By VICTOR E. SASSON
I've owned new and used Toyotas for nearly 30 years, but in the last decade, I've been loyal to the Prius, a sophisticated gas-electric hybrid from Japan's No. 1 automaker.
I remember my initial visit to the service department at Parkway Toyota in Englewood Cliffs for my first Prius, a 2004 in one of my favorite colors, burgundy.
After a routine service, I was driving to my apartment in neighboring Englewood when I started smelling oil.
I parked the car, lifted the hood and found that the oil cap on the gasoline engine was missing, and oil had splattered all over the engine compartment.
I also found one of mechanic's tools in the engine compartment.
I drove back to the dealer, where the service department topped up the oil, screwed on the cap and cleaned up the mess.
I bought my next three Priuses from another dealer.
But other differences were more subtle, such as the recommended inflation pressure of 35 psi for the front tires and 33 psi for the rears, as displayed on a plate affixed to the Prius door jamb.
The Prius is equipped with noisy, low-rolling-resistance tires to maximize gas mileage, and for whatever reason, Toyota specifies pressures that depart from the standard 32 psi in all four tires of other models.
The 35 psi front/33 psi rear pressures were also recommended in two 2007 Priuses I bought and the 2010 Prius I drive now.
But Toyota service advisers haven't seemed to notice, and they have routinely returned my Prius with 32 psi in all four tires, as Hackensack Toyota did this month after my annual synthetic oil and filter change.
I've experiences minor quality problems in my 2010 Prius, including flaws in the driver-side leather door panel and leather rear-seat cushion.
|Toyota was unable to fix an annoying creaking noise from the hatch area of my 2010 Prius despite several tries. The noise is loudest when the outside temperature falls to about 40 degrees or below.|
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