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 AllAboutPrius.com, 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 matsEnlarge Photo
# 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 BurlappCars.comEnlarge 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: