We’d like to do more full new car reviews. After all, the vehicle is at least half of the equation when it comes to protecting children in motor vehicle crashes. Of course, the problem is that it’s a lot more difficult to obtain review samples of cars than carseats. Someday, perhaps a wise, new media marketing exec will happen across this review and recognize an opportunity to promote kids, family and safety in their vehicle;-)
We bit the bullet again on an “all new” model, this time a third generation 2010 Toyota Prius. We have a history of such questionable choices. I mean, the smart thing to do would be to buy a proven, low miles, 2008 or 2009 Prius, right? My 1991 Saturn SL2 was really all new from scratch, as was my wife’s Chrysler Cirrus that we bought in its debut year. The 2000 Subaru Outback we swapped for the Prius was “all new” as well, though more like the Prius in that there was a previous generation that shared some systems. Those cars were all decent, but each had its share of quirks and issues. While none were reliability nightmares, not one of them was exceedingly reliable, either.
Our Prius has more things in common with the Outback it replaced. Back in the summer of 1999, the new 2000 Outback had just been released. Models were hard to find initially. Many dealers were short on supply and it was hard to find the trim level we wanted (base wagon with cold weather package). Local dealers wouldn’t actually deal, either. We took the Cirrus to the local Carmax for a quote to use in our negotiations. They mentioned that their new car dealer in Kenosha, Wisconsin sold new Subarus. A call confirmed they even had a couple of the trim level we wanted at a better price. The trade-in offer was generous, so off we went and back we came with a new car.
It wasn’t so different with the 3rd gen Prius. They were very hard to find in the Chicago west suburbs during the peak of Cash for Clunkers. It was a bad time to be buying, but the Outback needed to go. The very few Prius in stock at local dealers were all higher level trim versions and no one was willing to allow test drives. It seemed we’d have been lucky to pay full MSRP and accept one that is coming in a few weeks, sight unseen. On a whim, I looked on the Carmax website on a Sunday night and found one. A call Monday morning verified it was in stock and the salesman (Dan B) promised to hold it until we could get there that evening. And he did! Plus, it was $500 under MSRP.