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An Owner’s Review of a Toyota Prius, Twelve Years Later

2001 Toyota Prius, Still Going Strong
2001 Toyota Prius, Still Going Strong

When you have to replace the battery in your mobile phone or portable electronic device every couple of years or so, it’s no surprise that people are skeptical of battery life in electric- and hybrid-electric vehicles.

Hybrid electric vehicles aren’t exactly new. The Toyota Prius first appeared in 1997 as a compact car, but has since grown to a mid-size and has gained a few family members. The Prius lineup is actually fairly impressive in popularity and offers some of the best fuel economy aside from pure electric vehicles. Ever wonder what happens to a Toyota Prius after you’ve owned it for better than twice the length of time some people replace their vehicles?

One particular Toyota Prius owner in Houston Texas, in the middle of oil country, bought his new in 2001. Now, 12 years, 160,000 miles, and 7 accidents later, the car is still going strong. Aside from normal wear and tear you’d expect on a 160,000-mile vehicle, such as shock absorbers and tires and a slight decrease in fuel economy, this long-term Prius owner has had very little trouble with the car.

There was one problem with the hybrid electric vehicle system, way back in 2001. From the factory, one of the cells in the nickel-metal hydride [NiMH] battery pack was defective, so the dealership replaced the pack under the warranty. He says that occasionally there is an error in twelve-year-old battery, which may require replacement, but given that he’s had the front end and rear end rebuilt twice for accidents, might he opt for battery replacement instead of a new car, perhaps a Toyota Prius?

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    • darryl508 having worked for Toyota and Lexus as a Master Technician for the last ten years, I have seen exactly two batteries being replaced, both under warranty. There was a recall on the electric water pump and the electric power steering rack for some of them. Ask your local Toyota dealer to run a check on the VIN of the particular vehicle and they can tell you what recalls have been done or are outstanding or necessary or inapplicable. Aside from a couple minor problems, the Toyota Prius is a solid vehicle. I’ve seen plenty with well over 100,000mi.


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