Friday 30 November 2007

Oh man, I'm going to have to ring roadside assistance to find out how to start this car

We hired a Prius for our thanksgiving trip: Vegas -> Grand Canyon -> Bryce Canyon -> Zion -> Vegas (see Em's blog for all the details).

It was so frickin cool, and one of the cheapest cars you could hire! Of course all cars are cheaper to buy here: a new Prius is about US$25k, while in Australia it is more like AU$37k. We have seen quite a lot of Prius' on the streets here.

Good points:

  • Space-age power-on button instead of key ignition.
  • Average of 46 miles/gallon (5.1 L/100km) over our whole trip.
  • Uses braking energy to charge the battery.
  • Cool little touch screen showing use of the battery/engine and fuel consumption graphs.
  • Super stealthy quiet.

Bad points:

  • Space-age power-on button instead of key ignition (see below).
  • Bit slow on takeoff - tries to use the battery as much as possible during petrol-hungry acceleration from stationary.
  • Lack of boot space - mainly taken up by battery.

We were at the grand canyon, its 19 F (-7 C) at about 8am and we have just had a very long cold night in the tent (see Em's blog for whinging). I got into the car to start it up and get us some warmth and couldn't figure out why it wouldn't turn on. In had the key blob in the slot and was pressing the button with no results. The rental company didn't leave us an instruction manual so I made a fairly embarassing call to roadside assistance:

assist: Put the key in the slot
me: yep
assist: Put your foot on the brake
me: awwww you're kidding me!
assist: Push the power button

Stupid car trying to be so smart. I had the friggin handbrake on, why do I need my foot on the brake pedal as well?!?

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