There are two undeniable facts when it comes to automobiles; 1) Toyotas (along with most Japanese-built cars) will seemingly run forever, and 2) hybrid vehicles will need their battery packs replaced at some point. When talking to people who are considering a hybrid or all-electric vehicle, the primary concern is always battery-pack longevity. Auto makers, like Ford, warrant the battery packs in their vehicles for 8 years. However, after that warranty is expired (or the mileage exceeded) many hybrid owners want to dump their cars before an expensive battery replacement. For someone looking for a great used-car bargain, that is the time to buy.
A quick browse of eBay reveals several Prius models available at low prices. The linked eBay listing has a Prius currently bidding for $3000 (with a Buy It Now price of $6000). If someone was able to pick up this Prius for $4,000 or so they would have quite a bargain. Adding on the $3,000 price to replace the battery pack, the owner would have a $7,000 vehicle that will last another 100,000 miles easily (with regular maintenance) that achieves 50MPG or better!
With a vehicle like the Prius, people purchase it for the mileage. They use the car as a work vehicle or daily driver, and look at the Prius because its MPG is still top-notch. But shelling out $30,000 for a car that has a battery expiration date is a difficult pill to swallow.
Most of the high-mileage Prius models on eBay are newer vehicles, sporting a more recent body style and loaded with options (like HID headlights and navigation). The used-Prius purchaser will be saving thousands over a new Prius driver in overall cost of ownership. Also, purchasing a used Prius is environmentally conscious as well, keeping the car out of the crusher. Even at a $7,000 overall purchase price (with battery replacement), that is $1,000/year vehicle cost if it completely dies in 7 years and has no value. Many people pay way more than that per year for a fuel-efficient vehicle that has few features and poorer fuel economy.
The Toyota Prius could very well be one of the best used-car bargains out there. Are you interested?