Today on the way to work, my 2002 Prius hit the 88,888 mile mark. While this is no large amount of miles compared to some, this is the first time the display in the dash shows all "8's" which is a bit unusual except for test mode.

My Prius has been a real gem, and I would buy another in a minute. I prefer the 1st generation cabin and view with larger windows and greater visibility. The 2nd and 3rd generation Prius models some how feel a bit more cramped and boxed in in the drivers seat. I would love to have the newer technology, with a 500 volt instead of a 250 volt system, electric A/C instead of gas-engine powered, and the Thermos bottle for the coolant which keeps the engine warm on those cold winter mornings.

The car is a perfect commuter car for me. It performs well for the 8-10 mile trip I make every day. Long road trips at full speed (75 mph) and fully loaded 3-4 adults, prove it to be less than perfect. The newer ones are probably better. I drove my 8.5 year old Prius to Wanship, UT yesterday, and maintained 70 mph all the way up Parley's canyon with no problem (so much for hybrids being underpowered). Got only about 40 mph during that climb, but the descent used no gasoline engine power at all and topped off the battery, with indicated 50+ mph. Round trip mpg was 48.

The car is much quieter and smoother than others its size and quite comfortable to drive. I only hope that battery holds out a lot longer as it is now out of its 8 year full replacement warranty. With the exception of a bit more tire wear due to the heavier front end, the car has been a maintenance dream with absolutely no problems at all during the life of the car.

The most common question I get now days is, "Have you replaced the battery?" The answer is no, as there is nothing wrong with the one I have. Lots of talk in the press about that, but my service technician, Bruce Belliston at Mark Miller Toyota, tells me they simply aren't replacing batteries due to just age, only crashes and rebuilds. Interesting huh?

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Copyright © 2011 David L. Bytheway

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