It's true, I bought my 2007 Prius back on October 17th, 2006, and yesterday, the payoff check cleared my account, in less than half the time of the original loan.
In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have bought a brand new car, and I may never do that again. For certain however, I won't ever buy another car just on credit, it was fully financed, all $26k of it.
I started with a 6 year, 7.99% interest loan, put paid well over the minimum and eventually refied it last October with a remaining balance of $16k to a 5.24% loan with my credit union. Again, I paid well over the minimum, but somewhat less than before because I was about to buy my first home as well.
I sent my regular $500 per month this month, along with another $10200 from some matured savings certificates (where at 4.25% and I just didn't want to cash it out early and take the 3 month penalty).
I can't believe it's mine now, oh how great that feels.
It's got quite a big of miles on it, about 70k, I need to travel a lot for work, but I think I can get at least 150k out of it, and by then I should easily have saved up enough to buy another car, outright this time. Maybe if gas goes back to $4/gallon I may even get another offer like I did last year, from the dealer that sold it to me, offering me what I had paid for it new.
If anyone cares, I've averaged about 48MPG (tracked via spreadsheet) and spent $3800 on gas for it so far (like I said, about 70k miles). Maintenance was very marginal as well, after 35k and the factory warranty expiring, I've maintained it myself, spending $30-$40 each time on oil and filters every 5k miles and doing the work myself. Other than a new set of quality tires at 38k miles for $450 from CostCo, I've not had any major maintenance expenses.
Next project will be to pay of my remaining student loan balance (about $7.5k), work on my better half's auto loan ($15.5k to go, at least she bought it used, low miles at less than half the original price), and then we'll start looking at saving for a free standing home, my condo is very nice, but I'd really like some property as a buffer zone from other people around me.
Just wanted to share, very excited.