2004 Toyota Prius Long-Term Road Test


2004 Toyota Prius: Life after the Long Term Fleet

December 27, 2010

2004 Toyota Prius.jpg

Ever wonder what happens to the long term test cars after the editors are finished with them? This is your lucky chance to hear from the old 2004 Toyota Prius after leaving the fleet last Fall. That's because it was purchased by yours truly, Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor.

I bought the Prius two months ago and I've already put 2,000 miles on it. It successfully survived the torrential rains of last week's historic storms. For Christmas the Prius received a new set of factory beige floor mats which brighten the interior greatly. I'm also happy to report that I've only discovered one defect.

Some mornings when I come out the brake lights are on. Yes, just the brake lights. Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing, suggested it was a faulty brake light switch under the brake pedal. I jammed a shoe under there one night and, sure enough, no morning brake light. I'm going to get it fixed as soon as I get around to addressing a recall I received for the pump that cools the hybrid system. Until then, I keep a strap in the car and attach the brake pedal to the steer wheel at night.

With access to the car pool lanes and gas prices climbing to $3.25 a gallon in California, I'm really glad I bought the Prius. After driving 385 miles, I rare put in more than eight gallons. While despised by car enthusiasts for its light steering and floaty suspension, it remains the easiest way to get from home to work and back easily, quickly and cheaply. For me, that's a priority right now.

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