Most Popular Prius Posts for November: The Recalls Have It

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Wrecked Toyota Prius owned by Elizabeth James, photo by Ted James, from Houston Press

Wrecked Toyota Prius owned by Elizabeth James, photo by Ted James, from Houston Press

Ack! It's December! Wha'ppened? Well, to avoid thoughts of the holiday shopping you haven't done yet, here are the most popular posts of the past 30 days on, three of them returning from October's most popular posts.

This month, it's all about safety and recalls. The well-publicized floor mat recall (which we'll be updating soon), the rising concern over sudden acceleration, and even possible problems with Prius high-intensity headlights. And as we expected, the first photos of a Toyota Prius station wagon were popular too.

# 1: 30 Days of the 2010 Toyota Prius: Your Reference Guide. It's the Reference Guide. It's always on top. That's all we need to say. It provides the basics on the all-new, totally redesigned 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid. Bottom Line: You should start here for any and all of the 2010 Toyota Prius information you're searching for.

# 2: Prius Sudden Acceleration: Much Ado About Nothing? This article got a lot of traffic when we published it in May, then fell off the radar. Now, it's back.  Bottom Line: Sudden acceleration has never conclusively been proven in any vehicle, and most safety experts believe driver error is to blame. Among other things, no car sold today can out-accelerate its brakes. Nonetheless, Toyota is under fire from consumer advocates who believe that incorrect floor mats are only one part of the problem.

Toyota's diagram showing how to properly install floor mats

Toyota's diagram showing how to properly install floor mats

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# 3: High-Intensity Headlight Horrors Perplex Prius Owners. We're still not sure why this article from mid-July hit the Top Five last month, rising one notch this month, unless missed a news item. Any ideas, you guys?  Bottom Line: An AdAge story says second-generation (2004-2009) Toyota Prius models have a reliability problem with their optional xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights. The bulbs are expensive, no doubt, but we think the data are fuzzy. If you have a xenon bulb fail, we suggest you consider replacing it yourself, rather than paying your dealer to do it.

# 4: ALERT: Toyota Recalls 2004-2009 Prius, DoT Urges Removing Floor Mat. This continues to be an important news story, one that we're planning to update soon. It falls from # 2 last month to # 4 this month.  Bottom Line: The U.S. Department of Transportation strongly urges owners of any model of 2004-2009 Toyota Prius to remove the driver's side floor mat immediately. This can avoid potential safety issues with the brakes and accelerator. Toyota is developing a fix, and the automaker will reach out to owners through the media and individually soon.

Toyota Prius station wagon, from

Toyota Prius station wagon, from

Enlarge Photo

# 5: First Photos: 2011 Toyota Prius Station Wagon!  As the world's most popular hybrid car (Toyota has now built more than 1.5 million of them), the Toyota Prius always attracts interest. A new body style after 10 years of a sole Prius model intrigued many readers. Bottom Line: The photos from Japanese magazines that we published clearly show a station wagon, with markings that indicate it may be a model of the Plug-In Prius that Toyota will launch for fleets in small numbers this year. Whether the U.S. market will ever see the Prius wagon is a totally different question, though.

To round out the month, here are several longtime favorite posts that we expect to make new appearances in our monthly ratings, sooner or later:

2010 Toyota Prius: Overview.

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Comments (4)
  1. Hybrid and plug-in fans, not to mention the Prius faithful, have been eagerly waiting for Toyota's response to the reams of copy benerated by the 2011 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle.

  2. Hi there. I have a 2005 Prius with 105K miles on it. Heard a noise and took it in to be told the transaxle - the transmission for hybrids - was out and would need to be repaired. The total cost $5K. I wrote to Toyota and was told that this is happening with Prius' over 100K miles. They offered $1500 help toward the repair. I had extended warranty to 100K miles - guess what that had expired. So, make sure you get extended warranty and have them check the transaxle just before you hit the 100K miles mark. Also, if like me you are in this boat contact Toyota to complain. They said the more complaints the more likely they are to issue a recall. Finally, I bought this car for the savings in cost with the great mileage - yes the environment too - but basically the savings. The savings with this repair are gone - so if you are thinking of buying it for that primary reason - be aware that at 100K miles you might have a bit of a problem. Good luck and hope this doesn't happen to you.

  3. About braking:
    Voelcker's conclusion was wrong. You can only be sure that a car will not out-accelerate brake if the car is not already moving at high speed.
    From the consumer report:
    This time we accelerated to 60 mph before we slammed on the brakes. Again, the engines downshifted and fought us all the way down. But by the time we slowed down to about 10 mph, the brakes had faded so much that we weren’t able to come to a complete stop. If the driver had less strength or was traveling at higher speeds, they would not be able to slow down nearly as much.

  4. I bought my Prius for a few reasons: saving $/gas, going green and I really didnt need a truck at the time. It was almost like exactly 10K miles the car started getting lower and lower mpg. I was honestly averaging between 50-60mpg. After my second oil change the car started lowering daily! It started at about 48 and stopped at 38mpg when I took it to the dealership for the second time. The only explanation they could give was that I was using cheap gas, and this is what caused the 20mpg drop. The dealership reset the computer and said that could be the problem as well. I hope this works, or else I need my money back. I could have easily purchased a Civic and gotten the same gas mileage, not to mention a $15K less price tag. If you are experiencing the same issues, please fill out a complaint with

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