About a month ago I traded my old car (the blue Matrix) in for my new car, the black Prius V. I was looking at small SUVs, because after ten years of driving in the snow, often in the wee hours of the morning before the plows come with no problem, my Matrix got stuck in the show twice last winter. It was ten years old. It had just passed 150K. It had this weird rattle in the dash they couldn’t figure out. I kept losing the cheap, flimsy plastic hubcaps. It was a good car, but… the time had come.
The V is the biggest Prius*, bigger and heavier than the Matrix, so I figure it should do fine in the snow. Hopefully. (So far, so good, but we’ve only had like an inch so far.)
* Yes, I realize this isn’t saying that much.
The lure of the hybrid is strong. Environmental blah blah blah, but: Less gas! (And real wheels, not hubcaps.) Of course, because it was a bit of a surprise decision, I had not realized that it requires me to drive like a responsible adult if I want to reap those savings to their fullest. I do not tend to drive that way. I fear what I’d be driving if snow wasn’t a concern. And I did freak out a little that first week. Had I made a mistake?
But the gas savings are real, even for me. I have one of the shorter commutes among my circle, but it’s still at minimum 40 minutes/30 miles a day to work and back. I estimate I filled up the Matrix about weekly when it was three-quarters empty; With the Prius it’s about the same length of time (maybe a little longer,) but the tank is only half empty. So yeah, I’d side-eye any hybrid driver who tells you they haven’t filled up in a month or more, but there is definitely an obvious difference for me. (Okay, yes, the smaller ones have better gas mileage than mine, but a month? With a plug-in, or in an area where public transit isn’t a total joke, maybe…)
I have done more driving the way they recommend, aka not in a state of constant acceleration. I drive the stupid 35 on the major four-lane road. (Ugh, so stupid.) I try to keep it in EV (battery mode) as much as I can. It’s pretty easy on the surface streets, in the work parking garage, and all the other non-highway places.
I really like the car. Still. No one in Detroit is ever going to accuse a Prius of being cool, but that I really don’t give a shit about.
Adulthood! Sort of, anyway. (…I got a speeding ticket on the third day I had it. I really hate the inanely low speed limit on that road.) I finally have Bluetooth, in any case.
UPDATE: We actually ended up getting a CRAZY amount of snow this winter, including a period where the snow was just about as bad as what I got stuck with in the Matrix. (6-8 inches.) The Prius had no problem handling it. I DID get stuck once, but it was where the street out of the neighborhood met the freshly plowed major road. And it was 5am, so I was the first through it. Neither of these circumstances are normal, so overall I’m fairly pleased.