Going from a Prius to a 3

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Active member
TOO Supporting Member
Apr 27, 2016
Raleigh, NC
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Going from a Prius to a 3? I figured a lot of folks are, and I hadn’t seen anything on this. Here’s the deal.

Exec summary:
- Twice as efficient
- Twice as fast
- Same cost of ownership

What you’ll immediately notice:
- The engine never turns on. Sure, duh, but if you have ever crept along in a Prius just to keep it in electric mode (especially true for the Plug-In Prius), you know what I’m talking about. The reasons to go easy with the accelerator pedal in a Prius are all gone…all acceleration is now guilt-free acceleration.
- People used to be vaguely curious and nod when I talked about the Prius. Most of them did not understand how it worked. Now, people are VERY curious. Interestingly though, the questions are almost the same: “Is it totally electric?” “What happens when the battery needs replacement?” Expect to (still) explain how your car works.
- People will think you’re loaded now. I keep a cost of ownership spreadsheet in my glovebox, not so much because I care what people think…more so because I want them to know that they could get one too.
- Getting tailgated while going nine-over in the right lane is not just a Prius thing. I have a fun new option now though: creating separation. :)

Limited long term impressions/info (three weeks on the 3; thirteen years between two Priuses):
- The big screen doesn’t wash out like the Prius screen always did.
- Rattles (especially in the flying bridge) are gone.
- It does not feel unwieldy (too big, too heavy)…roughly the same size cabin, easy to park/get into a parking space.
- View out the back is about like the view over the Prius rear spoiler…it is pretty high. Backup camera is really helpful though.
- Driving level: eye level is about 2” lower than the Prius (47” vs. 45” for me). Roughly comparable.
- Distance from door armrest to center armrest is about the same (22.5” vs. 23”). Much better armrest padding for both now.
- For kids: the bottom of the rear door window glass is 22.5” above the rear seat cushion – 1” lower than the window at the back seat of the Prius. Easier to see out.
- The back seat edge is 10 ½” above the floor…14” in the Prius. This does affect taller riders on longer rides…less thigh support.
- Rear seat clear vertical foot space under the front seats is the same – 4”.

Obviously, you’ll love your 3. Just thought a little bit of apples to apples experiences and numbers would be helpful.

Oh, also - for the speedometer off to the side thing: see the attached pi of a Prius, a Prius v, and a Model 3. You can compare the viewing angle for your speed. About the same as in the Prius v:

Last edited:


Active member
May 19, 2018
Detroit, MI
Tesla Owner
Model 3
All good info, thanks. Definitely a worthy upgrade.

I just hope Model 3 will be as reliable. My Gen3 is approaching 9 years from new with 95k miles done, zero faults so far.
Agreed. This is my biggest concern. I've had two Priuses over the last 14 years and the only work I had done on them are..

1) Oil changes
2) Tire changes
3) Wiper blade replacements

That's literally it.

I never once had either of the cars flash any sort of warning light... ever. That reliability will surely be missed.