What accessories and minor upgrades should I get for my Prius?
September 4, 2018 5:55 PM   Subscribe

I just bought a used 2009 Toyota Prius (Package 2), 100K miles. I'm just wondering what are some affordable or cheap things I can do to keep that thing living its best life, improve the driving experience, not have my car look like a tornado hit it, etc.

The longer story is that I've just retired a 2000 Toyota Corolla after 260K miles, which has looked like a junk heap since about 100K miles, in large part because the interior body was never very good, and because I just had garbage everywhere. I'm done with that life. I want this car to continue to look and feel like a nice car that someone might enjoy being in. To be clear, I'm not looking for big after-market upgrades to the engine or something, just more looking for things to do in the interior.

The interior of my car looks exactly like this. So the center console doesn't extend to the dash.

I'm open to all ideas, but the general set of things I'm looking at includes:

1. Is there a really great junk caddy / trash can / miscellany organizer that has worked for you in a sedan / hatchback, or a Prius specifically?

2. I'd love to have just a modest upgrade to the sound system (not spend $1,000), but have no clue what that might look like.

3. What's the best way to keep a car smelling decent but not smelling like synthetic-scented air freshener?

4. Is there some great ways to hack the back storage area that will make my life with this car really rad?

5. Is it theoretically conceivable to swap out the touch-screen panel software to have a more intuitive Bluetooth setup or more dynamic interface? (I'm guessing no . . . )

6. Is there a perfect set of cleaning supplies I should have in the car at all times?

7. Bike racks: happy to hear any opinions on the best bike rack for a Prius, either of the hitch variety or strapped-on variety.

8. Window tinting? Is it worthwhile, in your view?

9. Best seat covers / protectors.
posted by kensington314 to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
On point 1, I don’t own a Prius but love my Rubbermaid front seat organizer. It has enough cubbies and cupholders to take care of some of my car’s storage deficiencies.
posted by hijinx at 6:04 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

#6. Always have a bottle of window cleaner and a roll of paper towels.

#7. A tray-style hitch rack is vastly superior to any other type. It's easier to load and gives better mileage on the Prius. (not this or this type).

#8. Yes, it is worth it to get good, professionally installed window tint.

and of course, in LA you want an earthquake stash in the car.
posted by TDIpod at 6:21 PM on September 4, 2018

Congratulations on what (for us) has been an excellent car. We bought it new and have lower mileage, and basically haven't done much extra with the car. We've always taken it to the dealership for service.

Recently we went down from two cars to one...the car we sold was a 2014 Kia Soul (no brainer...I loved the Soul, but the Prius is paid for). The only thing I miss, really, is the USB port for music. Our Prius has a 6-disk CD changer, which is absolutely better than just a radio, but I miss alllll that music at my fingertips. If you can get a system that gives you some more modern options, get it. And Bluetooth, of course.
posted by lhauser at 7:35 PM on September 4, 2018

We have the exact same car, but my answer to #3 is not make-and-model specific: keep a small paper bag of coffee beans under the seat. Coffee beans absorb foul smells and, as a bonus, smell like coffee. They last a couple months or so, and you don't have to buy good beans.
posted by dr. boludo at 5:35 AM on September 5, 2018

Hitch racks are the best bike racks, but the Prius is pretty good about carrying a bike or two with the seats down.
posted by advicepig at 6:41 AM on September 5, 2018

Mrs. Sourcequench is piloting the Aura, a 2006 Prius with the same layout. Our shared experience is:

1) The best junk caddy / trash can / organizer is none. Storage spaces already present, in terms of most to least accessible: door pockets, center console, glove box, seat-back pockets, trunk under-floor area. (The latter has enough space to hold basic tools, jumper cables, gloves, etc.) If you need more stuff than will fit in these spaces, re-think your loadout.

3) Never leave the car parked with garbage in it if you can possibly avoid it; if you shift into 'P' and there is a trash receptacle within walking distance, all refuse leaves the car. Don't eat in the car. Vacuum the carpets when they get grotty. Change (or at least clean) the cabin air filter on the reg. (It's super easy and needs no tools! Don't ever pay someone else to do it.) Open the hood and clean the rotting leaves and dead macrofauna from around the ventilation air intakes every once in a while.

6) Paper towels, (non-aerosol) spray cleaner like Windex or Simple Green, Goo Gone or equivalent, and one of those Tide pens for clothing stains.
posted by sourcequench at 8:33 AM on September 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

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