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Duck,

Sounds like a lot of fun...

A few comments:

(1) Get in line on the Prius -- only 16,000 people are ahead of you...including my wife and me. :^) We ordered a Salsa Red with pretty much everything other than the DVD navigation system...

(2) The Prius gets 51 mpg highway...60 mpg is in the city.

(3) The Prius pretty much never gets that milage -- more like the high 40s for most stuff. The method the EPA uses to determine milage is highly flawed. Almost every car gets below the rated level, but the hybrids really suffer. They *can* get the stated milage, but most people do not drive them well enough to get that milage. Toyota wanted to put different (a bit lower) milage values in the literature, but the EPA forces them to go with the 60/51.

(4) Having spent much of the last 2 months in Europe, I see plenty of the "Smart" cars. They are hillarious...more like a roller skate with a tiny engine. My wife came over for a week and she loved it...she would never consider getting one, but she had to take a picture of one to show people.

(5) "Son, can you say Hemi?"

(6) If hybrids are the thing your wife is all over right now, Toyota is putting out a Highlander hybrid later this year. The Prius has plenty of room IMO -- the backseat is bigger than the Camry -- but if you are going to be getting into the soccer-dad type situation soon, I could see wanting something even bigger. I have no idea what the Highlander hybrid will cost, but it will have a more powerful engine than the current Highlander and get over 30 mpg according to Toyota.

Keep us informed on the car buying. At this point, I would try and hold out until the Accord and Highlander hit the market so you can compare, but you might have to break down. One thing to know...ordering a Prius does not really committ you to the car. I have not paid any deposit, and if I were to say no when it comes in (since they cannot guarantee your exact order), they'll just sell it to someone else without charging me a penny.

ACME
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