Why I Just Bought A Prius After Years of Only Driving Old Trucks

How can you hate on 48 mpg? Maybe don’t answer that.

byCaleb Jacobs|
Culture photo
Caleb Jacobs


Hey there. I'm Caleb, The Drive's truck editor. Regular readers and our staff alike know me as the guy who prefers old pickups to just about anything. I even own a 1966 Ford dump truck! With that track record, I understand it may surprise some folks that I just bought a 2006 Toyota Prius. What might be even more surprising is that I'm totally stoked about it.

I'll start by saying I still have a lot to learn about this thing. Like I mentioned, I'm the guy my editors call to go to the desert and test Bronco Raptors or whatever; I don't have so much firsthand experience with econoboxes. I've been driving it for nearly a week at this point and while writing this blog, I had to Google the powertrain specs—it's a 1.5-liter four-pot that runs on the Atkinson cycle, apparently. That means I'm making do with only 76 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque, which is just crazy coming from the world of diesels.

I admit it's an odd pairing, me and this thing. But trust me, whatever you're thinking is no worse than what I've already heard from pretty much everyone who's seen me in it. Buying a Prius is bound to make you the butt of a few jokes where I'm from in the Ozarks, but ya know, it's worth it.

To give you more ammo: I'm 6'5" and about 290 pounds.

I get that I don't owe anyone an explanation but let me tell you why I bought it. My '95 Ford F-350 with the 7.3-liter Power Stroke has been down for the better part of three months with some mysterious fuel problem. My buddy can't get it into his shop until the end of April, and with my wife working 30 minutes away from home three times a week, we needed another reliable car.

I could have bought another truck, but that wouldn't have made much sense. I live in a podunk town that's half an hour from everywhere so for once, I thought it'd be good to get something that's also cheap on gas. When you consider those criteria, what car comes to mind? Let me answer that for you. It's a Prius.

This baby blue bad boy was for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $4,200. It seemed to be in decent shape at first glance, and with about 185,000 miles, it was a better deal than most others I found. I called the seller, who had something like 10 of these at his family's private lot, and arranged to pick it up last Saturday. I drove it for about 15 minutes and within an hour, I had signed on the dotted line for $3,900 all-in. Not bad if you ask me.

The Prius sipped just an eighth of a tank of gas on the 64-mile drive home, which only made me more confident in my purchase. And everything in it works! Power windows, power locks, power mirrors... only the volume knob is a little wonky, and the steering wheel has a control for that so it doesn't bother me a bit. It even has an early form of driver-selectable regen braking that I definitely didn't expect on an 18-year-old hybrid.

I'm not sure what's next for my old 7.3L, but I can tell you that I really enjoy owning a car that just works like it's supposed to. My Power Stroke would do that if a previous owner hadn't tuned it up like a high schooler, but alas. I'll gladly take the chastisement from my friends if it means I have a reliable car to zip around in. The fact that it gets 48 mpg is just icing on the cake.

Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: caleb@thedrive.com