Friday, April 11, 2008

Prius First Impressions

On Wednesday, I purchased a 2008 Prius through my bank (San Diego County Credit Union). Kathy and Bruce, my contacts there were great. Kathy took care of my loan, and Bruce located the exact model, trim and color car I wanted and negotiated my price and shopped my trade-in for me. I can't imagine how SDCCU could have made the process any easier or smoother for me.

I've had my Prius now since Wednesday afternoon, so really only 2 days of actual usage so far. On whole, I'm really happy with the car. It's larger on the inside than it would seem from looking at it. Nicholas loves the car (although he wishes it was blue, not red). I told him we could call it "Lightning McKing".

Most of my driving is from Oceanside to Irvine, and I'm getting about 50MPG travelling up the 5 freeway. The Prius has a touch screen console in the middle of the dashboard that has various displays for radio, CD, air conditioning, fuel consumption and engine monitoring. The car shows you what it's doing as it balances power production and fuel consumption. The display is updated in realtime and you can watch the system as it shifts from electric to gas, to combining them, and watch as it recharges from the regenerative breaking.

With my long commute, I'm using cruise control set at 65MPH to get as much efficiency out of the engine as I can. When you lock yourself to 65, you really realize how fast everyone drives. The consolation of course is the money saved in fuel consumption, which is huge.

The other nice feature is the AUX input jack on the car stereo in the center console. There's room for my MP3 player so I can listen to podcasts, audiobooks and my music collection during my 45 minute drive.

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