Toyota Prius roof rack.

Anyone out there own a Prius? What brand and style of roof rack do you use? Also, what kind of mileage do you get with the yak on the car?


Prius Follies

– Last Updated: Dec-15-05 7:35 AM EST –

Not trying to rain on your parade if you already own a Prius, they are (as the article states) a nifty gadget.But if you are considering buying one you may wish to do a cost/benefit analysis.

From The WSJ:

The Prius is a nifty gadget and comes with lots of extras. But Toyota markets the vehicle on its fuel efficiency, and fans tout its fuel efficiency. And our point was to debunk the idea that saving gasoline is a virtue independent of economics, such that it makes sense, say, to spend a buck to reduce gas use by 50 cents., the auto shopper site, guided us to Honda's Civic and Toyota's Corolla as conventional alternatives to the hybrid Prius. This was the source of our claim that the Prius retails for $9,500 more than comparable vehicles. In its own research, Edmunds concluded a Prius owner would have to drive 66,500 miles per year or gasoline would have to jump to $10 for the purchase to pay off.

But don't take our word for it. Kazuo Okamoto, Toyota's research chief, recently told the Financial Times that, in terms of fuel efficiency, "the purchase of a hybrid car is not justified." (The Wall Street Journal)

I have a Prius, but haul the yaks on our Element.

Yakima has a rack setup for the Prius.

A cautionary note: Much as I love the gas mileage on the Prius, the handling of the car is, at best, marginal. Even being a pseudo-SUV, the Element drives circles around the Prius.

I would be MOST hesitant to further handicap it with much weight above the roof.

Just my opinion.


Prius roof rack
Thanks for the info I am doing research before I buy. I am betting the gas will be around $5. in five years that’s why I’m looking at the hybrids. What is putting me off is the cost or replacing the battery which can be as high as 5K. FishHawk

Prius battery
The battery pack is a 200 and something volt pack of NIMH cells. It is warranteed for 80K miles.

If I have my Prius long enough to do the pack in after the warranty, I will replace the cells myself.

I used to build battery packs for some of the electric powered R/C plane guys, and have access to the individual cells at a reasonable price.

Seeing the short duty cycle of the batteries in real-world use, as well as the “no memory” characteristics of NIMH chemistry, I would tend to think that they will last a very long time, indeed.

Ni-cad batteries were mostly killed by repeated under-utilization. NIMH batteries are usually killed by improper (excessive rate, or over capacity) charging.

The Prius is almost constantly drawing down, or recharging the batteries in small amounts, which keeps the heat factor low.

The energy monitor display shows you in real time which device (gas engine, electric motor, batteries,or inertia from the wheels) is generating the energy, and where it’s being used.

It also displays the instantaneous mpg, which convinced me that I can’t do as well with manual throttle control as I can by using the cruise control.


Do The Math
The previous posts are correct. The additional cost to get into a hybrid is prohibative and likely will not allow a cost savings over the life of the car. If you keep the car long enough to start getting to the break even point you are going to have to shell out the dollars for a battery replacement.

Take a look at the world market for hybrids. The US has very low gas prices in comparison to the rest of the world. Most of the hybrids manufactured in the world are sold into the US market. Huh, what does that say about how smart we are?

Happy Paddling,


diesel engines
are better choice for countries that can produce clean fuel. Even a VW Golf TDI here gets ~50mpg, and it is not using latest and greatest in diesel tech.

I dont have the Golf, but I do have a Jetta TDI wagon. Same milage and it makes a great yak carrier. I carry a 17 and 18 foot kayaks regularly.

I just had the software upgraded on the TDI and it looks like I have kept the same milage and greatly increased performance. Next step is to put a lower fifth gear in which I am told will give me a dramatic milage improvement.

Happy Paddling,


Prius: Yakama rack
Yakama sells racks for the Prius, and I carry one or two kayaks on my Prius frequently. They do reduce the mileage of course, but they don’t affect handling any more than a kayak on any other car affects handling.

Thule version
Looks like Thule fits too.

400xt foot pack

2124 Fit Kit

LB50 load bars

Gives you a 27" spread from front to back

165 lbs. capacity.

Should work just fine.

Please use a bow tiedown.

See you on the water,


Friends have one but can’t carry yaks
They assumed it could haul kayaks either on a roof rack or by pulling a trailer. Bad assumption. The dealership told them there was no roof rack at all for it (may have changed since when they asked), and that they should not pull a trailer with it. There simply is no PLACE strong enough to attach a trailer.

They were going to sell it, but then gas prices shot way up. They still don’t carry yaks with it–their Tracker does that.

Another thing to consider is that even if it could safely carry or tow kayaks, the mpg will drop, probably by a lot.

I own a Prius

My wife and I own a Prius (2005) and you are correct about not recouping the price with gas savings. We knew this going in and bought it anyway. Sometimes the price is not the most important factor, and we bought ours also because of the extremely low emissions (the car shuts off while stopped for example). The fuel economy is also amazing. I averaged 4.5 L/100 KM over the course of a long driving holiday last summer. That being said, I won’t carry my Kayak on our Prius and probably wouldn’t even consider it. We have another vehicle for things like that.


the cool factor
I saw an article that stated that while the wierd-looking Prius was selling like hotcakes, Honda’s cheaper, ordinary-looking hybrids were begging for buyers.

This would indicate that hybrid buyers, as a whole, are willing to pay more than they have to in their quest to be environmentally sensitive – so long as everyone can see them doing it.

When you think about it, this is not much different than someone buying a massive pickup truck with a hemi – both buyers are willing to pay more so they can be seen and looked up to.

Interesting dynamics, that.

Environmental impact.
What will the environmental impact be on these hybrids when everyone has to start replacing these batteries? Do they all go into toxic land fills? I will admit I am not educated in this area, it seems like you are simply trading poisining the air for poisining the ground. The Pirius has a large lead acid battery in addition to the nickel-metal hydride or lithium-ion battery, so you get to deal with lead and other heavy metals like nickle and lithium.

I would REALLY like to see an environmental comparison that compares a prius to a standard car, from ore extraction to comsumer use, to end of life recycling at say 120,000 miles. Until the whole cycle is looked at, how can you be sure hybrids are actually OVERALL better for the environment, or simply hyped up marketing ploy to get you to let go of more money to feed the auto industry.

And here I thought that a group as “green” as a bunch of yakker’s would applaud the sacrifice of those who pay the big $$$ to get something like the Prius that’s easier on the environment.

Go figure!

Oh, well. It will be paid off about Jan. '07.

No matter what happens to the price of gas, I’m spending less for it than I did when the Element was the only alternative to my motorcycle.

AND, my wife loves it, so that’s worth something.