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Yesterday was Prius day. We got the call Monday night, actually, but couldn't pick it up until 8:00 a.m. Tuesday. I think it goes without saying that we were at the dealership precisely at 8:00 a.m. Things went smoothly save for one incident. Despite being "title-aware" through recent transactions (sold the trailer, titled a motorcycle), neither Sis nor I remembered to bring the title for the explorer. That entailed no more than a 4-mile trip home and we drove off the lot before 9:00 a.m.
I can only speak as a passenger, but the Prius is a different driving experience. There is no gear shift on the steering column, that is crowded up with windshield washer controls, wiper controls, headlight dimmer switches, cruise control and whatnot The gear shift, such as it is, is on the dash. It is a knob reminiscent of the old "necker's knob" you used to see on the steering wheel (and I'll bet it winds up being customized in similar fashion). It always falls back to its starting position and you simply push it up for reverse, down for drive. Park is a button up above and is not set with the gear shift. There's a "B" on the gear shift which is sort of a brake a jake brake if that makes sense to you. It is not likely ever to be needed, but is an engine brake. The transmission of a Prius is that continuously variable transmission you hear about. It makes for a smooth ride.
Braking on the Prius is interesting. You never have to recharge the Prius' battery because braking does the charging. All braking starts as engine resistance and, unless you really put your foot in it, doesn't use the brake pads (well, uses them minimally I understand). The engine resistance braking recharges the battery.
The dash is interesting too. I recommend you go to the Prius site and look at it if interested. I was not able to get good pictures. There's a rear view camera active only when in reverse and moving. The computer reports fuel consumption and details of when the electric vs. gasoline engine is in use. The audio controls are cool, and the system sounds noticeably good.
All in all this is the most enjoyable I've ever bought that I'll never drive. No freewriting today.
P.S. Note to lutron. What is the plural of Prius? I assume it has roots similar to "prior" as the Toyota folks say it is from the Latin meaning "to come before". Doesn't seem quite right to me. Prii? Priusi? Priusa? Priora?