICE car is worth about $2000. This car is still worth probably $5000.

        What do you drive? According to Edmunds, a 2002 Corolla is worth $4600.

        > Remember all those people who complained that a hybrid is $3000 more than a comparatively equipped gas car?

        Today, a base Camry Hybrid is 41% more expensive than a base Camry ICE. That's about $7000. Back in 2002, I suspect the difference would have been even greater, but they didn't have a non-hybrid equivalent to the Prius to compare with.

        > But nobody still understands that hybrids make ECONOMIC sense from day 1.

        Today, hybrids will pay for themselves in the long run. That wasn't the case when they were first introduced. Not unexpected with new tech.

        More subjectively, I believe that used hybrids are overvalued right now. A 2002 is nearing some pretty hefty maintenance costs. It's near the end of the expected life of the Prius battery. Pessimistic dealer estimates for replacement are as high as $7000. I suspect realistic estimates are closer to $3000.
        • 4 Years Ago
        > ^--- kbb and what they really sell for are two different things, buddy.

        Then choose one of the others I suggested (Edmunds claims to be based on actual sale prices). Pick one of your own. All three I suggested looking at, don't back up the part of your claim that says the lines actually cross.

        I don't deny that some large cars do a poor job of holding their value and some small cars do a good job of holding their value. It's the claim that when all things are close to equal (ex Accord vs Civic or Camry vs Corolla), the lines don't cross. The larger car will be worth more than the small car. How much more is certainly open.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ^--- kbb and what they really sell for are two different things, buddy.

        I buy a car about once or twice a year. Generally when you get into the 5-10 year old range, larger cars depreciate like freaking crazy. back during the 2007 gas crisis they were even further undervalued.

        small and Fuel efficient cars hold their value. Exceptions are the incredibly crappy ones and old domestics.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Also, rarely do people mention that large cars drop in used value like a stone every year.
        Funny that, eh?

        My girlfriend lost $10,000 on a Dodge charger in 3 years. There's a good example :P
        You can buy a used Accord or Camry for less than a Corolla or Civic, even though the original car cost quite a bit more.

        Oh, but driving a larger car is okay and driving a small fuel efficient one makes you a smug jerk, i see ;)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        I have experience with shopping for large and small cars before and large cars don't depreciate worse than small cars. The problem is that you're comparing Chargers with Civics and Corollas. A charger has to be compared with an old Neon.

        Old Camry's retain their value quite nicely. The Civic is just kind of an outlier since some models (like the Si) retain particularly high values, but you can't apply these exceptions to small cars in general.

        An old Camry is worth more than an old Corolla and excepting the Si old Accords are almost always worth more than old Civics unless you're not comparing similar trim levels (i.e. you can't compare an Accord DX to a Civic EX).
        • 4 Years Ago
        > You can buy a used Accord or Camry for less than a Corolla or Civic, even though the original car cost quite a bit more.

        Where does this come from? Look at the values on your favorite automotive site for comparably equipped Accords and Civics (or Camrys and Corollas). The Accords and Camrys are ALWAYS (all else being equal) worth more than the Civics and Corollas.

        Seriously, look it up on KBB, Edmunds, NADA, or wherever you like.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The problem with that is that if you buy a cheaper car, you get the savings up front. There's no "well hopefully I will get x dollars more when I sell it".
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow. Great car after logging big numbers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @dan9868

        Actually, I own a 2002 Prius, and it still is getting in the low 40 range. I bought the car expecting some degradation by now (being a relatively new tech), and would say honestly that I'm less likely to get into the 46+ avg range than I was 8 years ago.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't expect Consumer Reports to say much of anything negative about Toyota. Toyota has been their darling car company for decades and they want to help keep it that way. It's too bad, but that's the way it is.
        As for a Prius battery performing that well after all those years and mileage, one has to be gullible to believe such nonsense.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have a 2005, also a great car but I have notice a fall-off of mpg. I use to get 50+mpg now at 105,000 I'm getting 45 or less. This is on the same route at the same time of year. Are there some suggestions? Thanks robertplese@yahoo.com . :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        If we could go back in time 8 years, and someone were to tell me that these new hybrids would need very few repairs, would still be getting their original efficiency, AND 95% of the time would still have the original battery after 180,000 miles .... I would have said "not likely".

        But here we are, 8 years later, and by most all accounts the Prius has earned a reputation of being near "bullet proof".

        /disclaimer: I don't actually have any official 180,000/95% data, but this seems to be about what's happening with the Prius. Admittedly, the Honda batteries don't seem to be quite as robust, but I still think the failure rate is pretty low.

        //the used hybrid battery market is slowly developing. If you shop around you can get a decent replacement/refurbed pack for about 1/2 of what the dealers will charge you for new.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice article and good point. Toyota figured out what they needed to do to make the NiMH pack in the Prius, basically, last the life of the vehicle.

      The stories of diminished performance most often seem to apply to Honda's hybrids (I just sold a 2006 Civic Hybrid that started having consistent pack recalibrations after around 65k miles - you would have thought Honda learned and fixed that from the original Insight Hybrid and Civic Hybrid's who both had pack life issues - but no unfortunately and I like Honda).

      You want a Hybrid whose pack will (probably) last as long as you want to keep the car, get a Prius. Just want a Hybrid for the first 60k of miles then I'd consider Honda's.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Uh yea, i own an 07 HCH, and "sport" mode doesn't magically give the 1.3L 4 cyl any extra power when the computer refuses to give you any electrical assist for whatever random reason it decides at the time you need to merge into traffic.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The one all-important thing missing from this article is whether the battery in the now-old vehicle is the original battery. I'm pretty sure most gen I prius batteries were replaced by Toyota. Very odd thing to leave out. How old is the battery actually?
        • 4 Years Ago
        > Toyota figured out what they needed to do to make the NiMH pack in the Prius, basically, last the life of the vehicle.

        Assuming the life of the vehicle is eight years...
        • 4 Years Ago
        I suggest that people who believe this, learn to put the shifter into "sport" mode.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed...CR needs to go test a Civic Hybrid with 200K miles on the odo and the original battery...that is, if they can find one like that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Haha, word.

        I heard that if the battery dies, the car is basically undriveable because the 1.3L motor can't propel the car. It then becomes dangerously slow, IE you wouldn't want to drive it on the highway.

        "0-60 time went from 13 seconds to 20.. "
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Let's start with factual information first. Focus automatic (like the Prius) is rated 28 MPG (25/34 MPG).
      http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008car1tablef.jsp?id=30311
      "

      http://www.greencarreports.com/blog/1046578_2011-elantra-2012-focus-40-mpg-without-hybrid-fuss

      No I'm talking about the 2012 Focus, pay attention.

      "
      Focus is a compact car. Fiesta is a subcompact car. See above references.
      "
      I'm talking about the 2012 Focus

      "Your calculation just shows that a midsize Prius can cost less than a subcompact Fiesta. That fact alone speaks loudly."

      My calculations are that after 174,000 miles, and 11.6 years it will cost less. That is horrible. The average car in america will last 150,000 miles. If the battery pack dies, the focus gets another $3k


        • 4 Years Ago
        Ok, the new Focus may get Highway 40 MPG. We don't know about the City. We don't have the official EPA figures yet. I would think it will get lower than 29 MPG (Fiesta) for the city since it is a bigger car.

        Even if you take the Fiesta's 33 MPG and compare it to Prius 50 MPG, the break even point is less than 10 years.

        Show me another example of a midsize car costing less than a compact car? Civic vs. Accord. Focus vs. Fusion. Corolla vs. Camry. Sentra vs. Altima. Midsize cars always cost more to own. This is not true with Prius because hybrid technology pays for itself and beyond! This is without government incentives.

        If the battery dies before 10 years / 150k miles, Toyota will replace it under warranty. What if the Focus engine dies? It only has 5 years / 60,000 miles warranty.

        There is less maintenance with Prius as well. For example, the brake pads last the lifetime of the car, thanks to the regen braking. There is no steering fluid to change. There is no starter or alternator that can wear out. There is absolutely NO belt to change in the 2010 Prius.

        In 10 years gas price will skyrocket. Which pre-owned car would worth more? 33 MPG Compact or 50 MPG Midsize? Which would you buy?
        • 4 Years Ago
        neevers1,

        Believe it or not, Prius has more interior room than Fusion hybrid. Fusion hybrid has more passenger volume but Prius has a lot more cargo volume.

        You and your wife both were right judging by passenger volume. Prius has 94 cu.ft and 2001 Accord has 104 cu.ft. Prius has 22 cu.ft cargo but your Accord has 14 cu.ft. Both cars have the same total interior volume of 116 cu.ft. They both are big midsizes since the range is 110 to 119 cu.ft for the class. I have fit a twins size mattress in my 2006 Prius.

        Prius has two powertrains but there is no transmission, just like Ford hybrids. Electric motor is used as "low gear" and gas engine as "high gear". The "CVT" effect is created by combining the two power sources electronically. Therefore, it was named eCVT. There isn't separate gearbox to do the job of a transmission.

        Prius never shift a gear so it doesn't have a reverse gear. The electric motor simply spin backward to reverse the car. If you look into it, you'll find out how simple and elegant the design is. It simplified the mechanical complexity. Synergy created between two powertrains eliminated the need for a gearbox.

        The HV battery turned out to be the most reliable component of the car and it is maintenance free. You were concern about the HV battery failure but never questioned the gas engine failure. I pointed out the differences in warranty coverages (did not mean to focus on the "what if"). Chances are that you will forget to maintain the gas engine or transmission and they will need to be replaced, before the HV battery.

        Prius has two batteries (not 3). The 99 lbs HV battery and the 12v lead acid battery. Lead acid battery is half the size (less toxic lead) of a non-hybrid because it is not used to crank the gas engine. It is only used for radio and various computers to start the car.

        It does not make sense to put a brand new engine or transmission in a 10 years non-hybrid. It does not make sense to put in a new HV battery in a hybrid either. You can get a recondition packs for under $1k brand new is about $2,500 (less expensive than new engine or transmission).

        You can read about ownership experiences of Priuses reaching 200k miles and 300k+ miles.

        http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-prius-main-forum/57091-200-000-mile-club.html
        http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-prius-main-forum/79235-299-999-mile-club.html
        • 4 Years Ago
        They say it will be 30/40. What you think it will be, or has to be isn't relevant.

        Anyways, even at 33mpg average, it will do 142,000 miles before breaking even, or 9.46 years.

        The toyota Prius is the smallest midsize car there is, it's for this exact reason, so they can market it VS mid size cars. it has an entire 110 cubic inch of storage, 101 is the number required to be mid size. All the mid size cars, such as the accord are now considered Fullsize cars. Such as my 2001 accord, it was midsize, and now is bloated in to the full size catagory in 2010.

        no one will cross shop a prius and a fusion, or a prius and an accord. When I looked at the prius it wasn't that big, and considerably smaller than even my 2001 accord. As a n=1 survey I asked my wife, who was with me when we looked at the prius if she thought it was bigger or smaller than our 2001 midsize accord, she said much smaller, it just felt smaller.

        At CES they are predicting that electic cars will be 2.3% of the market in 2020. As for gas skyrocketing, we will find out, as more people buy more fuel effiecent cars, such as the 2012 Focus, the usage of gas will decline, even with more cars on the road. Also if people would stop shipping cars over it would help greatly!

        Prius's have two drivetrains, and 3 batteries, there's no way that overall maintiance at 150,000 miles when agrgated across the entire 400,000 cars a year shipped from japan, will be lower. Even with 12.5% battery failure over the live of those cars, you have a cost of 3k a car, yadada yda, since you seem so good at math you do it. And none of your usual funny biz!

        New fords do not have steering fluid either, they all use EPAS. What if the prius motor dies?? The chance of a motor dying in a high quality car is low, which is why I gave you the number that the average car lasts 150,000 miles. We can do what if's all day, but hwat if both motors in the prius died at 101,000k?What then, and then both batteries blew up. These are unrealisitc. However considering that numberous 2001's, even in this thread are seeing HV battery failure, that's a possiblity, and a normal car doens't have that possiblity, a prius has TWO drivetrains, remember, it has a trans, it's just a CVT, it has all the parts of a normal car plus extra complication.

        As for brakes, they are 100 dollars to replace, my accord hit 160,000, past the life of the average car, before they needed replacement.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "I glanced at the standard features. Fiesta SFE in the US does not come with the push start button or the touch sensitive smart key entry door like in the Prius."

      Yes, it does, look harder. So does the new Focus, which is actually what I'm talking about.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Typical Toyota-humping from CR. Even after the accelerator problem, it's probably still red dots across the board for every Toyota product. I wouldn't know; I had to cancel my subscription b/c it was driving me nuts that the known Toyota defects (in the lower volume models) were not reflected in the data.

      I don't doubt the authenticity of the data, and I don't disbelieve that Prius is a great reliable car that ages well. I do wonder how many Prius' they scrutinized before they found the one that returned the data points they wanted.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not that these are large sample sizes, but one can see how hybrids from all different makes held up in testing at http://avt.inl.gov/hev.shtml. Many were taken to 160K miles in a very short time span.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wish Honda had similar battery performance stats.

      The Honda Civic Hybrid is show SIGNIFICANT drop off in battery performance in as little as one year.

      Honda is not acknowledging these drop offs as failures, and is not replacing these batteries, making a large number of Honda Civic owners very unhappy.

      I should've bought a Prius......
      • 4 Years Ago
      So, the Honda Insight matches the 10 year old Prius.
      But, the Insight is a sporty ride. And the GPS equipped Insight is $5,000 less then the Prius GPS.

      The Insight is still less expensive and sportier.

      With that $5000 you can get:
      http://www.3panes.com/

      And save more money.
        • 4 Years Ago
        40mpg insight is a terrible car. The new Ford Focus will do at least 40mpg, and is made domestically, and at less co2 cost because it doesn't have two drive trains.
        • 4 Years Ago
        if by sportier you mean a rougher ride, a noisy cabin, less torque, less horsepower, and a second slower from 0-60, then you are 100% correct about the Insight being sportier ;)

        * blows smoke off of sarcasm ray *
        • 4 Years Ago
        2 drivetrains does produce more co2, to manufacture. How much more? I'm uncertain, but it can't be less. Some say 9000lbs more I'm trying to figure it out. If you have any sources post them up.
        • 4 Years Ago
        neevers, you are wrong on a few points:

        1. The Focus will get 40mpg on the highway, but not the city. A hybrid will do 40mpg in the city and highway. There is a big difference. Most likely the Focus will pull 23-27mpg city.
        2. Having 2 drivetrains does not increase the co2 cost. All hybrids ( with the exception of the Chevy Volt ) produce drastically less emissions than gas powered cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        New Focus is getting 30 city 40 highway, at least, the numbers aren't out yet from the EPA, but that's what they say it'll be, at least. I'm interested to see what it will be for sure. But to say 23-27 city is farce, with CAFE standards and what not, every manufacturer is pumping out cars that get much better mpg than they used to. Sure 23-27 perhaps was the old norm, but not anymore, the market has changed.

        I'm sure I could lead foot a prius and get it way below 50, and lead foot a focus and get way below 30/40. It matters how you drive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The problem with that is that if you buy a cheaper car, you get the savings up front."

      And you don't get the high tech hybrid exclusive premium features. Don't count out the emission and the money you spend on the gas is going to unfriendly countries.

      For 150k miles if you buy $18k (25 MPG) car, you are going to spend $18k for gas (at $3 per gallon) - half in the car and half for gas for a total of $36k.

      If you get $23k (50 MPG) Prius, you'll spend $9k for gas for 150k miles. You get to keep $4k in your pocket. You send $9k less to the unfriendly countries.

      That's the bottom line.
        • 4 Years Ago
        neevers1,

        Prius is a midsize but Focus is a compact.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Let's start with factual information first. Focus automatic (like the Prius) is rated 28 MPG (25/34 MPG).
        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008car1tablef.jsp?id=30311
        "

        http://www.greencarreports.com/blog/1046578_2011-elantra-2012-focus-40-mpg-without-hybrid-fuss

        No I'm talking about the 2012 Focus, pay attention.

        "
        Focus is a compact car. Fiesta is a subcompact car. See above references.
        "
        I'm talking about the 2012 Focus

        "Your calculation just shows that a midsize Prius can cost less than a subcompact Fiesta. That fact alone speaks loudly."

        My calculations are that after 174,000 miles, and 11.6 years it will cost less. That is horrible. The average car in america will last 150,000 miles. If the battery pack dies, the focus gets another $3k
        • 4 Years Ago
        neevers 1
        I am not sure why you are comparing the Ford Focus with the much larger Prius.
        I am also not familiar enough with US specs to know whether the base model on the Prius is as stripped down as the Ford.
        Perhaps you would explain.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Let's start with factual information first. Focus automatic (like the Prius) is rated 28 MPG (25/34 MPG).
        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008car1tablef.jsp?id=30311

        Perhaps you were thinking about Fiesta SFE? It is rated 33 MPG (29/40 MPG).
        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/compx2008f.jsp?year=2011&make=Ford&model=Fiesta%20SFE&hiddenField=Findacar

        Focus is a compact car. Fiesta is a subcompact car. See above references.

        Your calculation just shows that a midsize Prius can cost less than a subcompact Fiesta. That fact alone speaks loudly.

        Now run the same calculation with $20k Fusion 25 MPG midsize vs. $23k Prius 50 MPG midsize.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's the old Focus, the new Focus will get 30/40. Big step forward.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why is the 18k car getting 25? The new focus will be 18k and get 30/40, at least. The prius gets 48/51.

        The Focus has a better interior and is probably going to be more fun to drive.


        • 4 Years Ago
        10 years to profit $4k with the Prius. Break even point is less than 5 years. Even after 10 years, Prius would worth more than a non-hybrid. More resale value means more money to pocket.
        • 4 Years Ago
        David Martin,

        I glanced at the standard features. Fiesta SFE in the US does not come with the push start button or the touch sensitive smart key entry door like in the Prius.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Care to post up your math there chief? I'll show you mine.

        Ford Focus starts at $18,700

        Toyota Prius starts at $23,000

        With tax 4.15% now that will vary, but the difference is $4478.5/$3=1492 gallons of gas

        I'll assume 35mpg as a happy medium, The Focus gets 52,220 miles for free

        52,220/15,000 miles per year, what the average american drives

        It's 3.481 years That's before the prius has even moved.

        Where is the break even point again, many many years after this, not even close to 5.

        The true break even point, 174,144.44 miles, or at 15,000 miles a year=11.609 years

        That's with the Focus getting 35, and the Prius getting 50.


        The average car in america goes 150,000 miles and the average american owner keeps a car 42 months, considering these numbers....





        • 4 Years Ago
        Also, even at the assumed 25mpg, you would have to keep the car 10 years, at 15k a year. 10 years to pay back the upfront cost of the car. Also obviously in a 30/40 car it would be much further.

      • 4 Years Ago
      That's really impressive.

      The NiMH battery is pretty awesome. Too bad it weighs a ton and is on par with the cost of Lithium batteries now. Oh well!
        • 4 Years Ago
        As Chris said, Prius battery is only 99 lbs. That weights about 15 gallons of gasoline. Due to higher fuel efficiency, Prius carries 6.6 gallons less in the tank than the Camry.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Maybe i should be extremely literal in all my posts.
        Cmon guys, i don't think the battery weighs 2000lbs. I know it weighs about 100. But the weight of a NiMH battery over an equivalent Lithium battery is something like double the weight. That's the point it was trying to make.
        • 4 Years Ago
        U sure?
        I thought the prius chassis + motor + interior itself weighed a few hundred pounds, the rest was battery. It's godly like that. ;D
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, in that case, you must weigh a ton and a half!

        FYI, in that model the NiMH battery weights about 100 pounds.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have experience with shopping for large and small cars before and large cars don't depreciate worse than small cars. The problem is that you're comparing Chargers with Civics and Corollas. A charger has to be compared with an old Neon.

      Old Camry's retain their value quite nicely. The Civic is just kind of an outlier since some models (like the Si) retain particularly obscene values, but you can't apply these exceptions to small cars in general.
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