Toyota Prius just keeps on going

Other hybrid sedans like the altima and camry lose

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normal midsized car. Other hybrid sedans, like the Altima and Camry, lose storage space to battery packs. And, don't forget, the Prius gets better fuel economy than any other car on the market. It gets a combined 46 miles per gallon, according to new, and more realistic, EPA testing methods. The Prius's hybrid-only status helps in other ways, as well. When someone shopping for a Honda Civic Hybrid arrives at the dealership, he's faced with a clear choice. Several non-hybrid Civics are bound to be on the dealership floor right next to the Hybrid version. They will cost less money for what is otherwise the same car, and they will offer fuel economy that, if not quite as good, is still very good. For the Prius shopper, no such temptation exists. You either buy the Prius or you don't. And things that normally drive down prices of other cars - increased supply and large numbers already on the road - may paradoxically be helping the Prius. Increased supplies of the car have reduced once-daunting waiting lists. And the fact that the Prius has been around for a while isn't dulling the car's luster, suggested Lonnie Miller, a spokesman for auto market research firm R.L. Polk. In fact, it's probably adding to it.
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"I think, really, what it has going for it is that it has the longest accumulated reputation behind it," he said. Other than one recall for a software problem, Prius owners haven't experienced big problems with their cars. Battery replacement also has not been a problem, even for cars put into heavy fleet use. Because of their design and how they're used, hybrid car battery performance doesn't decay the way laptop and cell phone battery performance does. Hybrid technology costs money, of course, so there is a price to be paid for that extra fuel economy when compared to a similar non-hybrid car. So far at least, the Prius's freakishly strong resale value more than makes up for that initial investment. A Prius bought three years ago can still sold for nearly its original price. Experts at Kelley Blue Book don't see any reason to think those strong resale values will continue for long, though. With production massively ramped up, today's Prius buyers will likely face a softer market for used Priuses when they go to sell. For now, the Prius is enjoying a greatly extended moment in the sun. While the name means "to go before," it remains to be seen if anything that comes after will do as well.
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