Recently I had the opportunity to drive something other than a hybrid for 3 weeks. A friend accidentally backed into my (parked) Toyota Prius and crunched the right bumper and some internal structures. When I was given a rental, there were no hybrids available, but they gave me a midsize sedan, which they assured me was the equivalent of a Prius. Well, maybe the Chrysler 200 is a midsize sedan, but it is a far cry from a Prius. It made me wonder why on earth, if it is (and it is, I looked it up) a midsize sedan, do people drive non-hybrid cars?
The rental company was nice enough to give me a car with ¼ of a tank, giving me the full experience of having to fuel up a non-hybrid car. Little did I know that I was going to have to fuel up this car more times than once. I was aghast when I received the receipt and saw that it was over $50. So THIS is what people talk about when they complain about high gas prices. I looked to see how many gallons and saw it was 5 more than what my Prius holds – so surely this will last me as long as the Prius, right? RIGHT?
Wrong. I had to fill it up twice more. I just don’t get it. I drive long distances for a Prius driver, not just city. My Prius does great. I drive 17.1 miles one way to this one location. I get 57mpg on this trip, one way. I drive to Thanksgiving every year to North Carolina from New Jersey. I can make it the entire way on one tank of gas. My car is comfortable for these long trips – I even did it one year with four freshly broken ribs. I have ridden in other cars and I have to go into the chiropractor the next day after riding in them for 30minutes because they put me out of whack. Not so in the Prius.
Hybrid car skeptics remark what a smooth ride and how comfortable the hybrid is and think it’s a neat little car. This awe also extends to the backseat. I am tall gal – 5’10” – and I can comfortably sit in the back seat with both front seats all the way back. There’s plenty of space. I haul all sorts of junk in this car. I am an organic gardener and a horseback rider. I’ve hauled multiple saddles, hay bales, soil, plants, trees, and more in the back of this car. It has been able to fit things in it that some vehicles couldn’t. It’s moved me to 2 different abodes.
Snow. Did I mention I lived in Buffalo, NY for a spell? My first Prius did SO well in the snow that when we wanted to go do something, and it was snowing, we took the Prius. I’ve never had this car spin out on me or get out of control in the snow. I never had an issue with it in the time I lived in Buffalo. When I moved to Eastern NY state I made a trip up to the Catskills during a snowstorm. We were traveling with another friend who was in a Volvo. Guess who got stuck? That super-duper Swedish car. Not the Prius. In a freak October storm in New Jersey I made my way home and passed a van, a truck, and two cars that were stuck on the side of the road (on a hill) – Prius was chugging along like a champ. My conscious got the better of me when I saw a woman sobbing into her cellphone that had gone off the road so I stopped. I did get stuck then, but I did get UNstuck.
I can even attest to the Prius’ safety. Three weeks after I got my first Prius, a 2006, I was unfortunately t-boned by a Ford 350 on the driver’s side (not my fault). To this day I am surprised that the car was cleared to be repaired and not totaled since the frame, two doors and front fender all had to be repaired. I walked away with no scratch, no whiplash, no injuries, nothing. The car saved me. The same car saved me 7 years later – except this time the poor care sacrificed itself for my safety. This time I was traveling down a highway that had restaurants in the center median. A person two lanes over decided to cut across the lanes instead of going around to get into the restaurant just as I was coming (they stupidly had blinds up on BOTH of their driver’s side windows to shade their occupants from the sun) and I ran staight into them at 50mph as I had a fraction of a second to hit the brakes. Again, I miraculously walked away with absolutely no injuries, thanks to this car. I should add that all occupants of all vehicles were fine. When I received the news that the 2006 wasn’t going to make it, I did some research, tried out some other hybrids, but settled on – you guessed it, another Prius.
My 2006 and I had several adventures. It was used as a getaway car in a wedding, it climbed a mountain in the Catskills (it went on a “road” (if you can call it that) that the only other vehicle that went on it was a Tahoe), and many camping trips. In all those times I don’t think I have ever paid more than $30 for gas to fill the tank. The tank lasts me anywhere from 2 – 3 weeks. The tank from the other midsize sedan rental? It did not last me a week! What?! I had to put in gas two more times (I refused to fill the tank after the first time and just put in $25 at a time, which is what I pay about for filling my Prius).
So to recap, the Prius:
- is great on gas (we all knew this – this is what the Prius is known for)
- is safe (I’ve been t-boned by a giant truck and run headfirst into another car at highspeed. I have not been rear-ended, but I am not going to seek that one out)
- is roomy – both for humans, dogs, and cargo
- can go off-road (I will admit – I have used & abused my Prius. But aren’t you glad I have? And it is up to the challenge! Everyone thinks this is a pansy-ass car but it has got bite)
Now – I am well aware there’s all these trepidations about the Prius not being as hardy as a regular car. Let me reiterate: I am not easy on my cars. If anything can survive me, they can survive you. As long as you stay up to date on maintenance, your car will be good to you. I never have had a single issue with my either of my Prii at all. The only times they’ve been in the shop was for routine maintenance.
So again, I ask, if you are shopping for a midsize sedan, why get anything other than a hybrid?