2011 Prius vs 1993 Geo Metro
I like to read as many auto blogs as possible, and occasionally I find something that strikes a chord with me. About a week ago, Christopher Demorro at Gas2.org lamented that the Prius isn’t advanced enough and that it was “falling behind.”
Christopher’s argument (which you can read at the link above) goes a little bit like this:
- Toyota had a 10 year jump on everyone in the segment that they didn’t take advantage of
- Toyota’s latest gen Prius only gets 50 mpg, which isn’t much better than the 40mpg Focus, Fiesta, Cruze, Elantra, etc.
- Toyota’s new Prius minivan was an obvious need years ago – why didn’t Toyota do it sooner?
While I’m not qualified to judge other auto writers for tearing down a manufacturer’s decision making – I do it all the time myself – Christopher’s whole rant against the Prius is poorly considered. I told him as much in the comments, we went back and forth, and here’s what we’ve come to:
Christopher says he’d rather have a 93′ Geo Metro XFI than a 2011 Toyota Prius, since they both get about the same mileage and the Metro is cheaper and easier to fix.
if you put a Toyota Prius and a Geo Metro in front of me, and told me I could have either car…I’d probably take the Geo. It isn’t safer, or faster, or better looking, but it is simpler with an equivalent MPG.
OK Christopher you asked for it. Here’s why I say that’s ridiculous:
1. The Metro was a death trap. One of the laws of physics is that force is equal to mass times acceleration (F=ma). If two objects collide with equal force, the heavier object will experience less acceleration because it has a greater mass.
Remembering that acceleration isn’t always a positive (as in deceleration…as in hitting the steering wheel with your face), heavier cars are safer than lighter cars. A 93′ Geo Metro has a curb weight of about 1700 lbs…roughly one-third the weight of a Toyota Tundra. A 2011 Prius? 3042 lbs curb weight. Which one would you rather be sitting in during an accident? (Answer: Tundra 1st, Prius 2nd)
Also, lest we forget, the 93 Geo Metro scored 3 stars in driver’s side crash test ratings under the old NHTSA scale, with a “high likelihood of thigh injury” (aka broken femur). IIHS ratings of the 93′ Metro are long gone, but there’s no reason to expect the vehicle tested well with them either. A 2011 Prius hasn’t been tested yet, but the 2010 model scores 4 stars in frontal impacts and 5 in side impacts…and the IIHS scores all Prius models as “good” in their tests.
Oh yeah, don’t forget things like ABS, traction and stability control, two-stage airbags all the way around, etc.
2. The Metro was slow. The XFI had a detuned 1.0L 3 cylinder engine (seriously, not making this up). Granted, the car was only 1700lbs, and some reviews from back in the day rate the acceleration as “acceptable”, but let’s be serious: 49 horsepower? Stop the madness. A 2011 Prius is no rocket sled, but it’s got nearly three times the power (134) and less then twice the weight. Advantage? Prius.
3. Creature comforts. I like air conditioning, power windows and locks with keyless entry, cruise control, a nice stereo, etc. In all likelihood, you do too. A 2011 Prius has all these things. A 93′ Metro? Not so much.
4. The Metro pollutes more. The Metro was built to 1993 emissions standards, which pale in comparison to today’s rules. What’s coming out of the tailpipe on a brand-new Prius is much cleaner than anything that you’ll measure out of a 93′ Metro.
5. The Metro sucks. It should go without saying, but just to be thorough, let’s all recognize that we’d rather drive a Prius than drive a Geo Metro. Anyone that says they’d rather roll by an attractive person in a Metro than a Prius is a liar and should be punched in the face. There’s nothing cool about driving a Geo Metro – even ironically.
SO, when you add it all up:
- The Prius is heavier and performs better in crash tests, both of which means it is significantly safer
- The Prius has more features and is more comfortable for all your passengers
- The Prius doesn’t have trouble passing on the highway, accelerating on on-ramps, etc.
- The Prius doesn’t pollute as much
- The Prius doesn’t suck as much as a Metro
So why would a rational person choose a 93 Metro instead? No idea. Maybe because they’re too stubborn to recognize they’re flat-ass wrong. 🙂
Filed Under: TundraHeadquarters.com