2006 Toyota Prius Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Toyota Prius Hatchback

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Toyota Prius Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 110 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 48/45 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Toyota Prius

  • The 2006 Toyota Prius is a full-featured midsize family car that just so happens to be the most fuel-efficient sedan on the market. The fact that it starts at about $21K makes it all the more attractive.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Outstanding mileage, ultralow emissions, generous amount of interior room, hatchback utility, reasonable price, excellent build quality.

  • Cons

    Less power than other midsize sedans, real-world fuel economy doesn't live up to EPA estimates.

  • What's New for 2006

    The 2006 Toyota Prius gets a tire-pressure monitor this year, along with an optional backup camera. Exterior styling is refreshed with new headlights and taillight clusters, while the interior receives darker seat fabric and a textured instrument panel center. Leather seating with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an audio mini-jack port are newly optional.

Full 2006 Toyota Prius Review

What's New for 2006

The 2006 Toyota Prius gets a tire-pressure monitor this year, along with an optional backup camera. Exterior styling is refreshed with new headlights and taillight clusters, while the interior receives darker seat fabric and a textured instrument panel center. Leather seating with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an audio mini-jack port are newly optional.


The Toyota Prius wasn't the first hybrid car on the market in the U.S., but with four doors, a sizable trunk and room for four, it was the first such vehicle to offer the practicality of a typical economy car along with the outstanding fuel mileage of a hybrid. The second-generation model, introduced in 2004, delivers all that and more, with an even larger interior, hatchback utility and a hybrid drivetrain that's more powerful and cleaner than the previous version.

For the uninitiated, a hybrid drivetrain typically uses a small gasoline engine in conjunction with an electric motor to provide power while keeping emissions and fuel usage to a minimum. Under full acceleration, both power sources work together to provide maximum oomph, but under lighter load conditions, such as stop-and-go traffic, the Toyota Prius alternates between the two, oftentimes running purely on battery power alone. A regenerative braking system converts energy normally lost as heat into electricity to charge the car's batteries. Although the current powertrain works in much the same way as the first-generation model, it delivers considerably more power with fewer emissions. Toyota claims that its exhaust emissions have been reduced by 30 percent over the previous model, allowing it to earn both SULEV (Super Ultra Low-Emission Vehicle) and PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) ratings. Although the Toyota car is rated to get combined city/highway mileage of 55 miles to the gallon by the EPA, our experience has shown that its real-world mileage is about 45 mpg.

Apart from its high-tech drivetrain, the 2006 Toyota Prius offers comfortable accommodations for four adults. It's a little smaller than most midsize sedans, but even tall passengers have enough room in the rear seats. Top-notch interior materials and a unique design give the cabin an alternative look and feel, but all the amenities you would expect are there. The Prius features an innovative automatic climate control system that runs entirely on electricity. This means the A/C will continue to cool even when the gas engine is not running, such as at a stoplight. It also features a humidity sensor and smart programming so the A/C compressor runs only when it is necessary. The benefit is that you can leave it in auto-mode year round without worry of wasting any energy. The Prius' hatchback design makes loading larger items into the cargo area a snap, and with 16.1 cubic feet of space, there's nearly as much room in the trunk as in a Camry.

The Prius hybrid is a legitimate family sedan that offers everything you would expect from a Toyota car -- like solid build quality and refinement -- and a few things you don't -- like a low base price. Add in the eye-popping mileage and long list of standard features, and it's easy to see why the 2006 Toyota Prius remains one of the most talked about cars available today.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2006 Toyota Prius hybrid is available as a four-door hatchback only, in one well-appointed trim level. The standard features list includes power windows, locks and mirrors; automatic climate control; a tilt steering wheel with audio and climate controls; a six-speaker CD stereo; cruise control; trip computer; and 15-inch aluminum wheels. Options like a DVD-based navigation system, Bluetooth hands-free phone technology and a nine-speaker JBL premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer are also available, along with leather seating and xenon headlights. The available Smart Key system allows you to lock/unlock the doors and start the car with the key safely in your pocket or purse. The optional voice command system permits voice control of features ranging from temperature adjustment to Bluetooth cell phone dialing.

Powertrains and Performance

There is only one engine and transmission combination available. The "Hybrid Synergy Drive" power plant consists of a 1.5-liter gasoline engine and two electric drive motor/generators. The gas engine produces 76 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motors generate the equivalent of 67 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Net horsepower is 110, mainly because the two power sources hit their peak at different times. Regardless, power delivery is smooth and consistent from rest all the way to top speed. The Toyota Prius features an elegantly simple continuously variable "transmission" of sorts, called a power split device. It provides the ease of a conventional automatic transmission, but there are no gears to shift, drive belts, torque converter or clutch. The motors work in concert with the gas engine, through a planetary gearset, to provide seamless power and maximum efficiency at all times. Fuel mileage is rated at 60 city and 51 highway, though real-world mileage is typically in the mid 40s.


All 2006 Toyota Prius models come standard with four-wheel antilock brakes with BrakeAssist and traction control. Electronic stability control and side-impact/side curtain airbags are optional. Government crash tests on the Toyota car resulted in a four-star (out of five) rating for everything but the driver in the frontal-impact test, which earned five stars. In IIHS testing, the Prius earned a top score of "Good" for its protection of occupants in frontal and side-impact crashes.

Interior Design and Special Features

Materials quality is impressive, and the overall look is upscale. The gauge cluster is positioned toward the center of the dashboard, but the display is clear and easy to see. The optional touchscreen DVD-based navigation system features a backup camera display and can be voice-operated.

Driving Impressions

As you'd expect, the Toyota Prius is no speed demon (zero to 60 mph in about 10.4 seconds), but when it comes to the kind of daily driving that most drivers encounter, there's more than enough power to get around. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) takes some getting used to since it doesn't shift gears, but it does make the best use of the hybrid drivetrain's power. Cabin noise is minimal, and the suspension is comfortably soft without feeling too floaty.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

A little gem

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Prius 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Bought an '06 with 61,000 back four years ago. I now have just under 105k on it. This thing is built better than any car I have ever owned. Toyota just thinks everything out so well -- even the tire jack is in an elegant little tray which keeps all of the parts together without rattling. I have never been too mindful of the gas mileage -- I generally get in the low 40's - but the real beauty of this car is the build quality. It is a base model but everything in it works as well today as they day it was built. Cars are expensive and these are more expensive than most cars in their class -- but they are worth every penny for the lack of drama they provide day in and day out.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

The best decision i ever

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Prius 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Purchased in summer 2006. With just under 141,000 miles, I've loved this car every minute I've driven it. Average mix of city/hwy I get 50-55 mpg, with full highway driving 49-53 depending on length of the drive (a few hours vs. much longer distances.) regular gas. It has saved me a fortune in gas and like the 4 Toyotas I owned before it since 1981, it has been continuously reliable. In spring 2012 my hybrid battery died at @128K. I decided: Why buy a new car? There's none better on the market. Replaced the hybrid battery for $2400, now have another 100K warranty on battery. Few things have been a problem - headlights expensive, struts went at 89K, but virtually nothing else. AMAZING car.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

179,476 miles and still going

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Prius 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

LOVE my Prius! We are high mileage commuters, perfect car for the miles we drive. Purchased for $15,200 in 2009 used with mid 20k miles. Use Michelins for a better ride and gas mileage. We are getting 44-56 mpg depending on how much we run A/C (Hey it's Texas, so most of the time) Early morning when it is still cool can easily hit 52-56 since most are highway miles. Expenses occurred so far: Use a K&N engine air filter which saves on air filter expense - not that hard to clean and recharge. Oil changes at 5000k, wiper blades, and I change cabin air filter myself to save service charge. Biggest expense - replacing a part that controls the changeover between electric and gas. $500

This is the best car

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Prius 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

The gas savings is obvious -- I'm getting 50MPG with 90% highway driving. If I drive in the city only, I can get 60+MPG. My fuel costs went from $200+ per month to under $100 with barely any effort. The car has also been highly reliable. After all this time I've owned it, it didn't need anything beyond basic maintenance. Sometimes it doesn't even need anything beyond an oil change. I also LOVE the interior in this thing. The 'Start' ignition button, joystick shifter, LCD dashboard, multifunction display....it all looks very futuristic to me. I wish the car has a temperature gauge on the LCD dashboard and that it is more comfortable to ride, but otherwise, it's an extremely great car!

This has been an amazing

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Prius 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I have had my 2006 Prius V for a year and a half and just had to write a review because it has been such a wonderful car. I bought this car in May 10 w/ 80k miles on it and was a little worried at first because of the high miles. I ended up getting a smokin deal & the only fixes that this car has needed has been an A/C fan regulator, front light bulbs, and the typical oil change, brakes, tires. I now have 122,000 miles on this car (I drive about 3,000 miles a month) and man, what an excellent car! I have range 55-70 mpg (yes 70!) here in Phx. So, if you are considering used, go for it! This is a GREAT CAR that runs well as the miles get up there. Trading for an 11 Prius this month!

6 year / 100k mile

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Prius 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

A quick update... The car is still running great after almost 100K miles. Items replaced - tires, wipers, front light bulbs (I drive with them on all the time), water pump (covered by my 100K extended warranty), and a recall for the hybrid coolant system tank, air filters, plugs, and serpentine belt, and full coolant change out (I do everything early). Live in New England - get 47 mpg in spring, summer, fall, and 44.5 mpg in winter driving. Based on last oil change, estimate that I still have 35% of brake pads left. Will be replacing my floormats soon, driver side wore out.

Talk About The 2006 Prius

2006 Toyota Prius Discussions See all Started By

I've just driven a pretty nice looking 2006 with really low mileage. Only third Prius I've driven. This one seemed to have something that FELT like fuel line irregular flow - surging or pulsing - at...

I have a 2006 Prius and love it. However, when filling up my tank today, the gas pump kept cutting off, only putting 2 gallon in tank that was in need of at least 8 gallon. So I put another 1/2 gal....

an in decent shape 2007 Prius with 90,000 km on it....

Gas Mileage


  • 48
  • cty
  • 45
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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