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It's a Twofer Weekend, And Other Odds and Ends

My 2012 Prius
Toyta 2012 Prius 3 (what I got to be practical)
So I went back to Courtesy Toyota today and traded in my 2009 red Prius with 76,000 miles for the gleaming pearl white machine you see in the top photo, another 2012 Prius 3. Why?
  1. Because the 2009 Prius had 76,000+ miles on it. I've used it as my commuter-mobile since I purchased it, commuting back and forth between my home near Universal Studios and where I work near the University of Central Florida. I've also used it for those quick trips up to Tallahassee and Florida State University, as well as other spots around central and northern Florida up and down I-75. There's also an 80,000 mile maximum limit where you can trade in your existing Prius and get the best trade-in value. I got a little more than half the value of the 2012 which made it possible to get the 2012 without a down payment.
  2. A lot has advanced in the last three to four years between the 2009 Prius and the 2012 Prius. While the 2009 is a great car, the 2012 is that much better. After driving my wife's black 2012 Prius we picked up last weekend, I came to fully appreciate just how much better the 2012 is. To call the 2012 awesome isn't hyperbole.
  3. I really liked the way we were treated at Courtesy last weekend when we bought the black 2012 Prius 3 for my wife. We worked with Bob Lavin again and everything went smoothly like it had the weekend before. We also worked again with Jessica Carrasco to set up our financing. Both Bob and Jessica were a real joy to work with.
  4. I have heard from a few folks outside of Toyota that the price of the Prius is going up rather stiffly for the 2013 model year. This may be rumor, or mis-communication, but I believe them as they've given good advice in the past that's turned out to be very helpful. One of my sources likes to bid at car auctions for certain late model cars, detail them and fix them up, and then resell them for a pretty good profit. He seems to be in tune with the auto business from his side of things. Our purchases got his hearty stamp of approval.
  5. The 2009 Prius proved the worth of the Prius model and the Toyota brand. While everybody else seemed to be loosing their minds of the Toyota pedal problem (which I believe to this day was extremely overblown) the 2009 ran like the well-tuned machine it is. It proved it's engineering worth to me. I never had one day of problems with the car. I was consistent with maintenance, taking it in ever time the maintenance light went off, even if I didn't want to from time to time. That attention to maintenance combined with world-class engineering and manufacturing produced a car that consistently gave me 50 or more MPG, week in and week out. The only time it wasn't that efficient was under unusual circumstances, such as the late June trip up and back from Tallahassee through tropical storm Debbie. So it only gets between 41MPG and 45MPG while driving through tropical storms. I can live with that. Really.
Based on my personal experiences over the last three years, I will never buy another brand other than Toyota, and another model other than the Prius. It is, like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way. The only action I might perform with the Prius is to investigate converting the gasoline engine to compressed natural gas. I'm a strong believer in energy independence. Right now our best, least polluting energy source is natural gas. I'm well aware of the issues with fracking, especially up north in Pennsylvania and west in Texas. But there has been such a supply of natural gas that its price has dropped below $4 per thousand cubic feet. And it looks to be dropping even further. There's plenty being pumped up and it's all from the U.S. I'd much rather burn natural gas than petroleum (or especially "clean" [sic] coal, but that's another issue). Combining Toyota hybrid technology with compressed natural gas would create an incredibly efficient car that would be fueled by American natural gas, not foreign oil.
What I Really Wanted - Scion FR-S
Toyota Scion FR-S (what I really wanted in my heart of hearts)
While I was there waiting for all the paperwork to get set up for my Prius trade, I was smitten by the Toyota Scion FR-S. And it was the same price as the Prius. They had three that I saw, this one outside and two in the showroom. When I saw it it triggered the same brain cells that the Datsun 240Z used to trigger. It had want all over it, that triggered the deep animal part of my brain. I don't know if that's what the designers intended, but it looks like what the 21st century version of the 240Z should have evolved to instead of the bloated monster the Nissan 370Z is today.

I think it even has a few Austin Martin V8 Vantage S Coupe design cues mixed in as well. Oh well, I tend to have a champagne taste on a beer budget when it comes to exotic cars, which is one more reason I'll probably buy Prius' in the future.

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