Prius Personal Log  #84

October 21, 2003  -  October 24, 2003

Last Updated: Sat. 2/21/2009

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10-24-2003

Buyer's Rejoice.  I'm experiencing the exact opposite of buyer's remorse.  Yeah!  So now the question is, how do I calm down?  I'm so excited!  My dreams are fulfilled, again!!  Prius got even better!  Sweet!!!


10-24-2003


2004 Impressions - Day One. 

The average daily temperature is only 50 F degrees here (so efficiency will naturally be lower that the EPA testing results.)  But even so, the Multi-Display is showed 50.4 MPG after driving 129 miles so far.  I consider that quite pleasing, especially since I was still riding with soft tires the first 12 miles, the oil is just a tiny bit into the "too full" area, and the hybrid obviously isn't broken it yet.

Stealth is very difficult to identify now.  The transition & switching is rapid & seamless, even more so than in the classic model.  The too conservative limitations on stealth distance have obviously been expanded now.  The stretch of road I take to a highway couldn't ever be done exclusively with electricity, until now.  Rather than switching to engine with recharge the last half mile, it is now electricity all the way to the entrance ramp.  Yeah!

Warm up is shockingly fast... I think.  When I got to the top of the hill to leave my residential area where I live this morning, the engine shut off.  That has never happened on a cold start, even in Summer.  But then again, this hybrid system is smarter.  It does a better job of determining when the engine is really needed (so it doesn't run as often, hence an efficiency improvement).

Acceleration is hysterical.  Last night I was trying to be conservation, trying to restrain myself from taking advantage of the power until after break-in is complete.  It didn't matter.  Even with modest pressure on the pedal, bolted out in front of everyone.  This Prius has more kick.  Anyone that says otherwise either doesn't know what the heck they are talking about or they have something to lose from hybrids becoming mainstream.

Smart-Entry & Smart-Start helps to redefine the user experience.  I simply don't know how I put up with a key for so long.  Just keeping the key-fob in your pocket and waiting for the Prius to beep upon your detection is great.  The range is surprisingly tight too.  After starting the system, I got out to walk around to reach the side-mirror from the outside (to install a small blind-spot mirror).  As soon as I did, the Prius started beeping.  It was like it was calling out for me, "don't leave".  We it really was doing was telling me it had disable the ability to drive while still keeping the system on.  In other words, no one can drive away with your Prius.  And there's an indicator light (it looks like a broken key) that tells you that.

Visibility is a non-issue.  So anyone that claims the back is too narrow or the spoiler gets in the way has obviously not actually tried it.  Heck, even at night with the self-dimming mirror (which is really a nice feature) the two-tone split window isn't a problem at all.

I got exposed to night driving right away.  When I got the Prius, the sun was setting and I had to drive east.  That allowed a horizontal blast of light in through the passenger side window.  That made the Multi-Display difficult to see, but not the speedometer at all.  The directed-reflection design gives it a dark tunnel effect, which essentially eliminates the possibility of interference from the sun.  That's just plain cool.  The HID lights are great.  It's like having the high-beams on without blinding anyone, since they only shine down.  And they don't look like those nasty blue lights some people have (which are HID lights improperly used, retrofits obviously don't work as well as the ones in Prius).

The Navigation System is wonderful.  Of course, I already knew that.  Those with one in their classic Prius say that all the time.

That should be enough for a day-one impression report.  I wonder what day-two will bring?  My plans are to get together with a group of Prius owners.  That should really make it fun.

10-24-2003

Got Spotted.   Cool!  That didn't take long.  Now I wonder how long it will be until I spot a 2004 on the road.

10-24-2003

Hybrid Spotting.  The first hybrid I spotted while driving my brand spanking new 2004 Prius was an Insight.  (A classic Prius didn't pass by until a few minutes later.)  That was cool, since there aren't too many around here (Minnesota).  But unfortunately, the driver didn't notice me.  Would you?  I had a fun time way back playing with Insights on the road with my 2001 Prius.  At first, they'd think I was just trying to get their attention to acknowledge their hybrid.  Then after giving the thumbs up to them, I'd point at mine... then just stare.  Eventually, some would light up with a expression of new found happiness realizing the encounter that just transpired.  I'm very much looking forward to same again.  So, start scanning the roads for a new hybrid.  Have any of you seen a 2004 Prius on the road yet?  At night, both the back & front are quite unique.  During the day, the front may be tough.  The back is easier, with the Insight style little tinted back window.  And of course, the side-profile is pretty obvious.

10-24-2003

2004 Stuff.  I've been working furiously to setup templates to for the upcoming 2004 webpages and printables.  Smart-Entry & Smart-Start is definitely a new exciting subject requiring a webpage and possibly a printable.  (How did I ever survive without SE/SS?)  The new Info-Sheet is going to be completely different, an entirely new layout with photos I need to take still.  We are going to have to invent something explain how the system handles emission & efficiency needs... I think.  The engine shuts off much faster now and more often, plus stealth is easier to remain in.  But then again, the control is seamless and so fast that maybe the average consumer doesn't care anymore.  Maybe the technology that our hybrid uses is trusted now, and simply taken for granted... well, perhaps not yet.  Got any ideas?  I'll have the scan of my window sticker completed soon.  What else do we need?  Oh, the new USER-GUIDE is in the works too.  At tomorrow's gathering, I plan to scribble down comments from people as I show off the 2004.  That should help out a lot... enough to get a draft outline to provide with y'all.  Then we can play a round or two of fill-in-the-blank and find-the-right-wording.

10-24-2003

Cold Weather starting.  No surprise here, I knew this topic would be asked about soon.  And I love telling people it starts better than a traditional vehicle.  The hybrid system has proven a clear winner here in Minnesota over the last 3 years for me.  With a motor & battery drastically bigger than a traditional, sitting outside with the temperature at 0 F degrees isn't a even challenge.  And since the steering is electric, there's no fluid to thicken.  So turning the wheel feels the same no matter what the temperature is outside.  The heat in the classic Prius comes the same speed as in a traditional.  The new Prius has a special rapid-heat design for the engine.  We have no idea yet if that means you will get heat any faster, but we know it makes the engine happy really quick.

10-23-2003

FINALLY!   I have my 2004 Prius now.  Yeah!  I've driven 14 miles so far.  Unfortunately, I don't expect to have realistic data to share with everyone for a few weeks, at least.  Many more miles are need before we get even remotely predict a real-world average.  And since the forecast for next Tuesday includes the possibility of actually getting snow, my MPG from day to day will fluctuate wildly.  That may push the need to even greater distance before even having a clue what efficiency really is, and that's not even taking the bladder into consideration.  So once again, everyone needs to be patient.  Fortunately, we've got lots of other good stuff to discuss in the meantime.  Phew!  At least the first wait is finally over.

10-23-2003

45.4 LMPG.  I could resist.  I wanted to report every mile of data I had gathered.  So at 59,827 miles, just a quarter of a mile from the dealer, I topped off the tank.  That bumped up just a tad the value to 45.37659, which rounds to 45.4 fairly well.  And that's what I'll officially report now as the final lifetime calculated result.  Not bad for Minnesota, where the Winter extremes push efficiency way down.

10-23-2003

Snow Predicted.  I wonder if I'll get to do any warm weather driving before Spring of next year.  Right now, that look rather doubtful.

10-23-2003

Papers Signed.  I still don't have the car though.  As always, I'm patiently waiting for it.  The prep work could take all day, but they promised they'd get it done somehow.  The anxiety may get the best of me.

10-22-2003

My 2004 Photos.  It finally arrived!  Here's just moments after first contact... photo album 57


10-22-2003


Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  I've been driving by my Toyota dealer every day "on the way home" from work.  (Well, perhaps it's just a tad out of the way... like 7 miles.)  I couldn't stand it anymore.  A whole bunch of people at work have switched their greeting for me from "Hello" to "Did you get it yet?".  So needless to say, I got reminders on a very regular basis about my impending 2004... as if thinking about it almost constantly wasn't enough.

When I drove by today, I couldn't believe what I saw through the sea of new vehicles... it was an already very familiar headlight.  It was *MY* 2004 Prius!  Yeah!  So I enjoyed the tight handling of my 2001 Prius one last time rounding the corner into the lot.  Then it was down the hill around the long corner.  When I came into the clearing, there it was.  So I hit the brake, tossed open the door, and (literally) dove out screaming "THAT'S MY PRIUS!"

The person drooling over the Salsa Red 2004 Prius next to mine turned around.  Seeing the Electric Green Mica 2001 Prius and my "excitement" immediately knew who I was.  And the person working right next to it stepped right up to participate in that special event.  He pointed out the identification number, confirming it was in fact my new Prius.  Then he invited me to take off the protective sheets and take all the photos I wanted; he even moved the vehicle next to it out so I could park the two side-by-side.  So I did, both.

The unwrapping was a shocking experience.  The paper is held on by static-electricity.  And apparently, the static-electricity holds on quite well... until you pull on the paper.  Zap!

The brief photo session (the sun was setting at that exact moment) went well.  I walked all around with the digital camera & tripod.  Yeah!

Then when finished (it was completely dark), I turned around to see the back-end of a 2004 Prius driving by illuminate with a majestic high-tech glow.  Obviously, the news of the delivery of several new Prius had already got around and they began taking them for test-drives.

When I finally calmed down, I wondered inside.  By dumb luck, there was my salesperson.  I didn't have to say a word.  He knew that I knew.  So we set up a time to do all the paperwork (9:00 AM tomorrow morning) and then he got all the Prius Owner materials for me to take home immediately.  (Knowing I wouldn't be able to sleep much tonight, giving me the manual was nice of him.)

So anywho, I'm almost completely overwhelmed with anticipation now.  59,814 miles and over 3 years of driving my classic Prius was quite rewarding.  I can wait to begin the adventure with the new one!

10-22-2003

That Split-Window.  This comment (from someone who already owns a 2004 Prius) was shared this evening (with those of use patiently waiting for our own delivery): "its headlights are lined up perfectly with that solid area".  That happened with the bike-rack on the back of my classic Prius.  I really like that effect.  Hopefully, the same thing will happen with my new Prius too... but without needing the rack!  If other people (of other heights) have noticed this "undocumented" feature, I'll have to document it.

10-22-2003

Oh!  My final morning commute, the extremely heavy fog was great for efficiency.  That caused a 55.1 MPG average.  See... photo album 56

10-21-2003

45.3679 LMPG.  That's what it looks like the Lifetime Miles Per Gallon value for my 2001 Prius will be.

10-21-2003

Squishing a SUV.  Have you noticed how SUVs are now becoming more aerodynamic for greater efficiency and lower for better stability?  Those added curves add the height squishing sure makes them look like a fat wagon.  The most vanity appealing vehicle is turning into the least.  I think that's very funny.  My friends told me ages ago that the SUV craze would end in some unexpected way.  They were right!  I didn't expect that.

10-21-2003

EOC photos.  I just published a few of the outside photos I took while at the "Engines Of Change" event last week. (We had a lot of fun playing with all those 2004 Prius there!)  photo album 56

 

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