I don’t do many consumer related blog posts at PB. This one, however, is quite positive compared to what you may be used to. [cough… Tim … cough … AT&T…]

I recently purchased a 2010 Toyota Prius. I’ve wanted one since they came out but always had some kind of new minivan for transport of the b?b? kids that required a decent payment and was never in the position to get rid of my so-called beater car.

Until now. The story of how I came to need a new car despite having just purchased a new minivan for chillin’ transport is indeed a funny one. My latest beater was a ’95 Toyota Camry. It was a decent car. Did the job. Nothing fancy. It began to have those nagging issues any 10 year old plus car does. The last episode was a suspension issue what would literally cause the car to “turn” in an unexpected way. Very disconcerting when you are traveling at 50mph on a freeway entrance ramp trying to merge into traffic. It got bad enough my wife wouldn’t drive it with kids along.

The final straw problem was a sunroof that had a mind of it’s own. This winter one day wife calls me in hysterics. At first I thought they were the “something bad just happened” type of hysterics, but quickly realized she was LOL. “The sunroof just opened driving down the road and it WON’T CLOSE!” she said. It’s December. She got it home and I figured out some voodoo combination of button pressing that got it closed. All good.

The very next day I take it to Cleveland and it does the very same thing. Only this time no amount of voodoo button pressing will make it closed. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Long story short I drive 2 hours in the freezing Ohio winter with my sunroof down.

I’m done. Next day car shopping.

Obviously the first thought was a Prius, having wanted one forever. It also happened to be a great time to wheel and deal for one. Toyota dealerships were freaking out over the recall over-hyped madness. Which meant I got a Prius for $3-4,000 less than I otherwise would.

The car is great. Everything I would have imagined having wanted one. The very first tank of gas I averaged 48.9 miles per gallon. Astonishing. That’s easily more than double any other car I’ve ever owned. I’ve averaged right around the 48 mpg mark ever since. I was surprised initially to learn that the gas tank only held 10 gallons. Two five gallon containers. You notice that when gas is $2.50 and it only costs you $25 to fill the thing up. Yet you drive what seems like forever on that amount.

One of the first things I noticed about the car is that it completely changed my driving habits. I was a total red light to red light flat out heavy braking driver. Tim would say I’m scary to ride with. LOL. Right away the feedback the car gave me in it’s heads up display changed that. I was so focused on keeping the little indicator in the “Eco” range and squeezing the absolute most out of my MPG that I did not notice I became a calmer – and better – driver. Probably safer too. It almost helped to slow my life down a bit. It’s a conservation versus consumption mindset.

There are surely political reasons that I like having it. It makes a statement about my values. It’s a personal way to do my individual part to lessen our dependence on foreign oil (or any kind of oil). Another big reason – and possibly more important – is that the financial implications for my family are entirely positive. We only take the minivan when we need to transport all 5 of us. If it is less than that (especially when it’s just one) we take the Prius. Hell, I can in my neighborhood even switch the thing to EV mode and run it like a golf cart at about 10 mph. Zero gas usage.

It is weird getting used to a car that makes almost no noise, shuts off at red lights, and starts with a power button. There is nothing weird about using as little fuel as possible when driving and spending as little money as possible on that fuel.

I give the Prius 5 out of 5 stars.

PS – No, it doesn’t accelerate other than the times I press the pedal on the right. 😉

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