2011 Prius vs 1993 Geo Metro

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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:

  1. Toyota had a 10 year jump on everyone in the segment that they didn’t take advantage of
  2. Toyota’s latest gen Prius only gets 50 mpg, which isn’t much better than the 40mpg Focus, Fiesta, Cruze, Elantra, etc.
  3. 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:

93 Geo Metro XFI vs 2011 Toyota Prius Gas Mileage

93 Geo Metro XFI vs 2011 Toyota Prius - Gas Mileage Is Similar, But That's It

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. 🙂

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  1. Or not everybody can afford a Toyota Prius.

    As I explained (but you failed to mention) I cannot, and never have been, able to afford a mechanic, or anything remotely resembling a “new” car. And even if I could, I would not be taking it to a stealership to get serviced.

    I’m not flat ass wrong, I am just skilled and confident enough to know that anything that goes wrong on a Geo, I can fix with a wrench and a screwdriver. The Prius? Better bring along a computer engineer if the heater goes out.

    You’ve been conditioned to feel like you need things like A/C, power windows, yadda yadda yadda. I don’t need them, and I certainly don’t need the hassle of fixing them.

    As for speed? Slow is slow is slow, so whether it takes 12 seconds to get to 60 mph or 20 seconds, at a certain point it no longer matters. My Jeep is slow, my 4-cylinder Mustang is slow, my pickup trucks are all slow. I’ve had a turbo Saab and a Trans Am. So I know what a “fast” car feels like.

    The only legitimate point you have is safety. If you get into an accident in the Geo, then you can skip on the coffin costs and just bury you in that econobox. The Prius is worlds away a safer car. But that doesn’t matter to me, obviously, because not one of my vehicles even has airbags or antilock brakes. Studies have shown that neither of these devices actually reduces your risk of being in an accident, because people (consciously or unconsciously) think that since they have these and other safety features, they don’t have to drive defensively. Seriously. Look it up.

    I have none of these safety features but I drive safe. I drive slow. I give myself plenty of room to stop and in general I don’t drive like a dick. Can’t say that about most Prius drivers.

    • Robert says:

      I was a proud owner of a geo, and as junky as the car was, it was not a prius. The prius is new yes but not exactly a manly car. Neither is a geo but a geo strikes conversation because it is laughable. I now drive a 2013 ford focus, I love it and yet i miss my 3 cylinder oil chugging rusty geo. Why? character and gas mileage. I would take the geo over the prius, at least the focus has looks, power and mileage, 2 which the prius lack. I dont hate prius’s but I am upset when someone says the geo sucks. 🙂

    • wetheidiots says:

      Yes, everyone is a complete idiot for not buying a Prius. It looks better so it must be better. Cost be damned, everyone needs to be perceived as more attractive in a Prius!

      • Anonymous says:

        What about the defective breaks asshole. The egos weren’t defective except the fact that you can crash and die, but I’d rather die than to stay alive without a leg , or arm.

    • Lloyd V. Evans, ll says:

      Yes, Toyota had a 10 year jump on everyone in the hybrid arena, yet for all intents and purposes, there are no 10 yr old Prius’ on the road. As for a Geo being a death trap in a collision, well I’d prefer death in one than the economic death of owning an ugly Prius. My restored ’92 4Dr. Geo Metro is gorgeous and with 350,000 miles it still gets 50MPGs on the Hwy with the AC on.

  2. Cater says:

    I still cant believe in the “hybrid” hype crap. Not when I can get A new volks turbo deisel get better gas mileage with less cost.

  3. Jason (Admin) says:

    Chris – First of all, thanks for commenting.

    Second, I’m sorry, but your argument about costs are wrong too. The Geo might *seem* cheaper, but the time and money needed for basic repairs adds up. If I can pay Toyota $350 a month to drive a new Prius, or I can spend 2-4 hours a month working on my Geo, it’s a push or even a loser (yes, I’m saying my time is worth about $75 an hour). There’s also the fact that, unlike a new Prius, a Metro might not start in the morning on my way to work.

    Ultimately, saying “this is better because I can’t afford the alternative” is a lame argument. Cost should be a factor, but we’re not talking about a new Lamborghini (or even a new Lexus) – we’re talking about a mid-priced mid-size that’s only marginally more expensive than a Ford Fiesta, Focus, Cruze, etc.

    As for your point that most Prius drivers drive like dicks…I don’t know how to respond to that. I think it perfectly illustrates the fact that, at the end of the day, you just don’t like the Prius. Which is why you’re being so irrational.

    Cater – I like the little diesels, and they offer more grunt off the line and frankly they’re more fun to drive too. I’m a fan for sure.

    • I never had a problem with any of the two Metros I’ve owned starting on any morning, be it NJ cold or FL hot, never.

    • Randy says:

      I don’t know if you’ve ever owned a Metro, but its a blast. The only time I work on my Metro is to give it an oil change, and to change the clutch when that time comes. It has 235,000 miles on it, has never gave me any problems.. besides a flat tire. And as for starting it in the morning, I live in northern Wisconsin and found out that it starts up just fine when its -38F outside. Also, building a Prius and driving it 100,000 miles(life expectancy of a hybrid) will do more more evironmental damage than building a Hummer and driving it 300,000 miles(life expectancy of a hummer). Geo is the greener car by far and I would choose it time and time again over a Prius for anything I’m doing.

      • Trayce says:

        The Geo is a Chevy at heart. Chevys ALWAYS start. Always. I’d take the Geo any day too. I just drive it like everyone on the road is there for the sole purpose of killing me, just like you should drive a motorcycle. (I’d also take the Geo over a motorcycle!)

        • if the geo was a chevy at heart I would get rid of it faster than you could shake your head why. I am extremely anti GM anything because of how they screwed us with electric cars. I would rather see them rot in you know what.

          Geo’s are Suzuki’s at heart and through and through (at least the tracker and metro) they even have all suzuki labels under the hood. the only thing “chevy” about them is the name and logo.

          a metro “IS” a suzuki swift and tracker IS a suzuki sidekick.

          I prefer american if possible but no american company will make a dead simple cheap high mpg vehicle.

          they all insist on making complicated hard to self repair expensive vehicles so I refuse to BUY them.

          ELIO might change that. if they can survive.

        • jimmy says:

          actually, the geo is a Suzuki at heart 🙂

  4. No, I just live in Connecticut. Everybody drives like a dick in CT, including the Prius drivers. I can’t drive fast enough in 20 year old Jeep to drive like a dick!

    There is no way you can make the argument that the Geo will cost more than the Prius, even if you had to replace the entire drivetrain. You can get a used Metro for less than $3000. An engine is about $500, as its a transmission. So even if you are paying yourself $75 an hour, an engine swap in that car is a weekend project. Why? Because it is SO DAMN SIMPLE.

    Another point; because the Metro is so simple, it doesn’t need all the time, money, and resources spent researching the batteries, computers, and make it work. What are the environmental costs of all these complicated components? Again, I concede, it isn’t safe, fun, or very attractive car, and if I’m not mistaken, the Geo Metro was actually built by Toyota.

    But cost is, to me, the #1 factor of car ownership, and it is the same way for a lot of people. I cannot afford a Prius, even at $20,000, same as I can’t afford any other new car between insurance, stealership costs, and depreciation. The Geo? Ya man, I can afford that car all day, every day, even if it is breaking down on a regular basis. Hell, I could buy a driver AND a parts car for less than the down payment on a Prius.

    I really appreciate these back-and-forths. It makes us really think about, and flesh out our arguments. Yes, I am a stubborn bastard. No, you won’t convince me the Prius is better, much the same as I imagine I won’t sway you. That’s cool. You made me think about it more, and I do like that, even if we disagree.

  5. mk says:

    Hey, I would rather drive a metro over a prius anyday, anywhere. I have seen personally a few people with Geo metros and geo prizms with their dinky engines go over 200,000 miles easily with no major problems. Great little cheap cars that a prius is neither. If you could spend 9-10K on a new prius like the metro was, then yah, I would get that, but you cannot buy a new prius for under 23K. On a car that small, A/C is not needed and I could live without it. I once bought a new mid 90’s Cavalier base model no A/C or pwr. windows or pwr. locks out the door for only 9K. People nowadays need all that garbage on a base car is a waste of money. Even now, I own a 2009 Corolla LE with no options added besides what is on the standard LE which is more than enough out the door for 16K brand new and get 35 avg. mpg easily vs. a new prius costing 24K and only getting about 45 mpg since I mostly drive hwy. Prius’s are overrated and find the corolla more bang for my buck just like the metro was back in the 90’s. They are very good little cars no matter what people may turn up their noses about them. I know someone who still has a 90’s metro and just like a timex watch, keeps on ticking.

  6. Jason (Admin) says:

    Chris – I like arguing too – best fun I have in my miserable life (sad, really, LOL).

    Anyways, the argument shouldn’t be framed around what you or I can afford. It should be framed in the cost-value discussion. The cost of a 1993 Metro is lower in terms of hard dollars, but what are the hidden costs?

    What’s the value of a broken femur that NHTSA warned Metro buyers about back in 1993? What’s the value of jumping in a car that is 99.99% likely to start on your way to work in the morning? What’s the value of a weekend spent replacing a used engine with another used engine, hoping that maybe that one will last a while? What’s the value of an A/C system on a 100 degree day?

    These intangibles are hard to quantify, but none of them are trivial. It’s easy for people to say “OH I don’t need air conditioning” or “I’m a safe driver so I don’t get into accidents”, but that’s not the foundation of a good argument.

    The bottom line is, none of us would buy a Geo Metro is a Prius was available and financially feasible. It’s just not a rationale choice. Your stubborness is admirable, but come of it man – setting costs aside (which is what you did in your comment – you said “I could have either one”) – the Prius is the hands-down winner.

    mk – Thanks for chiming in. The Prius *is* overrated, no question. If I had to choose between a 93 Metro and a 2011 Prius, I’d pick the Prius every time, but if I could buy any econocar I wanted a one or two year old Corolla that got 40 mpg would be my choice (only the Elantra looks good too).

    Also, I like your minimalist approach and can’t argue with the idea that we really don’t need creature comforts, but one quibble: A Metro was $10k in 1993 dollars, but in 2011 dollars (and with 2011 emissions and safety requirements) it would be about as much money as a new Fiat 500, Yaris 2 door, etc…around $15k. At that point, $23k for a Prius seems a little more palpable.

    • My Metro which has over 240,000 miles (I drive 40,000 miles a year) has never ONE SINGLE TIME failed to start on me. heck even when I got it on DAY ONE and the alternator died I still managed to drive 52 MILES before it finally died (the power system in the car is virtually non existant so as long as I kept the headlights off I could go an amazing distance just on the battery) what stopped me? it got dark so I had to turn on the lights and a cop noticed me turning the lights on and off (to save power) hehe and that was because it sat for YEARS and rotted out the alternator. $85 for a brand spanking new lifetime warranty reman’d alternator and in 60,000 miles that alternator has not even hiccuped on me.

      I have logs of every single PENNY I have spent on this car from washer fluid to screws for the license plate.

      my grand total “cost” of my metro to date is $4967 and this INCLUDES the purchase of the car AND registration and inspection every year AND my custom stainless steel exhaust manifold.

      OH and BTW that $4967 INCLUDES all my “FUEL” for the 61,435 miles I have put on the car since I got it.

      BTW JUST FUEL for the prius in that time would have been $4778 for the same mileage.

      Oh and $300 a year to insure the metro.

      I treat the metro like a motorcycle and I drive it like a motorcycle. EADD Extremely Aggressive Defensive Driving.

      In an accident I AM DEAD so I avoid accidents. in a PRIUS your probably just as dead so not much of a safety difference when you really get down to brass nickles.

      the only accidents where the safety difference will apply are accidents that are likely your fault to begin with so the safety of the car is not relevant.

  7. mk says:

    I wish my corolla got 40 mpg, but gets 35 mpg in the winter and 36 mpg in the summer 90% hwy. driving 62 mph. I can’t complain about that really, but like you said, I have checked out the new 2011 Hyundai Elantra, and think they are very well designed and looks sharp and are suppose to get 40 mpg hwy. with a bigger back seat, etc. than my current 2009 corolla. However, when I went to get in and out, I had to duck my head 2-3″ to get in and out since the pillars are really slopped down way too much hitting my head on the door frame all the time. I don’t know if I could deal with that really though?? Also, dealers have NONE on their lots or only 2-3 at most. They are very hard to come by now and dealers will not go down much, if any, from full msrp since no factory to dealer incentives or rebates. So, not worth 18.5K since my corolla was 16K new vs. new. If the prices come down to 17K I could get one for, then I might have to consider the new 2011 Elantra maybe? Plus, the warranty is bumper to bumper 5 year, 60K which is awesome and 10/100K powertrain, the best in the industry. Hyundai, and Kia, for that matter, are the new mfgs. to watch in the next few years I say! Anyways, if I had 20K plus to blow, I would pick the Prius over the 10K metro, but then again, I am squabling over 1.5K more on the new Elantra. I am very tight with my money. Also, I think you knocked the metro down below what you should have. At the time, it was a very good reasonable cheap and despite what most say, a very reliable car.

    • slow down to 50-55. the time difference in your commute “WILL” be so small you won’t even notice it but the fuel savings you will notice. if your already getting 36 I bet just going 55 might get you to 40.

  8. Mickey says:

    Chris you forgot something in your figuring $ price. Most people aren’t mechanically inclined much less know where they can get and engine or a tranny. The Metro at it’s time frame was a good car for mpg savings. Like I said “at it’s time frame. If it was worth anything it will still be on the market. I for one don’t care to be replacing an engine every two years. I don’t believe for one minute $500 for the engine or tranny. You get what you paid for. My father-in-law had one. Can you say no room. At least in the Prius you have room for 4. I traveled in a Prius several times on a 850 mile trips. Getting 48mpg at 75mph is darn good for me. My wife gets her 55-63mpg in her 75,000 mile 07 prius. Only thing fixed on this car was replacing the HID’s headlights. Which were $175 a piece but I got a special from a Toyota parts delivery guy for $100 a piece. Now Toyota just sent a letter in the mail to pay customers back for the high price HID’s. Now for 4 years and only maintenance and now 1 set of tires I can’t complain. That there Chris is called “PEACE OF MIND”. So you go ahead and replace the simple things. By the way us southern people love A/C in July-October because of the HUMIDITY. Lets look a mythbusters and see how much of a gas difference whether you use your A/C vice windows down. You can’t tell the difference. So comfort is a plus. I prefer the 5 stars side impact and 4 stars frontal over the metro. Chris you are bias and also mechanically incline where most drivers aren’t. Chris I take it you never pulled out on the interstate doing slow,slow,slow. You won’t have a rear end. Your slow statement is only where traffic is abundant. Chris your last statement in your first writing proves who’s the d**k. No need for that and you have no proof to even come close to back that crap up. Just because you work for a mag or not doesn’t make your word legitimate.

    • you make the assumption that market forces have ANYTHING AT ALL to do with the presence of a car on our markets.

      it does not. only ONE thing determines if a car is on the market. PROFIT. if they can’t extract maximum profit they modify the car until it DOES extract maximum profit and or they stop selling the car.

      GM did NOT WANT to sell the geo metro. at all. its not profitable enough. period. easy to fix long lasting high efficiency cars are by definition LOW PROFIT. (54% of their profit in the 90’s and 00’s came from after they sold you the car !!!) electric cars (simple ones) and simple easy high efficiency cars GREATLY reduce this aspect of the profit margin.

      they ONLY sold the geo metro to meet fleet emissions and efficiency requirements. period.

      and yet the car sold pretty darned well so clearly their was demand. as soon as they did not need it to meet those efficiency demands they dumped it.

      WE HAVE the ability to get these kinds of efficiency numbers with small diesel engines. they REFUSE to make them and have artificially put into the minds of the public that they are slow dirty and nasty (all not true)

      sure my 75 Mercedes 300D 5 cylinder was slow as balls but a modern diesel will out stomp an equivalent gasser any day. and get 60mpg if you drive it right.

      but they refuse to release a SMALL engine diesel in this country because they know people will DEMAND IT once they have access to it and realize they can have all their safety and creature comforts at 60mpg. 50mpg if they drive fast.

      In canada they have a Smart 4/2 with a 6 speed manual tranny and a .8L Turbo Diesel engine. Just you try and get one in the US.

      it gets 71mpg !!! (meaning I can probably squeeze 80+ from it)

      know what a US 4/2 gets? 30 if your lucky.

      nough said.

      even these TUNDRA’s this site is for. imagine a TUNDRA with a medium sized 2 liter turbo diesel. it would be 75% as capable as a V8 Gasser Tundra but they will NEVER make one. not enough profit. it would be “too good” and “too popular”

      it would have more power and torque than my V8 5L 94 F150 and still be able to get 40mpg on the highway.

      how about a 1.6L 4cyl diesel in a Minivan. people have DONE THIS already themselves. they get 45-55mpg

      can you buy one off the showroom floor? heck no.

      this is all INTENTIONAL and has nothing to do with consumer demand. You can’t easily create demand for that which does not exist and this is WHY they don’t exist. they don’t want demand. they want to sell you CRAP and people just eat it up.

  9. mk says:

    Mickey, I disagree on your mythbusters idea that A/C doesn’t affect gas mileage vs. using the windows only rolled down. My 2009 Corolla 1.8L base car when used A/C in the summer very rarely cuts about 3 mpg off the car sucking power from the engine just enough to notice the slight lack of power thus making the engine work harder thus decreasing gas mileage. Leaving the windows rolled down still gets 35 mpg vs. 32 mpg with A/C on. At least in my vehicle that is what happens to me. Your Prius or whatever other car might have different results though, but the Prius’s 1.5L engine is even wimpier than my 1.8L engine thus I would think decreasing gas mileage 2-4 mpg with A/C vs. windows down only.

    • honestly this depends. in my metro or a prius or similarly aerodynamic car there will be a substantial penalty for opening the windows.

      but in a “brick” like your corolla or my cherokee they are already losers aerodynamically so you won’t see as much of a “hit” opening the windows.

      so it depends on your car really. TYPICALLY below 45 mph its more efficient to open the windows above 45 mph typically its more efficient to use the AC.

  10. Danny says:

    the prius is definitely a bigger safer car than the metro and the lives of my passengers are are well worth the expense of a safer car over the metro.also the peace of mind of an almost worry free vehicle is priceless.
    i do agree that as technology moves forward, the prius should have vastly improved mpg’s over the last many years. my only real issue with the prius or any hybrid vehicle is price. aside from my tundra, i have a chevy piece of junk HHR. it gets 30 mpg versus the prius 50 mpg. the prius on average is $9000 more than the HHR. using $3.45 per gallon, the HHR cost 11.5 cents per mile and the prius cost 6.9 cents per mile. thats a 4.6 cents difference per mile. $9000 worth of gas at $3.45 is 2608.7 gallons multiplied by the HHR 30 mpg, is 78,261 extra miles you would have to drive before the initial cost of the 2 vehicles are equal. i know this isnt a scientific comparison but its something to consider. also, remember the prius resale value will be substantial compared to the lil chevy hhr.
    also, i dont think the metro really got 47 mpg’s and certainly wouldnt get that with E-10 gasoline.
    dont get me wrong, i would love to have a prius but its cost too much for what it is. it might be economical on gas but it isnt economical in initial purchase price, especially when you can buy a honda civic or toyota corolla at 16k and easily get 36 mpg.
    just my 2 cents!

    • danny. check out my ecomodder log. not only do I get better than 47mpg on E10 (I DO get 5-9mpg better on E0 BTW) but I NEVER get 47mpg. if I get 47mpg I stop driving the car and FIX whatever is broken.

      even in the WINTER I get 52-55mpg on E10 on my 54 mile one way commute. in the summer I get 60+ easy without even trying hard.

      I have hit over 70mpg on 400+ mile legs.

      even with a TRAILER and Lawn Tractor loaded up I still get 54mpg.

  11. Roy says:

    Why compare the Prius vs. an old POS Geo Metro?

    How about a 2011 Honda Fit? The fit has good safety features, Modern bells and whistles, good fuel economy(as the Metro),meets current emissions standards, Lower price tag ($12,000 lower), cheaper insurance, lower property taxes, mechanically simpler design, cheaper tires and it’s a little more fun to drive.

    The sticker price difference alone would by you 120,000miles worth of fuel at $4.00 per gallon.

    • Marcus says:

      The Fit get 53 to 57 MPG at a cost of 3K? As for safety if I have a family I wouldnt put then in a Geo Metro. Heck if I we are worried about safety I wouldn’t drive a Prius Corrolla or Fit.i would buy 7.3 Powertroke CNG ( PROPANE assisted) Ford Excursion for what 20k and still get 45MPG and have the space comfort and realibility coming out my anus. The 7.3 with a mildly good owner gets 300k lol. With the CNG you bet your arse you will be getting 500K so really why the hell buy a Prius ? We just want to be hipsters? even without the CNG you get 20MPG….. Rant done.

  12. Jason (Admin) says:

    mk – Hyundai sales are on fire right now because they’re winning awards for quality, they look good, have great pricing, and many of them are even made in the USA.

    I think you’re right – I was hard on the Metro. Still, compared to a new 2011 Prius? Not even close – at least not in my opinion.

    mk and Mickey – I’ve seen many, many sources say that rolling down the windows on a car made after 1999 is inefficient compared to most air conditioners…but only at highway speeds. If you drive in stop-and-go traffic and/or below 40 mph, the windows are better. If you’re on the highway, the windows are worse.

    Danny – You make a great point about price difference per mpg and the subsequent “earn back”, and I agree with your final statement that a Civic/Corolla/etc. would be the best in terms of investment.

    I also appreciate the fact that you too agree with me on the point about worry-free performance and piece of mind (and Mickey too).

    Many people make the argument that old cars are cheaper, and on the surface they are, but anyone who has to be to work on time will say that old cars aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

    Thanks for all the comments!

  13. Jason (Admin) says:

    Roy – You make a great argument! I didn’t chose the Prius-Metro comparison…Chris at Gas 2.0 did. If he would have said that he’d rather have a Honda Fit (or similar) I wouldn’t have taken any issue with it. It’s a perfectly rationale choice, for all the reasons you described.

  14. Danny says:

    Jason,
    as for AC and its affect on mpg, even on todays cars it is noticable. i’m discounting “mythbusters” where there are varibles that kept changing, like stopping and resetting the test, different rates of acceleration and how long they may have held at the wrong rate of speed before acheiving the desired test speed, etc etc. my 2008 HHR, set the cruise at 70 mph, it reads an instant 30 mpg, turn on AC and it drops to 26-27 mpg. turn off AC and it returns to 30 mpg. it’s consistant and repeatable, which is the basis of any theory testing. Furthermore, anything belt driven inevietably produces drag or strain, therefore it must affect performance, either in power or fuel effientcy or both.
    Also, to your statement, “Many people make the argument that old cars are cheaper, and on the surface they are, but anyone who has to be to work on time will say that old cars aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.” This may be the normal rule, but there are exceptions to every rule. some older cars are worry free, while some new cars are absolute headaches, like my HHR. Actually, my HHR isnt that bad but i cant find a dealer to fix it correctly.
    back to the original blog, the prius should have made incredible leaps and bounds by now. heck, the computer you bought today is already obsolete, so why hasnt the prius jumped forward too.

  15. Mickey says:

    First off Mk mythbusters did their test with two Ford Explorer’s on a track. No traffic involved. Open windows cause drag and not aerodynamic where windows closed are aerodynamic. As for the Prius and the A/C vice windows that’s where the Hybrid part comes in at slower speeds. So mpg’s aren’t a big difference vs. comfort. Jason I do agree at higher speeds A/C isn’t much a difference but certain vehicles with today’s technology like the Prius do get almost if not the same mpg’s. Prius did come out with a solar panel to run the A/C which that by itself kills that arguement. The hybrid works at lower speeds to 45mph. Then the engine has to take over. The sticker cost for an 07 Prius pkg 6 was $27,440. That’s a fully loaded Prius with everything that Toyota puts into it. Factor in 4 years old and only had to get 2 HID headlights, which Toyota is paying me back for the cost. Four tires at 75,000 miles and tomorrow I put on all three new wiper blades. Oil changes every 5k and a tranny flush. The only thing I didn’t care for is the navigation system. It wasn’t up to date of the current year 07 when we bought it. It had early 06 version in it. As far as technology and Toyota is the factor of the Prius. Mpg’s isn’t the only thing out ther from technology. Like I mentioned before the solar panel running the A/C unit. The Prius can paralell park itself like the other cars with that technology. Being on top of the mpg’s Toyota hasn’t had to improve on that. Remember people aren’t buying vehicles for mpg’s. Now that the spike has hit us again you hear what can we do to get better mpg’s. Still the Prius ranks top on as the green car. Even the so called “smart car” falls short. What’s forgotten is how many people that drive are mechanically inclined? How many can actually do an engine/tranny swap? Compared to those who can only do minor stuff. That’s where the cost saving would come in. Paying a shop to do the stuff for you isn’t much of a savings. Then you have that reliability feeling.

  16. mk says:

    sorry to change topic, but Danny is right about mpg dropping say 2-4 mpg hwy. driving my 2009 4 cylinder corolla from 35 mpg drops to 32 mpg using A/C vs. rolling down windows. It sucks power from the small 4 cylinder engine although little, it still affects mpg running A/C in my experience just like Danny commented on. Mythbusters used a Ford Explorer with a V6 probably or even small V8 and therefore not much power robbed from engine unlike a 4 cylinder car. Just my experience and for me, I know it is true. Your car may be different though, to each their own. Also, a Honda Fit is comparable in price 15-16K like my new Corolla being 16K, so Roy commented on 12K lower a honda fit vs. a prius. More like 8-9K difference apples to apples, but the rest of Roy’s points are valid and noteworthy. My neighbor bought a 2010 honda fit at 16K similar equipped to my 09′ corolla being 16K also and a new prius I think is like 24-25K or so similar equipped unless I am mistaken.

  17. Jason (Admin) says:

    Danny – True. I should have said that “some” old cars aren’t worth the hassle. If they run like a top, they’re great. But if they need engine swaps and all the headaches that come along with that type of major work, I don’t think they’re worth it.

    As for A/C’s effect on gas mileage, I agree that turning A/C on hurts mileage. However, the negative aerodynamic effect of rolling down windows at highway speed is supposed to be worse…I’ve never tested it. Just going off of what I’ve read (and I’ve read that dozens of times from multiple sources).

    Finally, not to be argumentative, but I think the Prius is pretty awesome all things considered. Toyota could make it better, but they need to make money too. Considering that no one has made a vehicle that truly competes with the Prius in terms of cost, features, and efficiency, it’s hard for me to agree that they could be doing better.

    Mickey – You make a good point about the average owner’s mechanical knowledge and how that impacts this particular comparison. Most people couldn’t swap engines on their old Prism even if they wanted to, so what does that matter? Good point. 🙂

    mk – Interesting point about smaller displacement motors being impacted more greatly by A/C than larger engines. It could be that little 4-cylinders lose more efficiency, and that the aerodynamic loss would be less.

    As I said, I’ve never tested it. Just going off of what I’ve been reading for a few years now…but “common knowledge” isn’t always right! 🙂

    • The prius is one of the most expensive cars you can buy using REAL costs (10 year TRC total real cost)

      I think the prius for me came to $79,000 while a theoretical brand new metro using EPA mpg’s (I get much much higher than EPA mind you) was $41,000.

      the Nissan LEAF is the cheapest car you can buy right now for 10y TRC $54,000 (this includes a battery replacement since I will put 400,000 miles on it in 10 years time so its $44,000 for average drivers)

      Even a $11,000 Nissan Versa was more than $54,000 (fuel costs) and a chevy volt? laughable $98,500.

      there is actually NOTHING on this planet that is sold in the US that can touch the efficiency cost and reliability of a geo metro if it were still being made.

      next year ELIO might be the first to dethrown the metro with a 10y TRC of $29,000 thanks to its 84mpg and $6800 price tag. (oh and as a 5 star crash rated 3 airbag technically a motorcycle since it has 3 wheels will also save big on insurance costs !!!)

      to figure out your TRC is pretty simple. we are assuming brand new so warranty so we can ignore basic maintenance costs for the first 10 years since #1 its under warranty and #1 “basic” stuff is common to all the cars for this argument)

      Purchase price plus 50% (tags title fees registration yearly and finance charges)

      than figure out your fuel usage. use $4 a gallon to cover future increases somewhat and figure out what mpg you will get and how many miles a year you drive. miles driven a year divided by mpg expected then multiply by 4 and then multiply by 10.

      add this number to the first number (vehicle price plus 50%) and you will have a pretty good rough estimate of a 10y TRC on the vehicle.

      find me one cheaper than a metro or nissan leaf or mitsubishi miev.

      find me ONE. I can’t.

      • OH btw the 10Y TRC for the LEAF includes $2000 for a solar tie in for your roof (to bring your recharging costs to ZERO) and IGNORES the $7500 to $1000 in tax rebates and credits for an EV)

  18. mk says:

    Yah, I hear yah on the 2011 Hyundai on fire with sales right now. Sorry to change topic, but the 2011 Hyundai elantra I recently looked at was a very, very sharp looking car inside and out vs. compared to my 2009 corolla LE. The interior dimensions were very impressive being much more in the back seat than my corolla and excellent ergonomics, except something I may not be able to live with one thing. The front roofline and rear seat roofline getting in and out of the elantra sucked big time due to the much curved pillar for better aerodynamics. I am only 5’10” and had to bent my neck/head down 2-3″ just to get in and out without zonking my head on the pillar roofline. Once inside, awesome, but not what I would want to do day in and day out. But, the same size 1.8L engine with 6 speed tranny vs. my corolla 1.8L 4 speed tranny rated at 40 mpg hwy. vs. 35-36 mpg on my corolla plus price is only about 1.5K tops more apples to apples. Not too shabby at all.

  19. Jason (Admin) says:

    mk – Write me down as a Hyundai fan. They have good quality ratings in all the major quality surveys and the cars just get better and better looking. The value is hard to beat too.

    Still, they’re figuring a lot of things out that Toyota and Honda have been doing well for years. The entry and exit concerns you have are a great example of the difference between a Hyundai and a Toyota.

  20. mk says:

    I also agree with you Jason that Honda and Toyota have been ahead of the curve, especially the big 3, for decades. However, Hyundai and Kia, to name 2, are catching up real fast. Honda and Toyota need to step it up a notch to the next level. I just hope the next level is what we all want though. I suspect since Hyundai and Kia have the best warranty bar none being 5/60K bumper warranty and 10/100K powertrain, that will become the norm especially with Toyota and maybe even Honda in the near future.

  21. Mickey says:

    Thanks everyone. It’s been a great conversation piece on this subject. As far as A/C is concerned, I drive a Tundra with all 5 windows down when temp is 60 and above. 50-60 moonroof and back window. With wife I use the A/C. Can’t mess the hair up. Good Grief!

  22. Jason (Admin) says:

    mk – I think you’re right about the warranty changing. I think Toyota tried to shift focus from longer warranty to free maintenance, but I don’t think that will resonate as well with consumers. I’d much rather pay for my own oil changes and have an extra couple of years of warranty. As Hyundai/Kia has more success, the likelihood of other manufacturers matching their warranty programs increases.

    Mickey – LOL on the wife’s hair. I’m glad you liked it…wasn’t sure people would enjoy it.

  23. […] // Regarding the Geo Metro, many of the points I was going to post have already been posted at 2011 Prius vs 1993 Geo Metro | Tundra Headquarters. I've had the misfortune of driving a 4 cylinder Chevy Metro before (Geo brand went away and they […]

  24. Anonymous says:

    My 96 metro averages 46 mpg. 262000.0 miles uses no oil between 4000 mi. changes. Bought
    from salvage yard in 1998 for 2600.00

  25. anonymous says:

    Let’s get back to the basics. A car is only as safe as the person driving it. You could have all of the security and safety features of a brand new car, but the simple fact remains; if you’re not paying attention to the road, you’re a danger to yourself and everyone around you. Weighing that in mind, and the fact that insurance companies are forcing insurance on us in desperation because they are all failing… it won’t be long before the geo metro makes a comeback. Dealerships want to sell automobiles when we’re forced to pay insurance we CAN’T afford, they will be cornered into making cheaper more affordable cars for all of us. The only people who will be flipping out are the parents who are/were pretending not to have time to raise smart responsible teenagers.

  26. Jason (Admin) says:

    anonymous – You make a great point about driver safety being largely about responsibility, but what about the other people on the road? What if you’re completely safe and they’re drunk, or idiots, etc? I want air bags, I want 3k lbs in mass under my ass, and I want all the fancy systems that can help me maintain control and avoid that drunk guy headed right for me.

    • EADD. Extremely Aggressive Defensive Driving. Period. you drive ANY CAR YOU OWN likes its a motorcycle. where if anything “touches” you then your DEAD.

      this is how I drive my 82 goldwing. this is how I drive my metro how I drive my tracker how I drive my E350 Clubwagon with 30′ sailboat or 38′ camper on the back and how I drove our 35′ RV when we had that.

      YOU AVOID the other bad drivers by BEING AWARE and being aggressively defensive.

      I always drive with 2 outs. outs are “places I can go” to get out of trouble if something “bad” happens and forward and back don’t count.

      when an “out” is removed I immediately alter my situation to GET THAT OUT BACK.

      I have a story that relates to this (btw this method of driving becomes so automatic you don’t even think about it it becomes habit)

      I was going home on the expressway to drop my brother off. I was in the right lane doing 55mph (speed limit is 65 but I NEVER go over 55 if there are multiple lanes for other drivers to use)

      In Doing my scans my EADD kicks off a little. I notice a car on a big arching on ramp about to enter the expressway a little ahead of me. some quick metal cals tell me its a potential intercept (meaning he and I will arrive at the merge point roughly together)

      no worry yet plenty of time. I check my rear and notice a car overtaking me in the passing lane. HE IS ALSO going to be an intercept and ALSO at the merge point. OK my EADD kicks into full gear now.

      I let off the gas to slow down and alter the intercepts in advance. brother sits up and says whats the matter. I start to say well you see these cars are going to meet me at the onramp so to avoid possible “issues” I am slowing…

      at this point I slam on the brakes and swerve left behind the overtaking driver and continue swerving into the inside shoulder I also continue to maximum brake and prepare myself to ditch into the grass medium if I have and begin looking for a path in the medium with maximum left movement that won’t trash my car.

      so what happened?

      well there were 3 DEER in the onramp lane as it merges. our headlights did not illuminate them and neither did the lights of the car entering the expressway UNTIL he was at the merge point.

      his reaction was to intermediately swerve left DIRECTLY INTO the very spot I would have been at to avoid a collision with the deer.(long merge lanes) had I not reacted in advance

      I took the inside shoulder and braked aggressively because not only did the merger now occupy the space where I would have been but he did so VIOLENTLY so I had no way of knowing how the OTHER driver would have reactions he might “swerve left” into my path in the shoulder which is why I was prepared to take the median if I had too.

      turns out the left lane driver either did not even see all this or had a “cooler head” and he just wiggled a little and kept his lane.

      it would not matter WHAT car I was driving this incident would have almost assuredly resulted in me being towed home. I probably would not have been physically harmed in the accident but my car would have been wrecked.

      I merged back onto the highway and well all went home undamaged. I them finished my thought to my brother who was freaking out.

      …. and that is why I drive EADD.

      there was technically no immediate danger. none of us had anyway of knowing the deer where their.

      but by being very aggressive about my defensive driving and ALTERING my position to retain my “outs” I prevents a situation from every developing to begin with.

      if everyone drove like this we would have far fewer accidents and would not need 5000 pound 20mpg behemoths to protect us.

  27. TXTee says:

    I’m late…here’s my 2 cents LOL. Both of them are awfully ugly I wouldn’t want to afford either. I am fortunate that I don’t have the need for either one.

  28. Levi says:

    I got my 1995 Geo with 100,000 miles on it. It has 245,000 now and all Ive replaced is the cluch cable (10 minutes, $20) and Tires.

  29. Jason (Admin) says:

    Levi – Cool! Sounds like a reliable car.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Everyone is forgetting some major factor’s here….. THE BIG ONE… 18 years difference!!!! WHO IS PAYING TO KEEP THE TECHNOLGY FROM BEING USED TO KEEP BETTER FUEL EFFICENT VEHICLES OFF THE ROAD????????? Why in 93 we the AMERICANS manufactured a cheap vehicle that got 52 miles per gallon (93 METRO) I did own one in 93 .It got 52 miles per gallon. I got as high as 56 miles per gallon. BELIVE that or not. I drove about 80 miles per day round trip for work 6 days per week .It was my first new car .Yes it was a light car that I would not want to get in an accident with .But it could be repaired cheaply and the 5 speed had enough get out of the way power for me .The metro was a good 2 to 3 passenger commuter “work vehicle”.
    RICH or POOR in the near future there will be no more middle class. So that is where cost comes in to play the poor man will have to go with the METRO and hope a rich prius owner does not hit them .THE BIG QUESTION IS WHY a cheap car can’t be mass produced that could get better than 50 miles per gallon and still be safe? When it was being done with 18 year old technology in 1993 and before .Please excuse me if I sound MAD but I am .
    With gas now at $3.85 per gallon and our pres says deal with it. The people that are saying well the Europeans have been paying $5.00 per gallon for years… WAKE up ! This country is not set up the same way. WE DO NOT HAVE THE MASS TRANSIT SET UP LIKE EUROPE. Now way shape or form .We are many years from that.
    Just my 2 cents worth… That fells better , off my chest and in your head!
    ARS

  31. Jason (Admin) says:

    Anon – Safe is relative term my friend, which is the answer to your question. Safety standards have increased significantly since 1993, and vehicles have gotten heavier, less fuel efficient, and more expensive as a result.

    Tata, an automaker in India, produces a four-dour car called the Nano that gets 60mpg and costs a touch less than $3k. Of course, it doesn’t pass safety standards in the USA, and I doubt it’s incredibly reliable, but still, it *is* possible…just not in America. 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      yes, because this country is full of pussies who can’t drive responsibly, sensibly, and carefully. Too busy hurrying up to that job, or some event, or texting, or talking on the phone, texting, reading a paper, eating, and putting on makeup while driving. I bought my 2000 Metro 4cyl/5spd 3 years ago for 1000 dollars used, I have spent NO money on it outside of tires and wiper blades when I first bought it, and oil changes and fuel, and it has served me with 100% reliability, and perfectly safely. I drive every day with the mental determination that EVERY other driver on the road is a complete idiot, and should be avoided at all costs. This is unfortunately mostly true. With the advent of the automatic transmission, any idiot could get in a car, and “gas and go”. There is no learning curve, and thereby no perceived responsibility. Driving a manual should be required by LAW, because it produces safer, more intelligent drivers who are attentive to their surroundings and the capabilities of their machines. No matter what you drive, you are piloting a single(or multiple) thousand pound missile. Hit anything, and either you, or the other person, or both are potentially dead. Perceived safety of ABS, airbags, traction control, all that crap makes your missile heavier, and more dangerous for anyone else on the road. I need none of those things, because I AM the traction control, ABS and anything else I need to be. All while getting 56 miles per gallon average out of a 14 year old 1.3L 4 cylinder with 226,000 miles on it, and absolutely NO sign of giving up anytime soon. (even if it did, it’s not an interference engine, so a 9 dollar timing belt, a couple hours of my time, and it’s back on the road. New bearings at 300K miles or so, and piston rings, and it’ll net me another 300K or more, easily. You don’t have to be a scientist to be able to learn how to very easily fix these tiny cars. Any half grown teenage boy can deadlift the engine block for pete’s sake. It’s a suitcase. I can change a metro transmission in 55 minutes start to finish with my bare hands, basic tools, and a jack. ON THE GROUND. Which brings me to my next point. If you do not have the skill to mend your own vehicle, in my opinion, you should not have the privilege of operating that vehicle. Period. Learn your car, respect it, be able to fix it, and you will save more environment than anyone else, because you can drive ONE car for 5, 10, 20, hell 50 years if you do it right, and all that time, that amounts to you buying ZERO new cars, thereby eliminating any pollution/environment destruction related to the manufacture of said new vehicle(s). This is an apathetic culture full of MEME’s, posers, and pussies pretending to be cool, and laughing at anyone who is intelligent enough to ACTUALLY be frugal. In short, buy something old, keep it, and tell the people trying to sell you new crap to suck it.

  32. spec8473 says:

    Or…you can buy six metro’s for close to the price of one new prius and cannibalize parts off the others to keep fixing the same one for years on end, in which time you can save money to buy a new vehicle…or six more metro’s.

    As for reliability, if you get a manual trans some gas and good push, you can start that nice light car every time 🙂 crazy idea huh?

  33. David Craig Hiser says:

    This extremely pervasive myth comes from the fact that in crash tests which simulate a head-on collision, a vehicle with more mass fairs better (all other things being equal).
    This is due to physics, and can only partially be mitigated by the design of safety restraints and crumple zones.
    However, how a vehicle fairs in a head-on collision is only a small part of overall safety.

    For one thing, head-on collisions are the least common type of collision. In a rear or side impact collision, a roll-over, or a single-vehicle collision with an inanimate object, vehicle mass has no impact on passenger safety. I won’t get into the details, but, again, this relates to physics more than car design.
    If you live in a remote area with high-speed undivided roads, you may have reason to worry about head-on crashes. Most of us live in a city or suburb where freeways have dividers down the middle, and city street speed limits are too low to worry about fatal crashes.

    The other reason crash tests are misleading is that not all vehicles are equally likely to get into a crash. A vehicle with twice the mass takes twice as long to stop (physics again!)
    Think about it – which would you rather: get into a crash and survive; or avoid the crash altogether!?!?

    You don’t believe me do you?
    OK…

    This is from a 2000 NHTSA study of actual fatality rates by different vehicle class.
    If being heavy really made a vehicle safer, then fatality rates would drop in proportion to weight. That isn’t at all what happens:

    Class avg weight in lbs fatalities per bil. miles
    Small 4-door cars 2,469 11.37
    Mid-size 4-door cars 3,061 9.46
    Small 4-door SUVs 3,147 10.47
    Compact pickup trucks 3,339 11.74
    Mid-size 4-door SUVs 4,022 13.68
    Large pickup trucks 4,458 9.56
    Large 4-door SUVs 5,141 10.03

    The reality doesn’t exactly match up with conventional wisdom. A mid-size car turns out to be safer than any size truck or SUV when you look at fatalities per mile instead of just crash test ratings.

  34. David Craig Hiser says:

    Sorry, that is hard to read when the comment editor takes out all the formatting. lets try…
    First column is average weight of each class of vehicles.
    Second column is the recorded average driver and passenger fatalities per billion miles:

    2,469……..11.37
    3,061……..9.46
    3,147……..10.47
    3,339……..11.74
    3,596……..7.12
    4,022……..13.68
    4,458……..9.56
    5,141……..10.03

  35. Jason (Admin) says:

    David – We’re 100% on the same page, however I’d still take the heavier car. Unless you’ve already corrected your stats, keep in mind that about half of all fatalities are single vehicle crashes…which are almost always alcohol and/or speed related.

    If we take these out of the mix, frontal crashses with another vehicle become the most common type of collision. For that reason, I stand by my argument that a 3,000 lbs vehicle is inherently safer than a 1,800lbs vehicle. However, to your point, I should put a caveat on that statement and say “unless you drink and drive or drive recklessly, in which case it doesn’t matter as much.”

    Great point. Thanks. 🙂

    • Rob says:

      First off, your argument that a heavy car is inherantly safer than a lighter car has absolutely no basis in reality what-so-ever. cars in the 50’s and 60’s were very heavy, yet when used in a head on crash test against modern lighter cars, they fared far worse. Why? Because of the design. Survivability has nothing to do with weight unless you are talking about a HUGE difference in weight like say a freight train VS a VW bug. Here is video proof. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joMK1WZjP7g Now if you want to talk safety, I love my family too much to place them in a Prius. The prius utilizes lithium ion batteries which have on a number of occasions overheated and exploded in prius’s. One must look only as far as the recent issues with the 787 to see how volatile these batteries are. heck just spend about 20 minutes using your smart phone on the internet and you will see the danger of these batteries. Note how hot your phone gets. Now imagine what happens when the huge li-ion batteries in your prius have a thermal runaway which these cars have had happen on occassion. Peace of mind? I think not. Lets look at maintenence costs shall we. The battery pack is good for 5-10 years in a prius determined by many different factors. The cost of replacement is just under 4000. Thats in addition to the cost of maintaing and repairing all of the standard systems and eletronic systems on this vehicle. If you TRULY care about the environment you will avoid this car at all costs. Hybrids have huge carbon footprints. The majority revolves around the li-ion battery packs. The various minerals are mined throughout the world and shipped to a refinery on one continent, then the refined minerals are shiped to another continent to make the batteries. Then theres that pesky little problem of what to do with the HIGHLY TOXIC dead batteries and the ploution caused by either destroying them, or trying to recycle them. I just love seeing all of the poor misguided fools who think they are doing the planet good by driving these hybrids when if they were truly as educated as they like to think they are, they would do a little research and see just how much damage is being done to this planet in the manufacture and disposal of these li-ion batteries as well as all of the other electronics reuired to make a hybrid function. I have purposely not quoted studies to force readers to actually do a little research and see for themselves. Just look and you will find real studies, not “made for TV” mythbusters half-assed skewed tests, but real facts and data. Just because you have a new car it does not guarantee peace of mind. This is a false sense of security for the week minded. If everything new was perfect and never broke, there would be no recalls, no lemon laws, and cars would last forever so we would all still be driving Model T’s. You can die in any car, no matter the size of the vehicle, no matter the safety features, and no matter the speed you are traveling. True, in a carefully set-up and controlled test, cars today fare better, but hundreds of people still die every day on our highways in new 5star crash test approved vehicles. The only peace of mind you should have when driving any vehicle is in your own ability to control it and re-act when the unexpected happens. Your ability to react and take defensive measures is far more likely to determine the outcome than relying on crumple zones or a bag that has the ability to decapitate you (which has happened to adults as well as children) when it deploys. The true test of the value of a vehicle is time. Will there still be a lot of them around and in use when they are 20-30 years old? In the case of the metro, yes. You can’t go anywhere without seeing one. While many of their contemporaries are rarely sighted or have vanished all together, including the much lauded Honda’s of the time, you still see thousands of these little cars on the road. A true testament to their value and safety. Will there be any prius’s around when they are 30 years old? Well, that remains to be seen. My opinion, they are a fad that will be replaced by simpler, more economical solutions and will just end up another automotive footnote in history.

  36. David Craig Hiser says:

    Golly, I am totally unused to an acknowledgment and a reasonable response in any internet based discussion! I respect you, sir, even though I still (partially) disagree.

    Indeed, I hadn’t corrected for driver error in the statistics. And I acknowledge that frontal impacts cause the most fatalities in multi-vehicle crashes (not the most accidents, but the most fatal accidents; I suspect that’s what you meant though).

    So, if a person regularly drives on high speed undivided roads, I concede that higher mass would automatically translate to greater overall safety.

    Part of my point was that there are few opportunities for high-speed frontal impact crashes in the city (where most people live and work). If you are rarely on undivided highways, your risk of a front impact crash drops considerably. What is true for the entire population statistically isn’t necessarily true for most of the individuals in it.
    The usual fear is that by driving a small car on the freeway among trucks and SUVs you are in danger of getting squashed or run over, and my point was that this particular common fear is invalid.

    Of course, the modern car also has more and better airbags, antilock brakes, daytime running lamps, and other things which the older car lacks, which help both in avoiding impacts and lessening their effect, so you are probably safer in the Prius overall regardless.
    I’m just saying that the focus on crash test ratings to gauge safety doesn’t look at the whole picture.

  37. Jason (Admin) says:

    David – You know it man, that’s how I roll here! No troll behavior either way. 🙂

    So, I don’t have the stats pulled up anymore but I actually spent a few minutes reviewing safety data (you can find it online, but I can’t link to it right now b/c I’m short on time). My recollection is that frontal collisions are still the most common type of collision once you remove single vehicle crashes, but I suppose there’s an element of common sense here…you can’t crash into something if you’re not headed right for it. SO perhaps the type of collision isn’t nearly as important.

    Ultimately, I stand by my conclusion that heavier cars matter more when you exclude single vehicle crashes. I’d much rather be hit while driving a Prius than a Metro…that nearly half-ton weight difference is a big deal, especially if the vehicle that hits me is an even bigger truck or SUV. Regardless of the direction of the collision.

    Still, you are 100% right. Focusing exclusively on crash testing without thinking about other systems that help avoid collisions is a good thing. With ABS and traction control, the new Prius wins in that regard as well.

    • I thought I read that ABS/Traction control increased accidents of the frontal sort? in the past when a dimwitted driver was not paying attention he rear ended the guy in front of him with locked up breaks unable to turn away.

      but now abs/traction control allows him to retain maneuvering control so instead he swears into oncoming traffic and womp 🙂 hehe

      the CORE problem here is we don’t teach people to DRIVE in this country. our driver requirements are a JOKE. if we tought people how to actually drive and ground that need into our citizens I bet out accident rate would drop immensely.

      also a heavier vehicle is WHY the lighter vehicles don’t fair well in frontal collisions.

      a metro does not lose in a frontal because its 1800 pounds it loses because the car that hits the metro is 4000 pounds. if that OTHER car was also 1800 pounds the stats would be very different.

  38. Baconator says:

    I’ll tell you why. my metro was 200 bucks, not like 20 grand 🙂

  39. mark says:

    yeah but a prius is like really expensive and the batteries are needing replaced after 4 years and they are like 5 grand. i got a 99 geo metro coupe 1.0 3cyl 5 spd and its easy to drive gets almost 50 mpg has ac heat and plenty of front room. its way cheaper than a prius and i only paid 1500 bucks for mine and its clean looking .so yeah the prius is a mediocre car that is pretty dam expensive ane geo metro is a good economical cheap car alot cheaper than a prius.gas prices went up after metro was made they quit making the cheap economy car and replaced them with expensive economy cars get the PICTURE!.

  40. mark says:

    yeah toyota prius and smart car = RIP OFF.THEY GOT NOTHIN ON THE GEO METRO EXCEPT THEY COST $20,000 MORE

  41. Jason (Admin) says:

    Baconator – LOL. I understand. See the part about “if money were no object”. 🙂

    mark – Batteries need replaced after 150k-300k, and they are $1400. Get your facts straight bud.

  42. Andrew says:

    The Prius is for people with money and the need to be “green”. However the Geo is for people who need cheap transportation with great fuel economy. If you can afford the Prius and the cost of a new battery in 10 years great. But if your less fortunate student like myself who does there own car repairs and just needs to get to school and work for little money the Geo is your best option. They do not compare at all to me.

  43. Lloyd Evans says:

    I’d buy a Prius, one of the 1st to be made, but quess what, there are none as the battery on all of them crapped out, and who has 3 grand for a Repl. My 1992 Geo Metro, fast for me and at 350,000 miles it still gives me better than 47 MPG on the HWY and 40 ’round town with the A/C on and off up hills – yeah, it needs that Xtra Pwr and not all the time.

  44. Transition Zoner says:

    The Geo Metro is the Anti-Hummer. The Prius is the “I-can-have-it-all-and-still-be-green” car for people who have lots of green. The Metro is like the original Volkswagen i.e. “people’s car”. It is for people like me who no way in hell could ever afford a Prius – I don’t care what you say your time is worth, I can’t make $75 an hour. Ever. As for safety, remotes, and stuff to mate with your iShit? Who cares? That stuff is for bourgeois Hummer and Prius drivers looking down on me driving my Metro xfi with a fresh 12 pack of Schlitz on the passenger seat. Go play with your toys.

  45. Greg says:

    Well I cant say much for the 1993 Geo Metro but I have a 1996 Geo Metro LSi with the three cylinder engine and it has lots of options I mean I dont have power windows or anything but I do have ABS, A/C, power steering, cd player, rear window defrost and rear wiper, a tachometer, and a pop up sunroof, dual airbags, and I get around 44mpg and I dont have any problems keeping up with traffic. Ive had a lot of people and I mean a lot of people stop and ask me if the car was for sale, plus I dont think the crash test on the 95 and newer models were quite as bad as the 1989-1994

  46. Lloyd says:

    The Toy/Prius came out in 1997. THEY ARE ALL GONE, AS NO ONE WANTS TO BE DONE-IN WITH A – WHAT, $3,500. BATTERY?

    Sorry, but my 1993 Geo M<etro (4Dr/Hatc h) has 350,000 cool a/c miles on it – yes, I did the engine opver as the 1st. owner card not for the wonderful and powerful 3Cy Suziki engine.

    • Jason (Admin) says:

      $1850 for a refurbished battery. $3000 for a new battery.

      • or $800 to do it yourself and this gets you nice HQ stainless valves done by a pro and a regrind of the cam to XFI specs if you don’t have an XFI.

        the engine is so light that in 30 minutes you are lifting it out of the car with your bare hands.

        I would NEVER pay $1850 for an engine for a metro since I can buy 2 or 3 metro’s for that price.

        only silly people with money to spare pay $1850 for an engine for a metro.

  47. Geo, a “death trap”? I’ll tell u a story of a death trap. A neighbor showed off his new Mercedes, “Lloyd, …and it has 9 air bags!” I told him that if I owned the car and was in an accident and all air bags deployed, I’d wanna be dead…considering the Repl. cost of replacing those bags. Hey, ever hear of seat belts?

    • Jason (Admin) says:

      Lloyd – That’s what car insurance is for! LOL. Besides, isn’t it better to pay the bill for some airbags than to cover the cost of a funeral?

  48. Who pays auto insurance? Kidding of course. We do but it’s the other guy! Oh lo0ok, I have three other vehicles yet I really enjoy tooling ’round town getting 42MPGs with my Metro and on the Hwy (infrequently) 49+ – at times better than 50 but not all that often in memory. I have 350,000 on the Odo and did the engine over once at 140,000 miles (cost $1400., as the Prev. owner didn’t service it well. I bought it when it had 76497 miles on it – paid $3,200. in Feb.1999). The car owes my nothing. 5 speed manual, A/C and I put a “glass” top on it ($600. As the headliner also had to be replaced with the new top – and I redid the front seat in vinyl – so I’ll ash again: See any Toyota.Prius’ from 1993 out there that don’t need a $2,000. battery? Yes, I’d buy one, and wonder when the battery will fail and even thereafter, when it would fail again. No, I’m sorry; you won’t see a Prius at any auto show in 20, 30 or 40 years. But, you’ll see my 1971 2Dr. Toyota Crown!

  49. C-los says:

    I love my metros. They are much cheaper to obtain and maintain. They rarely develop problems anyway. I would love however to own a 1st gen. Insight. 60-70 mpg. Wow!

  50. Lloyd Evans says:

    Yep, gotta get working so this’ll be my last Comm on matters Geo. As for a 1st. Gen. Insight: they are out there, they and their expensive batteries, with the same crash worthiness as Geo. The battery challenge is one that auto Mfgs have to master. Go into Toyota and say, ”I keep my cars for 20 years, how many batteries will I have to buy on this $20,000.car?”

    Their least Exp. Is the Prius C:

    Avg. Paid:$19,528 – $23,762
    MSRP: $18,950 – $23,230
    Invoice: $18,003 – $21,625
    MPG: 53 City / 46 Hwy

    Do the math, how many miles do U drive divided by how long U will keep it. Then consider used – here, you’ll find that Obamas Cash for Clunkers allowed the auto industry to rip us off on any car previously used. Least of all, anything electric (Hybrid to be euphemistic – which of course obfuscating b.s.). Have we not fatigued of the manipulation on cars and gas prices?

    Sop bye, I’m outta this blog.

  51. Hudson says:

    The argument goes more like this: the 95 Geo Metro (not the 93) was the pinnacle of gas economy in small cars made out of a Suzuki/Chevy/Geo plant in Ontario Canada (looking at something like 54 highway with a manual here). In addition, this shows what could be done back in 1995, on a CARBURETED vehicle. The batteries don’t cost $8000, won’t kill you if you cut an orange wire (yikes), and when it dies in 7 years the Geo’s doesn’t have to be made and disposed of in India due to the terrible environmental concerns.
    Yes, the Prius is safer, is more modern, and has more gadgets, but for the diy’er who’s more worried about simplicity, reliability, and gas economy, Toyota underwhelmed us long ago. (Recent trends seem to be erring toward Chevy’s lapse, however.)
    Also, as a side note, these little 1.0 liter engines are awesome. The acceleration isn’t stellar, not by a long shot, but you can throw custom ground cams in, retard the engine advance, and even go as far as putting suzuki flat-top pistons in there to bump compression ratios and get a little more oomph out of your little racer. In addition, total engine rebuild kits, pistons, bearings, gaskets included run you around $250. Can’t say that for le Prius, no.

    • #1 the pinnacle is 94 the last year of the XFI (58mpg epa I REGULARLY get over 60mpg and that’s with E10 crap)

      #2 no Suzuki Swift (that is what a metro is) is carburated to my knowledge they use a TBI throttle body fuel injection.

      its not Direct Injection or MPFI but its certainly not carburated.

      while MPFI would probably net another 1 or 2 mpg its not worth it for the cost and complexity increase I LOVE the simplicity of the car as much as I love its fuel economy.

  52. jimmy knaub says:

    here the thing, most geo metro get close to their MPG 10 years later… the prius will not. NiMH batter pack don’t last forever, and as they die they hold less and less. thing a three year old laptop on battery power.
    as for polution, yes the metro polutes more. but then again, how much of a carbo footprint will be generated by the disposal of 100 lbs of toxic heavy metals when the battery pack dies? and then the gasoline motor will have to run more and more to keep up as the battery dies.
    but this is all okay, as the prius is not ment to last much longer than the time it takes you to pay it off. you will simply buy a new prius.
    some geo metros have passed the 300,000 mark and still run strong.
    yes, its the ghettoest car ever, yes your likely to die in a crash, yes there is no ac, ABS, power steering, power windows, hub caps, automatic transmissions, and everything else wrong with it, but i can rebuild one myself and never need a mechanic or a machine shop, and the transmission is so small my mother could hold it with one hand (no joke, she acutally did when i did a clutch job) it sucks, but its dirt cheap. its like the AK-47, crappy build, but thats why it lasts forever.

    • actually the NIMH pack in the prius is the only good thing about the prius. a good quality nimh pack can easily last 400,000 even 500,000 miles. sadly because its a hybrid and a very small pack it gets abused (deep, harsh, and frequent discharges and charges) so 300k to 350k is still reasonable for the pack.

      who here keeps cars that long? I AM NUTS about mileage and even I only have 1 car with over 350,000 miles. my 88 Cherokee. 497,000 miles.

  53. mike says:

    I’m agreeing with the dozens of folks who have pointed out that the Prius isn’t automatically the safer car just because it’s newer and heavier. Jason, you’ve repeated that you’d rather be in a Prius than in a Metro in a crash, but I’d rather not be involved in a crash at all. And while you can say that you can’t always prevent crashes, you also can’t simply pick and choose the values that matter to you and state they objectively make your choice (the Prius) the better of the two vehicles.

    The thread has clearly shown that there are lots of folks who’d rather drive defensively, save a lot of money, learn to do repairs themselves, get equivalent mileage, and preserve the Earth (because no matter how new a Prius is, it still uses tons of toxic and nonrenewable materials in its construction that wouldn’t be present if a used car had been chosen instead of a new Prius being built) in a Metro over the supposed benefits of a Prius.

    For what it’s worth, I drive a Toyota Tercel and regularly get 46mpg highway in the winter and 50+ mpg highway in the fall. I track my mileage via tank fillups and an Ultragauge. The car cost me $1200. Comparing the MSRP of a 2013 Prius, which is 24,995 where I live, to my $1200 Tercel, with $3.50 gas, 50 mpg in the Prius, 45 mpg in my Tercel, and 15,000 miles driven a year, a 2012 Prius would need to last for 203 years to break even with my Tercel in cost.

    The Prius will be in a landfill approximately 183 years before then.

    • more details on your tercel? engine tranny? always interested in other cars that can tickle 50mpg.

      to be fair though you can’t compare a used car to a new car. even my 2000 plymouth voyager at 24mpg is cheaper than a Prius under those conditions.

      I paid $1500 for it. that is a price difference of over $20,000 that is a lot of fuel even at my 40,000 miles a year!

      and I believe the prius will still get over 30mpg even with a dead battery.

      so while I agree the prius is a rip off comparisons do need to be either fair or mention the difference.

  54. Jan says:

    Proud owner of a 92 Geo ‘Vert. Either 170k or 270k (but I doubt that) on the 5 digit odo with a +6% difference maybe due to tires.

    I love my car, as I traded down from a 98 Cav to get it. I know it will start as we got it for 600$ and rebuilt it ourselves. It has pretty much stock everything and is rusty and as slow as it needs to be. I may only get 30-34mpg solidly, but I know my friends who have spent 6k$+ on their cars and barely achieve that.

    And to those complaining about the A/C.. It was 110+ degrees here in the midwest, and anyone that’s come from a desert to see what 110 feels like humid can attest that it is just awful. Putting the top down is all the A/C I need. We even removed the belt, as I didn’t want it. I have it, it’s fully functional if I put the belt back on, but that will never happen. No power locks, no power windows, no luxury and I love it. It’s my econobox and gets me where I need to go!

    Death trap? Probably. I’m never going to deny that I’ll probably die in my car, but doesn’t mean I don’t still love driving it! Doesn’t have to be fast. It’s cute, it’s tiny, and that’s the girl in me. Now all I have to do is paint it bright pink and watch all of you call me names! I’ll still love it.

    Gonna put a manual transmission that I’ve already purchased in it to squeeze out a few more mpg and give it a little boost. But that’s the only major thing we’re looking at doing, other than repairing a few rust spots.

    So, yes, given a free Prius, I’d probably take it, sell it and buy another Geo. I’m sold on this little car. It’s been a trooper through being treated like a rat rod from it’s previous owners and left to rust, through the rebuild, rust, timing snap, and loads of other problems. I never think it won’t turn on. I never think it will break down. It’s been completely reliable and have had no issues! And I certainly get a good story to tell every time someone asks what car I drive. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. 🙂

  55. Joe says:

    This article smacks of comparing a $90K sports car (450HP+) to a (mid-sized,~150-200HP) SUV or even a late 1970’s CJ-7 (Jeep). About the only thing similar is the MPG ratings. If I could comfortably afford a Prius, then I’d get BOTH, assuming I wanted either of them. That way I’d have 2 cars that use very little gas – drive the Prius daily and have a second for when we need 2 cars. I hate our 1993 Geo. Just got done pulling a starter and combination (headlight/turn/wiper) switch and the thing seems to have low compression in one of the cylinders.

    My 1990 Olds Cutlass SE and 1987 Nissan Maxima I used to own were never this awful! It’s as bad as the old 1985 Escort compared to my 1999 ZX2 that I got several years later, as far as power and safety goes, as well. The MPG rating on even electric-gas hybrids doesn’t exactly impress me a whole lot. This is especially true due to the maintenance costs of having a more complex design that most mechanics have no idea how to deal with. At least diesels and gas engines aren’t too uncommon. (Yeah, circular reasoning I know since there’s not a whole lot of cars for them to learn on that have battery arrays)

    Smart buy: Get a pure electric car to get to work/school/grocery store, and a diesel truck for actually doing work, all for about half way inbetween the price of a ’93 Metro and a 2012 Prius. Note I live just East of the divide in Colorado Springs so they both make a bit of sense.

  56. Joe says:

    Oh, as far as weight/safety issues go: Trucks are the WORST. You’re A) more likely to have a wreck due to worse handling B) If you do flip over, you’re pretty much dead.

    The numbers quoted above seem to match the common sense reasoning that a vehicle with medium weight and low center of gravity is a lot safer.

  57. Lloyd Evans says:

    To the guy that hates his 92 Geo Metro. May I suggest you list it on eBay and w/all of the challenges it poses to you, another will buy it and at a handsome price.

  58. Jake says:

    Don’t be a dumbass.

  59. Joe says:

    What’s funny is that Metro’s seem to be overpriced right now. People have realized that it’s essentially a Swift with a Chevy badge and both have become popular thanks to the trend away from new cars and a limited production run (they never hit a million/year even including rebranded versions and different country’s markets). It seems that not as many people I know buy new anymore… Lloyd Evens is not in fact being dumb – he’s right about people wanting way too much for a sub-50HP car. Only thing I disagree with him is economics of fixing it.

    I fixed most of the issues but it’ll end up costing more than $1000 for a reconditioned engine (labor extra!) for a car barely worth more than that unless I want to totally do all the work myself including the teardown and rebuild. I’m not a mechanic so you can see where I’m going with this. I just got the factory service manual and… wow it helped tons so I may actually do it once we have a 2nd car. 😉 I have worked on engines before but this will be the first time to remove a head.

    • Part of the pleasure of owning a geo metro is DOING YOUR OWN WORK.

      you can in fact rebuild the engine YOURSELF with surprisingly little effort and expense and do it in a weekend. in 30 minutes you can be lifting the engine out of the engine bay WITH YOUR BARE HANDS no lift or hoist. yes its that light. I think the engine and tranny are what ? 150 pounds.

      send the head off to 3 tech to have him redo. a little price couple hundred bucks but it will have polished stainless valves and last you a lifetime when you get it back. or what I plan to do. get a head at a junkyard and send him that so I can just “swap it in” without having to wait.

      I have some 240,000 miles on my xfi with no rebuild and I still get 80psi out of each cylinger (max is around 100 55 is the limit to “pass” though they can be driven well below that)

      the only complicated thing I had to do to this car was weld the frame horn. since I had no welder (working on it) my mechanic helped me out with that. My frame horn was structurally ok but it was starting to rot so I took care of it before it failed. (known issue on these cars water gets inside and rots them from the inside) I increased the size of the drain holes to avoid this in the future.

      if your getting someone else to fix the car your going to have someone else fixing it expenses.

      if you fix it yourself its DIRT freaking cheap to keep these cars on the road and good preventative maintenance and taking CARE of the car will avoid MOST expenses just like any other car.

      if the car was abused (and metro’s are HEAVILY bused) your not making up for bad design. your making up for PO’s abuse.

      • Joe says:

        Wrong on one part! Both the forum and the manual specify about 200 PSI for a new engine. Granted, you could measure 100 or 150 even if it’s actually running 190 PSI. This is a case where borrowing a second meter is nice. It can be the meter – one member of geometroforum.com had to use 3 before getting a good read! Searching for ‘PSI’ or ‘compression’ shows all the good info at that forum. Ryan’s post has the test: http://geometroforum.com/topic/1019585/1/

        Other than the PSI of compression, you’re absolutely correct. Compared to the 1987 Maxima I owned, this engine is very light. Haha, imagine an iron engine that took hours just to cool down (and a good portion of an hour to warm up)! Like I said, not going to rebuild it until we have the second daily driver.

        • I was off a bit. sorry. max is 205 (new engine) but anything over 154 or 155 is “don’t mess with it” according to the factory manual.

          IE you bring the car in for service of the compression is 155 or better they will not do anything do it. its considered “in spec”

          they can RUN down to 100 psi and still function fine.

      • Joe says:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MPTJJznNbc
        Like this video on Youtube showing how to do it. He prefers to unplug the injectors.

  60. JoeShmoe says:

    It seems there’s something missing here. If you’re concerned over safety or comfort you wouldn’t buy either one.

    Talking MPG is code for either 1)saving money or 2)saving the planet or both.

    As far as 2) the Prius is something of a joke, no offense intended.

  61. I only care about ONE THING in a car. the 10 year TRC.

    TRC is Total Real Cost.

    the prius is one of the more expensive cars you can buy when you factor in TRC. the Chevy volt is the most expensive car I have yet calculated ($98,500 10y TRC)

    nothing can touch the metro except possible the new 5 star crash rated 3 airbag 84mpg $6800 Elio Motors car coming out next year.

    lets look at just how “BAD” a deal the toyota prius is.

    #1 you can NEVER save money driving a prius except maybe a NY Cabby.

    #2 its not even remotely efficient since YOU MUST factor in the disposable battery (which makes it FAR more polluting than a metro because now you have the battery AND thousands of gallons of fuel !!)

    BTW 47mpg my butt. I AVERAGE 60mpg with my XFI 55 winter 65 summer and I can hit over 70mpg if I get E0 on the highway.

    Slow? how fast do you NEED. passing? why are you passing? if your going for savings YOU NEVER PASS your already going to fast if you need to pass. you REMOVED yourself as a valid entry in this argument by even mentioning “passing”

    if there are multiple lanes of travel I AM DOING 5 below the limit and I MAX at 60 no matter what the speed limit is unless I am semi surfing then any speed is game usually around 75mph)

    I “detuned” my xfi EVEN MORE with larger tires to decrease my cruise rpm’s

    I plan to remove both the alternator and water pumps (jus the belt) and add an electric water pump and a second deep cycle battery. this should net me another 5mpg to my average. (its a hobby)

    I have not even touch aerodynamics yet.

    NOW lets compare some TRC’s of modern cars.

    51mpg Prius against 42mpg Elantra.

    Purchase price with interest and finance charges.

    Prius $24,000 so $36,000
    Elantra $15,000 so $22,500

    I drive 40,000 miles a year. (which means the prius should do even better for me !!)

    FUEL per year and then for 10 years. we shall assume $4 per gallon to account for future increases in fuel costs and ti FURTHER give advantage to the prius.

    Prius 51mpg $31,372 + $4000 Battery pack. $35,372
    Elantra 42mpg $38,095

    they both have 10 year warranties (the warranty will not cover the prius battery as at 40k a year I will have LONG since lost my warranty and will have to start paying for my own repairs but again will ignore this to advantage the Prius)

    all other expenses are “equal” to both cars and can be ignored.

    SO
    Prius 10y TRC $71,372
    Elantra 10y TRC $60,595

    NOW lets compare the Nissan LEAF. I will IGNORE the rebates and tax credits for this discussion.

    $28,000 so $42,000 + $2000 solar array tie in 1200watts

    $44,000 I will need a replacement battery pack in 5-6 years so another $10,000

    Leaf 10y TRC $54,000

    you might be wondering where the electricity to charge it is factored in. thats the $2000 1200watt solar array with tie in. that array will produce more power per year than I will use to charge the car per year. so my fuel is “free” of added costs. the average driver can do this with a $800-$1200 array with tie in. I need a bigger array to offset my usage because of how many more miles I drive.

    you would be hard pressed to find a cheaper 10y TRC besides the LEAF and VERY likely nissan would help me with the cost of that battery but again lets ignore “perks”

    How about a super duper cheap car like a nissan versa. $11,000. so $16,500 32mpg so $50,000 in fuel over 10 years.

    Versa 10y TRC $66,500 !!!

    The only car that MIGHT compete is the Elio car. lets do it

    $6800 so $10,200 84mpg so $19,047

    Elio 10y TRC $29,247

    SO a car that is not even avaialble yet is the only car cheaper than a LEAF but it only has a 3 year warranty so you have to add maintenance to it for 7 years but I doubt it will require enough maintenance to get to $54,000

    do the math yourself. Purchase price plus %50 this covers tax title tags and finance charges (remember THE VAST MAJORITY of us will be financing and on good terms)

    then factor in FUEL. miles you drive per year divided by MPG of the vehicle times that by $4 a gallon then times 10 for 10 years of fuel.

    add this fuel value to the purchase price value and you have a pretty good estimate of your 10y TRC not counting “regular maintenance” which is pretty equal across most cars (though the leaf will be lower here since it has less moving parts)

    the prius is a rip off. though its less a rip off than the VOLT which is a big F U to america.

    NOW if they would actually compel auto makers to start using the E95 NIMH batteries the price would be even cheaper.

    it is provably possible to build an E95 nimh based hyper simple electric car (4 door compact/mid size sedan 100mile range) for $15,500 full retail NO SUBSIDIES.

    so lets TRC this theoretical car.

    E95EV $15,500 so $23,750 + $2000 solar array.

    NO battery replacement needed. this battery was TESTED to 300,000 miles with ZERO degradation in capacity.

    I will need 400,000 miles BUT the manufacturer estimated 80% SOC at 250,000 miles which real world tests have proven it does better than this so if we assume 80% SOC at 400,000 miles that is still enough range to get me to work (54 miles one way charge at work) so ONE E95 battery pack should actually last me 400,000 miles NO problem. (and they are only $4500 to replace)

    so that’s it.

    E95EV $23,750 cheaper even than the $6800 84mpg Elio.

    and now you know why GM murdered it and made sure no one could use those batteries and now you know why NO ONE will fund production of those batteries.

    just think. for $20,000 you could build a simple minivan with TWO of those batteries under the floor and get 140-150 mile range (worst case) with 175 possible.

    how many people here NEED more than 150 miles or even 100 miles for 95% of their driving needs ?

    I drive 40,000 miles a year and a 70 mile range would cover 97% of all my travel needs.

    you know what I would do for the other 3% ? I have 4 other cars. I would PICK ONE and drive it.

  62. Just in case anyone wonders. what about the TRC of a TUNDRA?

    technically its TRC should not matter. you typically buy something like a tundra because of what it “CAN DO” so if you need that capacity then you MUST HAVE that capacity.

    drive something else for your commute and enjoy what the tundra can do when you need it to do its thing.

    • Bakari says:

      Of course it still matters!
      I use my truck for work. If I spend 10 times more by having one truck over another, that means I have to work that much more to make up for it.

      My truck can tow a 34ft trailer, haul 3 yards of soil, 3 tons of broken concrete, or an entire studio apartment worth of furniture.
      I average 30mpg out of it. I bought it for $2000. Its basically the used Metro of trucks (more specifically, its a 30 year old diesel F-250, that I have modified for efficiency – see the website in my name if your curios about the details.
      Of course I drive something else if I’m just transporting myself – a 75+ mpg Kawasaki Ninja 250

      • man oh man I wish I could afford a diesel pickup. but around here they pretty go for their weight in gold prices. Ouch. my dream is a Jeep Commanche pickup with a 4cyl VW Diesel engine and a 5speed and 4 wheel drive.

        hey I can dream ehh 🙂 probably get 40mpg out of that maybe 45mpg.

        • Chris,

          First, thanks for all your comments! Secondly, you bring up an interesting combination 4wd, 4cyl VW Diesel engine in an off-road vehicle that could obtain 45 mpg. Frankly, I just don’t see that ever happening. Nice thought though. The Jeep would have to drop some serious weight, they would have to seriously improve 4wd fuel economy (always considerably less than 2wd) and that diesel engine would have to be all aluminum with tons of fuel saving technologies. It is a nice dream yet it would be an engineering marvel. 🙂

          -Tim

          • this is not entirely correct. first mass has very little impact on fuel economy on the highway.

            basic laws of motion. an object at rest remains at rest an object in motion remains in motion until acted upon by an outside force.

            if I take 2 cars that are identical but one has 1000 pounds of extra mass in it and set them going at 55mph they will consume virtually identical quantities of fuel (close enough that you and I can not measure the difference less than .1mpg for sure.

            the only change in “force” by the extra 1000 pounds is a slight (and I mean very slight) increase in friction in the wheel bearings (this assumes you don’t add so much weight as to overload what the system can handle)

            the only time mass has any real impact on fuel economy is when there is a change in velocity. ie an “acceleration” ie increasing your speed or traveling up an incline (going up hill)

            depending on your commute heavier means nothing. this is why people who drive on the highway don’t care about weight they care about aerodynamics. and why city dwellers care nothing for aero but do everything they can to “STRIP” their cars of as much mass as possible.

            highway drivers tend to run at consistent steady state speeds with few stops or dramatic accelerations.

            city dwellers are almost constantly in a state of acceleration.

            this is also why highway drivers like me use the tallest skinniest tires we can (this is why my cherokee can do 24mpg with 31″ offroad tires) higher gear ratio.

            and why CITY drivers go for the tiniest tires they can get to reduce rolling mass intertia during acceleration and get to “operating rpm” as quickly as possible.

            so no. you don’t really need to change anything.

            also 4wheel drive designed right DOES NOT have a huge impact on fuel economny. the Jeep transfer case was renound for this.

            I can put my 88 cherokee into 4″hi” and see NO measurable change in fuel economy

            basically a 4×4 has 3 differencials. one for each axle and one for the “THIRD” axle. the third axle is the shafts running fore and aft to the front and rear axles.

            in normal 4×4 mode the center differential (the transfer case) is “locked” in “hi” mode in the jeeps with the select trac transfer case the center diff is engaged but “unlocked”

            if you put a 1.6L diesel turbo engine in a Cherokee sized 4×4 you would EASILY see 45-50mpg results if driven properly with old style diesels not the new crap diesels they seem to be making lately.

            a cherokee is actually lighter than a wranger !! its quite a light vehicle and a very capable 4×4.

            problem is they have trained us monkey’s here in the US to be anti diesel and our legislation supports this.

            they have also trained us lemmings to believe we need GOBS of power and GOBS of acceleration to the point that we have so much that if you “USED” even a fraction of that power in day to day driving you license would be revoked and you would end up in jail rather quickly.

            how much power and acceleration do you REALLY need for the 95% driving you do every year grinding back and forth to work or going to the mall or movies or grocery store? how much do you really need? think about that.

            this is partially why I have so many vehicles. I have a 94 Metro XFI as my daily grinder when its not too hot 60+ mpg easy. my 89 Geo Tracker I just got has AC so when its too hot I use that or when I want to 4wheel or just have a bit more room. I already got 30mpg and am confident I can do better and it has GOBS of power compared to the Metro.

            I have my 2000 Voyager minivan when I need comfort cushy seats and to carry lots of people. 22-24mpg (mostly due to E10 I really miss my 96 voyager 3.0 V6 on E0 at 28mpg)

            I have my 92 MASSIVE Clubwagon when I need to carry a ton of people and cargo and tow a camper or boat etc..

            the Club hardly ever gets driven anymore. I start and move it every couple months so it don’t rot but can’t afford to actually “drive” it since while it used to get 19-21mpg now I am lucky to see 13-15mpg on E10.

            next year I HOPE to buy one of those Elio Motors cars. $6800 2 seater 84mpg. Oh yeah. AC and Heat perfect for the daily work grind. OH and it will go over 100mph and do 0-60 in 9.6 seconds faster than any other car I own except my motorcycle.

            its not that we CAN’T make cheap viable 50mpg cars. we “REFUSE” to. there is a significant difference.

          • You bring up some interesting points and while it seems logical that objects in motion should use the same amount of fuel, it doesn’t seem to the case. Yes, acceleration does make a difference and how the car is driven makes a difference. Yet, take for example the new 2014 Tundra that has aero-fins (small pieces of aerodynamic plastics) to increase highway MPGs along with reduced curb weight. Toyota spent a lot of time in a wind tunnel working on aerodynamics that improve MPGs at highway speeds. I question your conclusion when all automakers are spending millions to get 1-2 MPG on highway with increased aerodynamics and mass reductions.

            It is also interesting that you point to no difference in 2wd and 4wd models. I was just out looking at trucks and considered buying a 2wd due to improved fuel economy. I made a phone call and talked with a GM engineer who pointed out with the gearing differences and less weight, the 2wd will get around 2MPGs better on city and highway.

            Now you may be right that the Jeep Cherokee transfer case in 4wd didn’t have a large impact on fuel economy. Frankly, I simply don’t know enough about it. Though, I will say that all other models of trucks state their fuel economy differences between a 4wd and a 2wd. Why would they if it didn’t exist.

            I do agree that there are many steps to get better fuel economy in vehicles as you make the case for. That is a fact.

            On your last point about the cheap 50mpg cars. While I can’t speak to cars, I can say when I interviewed the Chief Engineer for Toyota Tundra and Tacoma, Mike Sweers, he pointed out that yes, they can build a highly fuel-efficient pickup package. They have in the past. But, they don’t offer them anymore because those packages didn’t sell well enough. So, yes you are right that automakers CAN make more efficient cars. However, you are missing the reality that consumers simply haven’t bought enough of them to be viable. If you don’t buy it, they won’t build it.

            Great discussion and thanks again for commenting.

            -Tim

          • @Chris – You’re glossing over a LOT when you point out that mass doesn’t matter. While you’re correct in saying that mass doesn’t matter once a vehicle is at cruising speed on perfectly level ground, that DRAMATICALLY understates the importance of weight reduction.

            Getting up to 55mph is much, much easier when your vehicle is 1,000lbs lighter, and your scenario – perfectly level ground – doesn’t have much in common with reality (no offense). We’re constantly accelerating as we drive – at least if you live in the city like so many Americans do.

            Tim’s point – that the Jeep needs to lose weight – is very much correct. Weight reduction is the number one goal of every large vehicle manufacturer, as that’s the only way they’re going to hit the fuel economy requirements in a cost-effective manner.

            As to your point about people’s expectations about acceleration, you’ve got a great argument there. Consumers now have substantially more power than they did 40 years ago, and yet I don’t think car buyers in the 70’s were complaining about how slow their cars were. If all car manufacturers swapped out big V6’s for moderate 4cylinders – and 2+ liter fours for smaller displacement motors – consumers might not squawk at all. But if only one manufacturer made that change, I think they’d be taking a huge risk.

            Finally, the argument that car makers “choose not to build 50mpg cars” is irrelevant. Car makers build what they think will sell, and the vast majority of consumers have proven time and again that they’re not interested in fuel economy nearly as much as some people think. If consumers really *wanted* fuel efficient cars, wouldn’t they buy more Fiat 500’s and Scion iQs? Or Nissan Leafs? Why is it at all three of these cars sell in smaller quantities than larger cars that get worse mileage?

            ANSWER: Most Americans prefer power over efficiency. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, just saying that consumers have spoken. Small, fuel efficient cars are not popular for a reason, and consumers usually don’t opt for the smaller motor (i.e. the 4.6L over the 5.7L or V6) either.

          • Tim. Maybe I was unclear. That was not a thoretical description. it was “actual” real world results.

            MASS DOES NOT MEASURABLY EFFECT MPG IN STEADY STATE DRIVING all other conditions equal.

            the less than 1mpg loss I experience (55 to 54) was likely more aerodynamic NOT mass related even though I added 1200+ pounds to the car. (the tractor projected into the airstream JUST a tiny bit)

            Jason.

            my statements were correct and I stand by them with real world results.

            sure you lose some during acceleration but if 95% of your trip is “steady state” then 95% of your trip will be unaffected. do the math its small.

            now if you live in a city OK all bets are off mass is everything.

            this is REAL world. most people don’t do city driving. they just don’t

            Lighter?? how much lighter do you want.

            its 3300 pounds. thats pretty light considering its size and capability. its only twice the mass of my geo metro. all that tire/tcase/tranny/engine/drivetrain take a lot of weight.

            our primary issue is not mass. its ENGINE displacement and this silly “need” for power and speed.

            off road you don’t really need speed you need torque (mudding being a possible exception)

            My point stands. THEY CAN make off the shelf much more fuel efficient 4×4’s RIGHT NOW just by swapping out the engine and putting in a better transmission.

            they refuse too.

          • Chris,

            I’m going to let people smarter than me weigh in. For example, here is a statement from MIT: “For light-duty trucks, weight reductions of 10 percent are associated with increases in fuel economy of 3.6 percent, and a 10 percent increase in torque is correlated with a 3 percent increase in fuel economy.” Therefore, having less mass while driving at any speed -all conditions being equal- will result in more fuel efficiency.

            This statement comes from a MIT published paper by Christopher R. Knittel. You will find it interesting because it does back up your initial argument that consumer demand for more horsepower is really fueling the decrease in MPG. Find it here, http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdf.....101.7.3368

            -Tim

  63. As I have said before, I’m still driving my 1992 Geo 4Dr. Metro (w/AC and 5 forward – 370,000 miles on the oddy[still gets 48/50mpg w/AC at 60MPH] – yes we two have other cars, they are driven rarely and they have 6cy w/one being an 8cy). Occassionaly I see other Geo’s of the shame year altho’ most of those are 2Dr. jobs. But where are ALL the 1993 Prius’? Gone to flowers every one. Sure, buy a hybrid and toss it after a few yrs as they too will soon become front yard planters. I wish I could show a pic of my Metro, new paint, sunroof, vinyl seats, “they” all ask “What kind of a car is this?” As for me, I wouldn’t buy a car newer than a 1993, they are easier to repair and far less technology and all of us won’t be driving even them much with “Oblama” gas at $4. a gasoline.

  64. jimmy says:

    on an intresting note, the first gen (cyevy sprint) got 57 hp new.
    the geo metro got 49 hp new. my versa get 122 hp @ 1.0 liter.

    so the EFI geo gets 49hp/L
    so the carb’d geo gets 57hp/L
    so the efi versa gets 68hp/L

    oddly enough, the carb is better than the efi geo, and a moderen EFI engine is about 138% more efficent (hp wise) than the avrage geo.

    • jimmy says:

      edit* versa 122 hp @ 1.8 liter 🙂

    • actually the metro got 55hp. only the FURTHER detuned XFI got 49hp.

      the chevy sprint 3cyl was also a hemi. VERY neat engine.

      point of note. 138% more efficient horsepower wise is irrelevant.

      the POINT of the geo metro’s was FUEL ECONOMY efficient wise. so they detuned the engines to IMPROVE efficiency at a cost of power.

  65. Bakari says:

    I’ve been mostly with you, Chris Talyor, until now

    “most people don’t do city driving. they just don’t”

    80% of the US population lives in rural areas.
    80%
    http://www.census.gov/geo/refe.....-2010.html

    80% is “most”.
    Even on the highway, as has been pointed out to you already, mass matters on any incline, as well as anytime you have to slow because of other traffic.

    We are pretty much all in general agreement with your overall sentiment, but your last post you are starting to sound dogmatic and ignoring anything which might disagree with you. Stick with your extensive knowledge of mechanics, and away from the psychology of manufacturers or geographic demographics

  66. Mike says:

    I think this post is a waste of time. I have a geo metro lsi and I get crap from Prius drivers all the time they seem to think they are better then me but I don’t believe so my geo had dual air bags and ac I also have power locks and a so called CD player. My point is who cares about the Prius it’s butt ugly. I am sorry if we are going to throw something old with something new we all know the old will win every time. It just upsets me the way people put down the geo I really like mine and I would not give it up for 100 of these new batterie crap cars they make now days.

    • BriBri says:

      “…I get crap from Prius drivers all the time they seem to think they are better then me…”

      This reminds me of a South Park episode (if you are familiar with that animated show) a while back which mocked Prius drivers in that they have such an elitist attitude that they even smell their own farts. I found it quite hilarious.

  67. danshame says:

    Go ahead ill take my geo metro got three of them only maintenance has been tires and timing belts and water pumps on schwdule better car than having to replace hybrid batteries or hire an electrician when somethin goes wrong with a hybrid. They need to bring back the geo ..

  68. Potter says:

    First i smell a Macho complex in this thread, “my car is tougher than your car” but seriously if you feel this strong against what one person says and it is against your ways then fine laugh at them and walk away

    besides you are compairing ancent technology against modern remember those corolla hatchbacks back in the day? toyota is no saint either in the safety department. my big problem with the prius vs metro is mileage… if these xfi’s are getting the same as a modern hybrid with 3 times the power with twice the weight then their are some serious eficency problems here. the prius of today should wax the metro in style, arerodynamics, safety, emisions AND mileage imo the prius should get epa combined 60 or better mpg not 50. but safety,emmisions, and all the garbage regulations of today where in act back in the 90s. i will admit that the metro would not pass them. and this is why the prius gets a lower mileage. now if toyota can step their game up and get a prius in the 60s or 70s then in my opinion they will be a respectful car then the epa rated will start to match some of these metro owners whom go crazy with the mileage and touch 70 mpg on an average tank. now if the prius was built in the early 90s something tells me it would spank the metro. because i have seen hybrid conversions on metros with averages in the 80s and 90s (mpgs not year models) one had a best tank of 118 mpg but it was a manual Hybrid built to do that insane number. i own a Metro and in my opinion they are just as safe as a motorcycle. so i drive mine in the same manner as i do my 2 wheel vehicle. no rush, and pay attention to your suroundings. and you won’t find yourself in a pickle. and if you do well its the same as the bike.. your gonna get hurt just hold on and pray for the best. i know the argument and i used to get into them alot. and it seems like its a lost cause to argue because if you look from the seasoned metro owners perspective you think the Prius is dumb, if you look at it from a Prius owners perspective, its dumb… just let each other drive each others cars and decide for yourself. and btw i met and dated my wife in my metro. another point to think on

  69. Hogleg says:

    I suppose all metros are for people who don’t want car payments, and most people that own them wouldn’t get or couldn’t afford a Prius anyway. So really the whole issue is kinda dumb, and there must be something else fueling this fire. Lets see if we can figure it out.
    Prius type people perhaps bought metros brand new along with “thrifty” people. After 5 years they traded it in, and bought something else, or they kept it longer.
    Metros are becoming (the good ones) more than just a cheap car someone buys because they can’t afford anything else. The people who have owned them either like them a little, or like them a lot. People who have just driven or looked them don’t understand so their opinion doesn’t matter. The ones that like them a little will kill it and move on to the next one or some other rust bucket. The ones that like them a lot may have driven one 20 years ago, and now drive them daily. Many of these people have other cars that are way nicer, newer, safer, and faster. People like what they do for practical, economical, emotional, and numerous other reasons. And to say that even driving them ironically isn’t cool is just being a dick. Fact is a lot of people fell in love with a geo metro, and now that a good portion of them have turned to crushed rust dust, the remaining gems are getting snatched up by us. There’s thousands of people spending over blue book on these cars. These are people who have owned one before. When a Prius gets to be 25 years old and sell for 2-3x kbb then… we can talk.
    Besides, the technology a Prius uses today will probably be so much more advanced in 20 years that it would be stupid to restore one… But people will probably still be restoring metros.

    But, to hate your car (Prius) so much you have to write a blartical about how much another car sucks, just shows how jealous you are of it and how much you wish you loved your Prius. Buy a metro, drive it for a while, see what all the hype is about, you can afford it.

  70. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget that the prius is up to ten times more expensive

    • Chris Taylor says:

      more like “STARTS AT” 40 times more expensive.

      apples to apples the prius will cost the average person $48,000 ($24,000 to buy it $12,000 in financing and $10,000 in extra insurance (extra $1000 a year for 10 years))

      you can get a good decent metro for $1000 no problem. I paid $600 for my metro put $400 into it right away (why it was so cheap) and have put less than $400 in repairs into it in 1.5 years and 40,000 miles.

      my insurance is $240 a year.

      need I say more?

  71. Chris Taylor says:

    I will never understand people like this.

    if you can’t see why someone would pick a $1000 car over a $40,000 car. your brain has had an infarction and you really should have it looked at.

    before people scream no prius is $40,000. they all are or close to it.

    unless you have $24,000 CASH to plunk down your financing it which means your paying 50% interest. that is $38,000 when its finally paid off.

    OH and lest we forget MANDATORY comprehensive insurance. that is another $1000 a year MINIMUM very likely much much more which is another $10,000 so its a $48,000 car versus a $1000 car.

    ONE YEAR of insurance on a prius will cover 10 years of maintenance on a well maintained geo metro.

    I have already put nearly 40,000 miles on my metro in 1.5 years and have put well under $400 of maintenance into it not counting “normal consumables” that would be the same for both cars (brakes fluids tires wipers etc..)

    its not even a close comparison. the ONLY people typically who would even think of a prius are those for which money is not really an issue any longer. if you can afford a $48,000 car you really can’t be hurting all that bad now can you?

    • Chris Taylor says:

      my bad $36,000 not $38,000

    • Oliver Madsen says:

      Cost of a used geo metro: $300 (I got mine for this much)
      Cost of a new Prius (assuming paying cash): 24,000

      sure, there are some intangible costs, like time loss and having to do actual work, but if someone would ask you if you would rather have a Prius with it’s modern “conveniences” like A/C, power steering, and the like, or $23,700 and a geo metro, its not a hard decision.

      Parts cars are also very cheap.
      I have three metros, one was free, one was $300, and the other was $50.
      granted, two did not run when I got them, but I put about $200 in parts into them, and them they did.

      And who actually cares about 0-60 times in a commuter car?
      The geo could break any speed limit in the U.S., so could the Prius. When cars both have 0-60 times >10 seconds, an argument cannot be made from those.

      Oh, and pretty much any repair work like replacing an alternator or even the timing belt should both take under an hour in a geo metro.

  72. Greg says:

    I choose the Metro because to me a car is an appliance. I get fuel economy that meets or beats most any modern hybrid, and I bought it for less than $1k. It has A/C, airbags, and scored 4 stars in NHTSA testing. It’s not safer, it’s not more comfortable, it’s ugly, but it is a much better buy for a fiscally minded person.

  73. Danson says:

    No doubt. I go with Metro. Someone outthere please give us some Metro~~~ please………

  74. dave says:

    why has no one mention the huge amount of pollution that is made making batteries for hybrid cars, probably a 25mpg car is greener then a prius when you take that into consideration. Also I have a ’91 metro that I bought for 250 about 5 years ago I’ve spent around 2,000 for repair parts for it and probably should have junked it a while ago but it refuses to die even when it sat without running for a year and not having an oil change for 2 years it started right up. As for safety, yes I would die if a larger vehicle hit me but I’m sure the prius would hold up that well either. I do have to say safety wise I would get another Subaru they are easier to work on then most newer cars and are getting around 35mpg now with awd something that I miss in the snow. My Subaru died after being rearended by a 17 year old that was texting and hit me at 45mph while I was waiting for a light to turn green. After that I had to resurrect the geo and it has treated me well. I would much rather a $250 geo and $23,000 then a much less green prius.

  75. Me says:

    I would rather drive a metro in snow and ice.

  76. Lloyd Evans says:

    This argument is still going on? For god’s sake, everyone knows a 93 Geo is a better mileage/$ value car that a 97 Prius; and 93 Geos are still on the road! Seen any 97 Prius’ out there?

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