2011 Toyota Prius Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Toyota Prius Hatchback

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Toyota Prius Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 134 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 51/48 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Toyota Prius

  • There are plenty of choices for a green car this year. But when it comes to high fuel economy, plenty of versatility and a reasonable price, the 2011 Toyota Prius cannot be beat.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Superior fuel economy; space-efficient interior; quiet and comfortable ride; available high-tech luxury goodies.

  • Cons

    Awkward driving position; disappointing interior materials; overly busy gauge cluster; iPod adapter only available with navigation system.

  • What's New for 2011

    After a major redesign last year, there are no significant changes for the 2011 Toyota Prius.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Owned nearly 2 yrs. +'s

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota Prius Four 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

It's a great car for what it is. I've put close to 40,000 miles on mine. Would I buy one again? Maybe. The car is noisy, and the Good Year tires are ill handling, and contribute to a lot of said noise. I just replaced mine with non LRR Michelin Primacys. The car rides much better and feels more secure on wet roads. My mileage only fell by 2-3mpg. I average anywhere from 38-45. No complaints there. I haven't had to have anything else done, aside from oil changes. Toyota recommends every 10,000. I'm not willing to go that long. I do between 4 and 6k with Toyota filters and Mobil 0W-20. I find it the cheapest at Wal Mart.

7 of 35 people found this review helpful

I hate this car

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota Prius Four 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

We just recently bought a Prius and it is awful. I hate it!!! The reason we bought the car was for the good gas milage which is not 51mpg, it is closer to 44-45mpg. The car is boring is it miserable to drive. the design is terrible, it is a eyesore to look at and everything feels cheaply made. The back window is the worst design, the cross bar is directly in my line of vision so I cant see out the back window. Also because it so boring to drive ill turn on the radio for entertainment just to find out the radio is terrible quality. One last thing i hate about the prius is that there is no speedometer of rpm gage, it has a little screen that tells you the speed.

8 of 15 people found this review helpful

Great mpg bad build quality

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota Prius Four 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Now with 5000 miles on my Prius it has been in the shop more than our old Audi. This is all due in part to a nasty dash rattle that started after the first 750 miles. The dealer is perplexed, they cant fix it. Engineers from Toyota have been flown in and they cant fix it. Nobody understands the constant noises it makes. Toyota has offered no option for buyback and shunned the idea when I proposed it. I know its an economy car but this rattle is just poor build quality. The navigation system incorrectly locates my position in the city. I have to stop the car and turn it off to reboot the system. The car averages 49-54 mpg's constantly. The paint is flawless and the best Ive seen.

12 of 40 people found this review helpful

Fun to drive frugally

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Vehicle: 2011 Toyota Prius Four 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

We traded our 03 Lexus 300 for this new 2011 Prius IV on 2/12/11. I carefilly compared fuel used and miles driven on the first 3 gas fill-ups and found the trip meter indicated about 2 mpg more then it should be. Average milage was 48 MPG during the cold temps and engine break-in. Now we have over 4,000 miles on it and we consistently get over 50 mpg. On a recent short trip of 71 miles, our Prius showed 59.3 MPG. This was driving with other traffic and not upsetting other drivers by trying to be thrifty. I did learn how to increase the MPG from various blogs and related websites. It is not a Lexus but suprisingly my wife and I forget the difference while driving this vehicle. Very pleased!

Full 2011 Toyota Prius Review

What's New for 2011

After a major redesign last year, there are no significant changes for the 2011 Toyota Prius.


You could be forgiven for thinking the 2011 Toyota Prius has a big target painted on its side. After all, people like to gun for you when you're on top, and the Prius has been the king of the green car sales charts for years now. This year, in particular, there are many new choices for a fuel-efficient car. The question then becomes: Can the Prius keep its mojo going?

The good news for Toyota is that the Prius itself is better than ever. Last year, Toyota engineers reduced the car's aerodynamic drag, and the overall look is now sleeker and sportier. Under the hood, a larger gas engine and stronger electric motor combine for more power and better fuel economy -- the Prius has a combined EPA fuel economy estimate of 50 mpg, the best of any conventional hybrid vehicle. The newest Prius also has revised suspension tuning and improved electric steering to help make it more agile than before.

The 2011 Prius can also seemingly transform from a versatile utility hatchback to a small, hyper-efficient luxury sedan depending on how you equip it. On the higher trim levels, you'll find high-end appointments like heated leather seats, a solar-powered sunroof (it ventilates the interior when parked), a navigation system, adaptive cruise control (it matches your speed to the car ahead), a pre-collision system (tightens seatbelts and applies the brakes if a crash is unavoidable) and a lane-departure warning system. There's even an automated parallel-parking system to help you squeeze into tight downtown parking spaces.

There are some downsides to this latest Prius, however. Most concern the interior, such as too many cheap-feeling plastics, an awkward driving position and the lack of an iPod adapter on most models. If these attributes bother you, you'll certainly want to look around. Honda's Insight, also new last year, is the Prius' most direct competitor. It's less expensive and drives a bit more like a regular car, but it's not as fuel-efficient, it has a smaller backseat and it can seem too noisy and budget-oriented.

You might also check some of the top hybrid sedans, with the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid being our favorite. It doesn't have the top fuel economy of the Prius, but it looks like a normal sedan and drives with more vigor. The all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Kia Optima Hybrid are also worth looking at.

Then there are the two hyped green cars this year, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2011 Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is 100-percent electrically powered, but its limited range and charging options mean it will be a niche choice. The Volt is probably more appealing -- it's basically a plug-in hybrid, giving it theoretically way better fuel economy than the Prius -- but it's also considerably more expensive. Toyota is also set to offer a plug-in version of the Prius to counter the Volt.

In sum, we think the 2011 Prius deserves to keep its status as the best all-around hybrid. With strong fuel economy, hatchback utility, a reasonable price and a feature list that can range from economy to luxury, the Prius earns its painted bulls-eye.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Toyota Prius is available in five trim levels: Prius One, Prius Two, Prius Three, Prius Four and Prius Five. Standard equipment on Prius One includes 15-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. The Prius Two adds 15-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, automatic headlights, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control and a six-speaker stereo with CD player and auxiliary audio jack.

The Prius Three adds Bluetooth and an eight-speaker JBL upgraded stereo with six-CD changer. Prius Four includes this equipment as well as exterior locking buttons for keyless entry, leather upholstery, heated front seats, driver lumbar adjustment and an auto-dimming mirror. The loaded Prius Five comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps and LED headlamps with auto-leveling and washers.

The Navigation package, available on all but the Prius One and Two, includes a voice-activated touchscreen navigation system with real-time traffic, a rearview camera, a four-CD changer (replacing the six-slot), an iPod/USB audio interface and Bluetooth music streaming. The Solar Roof package can be added to the Navigation package and includes a sunroof with a solar-powered ventilation system that cools the car when parked, and remote-activated air-conditioning for cooling the cabin before you enter.

The Advanced Technology package available for Prius V includes all components of the Navigation package plus adaptive cruise control, pre-collision alert system, a lane departure warning system and automated self-parking.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Toyota Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a pair of electric motor/generators; they send their power through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT). The result is total output of 134 horsepower.

In track testing, we clocked the Prius from zero to 60 mph in 10.1 seconds, which is about average for a hybrid vehicle. The most important number, however, is fuel economy. The EPA estimates the 2011 Prius will return a very impressive 51 mpg city/48 highway and 50 mpg combined.


Every 2011 Toyota Prius comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Optional equipment includes a pre-collision warning system and a lane-departure warning system. In brake testing, the Prius stopped from 60 mph in a short 118 feet.

The Prius has not yet been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash tests. According to 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 ratings) the Toyota Prius earned four stars rating in frontal impact protection for both driver and passenger. In side impact testing, the Prius scored five stars for front passengers and four stars for the rear. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Prius the highest rating of "Good" in frontal offset and side-impact crashes.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2011 Prius features straightforward climate and audio controls that jut out toward the driver in a "floating console" that provides a storage tray underneath. It's a nice design that helps maximize cabin space. The digital instrument panel also features a floating layer that displays audio, temperature and trip computer information when the driver touches those controls on the steering wheel, minimizing eye movement. Some drivers might find the overall design a bit too busy-looking, however.

Materials quality in the Prius is disappointing, with harder and cheaper plastics than other cars in its price range. The corduroy-like texturing on the climate and audio controls seems nice at first, but collects oil from the skin and causes circular dark spots on most buttons.

In terms of versatility, though, the Prius is still a champ. The hatchback body style provides more cargo capacity than a typical midsize sedan, and the backseat offers plenty of space. Sadly, taller drivers still have to contend with a steering wheel that's placed too far away. There's a telescoping column, but it doesn't come out nearly far enough.

Driving Impressions

The 2011 Toyota Prius features a hyper-quiet cabin, made possible by its part-time electric motivation and extensive use of sound-deadening materials. The ride is also quite comfortable. The electric steering doesn't provide much in the way of feel, but it's user-friendly in parking lots and doesn't become overly boosted on the highway.

Acceleration is far from sprightly, but it's on par for a hybrid and certainly adequate for most drivers. Four driving modes -- Normal, Eco, Power and EV -- allow the pilot to decide the optimum powertrain configuration depending on conditions. Eco is measured and sluggish, but returns the best fuel economy. Power is useful for entering freeways or driving on hills. EV mode locks out the gasoline engine, but only up to 25 mph with at least a half-charged battery pack.

Talk About The 2011 Prius

Gas Mileage


  • 51
  • cty
  • 48
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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