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First Prius Complaint/Suggestion

I’ve been driving the new Prius a lot and in general I love the thing, but I have a first complaint and suggestion.

This thing needs a relatively quiet, alternate horn in addition to the normal load one it has for emergencies.

Several times now I have nearly run over pedestrians when driving around parking lots looking for a space. What happens is that said pedestrian will be walking along in a straight line, and I will come up the path behind them slowly and the Prius has invariably shut off the gas engine because it does not need it any more. What I keep failing to realize is that said pedestrian cannot hear any engine noise and does not realize I am there at all! Often the pedestrian, without looking, suddenly darts out across the traffic lane which they assume is empty, and I need to brake suddenly to avoid a squishing.

It’s not really their fault, cars have made noise their entire lives; the sudden appearance of a near silent one takes getting used to. It’s not my fault, I am going very slow in parking lots (as evidenced by the complete shutdown of the gas motor).

I used to have similar situations while riding my bicycle in parking lots, but on the bike I can simply talk out loud or give mild warnings like “coming up on your left” which alert the walker of a risk without causing them to panic (like a sudden loud horn toot). In a my car, this is less instinctive; it does not occur to me quickly to talk out loud… and I don’t want to annoy anyone with the loud horn.

Prius needs a small rattle on the grill, or a quieter horn alternate…

I suppose this will fix itself when the heat of summer kicks in and running the A/C forces the motor to stay on and make the car just a little noisier.

BTW – so far, 50.7mpg is my average and they tell me it goes up slightly once the car is broken in. Filling the tank the first time was a shock. From empty to full was only 9.549 gallons of ordinary gas, and I have not put only $28.26 into a gas tank since it was less than $1.00/gallon and I was filling a 1971 Buick Electra 225 (24.5 gallon tank)!

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