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My 2007 Toyota Prius
Last Updated: 3/26/12
My 2007 Toyota Prius on 12/9/06.
Prius Web Sites
My First Crash
My Prius in the Blizzards of 2010
Prius - The car I do not feel worthy of driving.
This moving Prius icon came from John's Prius site with permission.
My 1997 Pontaic Grand Am on 12/6/06 with the new car in the background
I had a 1997 Green Pontaic Grand Am (bought used 1998) that had to go into the shop many
times for all sorts of strange problems. The power window broke, the car died (no power or gas)
on the highway, the service engine light would come on with the car sometimes making noises
(the shop worked on that three times and always thought they had fixed it), and the belt came off
two times in two months. After a new ignition, water pump, spark plugs, spark plug connections
and box, and belts, all within two months, it still came up with the service engine light with the
whole front vibrating, and the serpentine belt clicking.
I finally got a new car on 12/6/06. I knew my next car should be a Toyota Prius. Why? As an
environmentalist, I had no choice but to buy a more efficient car if I could afford it. The Prius
has been around longer, sold more cars, and been improved more than other kinds of hybrids.
Since the 2007 model cost only a little more than used Prius, I bought a 2007. I have package #4
which includes a number of extras such as vehicle stability control, fog lights, high intensity head
lamps, backup camera, 6 disk CD changer, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone
capabilities which I will never use, and more. I am making this list to share with others the pros
and cons I have found with the car. The cons are things that hopefully can be fixed or altered in
the future or sometimes they are just things that are different than what I am used to having. I
obviously cannot cover everything so these are just the things that come to mind at this time. I
will add things if I think of them.
Things I like about my 2007 Toyota Prius that my old car did also have:
- Power locks and windows.
- Cruise control.
- Fog lights (an extra option).
- The Prius can be jump started like most cars.
- All the obvious stuff.
Things I like about my 2007 Toyota Prius that my old car did NOT have:
- The Prius has really good fuel economy. It varies but averages 40-50 mpg. On my first two
tanks of gas, I got 45-47 mpg. Update 8/19/07: In summer now, I am getting 49 mpg.
- I will only have to fill up for gas half as often as before which saves time and money. Or, at
least I thought. It turned out since the tank was smaller, I still had to fill up every 10 days or so.
If gas prices go up again, the car will pay for the difference between itself and a non-hybrid car
during its lifetime.
- My model has a backup camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror (no more flipping it up at
night), adjustable both side mirrors by pushing a button, CD player, heated side mirrors (as well
as back), a back windshield wiper and wiper liquid back there too, all things I have never had in a
car. I am spoiled now!
- The Prius has front and side air bags. The passenger air bag only goes off if someone is
sitting in the seat.
- NO serpentine belt! Need I say more! There is just one belt having to do with the air
- It has keyless entry. The car just knows I am coming and unlocks the door for me when I
the sensor. This is a
bit scary but I will get used to it!
- To start the car, I just push a button.
- The area under the hood is small so it is easy to service as far as reaching things.
- While the inside of the car is very roomy, with the short front end, the car is short which
gives you more room to park. It also turns into parking spaces much easier (a smaller turn
- The trunk has a secret compartment for all the emergency stuff. I also later found a smaller
secret compartment where I put my tie-down. To get to those compartments, the trunk mat has
to be removed and put somewhere.
- It has two glove boxes for more room as well as two front cup holders (and two back) and
about four other small compartments up front to put stuff.
- The back seats (two parts) come down to allow longer things to fit in the car.
- All five seats have lap and shoulder belts.
- My new car has power steering. My old car required arm strength.
- The car monitors the air pressure in the four running tires and the spare and lets you know
when they need air.
- The car lets you know when it is due for routine maintenance with a light.
- There is no tachometer to distract you.
- You can monitor the flow of energy to and from the electric and gas engines, batteries, and
drive train. It gives you a constant reading of miles per gallon that you are getting.
- When the car is stopped at a light or anywhere, the engines normally go off unless more
power is needed for the battery. So, when you are not going anywhere, most of the time, the car
is not putting out any emissions. I wish I had a car like that when I would idle in the parking lot
in college sometimes for an hour to get a parking spot (we had to hunt down prey (people
- The car has a light over the back seat that back seat passengers can use to get light back
- Many things can be controlled from the steering wheel.
- Everything else!
It is easier to list things I do not like than the tons of things that I do like!
Things I do not like (or have to get used to) about my 2007 Toyota Prius that my old car
- The Prius does not have a lever in the car nor a button on the fob to pop the trunk for
me. I also found out that the trunk will not open if the car is on. It will only open if the car is
off, and I have my purse with me, and I touch the latch. That is my biggest complaint. Someone
finally told me that you can open the car while it is on if you first click the manual door open on
the door itself which unlocks all of the doors including the trunk which is not a trunk but a
- The only way to lock the Prius completely (with trunk) is to be there with the fob. Normally,
when I come back from the store, I bring my purse and things inside and come back out to unload
the car. With my old car, I would manually lock it. I can do that with the Prius' doors but not
the trunk. The only way to lock the trunk is to touch the magic button while I have my purse (or
fob) with me or to lock the manual locks on the inside door.
- The Prius does not have head lights that come on by themselves when it gets dark. It is my
understanding that this is available in a larger package. Not having running lights has the
advantage of course of saving power so it is both good and bad that lights must be done
manually. When the car is turned off, any lights that are left on will go out.
- Instead of shifting down to lower gears such as 1, 2, and 3 during snow or down hills in ice
for example, the Prius simply has an engine break feature. This is more a matter of my getting
used to that feature. The shift is on the dash and unlike the regular gear shifts of my old car.
- The Prius has a really short front end. That makes me feel more vulnerable since, if hit from
the front, the crumple zone is less. The car looks funny but I should get used to it.
- The car has a low carriage so I have to be careful to avoid debris in the road and higher
speed bumps. There is one speed bump at a local strip mall that would even hit the undercarriage
of my Pontaic Grand Am. My father says the height of a speed bump is inversely proportional to
the brain mass of the person who made it. Update: 8/19/07 - I have found that the Prius is no
more apt to stick on a speed bump than my old car as I have gone over a few.
- For some reason, I just do not feel comfortable physically in the car. For one thing, my legs
keep hitting the steering column base as mentioned below. Something just does not seem
right. Update: 8/19/07 - I am more used to it now but it is still not ideal.
- Getting to the spare tire requires removing the trunk mat and secret compartment and finding
a place to put those in the mean time. Since the car's roof is not remotely flat, I had to put them
over a trash can when cleaning. On the road, they would have to go in the back seat I guess
(potentially spreading dirt).
- My old car would automatically lock the doors when I put the car into gear. The Prius does
not do that. I kind of liked that feature.
Things I do not like about my 2007 Toyota Prius that my old car did NOT have (in other
words, specific to this car or irrelevant to my old car:
- It is expensive. I paid over $29,000 when all was said and done.
- I have to put the seat back more so I do not bonk my right knee on the bottom of the steering
column when moving my right foot from the gas to the break.
- The climate control, like most new cars, is based on setting a temperature and where you
want it to blow. I would much rather tell it to send vent, heat, or air conditioner and not simply
set a temperature. I have trouble getting the system to do what I want. That may just be my own
stupidity! Update 8/19/07 - Yes, it was my own stupidity. I am now master of the system!
- For aerodynamics, the back windshield is almost parallel to the ground. Hence, it is a bird
poop receptacle. All the windows are large. I can just barely reach them for cleaning. I cleaned
my new car for the first time on 1/1/07, and I actually got into the trunk to clean the inside back
- The back window is split in half. The bottom part is tinted. In the middle is a spoiler and
brake light. On top is the regular glass back with windshield wiper. Some people have said the
reduced view bothers them but I have gotten pretty used to it. The spoiler often blocks the head
lights of the following car which makes it easier to see.
- The spare tire is under a lot of stuff in the back, and along with the batteries, may be hard to
get to. [There is a spot to jump the regular battery under the hood even though the batteries are in
- The center screen can be distracting but you can turn it off. I have learned to mostly ignore
- You cannot lock the trunk unless you have the fob with you. When I get back from
shopping, I normally unlock the car, bring my purse inside, go get everything, and then lock the
car up. I can lock the doors but for the trunk to lock, I have to have the fob when I press the lock
button. If there is a way to do this that you know of, let me know. Oh, I see I mentioned this
problem above as well. I guess that is because it bothers me the most!
- The odometer is digital and only reads whole miles. That is fine for most uses but in the case
when following directions, for example, "Go 0.2 miles and turn right," I will just have to guess
how far that is from now on. Someone pointed out that I can use the trip odometer for that
(another example of my stupidity)!
- The gas tank is supposed to hold 11 gallons but it is more like 9 or 10. Prius owners
often refer to the gas gauge as an "guess gauge" or estimator since it seems to lose a bar faster
some times than others. Because the gas tank is smaller than most cars, it needs to be filled up
almost as often as most cars. I am filling up about as often (and here I though I would not have
to) but paying half as much.
Here are some problems that others have warned about that I have found.
- The tires that come on the Prius standard may not be adequate for good amounts of snow and
ice. Snow tires may be needed. Update 8/18/07: I drove the car through one winter with snow
and minor ice without problems; I did not slip/slide even once.
- The car blows more in the wind than heavier cars. I can verify that.
- The center computer-like screen may have trouble lighting up in extreme cold and may die at
some point in the life of the car needing replacement.
- The key fob battery will eventually die. If you have one, be sure to read up on how to
operate the car when it does and how to change the battery.
Toyota's Page on the Prius
Yahoo Prius Group
2004 Pruis FAQ site
John's Prius Page
There are other Prius Yahoo and Google groups.
I am taking a break from animal chores on 7/7/07 at 11:31 am to tell you what happened at 9:51
am today. I had my first crash. To others, it might be considered a minor fender bender or even
nothing but, for me, it was the first time I had ever hit another car. I had hit a snow bank (with
the Prius) and a curb (with my Grand Am) but that was it as far as car damage previously. I have
been driving for 17 years (I was not allowed to drive until I was almost 18). The Prius is my
third car. The other two I got used and ran for almost a decade for each. I got up early because
my mother wanted to see fireworks tonight, delayed from the Fourth of July. After getting
groceries with my father, I went to back out of the parking space. I first looked behind me
(turned my head) to see if anything obvious was around. Then, I put the car in reverse which
turns on the back up camera. I looked at the back up camera, turned my head behind, behind to
the left, behind to the right, and behind again before taking my foot off the brake. The car drifts
backwards without gas. I had not seen any moving cars or back up lights. At that point, I am
looking at the front and sides of the car (as well as glancing at the back up camera and rear-view
mirror) so I do not hit
the cars beside me (I have gotten close to doing that) as I pull out. That is why I am a horrible
driver. I should have instead hit those cars and looked back. Then, two-thirds into the back up,
there was a bump. It was not much but I knew I hit something. At first, I thought I had hit a
parked car. I pulled back into the parking space and got out after turning off the car. I first
looked at my car. The back right bumper was sticking out an inch on the right which I popped
back in. [This photo shows the area where that
happened. You can see the seam there. It popped out where the seam ends on the right above the
back right wheel. There is nothing visibly wrong in the photo since I put it back in.] There were
half a dozen big scratches. [Here is a photo of those
before I tried to use touch up paint
which did not go so well.] Then, I saw the older guy and his old Volkswagon. He asked me why
I did not look where I was driving. He had started his pull out after mine and said he saw me
coming after he started out (why not before?) but could not move in time. He was parked
directly behind me. His car's
only obvious damage was the loss of his license plate frame (which left a mark on my car
including the letters). I was upset and even though I knew what to do in an accident, I could not
figure it out but did swap insurance information. I forgot about my accident forms (five pages of
questions) in the car. Hopefully, he will not report it. My father told me not to report it since it
is not bad enough to fix. I am a horrible driver. My poor new car now has patch up paint marks
all over. I am unlucky so it is not a surprise that my first "accident" would occur on a day most
people consider very lucky, 7/7/07.
Another mark on my car occurred on 8/12/07 when I pulled off a magnetic bumper sticker which
I got to avoid damaging the car with a regular bumper sticker. It had been so hot that the magnet
melted into the car and will not come off. Any ideas to remove it?
I was feeding the rabbits on 3/26/12 when I heard a crunch noise. My partially-blind father
backed his huge pick up truck in to the rear of my prius. The left side of the back bumper was
sticking out and covered in black rubber from his bumper. He hit the car hard with his fist to put
the bumper most of the way back in so it only hangs out a little. I could not get the black stuff to
come off. What a nice beginning to my first official day 100% unemployed. Needlesstosay, I
will not pay to have it fixed.
We had two huge blizzards in 2010. These are just the photos with my car. To see more photos
and read information on the blizzards, go to this page.
My Prius - I swear, my car is under there!
Actually, you can see part of it as my father had started digging it out.
My Prius - from the front. I had put up
the windshield wipers which you can barely see.
My Prius - from the side, further dug out.
I put a yard stick on the roof.
I had pre-paid maintenance. This covered the first nine services that my car had for oil changes,
tire rotations, and so on. I ended up not being able to use the last two coupons as the time
had expired. I never got any suggestions during those services at all.
On 1/19/12, I took my car in for the 50,000 mile service. It has abotu 46,000 miles on it though.
I had an oil change done, new tires put on (they never did say that I needed those!), a new back
windshield wiper blade (had the front ones
changed about a year earlier), and new batteries in the two FOBS (one was totally dead). Their
techinician also examined the car and suggested about a dozen things! I had them change the air
which they said was dirty and clean and tighten the breaks since they said they were loose. I did
not have the engine cleaned, air ducts cleaned, nitrogen put in the tires, or the other few things
that I suggested (cannot remember them all).
I also mentioned the following problems that my car now haves but there are no fixes aside from
replacement of the radio and main computer which I will not do since the cost would be huge,
I am unemployed. The radio's descriptions have been stuck, some for years. One station says,
"Henry." The radio's volume will change on its own. Sometimes the sound stops for no reason,
sometimes, the CD player just stops. These problems go away if I turn it off and back on. The
main computer (monitor in the middle of the car) has had two scary incidences. Toyota says they
cannot evaluate the problem unless it is in the process of happening. In both cases, rebooting
the car fixed it. First, one time, the computer stopped working (all the buttons) until it
eventually said, "Check the connections to the AC" and then went completely dead. The other
the following four lights came on and stayed on - parking break, anti-lock break, skid control,
tire pressure. According to my manual, it said to stop driving, you have no breaks and no control
of the car, and you should have the car towed to the dealer. Well, I had breaks and control, and,
once I pulled over and restarted the car, it was like nothing had ever happened. Anyway, all of
these car problems only happen after all the warranties have expired! My computer says that my
average mpg over these five years has been 50 mpg so that is some good news!
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