With Wings As Eagles: Craig P. Steffen's Blog

Driving a Prius

2015 July 11 20:12

I normally get at least a couple of cell phone photos of the rental cars I drive, but this trip, I didn't manage to do it.

R and I flew Delta from TYS to MSP to attend Convergence and see friends. Our original plans had been to go to Oshkosh and GenCon later on in July (this year they're the same week) but there's a Big Exciting Thing happening the last two weeks of July and the first week of August which shifted our schedule (more on this in another post in the near future, I'd imagine).

We flew up on Friday morning on the direct flight, and so we got to the hotel at around 11am. Even though we spent most of the weekend at the hotel, we went ahead and rented a car for the sake of convenience. It also meant that we could go directly to the hotel as fast as possible to get our badges (which turned out not to be a problem).

We rented a car from Enterprise. They didn't have any compacts, but has it turned out, they had a Toyota Prius available. I wouldn't have reserved it; my understanding is they're typically a premium-cost vehicle, but they had it available and it was only a slight upcharge from the reservation we'd made. So we rented it and drove it around the city from Friday morning when we got in through Tuesday late afternoon when we left.

It was interesting to drive, not too different than other cars with a couple of exceptions. Steering as normal. I had to really push down a lot on the gas pedal to accelerate well; I later found out that was probably because we were in "eco" mode; it apparently changes the value on the accelerator curve. Acceleration actually wasn't bad, except for the squishy pedal. The one thing that was really strange was when the gas engine would just stop when you were driving slow (like driving around a parking lot). That's eerie the first time it happens.

Proximity key fob for ignition, which is fine, and push-button start. Since it's a Prius, of course, it may or may not actually start the gasoline engine when you start it. THe proximit fob unlocks the door before you touch it, which I HATE; you can't check before you leave the car that the driver's door is locked.

The gearshift is purely electrical, so it has an odd feel. You have four postions that you move the gear shift to from rest; Reverse, Neutral, Drive, and Braking. Park is a separate button next to the gear shift.

One huge thing that this car fell down on was that it didn't have a "your lights are on" warning buzzer.

So all in all, a perfectly fine car to drive. I'm glad I drove one, but I wouldn't go out of my way to do it again. The gas milage frankly isn't enough better than conventional cars that I'd want to have one for that reason, and putting up with its quirks makes that easier.