2004 Toyota Prius Long-Term Road Test


2004 Toyota Prius: Why I Bought it

December 02, 2010

2004 Toyota Prius.jpg

Our 2004 Toyota Prius has outlasted every other car in our long term fleet. We bought this second-generation Prius six years ago and it has carried various editors over 85,000 miles. But it had gradually lost its luster both in appearance and in novelty. And the time had come to sell it.

When the Prius was first given to me to sell it looked like it had been put through the wringer. Then, Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing, put new tires on it which fixed the stability control problem. Still, the interior smelled funky and the arm rest was black with grime. And then one afternoon, I left work a bit late and ventured out into rush hour traffic.

By the time I reached the dreaded 405 Freeway, traffic in the normal lanes was stopped. I fought my way to the carpool lanes and, lo and behold, I rolled along past miles of stopped traffic at about 50 mph. It was like bustin' out of jail. The next day, after scrubbing the grime off the arm rest, dowsing the interior with an odor eliminator and giving the ole Prius a bath, I looked at it with new eyes.

I checked our asking price, which was True Market Value (TMV) average condition level of $8,476. I checked AutoTrader.com to see what other '04 Priuses were going for and they were all over the map. Then, after offering the car to other staff members at that price, I decided to take the plunge and buy it.

I've had the Pruis for about a month now and I have to say I'm enjoying it more than I expected. Previously, I was commuting in a 2007 Honda Fit Sport and while I have to say I think that's a great car for around-town errands, it's not a comfortable car. The Pruis is a bit bigger, quieter, gets better gas mileage and has more features such as steering wheel-mounted temperature and audio controls. The only down side to it is that now I'm viewed as a Pruis guy. For me it's not a political statement, it's the easiest way to get to work and home again in LA without losing your mind.

Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @ 86,400miles

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