Back in 2002 reviewers of the Prius and HCH complained:
1) You will never save enough on gas to make up for the extra cost.
For some strange reason at the same time tey would rave about
some SUV model that cost thousands more than a Prius of HCH
and got 1/2 the mileage (or worse).
2) LRR tires are too noisy
3) Honda and Toyota are losing money on every one sold and
wil soon discontinue them.
4) They are too slow to accelerate, (0->60 12 second for the HCH)
5) the big battery will need replacement every 3 years and cost
$9k each time (they ignored the 8 year guarentee).
6) They are only useful in city driving and are no good for
sustained highway use.
There were a few good reviews. I think it was Popular Science
said "It's a Civic and that's a good thing".
Now after more than a decade of reliable service from
some are willing to say good things about the Prius and HCH.
Looking back at the complaints.
1) After almost 11 years and 230k KM, I have saved more than
the hybrid premium on gas. Even though I did not actually expect to.
Newer models, especially of the Prius get even better mileage.
2) Noise from the tires is no worse then any other common vehicle.
3) The HCH and Prius are still being produced, and at least
moderately profitable. The Prius clearly been very good
for Toyota judging by how the line has been expanded.
4) They are not drag racers, but there are lots of cars that
are not any faster. Notably the many of the older Mustangs
with automatics that the reviewers loved. The 1971 Vega
was Car and Driver's "car of the year" with a 16 second 0->60.
5) My HCH is still on the original battery (and brakes)
as are most others. Yes some people have to pay for
battery replacements after the 8 year guarantee, but the
cost seems to be in the $2->3 thousand range. Many other
types of cars often need a few $1000 repairs over more than
6) Reviewers are still regularly saying "only save in city driving".
Owners are generally very pleased with their mileage on the
highway. On long trips in warm weather my HCH often exceeds
the old "unrealistic" EPA/NRCAN ratings. Overall my mileage
is not what those ratings said, but since it includes
southern Ontario winter driving, I'm happy. The winter
penalty is no worse than any other vehicle I've observed.
The clutch on the 2003 HCH CVT did have an issue, and more
than one whole transmission was replaced under warranty
(including mine). As it later turned out,
most of these replacements were unneccessary, and a simpler
burnishing was all that was needed after 4 or 5 years.
The Prius uses a completely different ECVT design that has been
toyota went ahead and sold the car anyway regardless of reviews. i
don't think they expected it to take off the way it has - which says a
lot about the actual buying public being a good deal more sophisticated
than the invested interests of the motor "journalism" industry. i think
the same would apply to honda's with "natural" cvts if they had the
balls to run with it here the way they have in every other global
market. and included the "explanatory brochure".
I think one thing that helped the Prius is it convinced a lot of
people to buy a *smaller* car than they would have otherwise.
Comparing a Prius to a Tahoe, yeah, you can save the difference in
only eleven years, especially since you start out ahead!
Except for it not being a good thing. The fact is, it's a
post-apocalypse Honda--and that's a VERY bad thing. Because when Honda
realized that its fuckup on the battery was costing the money, they
installed a "maintenance update" the sole purpose of which was to
reduce/eliminate system use of the battery so that it wouldn't fail and
cost a warranty fix, in exchange for the owner using significantly more
Virtually all users reported that they ended up getting the same mileage
as a non-hybrid Civic.
Over the almost 11 years I've had the HCH, it has averaged
slight better than 5 L /100KM (better than 47 miles/US-gallon).
Non-hybrid Civics may get that number on warm weather highway
driving, but not overall when winter weather is included.
You have to "jerk it" out of economy mode and into
burn-some-gasoline-dammit mode whatever that means in CVT terms, it
means the electronics have to let the belt slide faster than it does
in cruise mode. It doesn't mean it has to stop dead and pretend to be
a fixed ratio.
right. as long as you're also paying attention to the fact that with
cvt, you can also optimize the engine for a very narrow rpm range in
which it is highly efficient. which, of course, is how the prius works.
efficient doesn't mean it can't also be powerful - look at any big-rig
diesel - very narrow rev range of high efficiency/power.
the way honda are doing this, they're losing efficiency by keeping the
engine working over a wide rev range, and they're potentially
compromising the reliability of the transmission by keeping the ratios
restricted to certain regions of the cones.
the whole concept is utterly utterly retarded.
depending on how the car is tuned, that can be the same thing. big-rig
diesels have a very narrow working rev range - as low as 500rpm. that's
why they have so many gears. with a cvt, you could have a very similar
arrangement because the cvt effectively offers you an infinite number of
Yeah I guess, I don't fully grok all the issues but clearly on these
gas engines that's not the case, Honda tries to keep the RPMs down
under 2k or even 1k for efficiency while the power peaks are up around
4k to redline, and I presume the variable cam is still reserved for
high RPM, not used to optimize a low RPM range. I do still have the
variable cam, right? I oughta look ...
(cue Elmo ...)
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