Bought it new in June 2003. I'm amazed the car it still gives me 42-46 mpg each fill up in mixed city/highway driving in busy Miami traffic. This has been the most reliable car I have owned in 40 years of driving. Repairs so far: full brake job at 100,000 miles, replaced replaced rear wheel bearings at 155,000 miles, replaced ABS brake module and engine belt at 165,000 miles, replaced steering rack at 175,000 miles, added refrigerant gas to AC at 190,000 miles for the 1st time. As a preventive measure I also replace the small 12V battery every 3 years. The car is still running fine on the original high voltage battery. Everything thing else is original. I love it!
I bought this car used at a dealership and they checked everything else EXCEPT for the hybrid battery. Being a hybrid, and having 2 batteries could be a nightmare waiting to happen. I used it for 2 days and the 2nd day, on the way home from work on the freeway my car had stopped accelerating. The main battery light came up and I had to stop on the side of the road to start it up again. This happened 3 times, and I only live 10 mins away from my work. The cost to replace an old hybrid battery is 3000 for parts and 2000 for labor. BEWARE. Only the new Prius' are reliable considering this is the earliest of models.
We've had the 02 Prius for about 2 years (our first Prius), and our experience has been great. In fact we bought an 08 Prius and gave the 02 to our son to drive to school. I expect we will always have Prius for the foreseeable future. Gas mileage is lower in winter (35-39), and as high as 48 mpg in summer on a 700 mile road trip. It's still weird when the engine shuts down when at a stop light....but that's just money in my pocket ! There have been zero-nada problems with anything. It just purrs along all the time. We like the 08 even better because Toyota updated many things like a a fold down rear seat, better stereo radio, and even more room in back seat.
Bought this car used. Wonderful first year. Very happy and proud to drive this car. Saved a lot of money in gas. Only averaged 37 mpg, less than I thought. Then check engine light came on. Cost $1200 to replace 12 volt battery and brakes. 2 weeks later light came on again. Dealer service said codes indicated I need new main battery cost is $3600.00. Called back 2 days later was told problem wasn't battery but transaxle, new cost $4600.00. All the money I saved in gas is shot to hell in one repair. It is outrageously expensive to repair this car. No more Prius for me. I no longer have faith in the car or the techs ability to diagnose and solve problems.
I purchased a Toyota Prius not just because it gets good gas mileage but also because it is one of the lowest polluting production cars available. My MPG varies from 39.6 to 50.1 depending on the traffic conditions and my driving practices. The 50.1 was obtained while driving a steady 60-65 mph for a distance of 1000 miles. Given its size I also find it a surprisingly comfortable car to drive over long distances. I am less tired after driving for 8-10 hours than I have been in a standard size sedan. Also, it has all the creatures comforts you could want. This is especially true of the newer Prius'. One change I did make that improved the ride was to put on a set of 80,000 mile tires.