Car ownership diaries: Driving a Toyota Prius in Pakistan

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I first came to know about Toyota Prius during 2007, in my BSC Environmental Engineering class in UET Lahore. Air pollution control and vehicles meant that Prius was an option in Pakistan to counter increasing pollutant levels in ambient air. From that point onwards, my interest in Prius was born and by the grace of Allah Almighty, on October 2013 I bought a Prius S 10th Anniversary edition (2nd generation) after selling my 2012 Suzuki Swift Dx.

I had never driven a Prius before, just sat as a passenger and heard the driver (my friends) sing praises about how great this car was. I had bought my swift brand new and at the time of sale it was driven less than 11000 km; that too over a span of about two years and it was comfortable as well as responsive but the factor that led to the change was it’s fuel economy. It did about 11 Km/L in city and put traffic jams in the equation and it got worst. I work for the government as an Assistant Director and I have frequent visits to sites scattered all over Lahore, mostly places with traffic congestion.

During the process of searching for a Prius, I observed several issues. The Government’s Hybrid policy had virtually no effect on Prius’s price. There was a catch; no duty for a Hybrid below 1200 cc, and very little changes to hybrid cars having bigger engines. Whatever little price reduction that Prius got from the scheme was shrugged off as the brouhaha about the scheme increased the demand which meant that prices would remain the same. Other major and common issues were that:

1) Dealers did not provide auction sheet.

2) The car was involved in an accident of any sorts or was tampered.

3) Specifications of the car were not what I had in mind.

After searching for days, I finally found a Prius with (verified) auction sheet, and specifications to my liking and bought it. And that day onward, I was extremely happy I made that switch. Here are the reasons why

1.  Fuel economy

My Swift, and most cars tend to give an average of 10 Km/L (give or take) locally, and with petrol prices creeping up and inflation out of control, everyone wants to save his/her fuel costs. Luckily for Prius, if you do not have a lead foot, this average easily crosses 20 Km/L and even up to 25 Km/L. Even when you are at a signal or in a traffic jam, the petrol engine shuts down by itself and for slow movement; the engine just uses the battery.

You do not have to worry or think whether to turn the engine off or not (as some of us might think) since Prius has start/stop tech.

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Both Civic and Prius have approximately 50 Liter fuel tanks. Assuming petrol rate of 105 Rs/liter, they get filled in 5250 Rs. While Civic doing 9 Km/L locally barely crosses the 400 KM mark before asking for a refill whereas Prius even if you take 22 km/L is more than half full after crossing 500 km mark. It’s all simple maths then on;

Civic = 50 x 9 = 450 km

Prius = 50 x 22 = 1100 km

These savings will add on as you drive the Prius day after day and at the rate petrol prices are increasing, the savings will be significant.

2. Automatic transmission

Some people might argue that they prefer manual transmission, because it gives them a control over power transmitted to the wheels, while I do agree with them, but city traffic such as Lahore, and being stuck in it changed my mind. There were times (during metro bus bridge construction) when I used to be stuck in traffic for 1-2 hours daily and changing gears from 1st to 2nd and backwards was a real fatigue. Luckily for Prius, and other automatic transmission, it is just a D mode and leave the rest to the car. Also, being a CVT transmission, you never feel any jerk on gear change and this car goes from zero to any speed flawlessly.

3. Comfort

20131101_122422Many people just think of Prius as a fuel saver, but it is much more than that.  Its comfort and feel is better than 9th Generation Honda civic (which I own as well, and comparing them as both of my cars).  Suspension is soft; you do not feel every bump and ground clearance is very good as well. It is ideally suited for Pakistani roads. Plus features such as Automatic reverse parking are found in cars such as BMW and Mercedes etc. SMART Entry means that you just touch the door and car unlocks, forcing many people to believe that this car has a fingerprint scanner that only works by your thumb. Smart start also promises that you just sit inside the Prius, press the start button and drive away. The remote never comes out of your pocket!. There are many other  features like Bluetooth, Hard drive for storing songs , Rear view camera, etc, etc that make this this the complete package.

4. Performance

Is Prius a slow car, for only short distances? Wrong my friend! Don’t be deceived by looks, this is a fast car. The 1500 cc ensures car is responsive and in pick, it can overcome even 1.8 Civic as well (tried many times) although I do not encourage this sort of driving. The science behind it is that when you floor the pedal, the battery also comes into play to power the 1500cc engine, giving it a further boost. Plus its aerodynamic body means less drag when accelerating which is actually designed to save fuel because less air drag equals to less fuel the engine has to burn to come up to speed. This isn’t a sports car replacement, but it isn’t a slow car either.

5. Maintenance

A frequent question to me. Its maintenance is like any other car. When I bought it, I took it to Toyota Shaheen Motors and there, I got tuning, filter change, wheel alignment, wheel balancing, spark plug change, throttle body service, fuel injector cleaning, brake pad service; just like any other Toyota car. I’ve seen spares at many places, even Half cut Prius at Bilal Gunj (Both ends). People say replacement is expensive, I have seen Prius batteries for sale at 50,000 Rs against some claims of Lacs.

20131028_095502All these points combined, my experience with Prius has been wonderful, I have driven it happily for 4000 Kms and counting. I bought it when ODO read at 51000 something km. And now after every tank full, I could easily drive it till the next 1000 Km, like when ODO hits 52000 something. It is complete Peace of Mind. No need for constant gear shift could even have a juice in my left hand. No more fuel or traffic jam worries. Even cars up to 1600 cc are no match for its pick and were surprised at the pick this car had. Comfort is better than any local car.

In the end, my advice for people would be, it is the best car in 2 million or less budget. Total value for money. Just buy a less driven and non-accidental vehicle and you are set to rock and roll.  In the coming days of CNG closure and petrol price hike, this is the car to own

In the end, to summarize my argument, Buy a Prius if:

1. You want a perfect blend of fuel efficiency and comfort

2. You care for the environment

3. You want a vehicle which is designed to to latest safety standards

4. You want to have a vehicle that makes you happy every time you drive.

On the other hand Do Not buy a Prius if:

1. You do not understand how to buy a low mileage clean Prius.

2. You live in a City/Village where mechanics are not available for Latest cars (or won’t touch anything except for a Suzuki or a Toyota).

3. You cannot tolerate the display in Japanese (though it doesn’t make much of a difference and you can always buy UK Prius with English language).

4. You have a phobia of resale, (while this doesn’t mean that Prius has bad resale but hey! you and I can’t look into the future).

You can also read how to buy a good Prius here: Here’s how you can buy a good Prius

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  1. Murtaza Abbas says

    Keep on writing like this…gives a good overview to someone like me

  2. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thanks Bro 🙂

  3. Waleed Ali Iqbal says

    The new prius costs 45 lac whereas civic costs around 25 lac with civic having much superior design and features. Imagine how much petrol u can buy in 20 lac.

  4. Mohammad Zahid says

    salam! great post. have a question.
    ive heard that the air-conditioning system of europian version prius is not as powerful as the japanese version?

  5. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Waleed Ali Iqbal , Firstly, this article is about 2nd Generation Prius, Not 3rd 🙂
    2ndly, Prius is a Hybrid car, and civic which you are referring is a simple sedan, They cannot be compared.. And Feature wise you are wrong, Prius is WAY ahead in features.. Design is relative.. so let's leave it there..
    Compare it to CRZ, which is 2 door and costs 35 lacs.. So?

    Hybrid cars are expensive, but as in UK and other places, you get government incentives like lower insurance, less parking costs etc. Sadly, here we do not have this luxury 🙂

  6. Mujtaba Abbas says

    W/s. Thanks 🙂
    This is not true. Both have climate control (A/c + Heater) which are very effective 🙂

  7. Murtaza Abbas says

    In EU (been living there) it is normal for houses to have no A.C…no Real need..hence wudnt be surprising to find that AC is not powerful
    the same goes for cooling provided by radiator..wont be very good in Pak conditions

  8. Asif Mughal says

    very much informative. thanks

  9. Waqas Amjad Sethi says

    "1. You do not understand how to buy a low mileage clean Prius."
    Would you be kind enough to state the process yoy followed in finding the right car for you? Which was non accidental, with out meter tempered and in genuine condition?

  10. Bilal Mohiuddin says

    Very well written man!

  11. Mujtaba Abbas says

    That's a long process, I will try to write another post just on how to buy a good Prius. If the editor does not allow, i will tell you via Facebook inbox 🙂

  12. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thanks 🙂

  13. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thank you 🙂

  14. Waqas Amjad Sethi says

    Sounds like a plan. Looking forward

  15. Fahad Babur says

    i can vouch for this review. Prius is worth it 🙂

  16. Shay-kh Sharjele says

    Yar this sounds stupid. To address fuel consumption I would rather spend on any new car and keep the rest of the money in the bank and use the monthly payments for fuel. No point buying a resale less soap dish like prius.

  17. Shabbir Dogar says

    Very precise and very well written,whether you buy a Prius or not . Certainly helpfull in your decision making .

  18. Muhammad Asif Ali says

    Dear Mujtaba, Nice Article. I am from UET Admin. How you found clean Prius and address of Sincere and Nice Dealer…and Price plz……..

  19. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thank you for your kind words 🙂

  20. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thanks for the appreciation sir. "How to find a clean Prius" is already under process for this blog.
    I bought it from a Home, but i do know a few honest dealers. Price of a 2nd generation Prius is 17 lacs + – 2 lacs depending on manufacturing year and type of Prius. Insha Allah that post will be up soon. Still if you have any questions i will gladly answer them via private message or in Person at UET.

  21. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Article is written and given to the editor for approval, Insha Allah you will see it soon 🙂

  22. Waqas Amjad Sethi says

    Great. Looking forward. By the way. Did you buy it in Lahore. I hope you are also includong details of done reliable sellers

  23. Ali Hafeez Azmat says

    Lovely share of experience!

  24. Daniel Watkins says

    Nice article. I like the look of the 3rd gen Prius a lot more than the 2nd, and has a bit more power. The Chevy Volt is awesome too

  25. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Waqas Amjad Sethi , Article is being published as we speak. Yes i bought from Lahore. And i can give you some Honest sellers via private message 🙂

  26. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thanks. And Chevy volt is Rare/Unavailable here, so we have to do with the Prius. 🙂

  27. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Thanks for the appreciation 🙂

  28. Waqar Ali Shah says

    Mujtaba Abbas inbox me as well 😛

  29. Farooq Butt says

    thanks bro u been a great help for us Thanks again for ur effort.

  30. Mujtaba Abbas says

    I'm glad i could be of some help 🙂

  31. Niti Dubey says

    very nice car and i have seen another portal where i get lots of options i think you also should look at

  32. Wasim Ahmed says

    im in motor registration business any one can call me wasim ahmed 03014494808

  33. Shahid Idrees says

    Dear Mujtaba what the cost of batteries of Prius and waht capacity of the batteries of Prius

  34. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Refurbished battery or brand new? You can inbox me and i can guide you there better 🙂

  35. BaSim Abdullah says

    wonderful review my friend. i have been considering buying a Prius. and this article really made me comfortable. definitely YES to a Prius!
    thanks alot!
    Drive Safe!

  36. Razi Ul Haq says

    Mujtaba Abbas please message me the process of buying a low mileage clean Prius too.

  37. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Razi Ul Haq I cannot send you sms, but you can see the article at

  38. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Waqar Ali Shah I have messaged you the link 🙂

  39. Mujtaba Abbas says

    BaSim Abdullah You're welcome 🙂
    Also read for reference 🙂

  40. Razi Ul Haq says

    Mujtaba Abbas thanks. wese i was talking about facebook msg

  41. Mujtaba Abbas says

    Razi Ul Haq Yes, i cannot send you a facebook message for some reason, just the botton of Follow or Add a friend appears..

  42. Razi Ul Haq says

    Mujtaba Abbas [email protected]

  43. BaSim Abdullah says

    Mujtaba Abbas i already checked it out with this article!
    MA you've got some great writing skills too. you elaborate each n every single point.
    im a car enthusiast myself.
    i currently own a Toyota Vitz 2007. have worked on its engine for better performance and fuel consumption. Alhumdulillah its getting me a city driving average of 14 kmpl without AC. and almost 13 with AC. this average is pretty rare for a 2007 Vitz in-city driving!
    too bad we're in two different cities. next time youre in khi, dont forget to hit me up!

  44. Mujtaba Abbas says

    BaSim Abdullah
    Thank you brother and definitely i will contact you 🙂

  45. Ali Mirza says

    I hv heard some models of it have heatup issues?? is that so?? n when does it batteries requires a replacement?

  46. Mujtaba Abbas says

    The UK version "May" Have heat-up issues, people are running it fine though
    And batteries last comfortably 400,000 km or so 🙂

  47. M Bilal Nawaz says

    Mujtaba Abbas aoa bro what about adding an after market stereo player or pioneer dvd player/navigation in the car?possible?any draw backs?

  48. Mujtaba Abbas says

    M Bilal Nawaz , W/s i have done this on my prius as well an using it comfortably, no drawbacks,
    for detail, you can PM me 🙂

  49. M Bilal Nawaz says

    Mujtaba Abbas thanx bro 🙂

  50. Bilal Ahmad says

    The information presented is heavily biased, the very thought that the batteries which power the prius can be bought for Rs.50000 is amusing. Its the price for an almost scrap battery, and given that the used cars avl in the market are all driven above one lac km in actual, the price of the battery would be so much more then the perceived fuel saving that it would make zero sense in the end. This car is meant for saving the environment not running costs, hiding from the facts by turning away from them won't change a thing. Need fuel economy, then buy a small fuel efficient vehicle, spending 2 million and then lacs on a battery and much more on steep fall in resale price on faults which are not solvable by the expertise available locally is no way to save money.

  51. Naeem Umer says

    Dear, can anyone let me know is their any battery in the front engine on prius too?

  52. Maverick says

    If you live in Karachi and want ur Prius serviced at dealership standards but reduced price then contact ECO-TECH 03008718890

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