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Toyota Prius

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Launched in Japan in 1997, the Toyota Prius hybrid made its U.S. debut in 2001 and sold only 15,000 units that first year. By 2011, U.S. sales reached the 1 million mark, and today global sales top 3.5 million. The Prius uses a gasoline engine and an electric motor with a battery pack. The hybrid system saves fuel by using the electric motor at low speeds, with the gas engine automatically turning on when needed. The Prius’ batteries are recharged by energy captured from braking and by the gasoline engine. Known for its distinctive styling, the Prius name has been applied to other hybrid offerings, including the Prius c, v and Prime. Toyota’s hybrid system found in the Prius is also used in hybrid versions of some of Toyota’s mainstream models. 

Good Fit For
Commuters

Commuter vehicles have a minimum EPA-estimated mileage of 30 mpg combined. May require specific trim level and/or optional features.

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Eco-Friendly Shoppers

Eco-Friendly vehicles have a minimum EPA-estimated mileage of 35 mpg combined and include hybrids, diesels and even a few fuel-sipping gas-only cars. May require specific trim level and/or optional features.

Popular Competitors

4 Generations

Prius - 4 Generations

2016–2018 Prius

Redesigned in 2016

Along with updated styling, the Prius grew for 2016, increasing cargo space. A new platform improved handling and ride. Though output from the carryover engine decreased slightly, thanks to lighter hybrid components fuel mileage estimates increased to 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway; an Eco version was even more efficient. Lithium-ion batteries are now used on some variations. Six trim levels are offered. 

  • MSRP Range $23,475–$30,565
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.8) 45 reviews
  • Combined MPG 52-56
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Read About the 2018 Model 2018 Prius Articles
  • MSRP Range $16,586–$34,714
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.8) 110 reviews
  • Combined MPG 52-56
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Notable Features in 2017
  • Five-seat gas-electric hybrid hatchback
  • Distinctive appearance
  • Uses lithium-ion battery pack in most trims
  • Center-mounted instrument panel
  • Forward collision warning with automatic braking available
  • Current List Price $16,007–$25,527
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.8) 64 reviews
  • Combined MPG 52-56
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Notable Features in 2016
  • Complete redesign
  • New hybrid system
  • Quieter interior
  • Now uses lithium-ion battery in most trims
  • Lower coefficient of drag

2010–2015 Prius

Redesigned in 2010

A 2010 redesign retained similar styling but made the Prius slightly longer and more aerodynamic. A new 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine contributed to a total system output of 134 horsepower, yielding 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway. The interior was significantly improved, as was handling. Toyota also added new drive modes, extending electric-only operation and maximizing fuel economy. Five trims and three option packages were available, and seven airbags became standard.

  • Current List Price $12,841–$21,601
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.7) 69 reviews
  • Combined MPG 50
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Notable Features in 2015
  • New Special Edition model
  • Gas/electric hybrid drivetrain
  • Hatchback body style with room for five
  • EPA-estimated 50 mpg in combined city/highway driving
  • Precollision system available
  • Lane departure prevention available
  • Current List Price $8,497–$19,961
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.6) 79 reviews
  • Combined MPG 50
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Notable Features in 2014
  • Gas/electric hybrid drivetrain
  • Hatchback body style with room for five
  • EPA-estimated 50 mpg in combined city/highway driving
  • Pre-collision system available
  • Lane departure prevention available
  • Current List Price $7,154–$19,090
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.7) 112 reviews
  • Combined MPG 50
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Notable Features in 2013
  • Gas/electric drivetrain
  • 50 mpg combined
  • Available Entune multimedia system
  • Four driving modes
  • New Special Edition model
  • Current List Price $7,358–$16,546
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.7) 101 reviews
  • Combined MPG 50
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Notable Features in 2012
  • Restyled bumper, headlights, taillights
  • New standard touch-screen
  • Optional self-parking feature discontinued
  • Genuine leather discontinued
  • Gas/electric drivetrain
  • 50 mpg combined
  • Current List Price $5,460–$15,012
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.6) 124 reviews
  • Combined MPG 50
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Notable Features in 2011
  • Gas/electric drivetrain
  • 50 mpg combined
  • Hatchback body style
  • Optional self-parking feature
  • Four driving modes
  • Current List Price $4,854–$13,966
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.7) 235 reviews
  • Combined MPG 50
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Notable Features in 2010
  • All-new third generation
  • 50 mpg combined
  • Available solar-panel moonroof
  • EV Mode for electric-only cruising
  • Gas/electric drivetrain
  • Available self-parking feature

2004–2009 Prius

Redesigned in 2004

The Prius picked up its trademark hatchback configuration for 2004, moving from a compact to a mid-size with improved backseat room. Horsepower from the gas engine and electric motor increased to 76 and 67 hp, respectively. First advertised at 60 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway, the numbers went to 48/45 with revised EPA ratings. A new gear shifter added a “B” for engine braking. Safety ratings improved, and side airbags were standard.

Notable Features in 2009
  • Can run at low speeds on battery alone
  • Large center LCD screen
  • Electric-dominant hybrid powertrain
  • Hatchback body style
  • Enhanced regenerative braking
  • Available Touring edition
  • Current List Price $3,048–$11,040
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.7) 114 reviews
  • Combined MPG 47
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Notable Features in 2008
  • Less-expensive base model
  • Electric-dominant hybrid powertrain
  • Hatchback body style
  • Enhanced regenerative braking
  • Available Touring Edition
  • Current List Price $2,006–$10,830
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.6) 127 reviews
  • Combined MPG 56
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Notable Features in 2007
  • Electric-dominant hybrid powertrain
  • Hatchback body style
  • Enhanced regenerative braking
  • Available Touring Edition
  • Current List Price $3,029–$8,777
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.5) 65 reviews
  • Combined MPG 56
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

  • Current List Price $1,098–$10,418
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.6) 65 reviews
  • Combined MPG 56
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Read About the 2005 Model 2005 Prius Articles
  • Current List Price $2,581–$8,437
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.8) 29 reviews
  • Combined MPG 56
  • Body Styles:

    Hatchback

Read About the 2004 Model 2004 Prius Articles

2001–2003 Prius

Redesigned in 2001

Debuting in the U.S. as a compact sedan, the Prius had a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 70 hp, paired with a 44-hp electric motor with nickel metal hydride batteries. It was rated 52/45 mpg city/highway on the old EPA rating system, later revised to 42/41. The first Prius was criticized for its nonlinear brake feel, abnormal tire wear and subpar safety ratings.

  • Current List Price $753–$6,113
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.3) 7 reviews
  • Combined MPG 49
  • Body Styles:

    Sedan

  • Current List Price $1,871–$6,187
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.2) 16 reviews
  • Combined MPG 49
  • Body Styles:

    Sedan

Read About the 2002 Model 2002 Prius Articles
  • Current List Price $866–$6,962
  • Consumer Rating
    (4.2) 8 reviews
  • Combined MPG 49
  • Body Styles:

    Sedan

Read About the 2001 Model 2001 Prius Articles

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