Where to find used Prius

Discussion in 'Toyota Prius Family' started by manatee08, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. manatee08

    manatee08 New Member

    I'm about to become a starving PhD candidate grad student, and I'm on the search for a new (used) car. I'd like something that will last me the duration of time I'm a grad student so I only have the expense of a new car once while I'm on a meager income... the Prius seems like a good choice because I can buy nice things like food and maybe even the occasional piece of new clothing with the money I'll save in gas. ;)

    I'm looking for a Prius with under 50k miles and navigation system (I am a hopelessly lost individual). My current car has a Blue Book value of about $2000, and I really would not like to take out more than $15k in loans to get the car (they'll be student loans, I'd like to keep them to a minimum).

    So in total, I have about $17k to spend. Any suggestions for a starting point? Or am I being unrealistic about price?

    I've looked and haven't really found anything that fits the bill...

    I'd love some direction. Thoughts from current Prius owners?
  2. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Welcome Manatee08!!

    I would love to give you direction but since the Prius tends to hold its value ridiculously well (60K mile vehicles selling for nearly new prices??? :confused:) to get something in your range will likely require you to "settle" for many more miles than you may be comfortable with.

    Would you consider a solid used Corolla with a stick? One of those could be had for a lot less and if you are willing to work at it you'll be able to squeeze more than 50mpg out of one with the right routes, etc. You could probably afford to get a Garmin GPS unit to go in one of those if you did go that route.

    I know it isn't the answer you wanted, but it could be more realistic to consider this on a limited income?
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Manatee08:

    ___Although I do not know about a loaded up 04 – 07 Prius-II for $15K, you are approaching an area where a new Honda Fit or Yaris w/ an electronic add-on NAVI unit might better suit your needs? On a $/mile basis, a new or used Fit/Yaris w/ a stick would be less expensive (all-in) than a new or used Prius? I am not discouraging you to look for a well cared for 04 or 05 but considering your soon to be financial situation, your needs may be a bit less costly than the want.

    ___None of the above takes into account the amount of miles you may place on the vehicle over a given period. If you drive a tremendous amount of miles, a hybrid may in fact be worth your while!

    ___Good Luck

  4. koreberg

    koreberg Junior Member

    If you ride alone a lot, maybe an insight could work 4 you, with a portable garmin or tomtom device on the dash.
  5. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    Been there. Went through three (used) cars during the process. Learned a lot about car repair, but that wasn't very useful for the thesis.

    I strongly second xcel's suggestion of the Fit. It's a Honda and new, so car repair probably won't become part of your studies. If you get the manual trans you can (a) save money on the purchase price and (b) do more things to get better fuel economy. The flexible interior will be handy for all the crazy extracurricular stuff you'll be doing while in grad school, especially carrying camping gear on trips (motels are expensive!!).
  6. Tochatihu

    Tochatihu Well-Known Member

    I rebuild a mercedes 230 engine in the departmental wood/metal shop in graduate school. My thesis advisor thought it was not a wise use of my time. But the M180 engine was quite nice technology in its time, and I enjoyed it.

    For any of the vehicles mentioned above though, time&money spent in repair is unlikely to be high.

    If you can manage with the older-model Prius, you could probably find one for $9K.

  7. 99HXCivic

    99HXCivic Well-Known Member

    The 1996 to 2000 Honda Civic HX's are cheap and get great mpg. Plus they are very easy to maintain and are modern OBD 2. I'm very happy with mine and did a brake flush, silicone hose upgrade, more aerodynamic power side mirrors, and will get Bridgestone B381's for it. But some don't come with cruise control, so the 2001 to 2005 model are nice too but have a more complicated engine.

    I would never buy a used Prius because they ask too much for the latest models used, - so I'd rather buy it new.

    You won't be starving with a used HX! You'll be eating real good like me!
  8. koreberg

    koreberg Junior Member

    I did not know about the hx. Looks like there are a lot of them out there, so it could possibly be a really good car for you.
  9. atlaw4u

    atlaw4u Well-Known Member

    I agree, consider a new Fit or Yaris or look around for a good used Civic. Any of these choices should last you many years after grad school. Good luck with your search and keep us posted on what you find.
  10. 99HXCivic

    99HXCivic Well-Known Member

    The Civic HX is way better than the new Fit or Yaris. My 1999 HX is faster and more fuel efficient than the 07 - 08 FIT. The 96 to 00 models have easy maintenance, but the 01 to 05 models have cruise control!

    But the HX rarely pops up on Craigslist. So I'm very lucky to get mine for cheap - $3830 after taxes but it was a salvage title [ probably from theft or hail damage ].
  11. yi5hedr3

    yi5hedr3 Well-Known Member

    Go with a Yaris or Corolla. Standard if you want highest fuel mileage, although auto not bad. Most "used" Prius's appear in our newspapers after 4-5 years when the batteries wear out. The cost to replace is quite high (I've read $4-5k), and even those cars are going for $20k. You can buy a new Yaris for less than that.
  12. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi JohnnyCab:

    ___Prius’ with the batteries going out? Have you seen Jesse’s 02 w/ 345,000 + miles on it yet? They will run just as long as a Yaris/Corolla and you will not have to worry about battery longevity.

    A few months ago …

    Colorado Rockies during a break.

    ___Good Luck

  13. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist


    I kindly beg to differ.

    4-5 year old Prius still have a good balance of their original warranty left (8-15 year, depending), and ... if the battery was ever to be replaced during this period, it is hardly up to the owner to pay for that cost.
    So far, the battery replacements on Prius II cars are extremely rare considering the hundreds of thousands of miles that so many are scoring as they age.

    Please consider the battery replacement claims an unfounded myth. ;)


  14. Timothy

    Timothy New Member

    Hi. I am new to this forum (and forums in general). I am interested in finding a used Prius, probably a 2001-2003 model due to price. Does anyone have any info regarding the likelyhood of replacing the battery pack or other concers with these older models? Would I be better off just buying a 1995 Honda Civic DX or equivalent?
  15. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Buy a scangauge and work your corolla for all it's worth. $144 well spent.

    My $0.02.
  16. 93Hatch

    93Hatch Well-Known Member

    This would depend on how much you wish to spend, and how concerned you are with emissions. I have seen 2 Prius' and one Civic Hybrid on the local CL for anywhere from $8-12k. A 95 Civic DX can be found for probably $2k. There's a lot of difference in price there.

    BTW, no one appears to be selling their Insight within 200 miles of me. Hmm...
  17. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    While they're not quite as efficient, I'd go for the 96-up models, purely because of the scangauge obd-II compatability. It won't work on 95 or earlier models.
  18. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Considering there were less than 14K sold here over the 6yr model run, there aren't all that many out there to begin with. Prices really started rocketing when gas got close to $3 per gallon, too!! :eek:

    I found mine in Portland. :p

    Timothy, for what it is worth I second the recommendation for a SG. Even if you end up buying a hybrid later you'll still be able to use it in any vehicle that does not have lean burn capability -- which would include any hybrid (excepting the Insight) sold since 2006. Older manual Civic Hybrids and Insights use lean burn modes (which the SG can't handle properly yet), but any model year Prius is greatly enhanced by use of a SG. It goes without saying that the gauge is tremendously useful in anything else made since 1996. :)

    We have a few members here who are doing great things with AT equipped Corollas -- your current car is quite capable when using the right techniques!
  19. Dan

    Dan KiloTanked in post 153451

    I hate (and I really mean hate) to say it, but a used Prius is probably not the best option. If you get one, buy it brand spanking new and commit to a 10 year ownership. Buying it used hurts a lot because it has practically zero depreciation with gas prices above $3.00 a gallon. I originally looked used, but found for a few extra grand I could get new.

    I've posted a spreadsheet that will calculate cost of ownership of various cars. Doesn't have the fit in the mix, since I assumed most used car buyers would be looking at model year 2005 with about 50k miles on it. I've provided a scratch sheet to fill in cars that you'd like to measure. Using dead dumb math to measure it breaks down to this:

    1) 2005 Toyota Echo
    7) 2005 Scion xA
    10) 2003 Prius Classic
    19) 2005 Prius II.

    Here's my buyer's guide for used cars if your interested

  20. I got lucky when i found my used Prius II. I knew it was in good shape because some old lady had bought it new. It still smells like old lady perfume in here. I have a friend that works for Toyota and he was able to get all the service data on it. She took it back to the dealership for everything including oil changes.

    They were asking 18k for mine which was a 2004 loaded w/ navi ( i hate the navi) 33k miles. The market is HOT right now for FE vehicles. LOW for Pickups/SUVs. If you can afford the gas you can have some awesome SUV's right now for nothing since everyone is trading them in. I couldn't find another Prius used in my state (TN).

Share This Page