The Toyota Prius stands as one of the highest-rated and efficient hybrid vehicles currently available on the mass market. Drivers who take the plunge are often very satisfied by the quality of the model, specifically with regards to its fuel economy and its comfortable, sophisticated design. As with any car, purchasing a Prius is a major commitment, but the process can be made relatively stress-free if you do the proper research going into things.
Why buy a Prius in the first place?
The Toyota Prius didn’t get such high rating across the board without good reason. Above all, as a hybrid vehicle, the Prius is defined by its fuel efficiency, sophistication, and relatively light eco footprint compared to the average car. While the jury’s still out as to whether the money saved at the gas pump really balances out the added expense in the long run, there’s no doubt that the Prius is one of the finest examples of Toyota quality around.
The impressive comfort and ease-of-use to the Prius makes it a well-regarded purchase; you don’t see many Prius owners wishing they could turn back the time and un-buy their car. Moreover, the variety of models and options in the Prius lineup means that there is a particular model for just about anyone within city limits.
Doing research and exploring your options
A licensed dealership for the Toyota Prius should be found locally near you. While this is the default place to go to for obvious reasons, it doesn’t hurt to scope out your options and see if there’s something better.
Print and online classified ads are helpful for finding third-party dealerships and private sellers, who may have a better deal on a Prius than the official seller is dishing out. This is especially true if your budget is a strict point of concern.
While the source of purchase is important to consider, it’s also necessary that you settle on a specific Prius model. The Prius standard is what the nameplate is often associated with; with its 50 MPG efficiency and sleek look it’s a great choice to settle on by default. On the other hand, the Prius V’s larger frame offers greater cargo space, and the Plug-In model maximizes the Prius’ efficiency.
If you’re unsure which Prius model you want to opt for, Kelley Blue Book provides a thorough and helpful comparison chart of the different models.
Financing your Prius purchase
Ideally, it helps to have all of the money for buying the Prius at hand already for the sake of a down payment. Things aren’t usually so optimal however, and more often than not, a prospective car purchaser will have to figure out financing before moving on to the purchasing stage. This should be true with getting a Prius, which is typically priced on the upper end of average.
You should speak with your bank about a car loan application. As a general rule, solid financing requires a solid standing with your bank in place. This naturally includes a strong credit rating and history of paying your bills on time without fuss.
Default financing offers are typically available from dealerships themselves, but you’ll find they offer the steepest interest rates. Go over a credit application with your bank, including a list of valid, reputable references. If your credit standing is deemed worthy, your application should go forward without a hitch.
Alternatively to a conventional car loan, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) loan is an effective way of paying off a car if you have a mortgage. It can help you to avoid the steep interest rates of conventional loans, but requires that you own at least 10-20% of your home so far before a lender will accept this as equity.
Finally purchasing your Toyota Prius
As a prospective customer, you’ll have a few different options when it comes to who you want to buy from. Your local Toyota dealership will offer the highest level of assurance compared to a third-party dealership, but the price may be enough to convince you to scope out alternatives. If you do opt for a third-party seller, it’s that much more important to keep a thorough account of the paperwork, as well as a history of the vehicle if it’s being purchased used.
After the applicable financing has gone through, it’s time to sign the documents that will finally sign your new Prius over to you. As opposed to the research stage or smoothing out the finances, the actual act of purchasing a car is straightforward.
The dealership or seller will give you paperwork to sign, thereby transferring ownership of the vehicle to you. You will need this paperwork in order to register the Prius and insure it in your name.
If you’re buying from a dealership and looking to get some extra bang out of the Prius, you might take a second to consider the extra add-on options. Whether they’re for luxury’s sake, performance enhancements or merely aesthetic, there’s a lot you can do to soup up your Prius. Talk to your dealership’s sales representative about options. If you’re looking for more customizable additions than the stock options provide, you may also take the Prius to a third-party shop and get additional work done there, so long as you make sure it doesn’t void your car’s warranty or insurance policy. There are also cool things you can do yourself; for instance, turning your Prius into a temporary generator.