2007 Toyota Prius - Gripes
Don't get me wrong; generally everything is pretty neat. These are things I would change if
I could - and in theory, most things being computer controlled, they could be changed by a software
- The backup sonalert is inaudible from outside the car, where it might
be useful, and serves only to annoy the driver
Fixed! See t129900
- The "gear lever" is upside down. "up and left", corresponding to
first gear on almost every car I've driven (including a Toyota Previa),
is reverse on the Prius. Performing this near-instinctive action at
traffic lights caused the car to back up in traffic; fortunately not
far enough to hit anything.
- The controls on the steering wheel are hard to see in the dark, and
hard to use if the steering wheel is not dead level, i.e. the car is negotiating
any kind of curve.
- The default display (if the "revert to navigation"
setting is selected)
on the centre console has an animated graphic
and is somewhat distracting.
- There is no manual control to open the driver's window; the electric
control will not work unless the power is on (or has been on in the last 40 seconds).
Annoying if you've just sat down and closed the door, and someone is trying to
tell you you've dropped your wallet.
- When reaching for the power switch, ones hand tends to hit the wiper/washer
- Rear wiper only reaches 2/3 the width of the window. There
is no wiper on the lower portion of the window.
- The traction control is ineffectual compared to AWD (e.g. Previa 4WD) in ice/snow; however,
apparently it protects the electric motors from
excessive rpm if the wheels spin. It's also supposed to apply the brake to one spinning wheel,
which sounds like a good idea, mimicing a limited-slip differential.
(I guess if I really wanted AWD we should have got a Highlander, which
has an electric motor on the rear wheels. But it ought to be possible to fit, say, a 15kW motor-generator
on each Prius rear wheel. This would also give better fuel economy through regenerative braking on
all 4 wheels - activating a friction brake on a hybrid is an admission of failure.)
- a couple of threads on the toyotanation forum suggest that traction control is a liability in
snow, even on the Highlander. And the Prius user's manual suggests that ABS is a liability on gravel
(some major highways in Canada are still gravel). We need to be able to turn this stuff off
if it gets in the way of driving.
- The climate controls
on the centre console have no tactile feedback.
Compared to a traditional layout, it is hard to e.g. adjust the fan speed
without taking ones eyes off the road. The position in the centre of
the dash, as opposed to in front of the driver, makes this worse
- The brightness of the centre console display does not reduce sufficiently
at night. But one can play with the brightness and contrast.
- The centre console display does not switch to the
audio or climate view when an audio or climate control is selected
on the steering wheel or centre console.
- There is no tachometer
- The tire pressure indicator is not split into separate outputs. It
would be nice to list the pressure for each tire on the centre display
- The "door open" indicator is not split into separate outputs. It
would be nice to show which door is not properly closed.
- Seatbelt and occupant sensors are only fitted for the driver and
front passenger, where they are not needed. It would be more useful
to fit them in the rear seats, to indicate whether children seated there
have buckled up. The seatbelt sensor system cunningly sounds an alert if
you place packages on the front seat, but fortunately it stops after a bit.
- The radio has a message icon that lights up to indicate that
a digital message is available on FM; however if the car is moving the
message says that no message is available while driving. Why not just
suppress the message entirely, or leave it to the driver's judgement.
Or just display the message without someone having to mess about with buttons.
(apparently Coastal Tech
has a mod package for this)
- The icons on the steerning wheel for "rear window defrost" and "windscreen defrost" are confusing.
It's not clear which is which without looking in the book (or at the console). The shape for the front
windscreen icon is upside-down, and both are shown with vertical "hot air" waves when in reality the rear window has horizontal
heating strips. Interestingly, I saw the same icons in a GM pickup. Maybe we are just supposed to "know",
like people who had never had a carburettor apart were supposed to know that's what a choke looked like
in the original Mini.
Steering wheel: Console: Actual shape:
- The cruise control won't hold a constant speed downhill. This is written up in the manual, so
Toyota evidently think it's a feature, not a bug. Wrong, IMO. The computer system has access to the brakes - it uses
them for traction control - so it ought to be able to put the brakes on automatically to maintain constant speed
in cruise control.
- Judging from the number of warning stickers and notices, the airbags
are potentially extremely dangerous. However, there is no way to
disable them if they present a greater hazard to some occupants than a collision.
Fortunately, I think
we are currently robust enough to survive an airbag strike.
- Split rear seats that fold almost flat
- Switch off when idle
- Fitted all-weather mats (extra)
- Regenerative braking
- Quiet. Really quiet.
- Low fuel consumption
- Low emissions
- Neat foldaway cupholders
- Neat popup sunglasses holder