I had the opportunity to rent a 2008 Prius last week (in Sacramento). This was really a dream come true. I drove the vehicle 385 miles and put 8.6 gallons in when the gauge was at 2 segments left, which works out to 44 - 45 mpg.

I was very pleased with the car on mountain highway driving to Lake Tahoe. The steering seemed a tiny bit stiff compared to my Lexus ES350 but nearly as smooth on good road, and surprisingly quiet inside. Occasionally, there were some terrible ruts in the highway, (from cars driving with chains on the mountain passes). The car was fairly noisy in the ruts, and the car felt squirrly in the ruts but these were quite serious ruts, several inches deep with exposed aggregate.

I did discover a disturbing surging feeling when stopped at a light with the climate system running on auto. The engine felt like it was trying to move the car. When I would turn off the climate system, the engine would quit totally and the car would sit quiet. Perhaps they should program an option to have the climate system shut down at stop lights.

Is this a normal aspect of Pruis driving or was this car's transmission in need of adjustment?