A Year with the Prius

February 24th, 2011 by Potato

I just had my one-year oil change and service done on my Prius. My “early graduation present to myself” has proven to be comically early as I’m still not done my PhD. That aside, I think the research paid off and the Prius was a wise choice: it fits my stuff, it’s fun to drive, and it’s fuel efficient. How efficient? I averaged 5.06 L/100 km over the last year, including a lot of short winter trips (curling FTL). My best tank was 3.85 L/100 km (a summer-time trip up to the cottage, usually when I get my best fuel economy), my worst 6.19 L/100 km, a tank including a bunch of short trips around London (curling, shopping) in the middle of winter, a few hundred kilometers on the 401, and another hundred kilometers in Toronto traffic. Not only is the fuel consumption good, in real-world terms, it’s also very consistent. For comparison, on the Accord my worst tank was 14.5 L/100 km, and my best was 6.5 L/100 km… and that’s without ever having to deal with Toronto commuting. I did put on a lot fewer kilometers than I had planned/expected, figuring I’d be up somewhere around 16-20k, but came in at just 13k.

Mechanically, I’ve had zero problems with the car. The low rearview mirror still bothers me a little bit, and there are a few more scratches in the paint, which does seem thin, but otherwise no issues. The seat fabric has weathered a live-fire vomit test, so I don’t think I’ll bother getting seat covers or aftermarket leather. I also got to test out the brake assist feature when someone decided that they were going to make a left turn, no matter what the oncoming traffic thought of their green light. The car stops fast.

Right now I’m debating whether or not to get a Krown treatment for it — of course there’s no rust on the car itself, but the lug nuts on my winter wheels are rusting, which seems really weird (and I’ve been checking out other people’s wheels for the last few weeks and don’t notice that on anyone else’s car, so I wonder if I somehow got defective nuts). I’m leaning towards putting it off until I get a real job.

I’ve had a few people ask about magnetic field exposures. I keep meaning to grab a probe and measure it, maybe this spring when the weather gets nice. In the meantime, another group has published on the issue, and I updated the Wikipedia entry appropriately — which lead to a little edit war with an anonymous scare-monger. Fun times. Do you have any lingering hybrid questions, or have they been comprehensively answered over the years here?

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