This is Part 5 on my 6 parts series on my experience with my new Prius during the last 8 months
I needed an economical car but it had to be able to carry my son’s upright bass. In smaller cars, that meant getting a hatchback. The only other small car that worked was a Toyota Matrix and its twin, the Pontiac Vibe. The Matrix / Vibe is very close in size and features to the Prius. These car get around 30 mpg but cost $3,000 to $5,000 less depending on how the cars are equipped. The gas savings of the Prius doesn’t justify the additional cost even with gasoline at $3 per gallon.
Having said that, the extra passenger room in the Prius is a plus. It is just a few inches wider and has more rear leg room. From a status standpoint, especially a green status standpoint, the Prius is definitely a plus. People who do not necessarily care about green issues or cars take an interest when I tell them I have a Prius because it is still a novelty to most people.
Finally, comparing the Prius to mid-size cars that have about the interior space and comfort, I think it’s a better value. Compared to many bigger cars and SUVs simply used for commuting, the Prius is definitely be a better value. Compared to my Chevy Impala, it has almost as much passenger room and as much cargo capacity. A similarly equipment Impala also cost more. So the gas saving with the Prius is a bonus.Since I purchased my Prius in March of 2007, I am eligible for a $1575 tax credit on my 2007 income tax. The tax credit is no longer available to people purchasing Prius now.