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Following a list of examples of situations in which an average conventional drivetrain driver might feel frustrated not understanding how the Prius works and why.

  • When cold starting the Prius, it will warm up the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) as fast and as efficiently as possible to reduce pollution, not to save fuel. Therefore short commutes might not be markedly better than other cars and official fuel ratings never met. It is better, e.g., to drive a long way as the first leg, then making all subsequent stops on the way back (i.e. plan your trip). Many short trips (e.g. under 5 minutes) and few longer ones (e.g. over 15 minutes), the Prius may not achieve good or excellent fuel efficiency and may not be the right car from a operating cost point of view (a smaller engine, cheaper car might be a better option, to this respect).
  • The Prius High Voltage (HV) and 12 volt batteries dislike not being used. If you routinely park your car over 3 weeks at a time, this can be a problem. If you drive it every week, never a problem. As the car ages, the safe idle times get shorter, but never under a week. [true? references/data needs to be added]
  • Traction control prevents all wheelspin and cannot be disabled. If wheelspin is deeemed necessary in daily driving (e.g. snowy slopes, uphill gravel driveway, etc.) the Prius might not be a good choice.
  • The Prius has ground clearance similar to other small cars (5.5 inches, same as the Toyota Yaris; a little lower than the Corolla (5.8) or Honda Civic Si (5.9)). If daily driving involves areas requiring good ground clearance, test the Prius before buying it to avoid frustration of the floor touching ground.
  • The Prius is rated for 825 pounds/374kg [reference needed] of passengers and cargo, and cannot be used for towing. Although the trunk is very flexible and spacious (e.g. 8ft/2.5m lumber can be loaded easily, 10ft/3m is possible), weight to be carried might be a problem. Tow hitches are not officially allowed, only bicycle mounts.
  • The 12 volt battery is sized small, as it does not need to carry heavy loads during operation. Instead, it mostly keeps the Prius "alive" when not being driven. This is why the Prius uses a marine-style Deep Cycle battery, such as from Optima (one popular third party source.) The 12V battery is in the trunk, close to the HV Battery. Compared to a conventional car, since the 12V battery does not drive directly any drivetrain system (e.g. starter) one must look for more subtle cues to know that it is getting weak. Some effective cues include slowness to go into Ready mode, or slow window closing in ACC mode.
  • Toyota has tried innovative technologies to reduce pollution. For example, the North American fuel bladder in the Gen I and II Prius prevents vapor buildup. It also makes it difficult to predict when the tank is close to dry (an "empty" signal can indicate a fraction of a gallon or a few gallons, even on the same Gen I/II Prius. See example here.) Therefore, drivers who must consistently use up most of the tank before refuelling should consider avoiding the North American Gen I or II. Other Prii (including North American Gen III) do not have this problem; their "empty" signal typically means there is actually 1-3 gallons of fuel remaining, depending on the particular car.

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