Kate Houlihan drives 700 miles a week, so after buying this 2002 Prius from her Mom, she's easily pushed the odometer past 207-thousand miles.
Kate said, ""Fuel economy is the exact same as it has ever been. There's just been no changes as far as, you know, any driving differences."
Consumer Reports' Rick Small tested the car to see how Kate's observations hold up to scientific scrutiny.
Rick said, "We did our standard fuel economy tests. We also did accelerations on the car."
Kate's Prius measured up surprisingly well with a similar Prius Consumer Reports tested new 10 years ago. Her Prius got
40-point-4 miles per gallon. The Prius tested in 2000 got 40-point-6 miles per gallon.
Jon Linkov with Consumer Reports found, "Acceleration was virtually the same, too. It was less than half a second difference getting to 60 miles per hour."
When the Prius first came out, a concern was battery life - as the hybrid technology was brand new. Toyota says the battery is designed to last the life of the car. And as it turns out, Kate hasn't had any trouble with hers.
Jon says, "The good news is the cost of replacing the battery has come down several hundred dollars since the Prius first came out. But it still costs more than $2,000."
Toyota says 900-thousand Priuses have been sold in the U-S so far, and at today's prices even moderate drivers can save an average of $750 a year in gas. Add to that the satisfaction of lowering your carbon footprint, and you may come to the same conclusion as Kate.
She says, "I would buy another Prius in a heartbeat."
Kate Houlihan says she has not babied her Prius particularly, but she has done regular maintenance, including oil changes.
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