Are you thinking of becoming an Uber or Lyft driver and need a car that’s going to get stellar gas mileage so that you can earn the most money possible? Do you want to save money at the gas pump on your way to work in the mornings? Do you want an inexpensive ride that’s going to help you reduce your carbon footprint? Well, for a lot of people, there’s only one answer to all of those questions: the Toyota Prius. The Prius has become the most popular eco-friendly car in the world. It’s affordable, gets great gas mileage from its hybrid drivetrain, and it’s got that Toyota reliability. So, if all of that sounds good to you, it might be time to look into buying your own used Prius.
There are, however, a few issues to be aware of when looking into buying a used Prius. Like all other cars, you should be familiar with any functional issues that a used Prius might have as well as the depreciation value of the car before you make your purchase. You also want to make sure that you like the feeling of driving a small hybrid car before you decided to spend cash or sign up for financing. If all of these things work out, though, buying a used Prius can be a great decision for your wallet and can lead to years of comfortable, affordable, and reliable driving. Here’s everything you need to know about buying a used Prius:
Plenty of Options
One of the advantages of buying a used Prius is the fact that they’re so popular, meaning that the used market is filled with ample options to fit everyone’s needs. The current generation of Prius comes in seven different trims with a bunch of optional features and the older models also had quite a few different options, meaning that there is a Prius out there for nearly everyone.
Do you want blind spot cameras and park assist? There’s a Prius for that. Do you want a moonroof and leather upholstery? There’s a Prius for that. Want a pair of windshield wipers that can sense when it’s raining? You get the point. The fact that the Prius has so many options and that it’s such a popular car means that you find all sorts of different variations of this car on the used market.
Because the Prius is a hybrid that comes in a lot of different trims, you might assume that these cars depreciate very quickly; however, the Prius depreciates less than pretty much any hybrid on the market and actually holds its value quite well. So, if you buy a used Prius and then decide that it’s not for you and want to sell it shortly after, you’ll probably be able to get back most of the money you spent.
A Prius will depreciate an average of 41% over a 5-year period, meaning that it will have a resale value of about $17,000 after those 5 years. This slow depreciation is largely due to the Prius’s stellar Toyota reliability and long functional lifespan. So, even if you buy a used Prius with a lot of miles on the clock, you’ll probably be able to sell it for a good price when it’s time to make a change in the future.
Before you go ahead and buy a used Prius, make sure you give it a nice, long test drive. Hybrids drive much differently than other cars and you should know what you’re getting yourself into before you make the purchase.
Many people who drive a Prius for the first time are thrown off by the lack of motor sound in a hybrid car, which makes it a little more difficult to feel the gear shifts. There is also a distinct difference in the road speed and the engine speed in a Prius, which makes some people uncomfortable. So, before you buy a used Prius, give it a lengthy test drive and make sure you’re going to be comfortable driving it for years to come.
The battery pack on the Prius is pretty good in general; however, you’re still going to want to check what the warranty policy is for your used Prius. The battery warranty depends on what state you’re purchasing your car in. For instance, in most of the states in the USA, your battery warranty will probably be for the first 8 years or the first 100,000 miles. If you’re in California, though, where they have strong incentives for driving hybrid and electric cars, your warranty will be for the first 10 years or the first 150,000 miles.
The battery warranty, regardless of which state you’re in, doesn’t protect against the slow decline of power in the battery pack. So, if you purchase an older Prius with an older battery pack, you may end up getting a lower gas mileage than you would with a brand new model. In general, though, the battery packs in the Prius remain pretty strong over the life of the care, so it’s not something to worry about too much.
Model Years to Avoid
While most Prius models are a pretty good purchase, there are some model years that you’re probably better off avoiding. First of all, the Prius has improved quite a bit throughout its three generations. The first-generation Prius is going to be the least expensive, but it’s also the slowest and smallest of the generations. The second-generation and third-generation made major improvements to fuel economy and performance.
There have been a ton of complaints about engine problems that cause excessive oil consumption and speed control issues in the 2010 Prius, so this model year is probably best avoided. There have also been a significant amount of complaints about the windshields on the 2016 Prius. Apparently, the windshield on this model is prone to cracking easily.