$500 down, and I’m now on my way to Prius ownership: I just placed an order for a fully-loaded Prius in “Millenium Silver Metallic” with gray/burgundy interior. Jeff and I went by the Alexandria Toyota dealership this evening for an appointment with one of the salesmen with whom I’d emailed on Monday, after having seen his name in their ad in the Blade, Washington’s gay weekly.
Within 5 minutes of arriving at the dealership and meeting the salesman, we were outside looking at a sleek new Prius in “Driftwood Pearl” (a light metallic gold, basically); just a few minutes later, after a quick rundown of the various systems, I was in the driver’s seat and heading down Route 1. Jeff was very quiet in the back, even when I asked him how he was, whether the seating was comfortable, etc.; I was worried for a bit that he didn’t like the car. After the 30-minute test drive, we were seated at the salesman’s desk preparing the minimal paperwork for my pre-order. When the saleman left to make a photocopy of my driver’s license, Jeff asked “Was it just me, or were you drooling over the car as well?” Turns out he loved it, too, and had been so quiet just because he was so engrossed in the car’s cool technology and features.
Part of the coolness is that you don’t even have to put a key in an ignition slot; as long as you have the key fob on you, the doors and hatchback will unlock once you’re within 3 feet of the car, and the car itself starts with just a press of a Power button (imprinted with the same power icon you find on a computer or monitor). To put the car into drive, you merely step on the brake and lightly push a small dashboard-mounted lever to the left. To put the car in park, you push a button marked “P” just above the lever.
The speedomer, odometer, gear indicator and fuel gauge are digital, deeply recessed into the top of the dashboard at the base of the windshield for an almost heads-up display. The wow feature that is most readily apparent, though, is the systems monitor display, a good-sized LCD display panel that controls the audio system, the voice-activated DVD navigation system, the Bluetooth phone integration, the climate system, and also can show a continually updated display of the usage of the hybrid system and various statistics.
The ride was smooth and extraordinarily quiet (whenever the gas engine cuts out for battery power only, like at stoplights or going downhill, the car is eerily quiet; the initial impulse is to assume the engine has stalled and to look for the key to turn to restart it), and pickup from stoplights and while passing was more than sufficient, even when starting from a battery-only condition at a full stop; the interior is spacious and comfortable; and there’s lots of cargo space.
The salesman said that they’ve taken orders for just over 60 Priuses, and they’re expecting the first large shipment sometime in November; he said my car could be in as early as that shipment, and more than likely before the end of December at the latest. So before Christmas I may finally have a new car. Happy New Year, indeed.
After we concluded the paperwork, the salesman asked how I’d heard about the car and the dealership, and why I’d emailed him specifically. I told him I’d been following the Prius for some time, and noted that I knew someone (hi, Gene) who already drove an earlier model Prius and who had ordered a new one from that same dealership, and then I told him that I’d contacted him specifically because of the Blade ad. He said that they’d only just placed their first ad in that paper a couple of weeks ago, and already had gotten a lot of response from it. So it looks like after giving up one gay car in the Saab convertible, I’m just moving to what may turn out to be another.
The cutest thing in the brochure is the “Complimentary Roadside Assistance” offered by Toyota. Jeff and I simultaneously mused that the response might go something like, “Thank you for calling Toyota Roadside Assistance. We’re so sorry to hear that you have a flat tire. But may we say that your hair looks marvelous?”