Here’s one way you can help save the Earth: buy our 1997 Honda CRV that will soon (tomorrow) be listed for sale in the Salem Stateman-Journal classifieds. By buying our wonderful SUV, with only 44,000 miles, you will be doing a lot to help us pay for the 2004 Toyota Prius that has arrived in the Port of Portland, and shortly will be delivered to the local Toyota dealer. When this happens, we’ve been told that we have 48 hours to cough up the money to pay for the car, or else it goes to the next person in line who wants this desirable vehicle, who now total 38 (we were the 6th in Salem to pre-order a 2004 Prius, which went on sale October 17, I believe).
We are offering a generous 1% discount to HinesSight readers, which makes for a lot of 99s to punch into my calculator. Let’s see, list price of $9,900, times .99, why, that equals a bargain basement HinesSight price of $9,801. Call or email right away! The price may be rising, as I just looked at the Statesman-Journal cars.com listing of Honda CRVs, which must include dealers who don’t advertise in the classifieds, because they’re asking a heck of a lot more for CRVs of a more or less comparable vintage than we are. Well, if the first person who calls about the car pays what we’re asking, we can rejoice in the good karma we’re accumulating by not trying to get more than what the Kelley Blue Book suggests.
Anyway, the new Prius supposedly gets 60 mpg city driving/51 mpg highway driving/55 mpg overall. As compared to the 22 mpg or so the CRV gets, which I hasten to add isn’t bad for a SUV, and shouldn’t deter you from buying our car. As above, you will be doing almost as much to Save the Earth as if you bought a very-low-emission very-high-mileage hybrid car directly, since you will be enabling us to buy the Prius, and get rid of the CRV. If this doesn’t make complete logical sense, don’t think too much about it. Just get a cashier’s check made out to us for the $9,801.
You can learn all about the new Prius at Toyota.com. We are really excited about the car after taking a test drive on Saturday—to be sure we were going to like it, before we put the CRV up for sale. This primarily will be Laurel’s car, but I will be sneaking into it as much as possible to enjoy all the high-tech features. The dash display is way cool, with graphs showing current and historical mileage, how the car is generating power (electric motor vs. gas engine), radio/CD info, temperature controls, all kinds of stuff. You can control the inside temperature and sound system from steering wheel buttons. The keyless entry on the model we’re getting is really keyless, just like on a high-end Mercedes: you leave the “key” in your pocket or purse and simply approach the car; the door unlocks automatically; you then get in, push the “start” button (no key is used to start the car), and you’re off—all with the “key” still in your pocket or purse.
Acceleration 0-60 is about 10.2 seconds, I believe. The 2004 Prius won’t win any stop light drag contests, but it feels just like a normal $22,000 mid-sized Toyota. Inside, the rear seats fold down almost flat, and it has a hatchback. We spent much of our time at the Toyota dealer obsessing about how much headroom (actually, back and head room, given our canine concerns) the rear area had when the seat was folded. Serena likes to stand up much of the time when she is riding in the car, so Laurel was afraid that the steeply sloping, highly aerodynamic Prius would give our dog stoop-shoulder. The salesman kindly walked back to the showroom to get a measuring tape, which enabled us to determine the dog standing room in the car—something which, strangely, isn’t mentioned in the brochure.
As soon as we got home we had Serena stand under a yardstick supported by our “dining room” (actually, living room) table, which conveniently was just about exactly 29 inches tall, the Prius measurement. Our research indicates that Serena will indeed have to bend her head slightly if she stands up. But she would have to do that anyway if people are going to see her through the window, the coolest dog in one of the coolest cars in town—until the next new Great Green Thing comes along, that is. Newsweek recently had a brief review of the new Prius in their weekly auto section near the back of the magazine. The writer drove a Prius around Los Angeles. She ended her piece by noting that when she retrieved the car at valet parking, everyone standing around was interested in her car rather than the Mercedes next in line. We can hardly wait to become the center of Salem’s attention, though we’ll have to look far and wide to find some valet parking around here.