I am an extreme commuter and I would not have been able to do this without my beloved Prius. After 4 years I have about 147,000 miles on the car and have had zero problem so far. I average about 47 - 54 mpg depending on how fast I drive. If I drive 75 mph I will get about 45-47 mpg. If I drive 65 mph I would get around 52 mpg. I still have the original brakes and my mechanic told me that it still has 75% of life left. This is due to regenerating braking and my most highway driving. The OEM tires lasted 60k miles. I replaced them with the Michelin HydroEdge tires and after 87k they are still good for another 20k miles according to my mechanic.
I've waited a year to write this so as to have some experience with the car. Was very hesitant to buy due to fear of the unknown with the high voltage battery. Can say now that this is not a concern as these fail rarely and with many miles and usually with at least a decade of time. My dealership might replace 5-6 a year on the first generation (2001-2003), but 1-2 on this generation. Not as expensive to replace as I thought, either, as I received quotes of $2500 parts and labor. Realistically, that would be at least 12-15 years down the road. I get about 44 mpg in the winter and 46-49 mpg in warm weather. No repairs have been needed; easy to work on.
Standard 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Aside from some shabby fabric on the center console, this has been a superb car. I've had maybe one repair done, and it was some routine thing they spotted at the 100k check-up. I get 48.5 mpg year round. It's quiet, and accelerates strongly at freeway speeds, like 45-75. Lots and lots of cargo space and catch-all storage areas. Only drawback? In 2008 they didn't have USB or iPod interfaces to the radio. There's also a design flaw with the traction control (which cannot be disabled) where when you stop at a stop sign and the pavement is the least but slick with water, ice or gravel the car may move haltingly when you press the gas. This is very bad, but you learn not to try and dart into traffic except in dry weather. Otherwise the performance and handling is fine. 2016 UPDATE: One of the hybrid battery cells failed at 130K miles. The repair cost $1800 from an independent repair shop which offered a 3-yr warranty. The car is running perfectly again. I have added leather steering wheel and armrest covers to fix the decaying originals. The actual seats are holding up fine, it's just the armrests and center console cover they aren't up to snuff. 2017 UPDATE: Battery failed again, repaired under warranty. But at 139K miles I needed a new daily driver. Just bought a 2017 Chevy Volt. Cargo capacity with seats down is comparable to the Prius. Rear seat headroom, not so good. But with 50 miles EV range the Volt seems a noble successor to the Prius. EV performance of the Volt is outstanding. Much more acceleration than the Prius.
Hybrids are the shape of things to come, & from my test drives of available makes, Toy is on top of the game as usual. Driver & passenger comfort good with impressive haul space. Fun driving? Hey, it's a single gear electric car! Here's my honest take of pros & cons. The Prius is a great car for city, flat highways & perfect conditions. Its biggest downside is over engineered aerodynamics. Introduce a hill, kiss your mpg goodbye. Introduce wind, kiss your wife goodbye. Handles snow & ice superbly, gravel & bumps are Kryptonite. A quick car, after the initial hesitation from a standstill. Tires wear 30% faster. Dangerously quiet for pedestrians. Buy the service contract.
Wow, this is a strikingly slow car. No real technique required to generate these numbers -- just mash the throttle in drive and go.
Sub-limit brake response is awful -- awkward feel. Difficult to be smooth: it takes some time to adjust.
Skid pad: Bizarre programming choices on the non-defeatable stability control system. On-again off-again brake application makes the chassis jump around like crazy during steady-state limit cornering. Slalom: Crummy steering feel offers almost no useful info to the driver in fast transitions or during steady-state conditions. But really, do Prius drivers care?