The One about the Toyota Prius C

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Throughout my life, I have alternated years of vehicles from sporty to something of convenience and back and forth.

While my parents had a Mercedes and big trucks, I have always been in the position of wanting a Mercedes, BMW, Infinity or Lexus but then going back to the mindset that I travel so much, I would put so much mileage on my vehicles and not enjoy it.

Since my teen years, I have gone through many types of vehicles.

From my teenage years of my parents buying me an old Datsun 280 ZX Turbo which I thought would be sporty and cool but ended up being a nightmare (the gas pedal stuck and me nearly getting slammed by a semi but escaping death by mere seconds and ending up in a field.  And then my brother ended up taking over the car and while he and my girlfriend at the time were driving to work, the whole rear axle broke and sent the car spinning.  And my sister who was put on top of the hood, sent down like a slide and gashing her thighs on the metal license plate frame).

To my father giving me his Dodge Ram 50 (which became my surf mobile for years which me and many friends rode when having people on the bed of a truck was legal in California) but we ended up selling to our neighbor in order for me to purchase my first vehicle, after I got my first major job and that was purchasing a Nissan 200 SX.

With the 200 SX, I treated it like a race car and sure enough, the engine would never be the same and in five years, was needing a new car, not long after I paid the car off.

Because of that, I decided to be more conservative and purchase a new Toyota Corolla (which I still have today as my backup when all things go wrong) but then I ended up getting an Isuzu Rodeo SUV which sucked my wallet dry because of the poor MPG and failing electronics.  And then leading to a Toyota Matrix (which is also being used as a backup).

But with both vehicles now going over 100,000 miles, I knew it was time to get another vehicle but wanted something that would be great for space but didn’t want to spend over $30,000 for the car.  Also, I wanted something closer to New York Yankees colors.  So, I went for Scion XB.  Actually, I was looking into a Toyota RAV or Camry but when they salesperson said my choices must be because I was a Raiders fan, it was enough for me to go for the blue Scion XB.

But as I put space considerations and my love for the New York Yankees as priority, after two years, I started to realize that the Scion XB, while great for space and its roominess, as I was able to put my bikes into vehicle.  I was spending too much on gasoline.

I was in the same position nearly a decade ago with the Isuzu Rodeo SUV and it didn’t help matters that the Scion XB was discontinued months later after I got the Scion XB.

So, I was left in a conundrum of deciding on vehicles once again.  There is part of me that wanted to get the vehicles that I wanted…afterall, who wouldn’t want a Range Rover?

But I know people right now who went for the car of their dreams and are paying $500-$800 on their monthly car payment.

But since last year, I have made a change with my lifestyle.  From becoming more health conscience and losing a lot of weight, wanting to travel more and make decisions in order to accomplish those goals but also knowing that I have to be practical, smart and back to being conservative if I want to travel more and do the things that I have always wanted.

And right now, a huge car payment for 72 months is not what I want to do.  As much as I wanted a 2016 Range Rover or 2016 BMW Series 3, right now, I have other priorities in life that need to come first.

But most importantly, I had to evaluate my approach towards vehicles and what is my priority.

I thought about a friend who purchased a Mercedes but as much as the person loved their vehicle, their commute for work would put the mileage of her vehicle to over 150,000 in a little over five years before it started having problems.  And he ended up selling his Mercedes and getting a hybrid, choosing to save money in the long run.

Then I started meeting other travelers who have hybrids and would tell me how they would travel the state of California without having to fill up on gas.  Meanwhile, here I am filling up twice on my XB and filling up again a few days later.

So, as I contemplated a hybrid, the question of which one would I purchase and my mindset for my vehicle.  So far, my vehicles have not been more for enjoyment but for transporting stuff for work or driving to get to an event. Not for fun, but just getting from point A to point B and listening to music (via my iPod) and hands-free communicating via Bluetooth to my cell phone.

I look at my friends who purchased their nice vehicles and they take advantage of the moments.  My friends with their jeeps of going to the Dunes or going off roading.  My friends with powerful trucks but to pull RV’s or boats.  And of course, many friends who purchase car for status reasons, some who are having a hard time paying their car payment but purchase the car of their dreams because they feel the obligation to do so, because they started on their dream career and they deserve to purchase the car of their dreams.

I’m not a multimillionaire, nor do I make enough to go out and purchase a Tesla, Range Rover, BM or Mercedes with straight-up cash.  Nor am I the person who tries to pretend that I made it and am willing to take on a high monthly payment.  I know my limits but I also know what I’m comfortable with.  And I know that a high monthly payment would wreck any enjoyment for me of owning a car, after the first few months of owning it.  And I would have thoughts of how I cold have traveled the world, how I can have done this and that but didn’t because I wanted to live the next six months of my life paying off high automobile debt.

So, I decided to go for a vehicle that I never had any intention of buying, but when I prioritized affordability and savings over look, comfort, bells and whistles and the style and purpose of driving, I realized that this vehicle made more sense to me and today, I ended up trading my vehicle and purchasing a new Toyota Prius C.  Not the regular Prius, not the Prius V, just the affordable and great MPG, Toyota Prius C.

And while getting my final free oil change for the XB, I noticed that the Prius C were on sale for a very cool price.  I started to look into the MPG on the car but making sure this is the car I wanted.

A lot of negative reviews based on the power, the least amount of bells and whistles compared to other hybrid vehicles (which do cost a bit more) and lack of smooth ride.  Also, the slow acceleration of the hybrid cars.

If anything, the vehicle is primarily great for a beginner car or for the budget conscious person who prioritizes MPG over style and comfort, said one automobile journalist.

At this point in my life, I think that I’m becoming more inclined to wanting to save more money on gas this time around.

It’s important to note that the Toyota Prius C is not for power users as it only comes with a a 1.5 DOHC 16V WT-i 4-Cylinder Engine that is only 99 HP.  It is 2WD and features 5D/Hatchback and with four trims available, I only got the first build.

Which comes with single LED Projector low and high beam headlights, automatic climate control, LED tail and stop lights, remote keyless entry, 3.5 TFT multi-information display and Entune Audio.

What this means is that I will be missing out additional speakers and cruise control.  First build has fold-down rear seat but no 60/40 split fold-down rear seats.  There is also no center console with arm rest or storage compartment.

Build 3 and 4 come with a smart key system with push button start and moonroof.

I will say that I have driven 30 miles with it so far and I have not seen the gas go down from FULL yet, which is a shock!  So, I look forward to seeing how much gas I will save in the long run.

But also to my surprise, as I have read on the forum priuschat.com, for some states, they charge an increase for having an eco car?  I had to check and there is an increase of $78 for my insurance per six months, so $13 extra per month.  I was surprised by that.

As for the vehicle itself, I am enjoying it.  I’m not going to lie, I love the space of the Scion XB that I had.  I will miss Cruise Control, the arm rest and not having a split 50/50 or split 60/40 rear seat.

While I could easily purchase an arm rest that were made in Japan for the Toyota Aqua (Japanese version of the Toyota Prius) and will have to live without a rear seat that can’t fold in two’s, the main thing I will learn from riding this vehicle is a) is saving money from going to a Hybrid vehicle worth it?  b) How will I do without Cruise Control (Speed Control) after spending the last two years dependent on it?

We will see if the Toyota Prius C was a wise decision for me.  This will no doubt be blessing or a very hard lesson learned.


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Dennis A. Amith