Is The Toyota Prius A Good Family Car?

After much saving and searching, we bought a used Prius a few weeks ago! How is it working out for our family? I love, love, love this car! From pushing the start button to monitoring the fuel expenditure while I drive, this is the most fun I have ever had driving.

The interior is roomy and comfortable for our family, although I don’t think it would be possible to squeeze three car seats in the back. I love the vast amounts of storage and the crazy number of cup holders throughout the Prius.

Are there any drawbacks to this glorious machine? So far my gas mileage isn’t the dreamy 50 MPG I was hoping for. The best average I’ve been able to achieve is about 44 MPG, but I’m sometimes coming in at just 40 or 42. This is still quite a bit better than I was getting with my 2001 Honda Civic, so it’s still fun to buy such small amounts of fuel every month.

So will the savings in gas make up for the thousands extra we shelled out to buy a Prius? Depending on how many miles we drive, it will save us between $500 and $1000 in gas each year. If we own it for a full decade, and gas prices continue to rise, it will be well worth it. If not, we will at least know that we are saving the emissions we produce.

What motivated us to make this purchase? We finally bought an older mini-van with low miles and use it only occasionally for longer road trips. Since the van uses quite a bit more fuel than our Camry did, I wanted to be sure our other car was as fuel efficient as possible. So we’re not perfectly green when it comes to transportation, but we’re making progress!


  1. another Josh says:

    We traded in our ’03 Prius for a ’11 Prius at the beginning of the year, and we really like it. Like you, we tend to get around 45 MPG, though that depends on who’s driving and how much we pay attention to doing things like coasting up to red lights. If we really try, we can generally push that up over 50 MPG. The newer model is a lot nicer in terms of room, especially in the cargo area, and we really like it. However, with kid #2 now on the way, we’re wondering if we shouldn’t have gone with the larger Prius V.

  2. We have two kids and find that our Prius works great for in-town driving. It is also great for day trips, but if we’re going anywhere where we need to lug lots of gear, we do end up taking the van. Still, we do about 95% of our driving in town, so it’s nice not to have to haul the van (with its pathetic gas mileage) on errands where the prius works just fine. I lust after the plug-in Prius V, which uses only electricity for the first 14 miles of driving, but it was still far outside our price range. We have a used 2007 prius, but someday hope to trade up to an even lower emissions vehicle when they become more affordable.

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