2004 Toyota Prius Long-Term Road Test


2004 Toyota Prius: Day 22 on the DL

June 09, 2010

Disabled Spot Toyota Prius.jpg

A little less than a month ago, I ran a baserunner down in a rundown, dove to tag him out, made the play, then landed on my outstretched shoulder. In the process I dislocated my shoulder and broke my humerus bone in three places. Oh, I also sprained my right wrist. It was unpleasant.

Since then, I've been living in a handsome 2010 Donjoy Arm Sling, which I've been told is the Cadillac of arm slings. This made a manual transmission out of the question, and my sprained wrist made low-effort steering a nicety. After a few days in the Insight, I was transferred into ye olde Prius where I stayed until today. I'm finally out of the sling and on the road to recovery. Hmm, I wonder if there's actually a Recovery, Ohio, or something out there. That would be fun.

Where was I? Oh yeah, 18 days in a Prius, which makes it the longest I've spent in a single car in more than three years since before I worked at Edmunds and drove an Acura TSX. And to tell you a secret, I don't mind the Prius.

I've actually never minded the Prius. Oh, I find many of its drivers infuriating, but as a practical form of transportation, it's a brilliant little car. The back seat is enormous, the trunk is useful, storage is plentiful, equipment is generous, noise is kept decently in check, the stereo is strong and the ride is comfortable. Oh, and I also managed 41 mpg making absolutely no effort to putter about like a half-dead hybrid driver.

I especially like that the Prius has gobs of character thanks to its many quirks. The weird shifter, the weird dash layout, the weird 1991 Pontiac steering wheel buttons aplenty, the weird digital gauges and heck, even the hybrid system is pretty darn weird. There's no other car like this second-gen Prius -- even the current-gen car -- and I like that.

Sure its boring to drive, sure its drivers move at the speed of continental drift and sure its driving position is intended for the average Japanese female, but I strangely like the Prius. But am I glad to be finally out of it? Oh yes indeed.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor on the DL @ 69,882 miles

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