Great car until the hybrid battery pack failed at 109k
written on 01-13-2013
Bought used with 58k miles. Car is extremely quiet. Car gets around 48mpg after changing your driving habits. You can fill up the gas tank for about $35. Changing the oil is easy b/c the oil filter is attached at the very bottom of the engine and nothing is below it. My hybrid battery died at 109k miles. This is a $3500 repair at Toyota. I would not have bought a Prius if I would have known the battery would not last longer. I replaced the battery pack myself with a refurbished one from priusrebuilders.com for about $1000 and sold the car. Money saved in gas was used to pay for repair. A Prius sitting and not being driven is the number 1 reason for battery packs not lasting.
We now have 145,000 miles on our Prius and it has no mechanical problems and drives as good as it did when I purchased it with 67k. Still getting 45 mpg, and I don't drive easy. Cannot find a better car out there for the money and cost of ownership. Have done basic maintenance--oil changes, spark plagues, air filter, trans fluid, and a new 12V battery, and tires. Only thing that stopped working was the cd changer, but we use an ipod through the tape deck anyway. Still using original headlight bulbs, and brakes. Car handles well; very easy to drive, very good in snow and ice. Unfortunately, the car does not have comfortable seats, and is not sporty or fun to drive for a young man.
After purchasing my 05 prius with factory navigation and HID headlights, package 6 I believe. Just be aware that all 04 and 05 had the ugly painted door panels and dash, I strongly would avoid these if you can get the 06 and newer. the paint has peeled off on these parts. I went to a prius dismantler and purchased all the door panels and dash parts from a 08 prius to do the swap, so much nicer. The second and biggest issue is the HID headlight bulbs, they just shut off while you use them . The best solution is replace them with aftermarket HID bulbs, do not use the factory Toyota bulbs, they will go out again. Numerous owners have had this issue, ballast is not the problem, it's the bulbs.
The only complaints . . . we have four . . . the headlights cost over $200 each to replace, the update disk for the GPS is outrageously expensive (so we have never, and probably never will, update it - can't afford to), the sun visors are very small and don't (but could) have an extension so they are practically useless for the side window, and there are no USB ports in the 2005 model.