"The smartest car on the road"4.5 starson by Bill Merchant
Pros: fun, efficient, peppy, just drive it
Cons: quirky weirdnesses, needs easy mods
Summary: The 2005 Prius is a great car. The editor's CON of digital displays being too far away I consider a PRO; I don't have to shift my focus so far from the road to the speedometer. XM radio is easily added, despite what the editors say.
The CONs are quirky things: when you put the car in reverse you hear a "backup beeper" - but only in the car, not outside. It's easy to reprogram the system to eliminate the useless interior beeps, and also easy to splice in a real backup beeper into the backup light circuit. The airbags all around are a great safety feature, but the doors don't automatically lock when the car is in motion. Fortunately, there are several after-market sources for this function, and installation is easy.
Some new Prius drivers become MPG mavens, squeezing every last foot out of every gallon. You can, but why bother? Just drive normally, 75 on the freeway, etc., and you'll still get over 45 MPG (I average 48 with no sweat). And even better, almost no emmisions. It's not just MPG, it's also NO SMOG!
Consider the Prius the ultimate hands-free kit for your Bluetooth cell phone. One feature the editor's didn't mention: when you use the navigation system to pick a destination, say a movie theater, just push a soft botton on the screen and call the theater to confirm the show time.
There are several user chat sites if you want to know more, good and bad, from real Prius drivers. In addition to a host of Yahoo groups (just search for Prius) there are PriusChat.com and PriusOnline.com. There are also several individual's sites devoted to the car you will also love if you get one.
I haven't met a Prius owner yet who just "liked" their car.