My New Car

My Car

My new '04 Toyota Prius

I just bought a new car, and I'm really stoked about it. It's a 2004 Toyota Prius. The Prius is a hybrid car. It uses both a gasoline engine and an electric motor. This gives the car unbelievable feul efficiency. The Prius is EPA rated to get 60mpg city/51mpg highway! ( spec sheet)

I've read reviews about people who are mad because their Priuses are only getting 40-some mpg. Only 40-some!! That's still better than almost any other car out there! Even if I don't get 60, it's still a marked improvement over the T-Bird I used to drive. The last time I filled it up, I only managed 16.8 mpg. That made me very sad. It also pushed me to hurry up and get a new vehicle... that and the fact that the T-Bird really belonged to my father, it's power steering system had failed (so it was basically like driving without power steering), and the service engine soon light was starting to come on intermittently.

Anyway... here's my new car.

Here we have a shot off of the front, driver's side corner. I've smudged the license plate number to keep any evil or crazy people from using it to find and stalk me. Although, if they really wanted to, I don't think me smudging a picture will stop them. If you look at the reflection in the bumper, you can see my apartment building! Nifty, eh? While I was taking these pictures, I forgot to think about shiny surfaces that might reflect. So you'll see a bunch of stuff like that.

Here's the view from the front, passenger side. Not a lot new to see here except the cool shape of the car, which wasn't as apparent in the previous photo.

The view everyone will see after I pass them on the highway! Not all that likely actually. The Prius (and hybrids in general) aren't all that good with acceleration. The engine gets shrunk to make room for the electric motor, and even though the gas and electric motors can work together to accelerate, it's still not as quick off the line as most cars. Here again you can see my apartment building in the shiny reflection of my new car.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive is Toyota's secret for it's feul efficiency. The electric motor can drive the car, the gas engine can drive the car, the two can work together to drive the car. Also, the kinetic energy of the car can be turned into electricity by the electric motor (now acting as a generator) to recharge the battery. This way, you never have to plug the car into an outlet. It absorbs the kinetic energy while you're coasting or breaking so it's not draining the gas.

There's so much to check out here. The interior is easily one of the coolest areas of the car. You can't see it here, but there are at least 3 cup holders within reach of the driver. A vast improvement over my T-Bird's none!

Let's start with the power button. That's right... a power button. It's that circle on the left side above the windshield wiper control. I put my key into the slot (kind of like loading a Nintendo cartridge), put my foot on the break, and press that button. The car turns on. The gas engine doesn't start (unless the battery is low and needs to be charged), all the electric gizmos just start up. At the top of the image you can see the spedometer, odometer, and all the miscellaneous stuff that is normally right behind the steering wheel. This is cool because now I don't have to look so far away from the road just to figure out how fast I'm going.

Down and to the right, you can see what replaces the gear shift lever. To put it in park, I just push that rectangular button. The gearshift is a knob that I have to move about three inches, and let it snap back into place. It's all very nifty and easy to do.

In the top, middle-right, you can see the LCD screen. Right now, it's showing the Energy Monitor. Nothing much is happening now (since the car is parked and not really on), but when you're driving, it shows which motor is actually pushing the car, whether the gas motor is on at all right now, and whether the battery is charging, driving, or doing nothing (like now). The wheels also turn while you're driving and stop when you stop. It's a touch screen, and the green rectangle in the bottom left corner of it is a button that takes you to a graph of your feul efficiency.

The four buttons around the screen are Climate, Audio, Display, and Info. Climate brings up the climate controls: air conditioning, heating, etc. It features an auto mode that keeps the car at the temperature you specify. The Audio button brings up the radio or CD controls. It there are 16 FM presets and 8 AM ones. If the radio station supports it, the radio can display information like song title and artist name. The Display button turns the screen off (in case you like to watch all the stuff too much and it poses a driving risk). And the Info button brings up some configuration options.

Below that, you have the clock, trip odometer reset, a switch for converting between miles and kilometers, the CD player and radio controls. Nothing too exciting there.

Here is the steering wheel. It too is nifty because it has many buttons. Let's start with the turn signal. It's to the left of the wheel, and is normal except that the headlight controls are on it. Not that that is a huge deal, but my last car had a switch on the dash. Actually, my last car, the T-Bird, had this really cool feature where it could tell how dark it was and would turn on your headlights for you. It also could tell when there was oncoming traffic, and would dim your brights until they passed. It was truly cool. It's probably the only feature I'll miss from that car. Oh well. The lever on the top-right of the steering wheel is the windshield wiper control, and below it we have the cruise control.

On the steering wheel itself are several buttons which are so convenient to have there, you have to wonder why no one put them there before. Ok, so someone probably put most of them there before, but never in a car that I drove. The top-left group of buttons control the audio. We've got volume control (including mute), and tuner/track control.

The other two groups of buttons are climate control. They control the temperature (for that auto climate control feature I mentioned earlier), the AC, and the defrosters: front and back.

Well, that's my new car! I know you won't enjoy this page even a tenth as much as I enjoy this car. Come visit, and I might let you ride in it. ;)

© The Great Josh -- Last updated 10/09/2004