I have had this plug in only one month and on three separate occasions have not been able to start this car. Twice I called for service to come out and use the jump pack to power the main battery. I went to the dealer I got the car from and they tested the battery only telling me the battery had a full charge and nothing was wrong, questioning if I had left a light on in it or left the key fob in it? (NO and NO!). This third time the car was towed to the local dealer, after jump starting it again, to get it out of my garage to be able to put it into neutral to put it on the flatbed tow truck, it stalled out. It took at least 4 attempts for the tow truck operator to jump start the battery to get it to power up to get it in neutral to be able to put it on the truck. Once at the dealer, the following morning the dealer was also unable to start it or power it up on accessory mode to even find out the mileage on it. Another problem is that each time I try to charge the electric battery from my brand new garage that has new electric service, it throws the breaker in my house. The dealer says I need a dedicated outlet for it to charge it! Obviously this was never brought up during the time I purchased it. I was told by the salesman that I would be able to drive FIFTEEN MILES on the electric battery alone which is a flat out lie. I questioned him on this after the sale and he claims he said UP TO 15. NOT TRUE as he said this to me and also to a friend of mine over the phone. With a total charge, the car shows only 11 miles remaining which is what the EPA estimate is. The dealer that has my car presently is out of loaner cars for me, so I am now going on my fourth day without a car. Also I have to find my own way to pick up my car at the dealer which is 30 miles away. I live alone so this is an inconvenience. Most dealers have a shuttle service. Toyota is really dropping the ball on this. The car was towed to the dealer on a Friday night, on Saturday morning I was told they would call me back by 10 a.m with some information. I finally called at 11:15 to see what was happening and was told to talk to the service manager only to find out that there was no way they would even be able to look at my car on a Saturday. If this was the case, I should have been told this right at 8 a.m. when I first called, not told that I would know something by 10. I bought an extended warranty on this car and found out after the fact that I was mislead on this also. During the purchase I asked specifically just who was backing this warranty and was told Toyota, and that is not the case at all, it is a private company. I would say BUYER BEWARE AND DO NOT BUY FROM TOYOTA AND DO NOT BUY OR LEASE A PLUG IN. My nine year old car was more dependable and reliable than this brand new car! I never know when I go out if it will start or not, even if I have just started it.
Upsides: Although this car has minimal EV-only range (only 13 miles), this car is unique among plug-in hybrids in that it still provides a lot of storage space (almost as much as the regular Prius; just the part under the hatchback floor is smaller). 13 miles will probably not get you to work and back just on electricity, but it will still boost your overall mileage. Since the battery and the onboard charger is so weak, you're more likely to be able to plug it in to a garage outlet without having to worry about installing a bunch of new electrical circuitry. The price sounds high, but you'll get $2500 in federal tax credits for it (and might get some state credits, depending in state), making it a more palatable deal. Hybrid mode efficiency is basically as good as a regular Prius, so you get good gas mileage even if you can't plug in. Donwsides: Acceleration in EV-only mode is horrible. You can't even get the full acceleration of the regular Prius without having the gas turn on (and the regular Prius isn't exactly a burner). Yes, you're probably saying "if I cared about acceleration, I wouldn't be considering a Prius anyway." But the irritation is that it's really easy to burn gas without meaning to: just press the pedal a little too hard, and boom, the gas engine turns on. The car won't sustain regular highway speeds in EV-only mode (there seems to be circuitry that tells the car "don't go EV only if you're going faster than 62 MPH"). Overall, the plug-in Prius if you want some plug-in benefit with a minimum of compromise vs. a regular hybrid car. If your main priority is to drive on electric as much as possible, however, you'd probably want to choose something with more range and more all-electric power, such as one of the Ford Energi vehicles, or a Volt.
This is my second leased Toyota Prius Plugin. This time I opted to go for the advanced package. This is the best vehicle I have ever owned. I have about a 25 mile commute on hilly terrain. Coming to work mostly a drop in elevation I get in the range of 125 to 178 MPG. Going home it ranges from 70 to 90 MPG. It has a lot of pickup on the interstate and holds its own in the fast lane!! Seats are comfortable and heated!. Easy to program hands free navigation! It also reads me my email and text from my phone ALL hands Free.