Meet the Smiths. Their names are Tommy and Tina and this is the most recent addition to their happy home. Unfortunately I am not talking about the puppy their young son Tommy keeps requesting but rather a certified pre-owned 2007 Toyota Prius. And yes, if you were wondering, I am from California so cars are like members of the family here.
The new addition to the Smith home had only had 30,000 miles on it at the time of purchase and it fit all of the requirements that Thomas Smith, the principal driver, had of a new car. It had to be economical and it had to be quiet. Come on, he has a 4 year old so do you really think he wants to hear a lot of road noise too?
Sometimes a parent’s best friend is a little bit of quiet and Toyota understands that. That is why the Prius has always made for a peerless commuter and highway companion. So what happened to the Smith’s happy home when their annoying neighbor (the author) dropped by with a shiny red 2010 Toyota Prius to tempt them away from their classy and understated champagne colored model?
Well, although that new car smell is a nice bonus, it appears that even old Toyotas have a lot of appeal to consumers. Add in the fact that the Smith’s only paid about $17,000 for a car much like my brand new $33,000 test model and you can see there is a benefit to going the Toyota certified pre-owned route. So although they don’t regret buying their older Prius, there were some things about the new model that they did (and didn’t) like. Here are their comments (along with excellent images by aspiring photojournalist Tina Smith):
Thomas Smith (Dad)
When patriarch Thomas Smith opened the door to the 2010 Prius he was immediately taken by the high quality interior, “I prefer the inner door panels, the improved feeling of quality and the big map pockets. I really like the integration of the navi and the shifter.”
He was less kind, however, about the new front headlights, “The headlights just look like they are trying way too hard. But I will say I like the new foglight integration on the bumper.” He did, however, add that he liked the more streamlined antenna on the 2010 model’s roof.
But Thomas still thinks the Prius would look even better with a shark-fin radio antenna like he has seen on BMW models. Oh yes, and for $33,000 Thomas wonders why there is no power hatch for the 2010 Prius? It seems like an odd omission for a car that is becoming increasingly luxurious.
But Thomas is still in love with the Prius as a concept and as a brand. “It is a car that doesn’t say anything about your status. You could pull up to a business meeting in a Prius or a BMW 7-series and people look at you the same.”
Tina Smith (Mom)
Things got off to a rocky start with Tina as she took pictures of the 2010 Prius and said, “I really don’t like the blue hue around the Toyota logo.” What she was noticing was the new hybrid logo design Toyota is using currently. We’ll see if they stick with it.
When photographing the interior she said, “I love the look of the center console. The controls for the stereo/navi are much more ergonomic. But I don’t like the seat heater location at all! How can you reach it by your ankles?”
But as Tina is usually the passenger in the 2007 Prius, this is what she loves about riding around in her husband’s hybrid, “I love the mileage and that it isn’t noisy on long trips. My husband drives so I like to take naps. The Prius has really good seats for naps.”
Tommy Smith (4 years old)
Ever the loyalist, Tommy Smith remains faithful and loyal to the family Toyota because “it is the one my daddy drives. I also like mine better because it has my cookies and my toys and my seat and all my stuff in it.”
That is a very good point Tommy. It sort of makes you wonder why any of us move on to new cars as our old ones do have all of our stuff spread about in different hiding places. It also makes you realize that when a car is as well made as the Prius, it continues to have value long after the initial lessee has moved onto “new car smelling” pastures.
So apparently the lesson here is that no matter what your budget or your particular stylistic tastes, there is a new or used Prius out there for you. And even if you can’t afford a 2010 model now, just take advantage of Toyota’s Certified Pre-Owned Program. Either way, you can’t lose.