Better World Club

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lemon Information for the 2008 Toyota Prius

Better World Club's "Lemon Information" highlights consumer complaints against a different car model each month. We are not editorializing or claiming that these cars are necessarily lemons. Instead, we are merely providing information and ask readers to form their own opinions.

Component: Fuel System
Consequence: The fuel gauge does not work, and the driver cannot completely fill the gas tank due to a faulty fuel bladder. [NOTE: This same complaint was lodged by five different Prius owners.]

Component: Seat Belts
Consequence: The left-rear and center seatbelt receptacles are positioned backwards. Thus, when passengers are seated in the left-rear and center seats, seatbelts cross awkwardly at the adjacent receptacles.

Component: Interior Lighting
Consequence: The interior display is reflected in the windshield at night. This causes a distracting 6-inch-long line of blue light to appear in the middle of the windshield.

Component: Headlights
Consequence: Headlights fail to project far enough down the road.

Component: Headlights
Consequence: Both headlights work when they are initially turned on, but the driver-side light turns off after a few minutes.

Component: Airbags
Consequence: The Prius was struck on the passenger side by another vehicle. None of the airbags deployed, resulting in the deaths of two of the vehicle's passengers.

Component: Seating
Consequence: Middle-back seat is incompatible with at least 3 different child restraint/booster seats.

Component: Cruise Control
Consequence: The cruise control suddenly turned off while the Prius was driving 65 mph on the highway. This caused the car to quickly slow, almost as if the breaks were being applied. The driver had to pull over, turn the car off and then back on before the cruise control could be reset. The problem occurred three more times since.

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12 Comments:

  • The annoying dashboard light reflection is not limited to the 2008 model. My 2004 has the same problem. I've eliminated it by placing black felt on the dashboard up to the edge of the display.

    By Anonymous Jeff, At August 22, 2008 5:10 PM  

  • I love my 2008 Prius, but the one thing that bothers me is the display is not engineered correctly - too high on the dashboard - so you get sun glare at certain times of day which makes it impossible to read the display. Particularly annoying if you're reading the map to get someplace.
    I used to have an Audi A6 and the display was positioned lower in the dash so this never happened.

    By Anonymous SueF, At August 22, 2008 6:20 PM  

  • Not to sound defensive or anything, but many of these complaints sound like ordinary new car minor squawks, not "lemon" complaints. FWIW, I adore my 2005 Prius!

    By Blogger Kevin, At August 23, 2008 6:13 AM  

  • My 2006 Prius has been flawless for the 2 and a quarter years I've owned it. Best car I've ever owned.

    By Anonymous Tim from Knoxville, At August 23, 2008 10:56 AM  

  • Front seats are most uncomfortable I have ever encounter. They are 3 inches narrower than typical Toyota seats -- this makes a big difference even for normal size people. There is a user comment blog on this problem.

    Power is limited so don't try mountains.

    Gas mileage seems to be good, but if the comment about not being able to completely fill tank is true, mileage may be less than we think.

    Doug

    By Blogger Douglas, At August 24, 2008 6:49 AM  

  • My 2002 Prius is still going strong, with none of the problems that are listed above. Maybe the the rapid pace of recent manufacturing allowed some of these annoyances to go undetected in the factory?

    Barb

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 24, 2008 4:14 PM  

  • I love my 2002 Prius. I get an average of 50 mpg and I live in the mountains near the TN/NC border.

    By Blogger Sherry, At August 26, 2008 4:11 AM  

  • I've been driving my 2008 Prius now for 8 months and I love it. I drive several times a month from Colorado Springs to Crestone, CO and back, about 380 miles round trip, cross 4 mountain passes each way and am averaging 48.5 mpg. In addition I cruise over the passes overtaking many SUV's struggling to maintain some semblance of gas mileage. I suppose I could nit pick about reflections and the like but give me a break. Every time I fill up with about 11 gallons knowing my Prius will carry me over 500 miles I just smile. :-)

    By Anonymous Steven Carter, At August 26, 2008 2:08 PM  

  • There is a dimmer switch on the left side of dash lower part to reduce the reflection (2005 has it at least.
    I am impressed with those who have high mileage in mountainous regions. I live in the hills and always thought that was reducing my mileage (44-48mpg)

    By Blogger lisa, At September 3, 2008 1:04 PM  

  • My 04 Prius (current generation style) has same issues with gas tank bladder holding different amounts to fill (always less than 10 gallons, it seems). This may reduce your cruising range somewhat but doesn't impact MPG calculations. It's because the bladder expands and contracts like a balloon to avoid having headspace vapors in the tank or air as you drive. It's a pollution control mechanism... We've gotten used to it and learned to live with it, basically just waiting until it starts prompting to add fuel-- it's always plenty of miles on a tank.

    By Anonymous Dave in Columbus, At September 5, 2008 12:44 PM  

  • Quote from Douglas "Gas mileage seems to be good, but if the comment about not being able to completely fill tank is true, mileage may be less than we think."

    Mileage is not affected by the number of gallons a tank holds....duuhh!

    Kinda makes you wonder when people post their mileage in these posts. Generally the numbers are inflated to compensate for paying to much for their purchase.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 16, 2009 12:26 PM  

  • I have not been able to fill my car because the bladder is not working properly, so I never know how much gas is in the car or what the accurate mileage is. It is like filling it with a dropper, drip by drip. Also has a foul smell when the air contioner has been on and then turned off; smells like dirty socks. My doctor tells me that it is from mold and is dangerous to health, especially in a confined space. I purchased the 2008 Prius new, paid cash, and it is my third new Toyota car. The dealer, Toyota Marin, has not been helpful in getting these problems fixed and I have had to file for Lemon Law.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At June 4, 2009 7:58 PM  

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