Later this month I'll be making the final payment on the five-year loan to buy our Prius, and on January 2nd we'll have had it for five years. We figure we have a few more years in it before it's worth it to trade it in, too.
We're definitely getting to the part of the car's life where keeping it going costs more than it used to. We just put almost $800 into it earlier this week, due to the big 90K-miles maintenance, brake work (the first major brake work the car has had), and a hodgepodge of other things. While that kind of bill hurts, I must also note that other cars, by this point, have typically had bills twice that high for things like transmission rebuilds (something the Prius never needs), and will have had brake work on this scale at least once before. Then again, there's a battery replacement that's going to happen someday that'll be about the same amount as that transmission rebuild. But overall, keeping a Prius going past 100,000 miles is at least as doable, and somewhat less expensive, than doing it for most cars.
It'd be a more marked difference in flat, warm places. Hills put a lot more strain on a car, particularly on brakes and their regenerative braking system. But winter's the real car killer. Salt, slipping, the effect cold has on batteries, caked-on dirt in snow and ice, and salt. (Salt's so bad you have to list it twice.) Getting cars past 100,000 is not that easy in Vermont.
Sure, I'd love to get the next-gen Prius with better Bluetooth, a nicer interior design, and better mileage, the best thing to do is try to make this one last until the generation to follow. Rumors are within a couple of years we'll see a Prius with a new battery system that doubles the mileage, so maybe this will end up timed nicely.
The $800 still stings, though. (Especially since it took them two days to do it. We arranged it long in advance and got in first thing to make sure they could finish it in a day, and told them ahead how many things needed doing and that we needed to get it that day, but they still only got it into the shop at 1:30pm and weren't done by the end of the day, so we had to go through the shuttle-bus shuffle twice. Very annoying. I never seem to come out of this dealership without feeling either robbed or misused or both. At least they have WiFi in the waiting lounge.)