2004 Toyota Prius Long-Term Road Test

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2004 Toyota Prius: A Little Old School, a Little New

October 25, 2010

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At some point in our Prius's history, somebody had the foresight to load our office as "Home" in the now-aged navigation system. A couple interesting things happened when I zoomed in on the POI icon.

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2004 Toyota Prius: The Bar Graph, Old vs. New

October 14, 2010

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I've always dug the "last 30 minutes" efficiency bar graph display in our 2004 Toyota Prius. However, for the third generation (2010 --), Toyota switched to a smaller, less colorful dash-mounted display (after the jump).

The idea behind the new display, of course, is to keep your eyes pointed closer to the road ahead, rather than on the navigation screen, as you're playing the fuel economy/recharge-the-battery-pack game. I'm sure Toyota's legal team prefers the new display.

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2004 Toyota Prius: Hooray for the Tape Deck

May 26, 2010

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Yeah, I don't want to read about an old Prius either, but hear me out. This thing was redistributed within the company and therefore out of the LT fleet so long, its return means we've basically added another used LT car, like the Z06 or M3 (well, sorta). So as such, here's some used car advice.

As Kelly noted earlier this month, the Prius has a tape deck. While you can make all the books on tape jokes you like, you'd better hope that your used car from let's say 2006 and earlier has one. Because if it doesn't, it likely only has a CD player, which means you can only play an iPod through one of the those horribly unreliable FM modulators. You can also buy an aftermarket unit, but you know, that costs money.

Since the Prius has a tape deck, I'm able to enjoy my iPod as well as my portable satellite radio. The same goes for my '98 Z3, the '02 M3 and our old diesel Jetta. Other than the M3, I've found sound quality to be pretty decent.

The Z06? No dice, only a CD player. You can't fault GM for that, but in 20-20 hindsight, it would've been nice if it hadn't been so hip in 2002 and ditched those fussy old tape decks.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor on the DL @ 69,659 miles

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2004 Toyota Prius: Play That Funky Old School Music, Hybrid

May 07, 2010

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A month or so ago, I mentioned that our Prius felt a little old school because it didn't have a rear backup camera. Well, I still feel that way, but there is something else that really drives the point home.

Yes, our Prius has a tape deck. A full logic control tape deck at that. You probably don't even know what that means do you? Well, I remember, sort of, but I don't usually give that information out freely.

It does bring up another question though. How soon before cars don't even have CD players? Seems like every new car has an auxiliary jack at the very least, if not a dedicated iPod connection of USB port.

I bet most interior designers would be glad to get rid of that big, wide slot that takes up so much dashboard real estate. What do you think? 5 years, 10 years?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 68,234 miles

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Silent Prius, Broken Prius

November 27, 2006

The weekend after Thanksgiving is usually the weekend during which radio stations begin playing Christmas carols. But there were no carols to be heard over the last few days, at least not within the cabin of the Toyota Prius.

Our Managing Editor Donna DeRosa had reported earlier that she'd experienced problems with the car's navigation and audio systems; she'd thought that maybe the issue was somehow linked to her new high-tech cell phone. During my time in the Prius, I experienced problems as well, with nary a fancy-schmancy cell phone in sight... The radio would intermittently cut out, making it impossible for me to tune in to the joyous music of the holiday season. That I didn't miss so much, but it would have been nice to get some KCRW every now and then.

Our Prius has been rock-solid in terms of reliability over the past couple of years, so this glitch is very much out of character. We've scheduled a visit to the dealer to investigate the problem.

Warren Clarke, Content Editor

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Toyota Prius - Malfunctioning Nav or Calling Inspector Gadget?

November 22, 2006

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During my commute home last night, the Prius's nav started going haywire. Unfortunately, a lot of the car's systems are operated out of this computer, like the audio and climate controls. I couldn't access the map and sometimes I would get overlapping display screens.

I was listening to the radio but the car's computer kept telling me the audio system was off... While I could control the volume and change the stations from outside the computer, I couldn't tell what radio station was set. Then the audio started blanking out and back on every few seconds. I ended up stopped at a red light under an overpass and lost power to the radio completely. It was a particularly bad song so I didn't care much. But I hit the power button anyway and the radio came back on and the nav system started working properly. I had been stuck in traffic and was suddenly surprised by how much I had depleted the battery. I had been getting an improper reading while the system was freaking out.

I was in and out of the Prius several times that night, and each time the computer would go crazy again.

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