2002 Toyota Prius Review

Pros & Cons

  • Environmentally sound sedan, competitive price, full load of equipment, excellent warranty coverage.
  • Funky styling, weak performance compared to gas-engine cars, technology doesn't come cheap.
List Price Estimate
$1,406 - $3,216

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Currently, the 2002 Toyota Prius is the best hybrid on the market, but watch for the upcoming hybrid Civic.

Vehicle overview

With fuel prices hovering around $2 a gallon, hybrid vehicles have been getting increased attention from the American public. Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with an electric motor. Since hybrids are still fueled by gasoline, they don't have to be plugged in or recharged. The result of hybrid technology is reduced emissions and improved fuel efficiency when compared to a normal gasoline-powered car.

There are currently two available for mass consumption: the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius. While the Insight gets amazing fuel mileage thanks to its lightweight aluminum body and aerodynamic shape, the Prius trades ultimate fuel economy for increased utility. It holds five passengers and a good bit of cargo, meaning it functions as a useable family car.

Toyota is keen on pointing out that Prius (on sale in Japan since 1997), and not Insight, was the first mass-produced gas/electric hybrid vehicle in the world. The company held off on introducing the model to U.S. customers until it could gauge consumer interest and boost power levels.

An all-aluminum 1.5-liter gasoline engine makes 70 horsepower. Variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) helps maximize engine efficiency while minimizing emissions, and power is put to the ground via a continuously variable transmission driving the front wheels. The electric drive motor is worth another 44 peak horsepower, bringing the maximum potential horsepower output to 114.

The Prius operates on either electricity or gasoline alone, or a combination of both. Depending on speed and load, the ratio of power provided by each system is constantly adjusted by electronics to keep the vehicle in its most efficient operating mode. Even then, acceleration is slow; 0-to-60 mph takes 12.8 seconds. We're thinking Prius is for use primarily in the city and not for blitzkrieg runs to Vegas.

Driven with care, Prius will achieve 52 mpg in the city and 45 on the highway while meeting squeaky-clean SULEV emissions standards, according to the EPA. With its 11.9-gallon gas tank, the car has a maximum city range of just over 600 miles.

A single model is available, loaded with amenities like air conditioning; remote keyless entry; cassette stereo; power windows, locks and mirrors; height-adjustable front seats; and 14-inch alloy wheels. Gauges and controls are located in the center of the dashboard, including an LCD screen that can be used to monitor fuel mileage in real time. New options are available this year, including a GPS navigation system, cruise control, side airbags and daytime running lights.

Thanks to a tall stance, seating is upright with plenty of head- and foot room. Toyota likes to refer to the Prius as a "real car," implying that Honda's hybrid Insight is not a real car. If the definition of real is capacity for more than two people and 10 cubic feet of stuff, then they're not fibbing.

Whatever the case may be, it is obvious that hybrids are meeting with acceptance in the court of public opinion. Like the Insight, the Prius offers a viable alternative to gasoline powerplants without the limitations posed by electric-only cars like the GM EV1. If your blood runs green and not red, drop by your local Toyota dealer for a test drive.

2002 Highlights

Initially offered as a single specification with no factory options, Toyota's advanced gasoline/electric hybrid now offers a choice of several new options for 2002. These include a navigation system, cruise control, side airbags and daytime running lights. There are also two new colors: Brilliant Blue and Blue Moon Pearl.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 Toyota Prius.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2002 Prius with 193,000 miles
manatee624,07/04/2012
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Bought it new in June 2003. I'm amazed the car it still gives me 42-46 mpg each fill up in mixed city/highway driving in busy Miami traffic. This has been the most reliable car I have owned in 40 years of driving. Repairs so far: full brake job at 100,000 miles, replaced replaced rear wheel bearings at 155,000 miles, replaced ABS brake module and engine belt at 165,000 miles, replaced steering rack at 175,000 miles, added refrigerant gas to AC at 190,000 miles for the 1st time. As a preventive measure I also replace the small 12V battery every 3 years. The car is still running fine on the original high voltage battery. Everything thing else is original. I love it!
02 PRIUS
sstk100,03/26/2011
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
We've had the 02 Prius for about 2 years (our first Prius), and our experience has been great. In fact we bought an 08 Prius and gave the 02 to our son to drive to school. I expect we will always have Prius for the foreseeable future. Gas mileage is lower in winter (35-39), and as high as 48 mpg in summer on a 700 mile road trip. It's still weird when the engine shuts down when at a stop light....but that's just money in my pocket ! There have been zero-nada problems with anything. It just purrs along all the time. We like the 08 even better because Toyota updated many things like a a fold down rear seat, better stereo radio, and even more room in back seat.
Beware old Hybrid Battery
ihtsjnellay,08/21/2013
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I bought this car used at a dealership and they checked everything else EXCEPT for the hybrid battery. Being a hybrid, and having 2 batteries could be a nightmare waiting to happen. I used it for 2 days and the 2nd day, on the way home from work on the freeway my car had stopped accelerating. The main battery light came up and I had to stop on the side of the road to start it up again. This happened 3 times, and I only live 10 mins away from my work. The cost to replace an old hybrid battery is 3000 for parts and 2000 for labor. BEWARE. Only the new Prius' are reliable considering this is the earliest of models.
Excellent car and minimal repair costs
Jacob,04/27/2017
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I have owned Prii all my life and have learned to work on them myself. The cars are immaculate in terms of just about everything. But do remember- this is a car from 2002 and will have different interior and what not from cars today. The first generation Prii are just about as good as you can get. Over the 2 I have had, I constantly average about 48 MPG. 44 @ 70+, 55 @ 55+, 55 @ 30-55 MPH. The headlights do SUCK on these! But that is nothing that cannot be fixed with about $30, Amazon, and something called XENON headlights that will light up the road. Costs $30 and takes about 20 minutes to set up. I want to make something clear to those who say the repair costs are tremendous: you are wrong! If the main hybrid battery were to fail, the cost is NOT $2000+. I repair 2000-2009 Prius hybrid batteries as a side job all the time. I personally buy working used batteries with less than 120k miles on the for between $200 and $500 and it takes less than an HOUR to replace yourself or if you find a shop, or if you chose to have someone replace it, then expect around $300 to install. On average I charge $700 to replace the hybrid battery completely- that's the cost of EVERYTHING. If you want a new battery and want Toyota to install it personally, then of course expect a couple thousand- what did you expect for a car that was $20,000 when it first came out? That's like buying a brand new engine from GMC when your head gasket goes out. I mean seriously? Use your brain! Not only this, but the hybrid battery almost never fails entirely- it is usually a couple of cells which cost less than $40 and I charge less than $70 each to replace. Shop around at your local shop, replacing the battery is actually simple. For those of you who are willing to learn, look a video on youtube of how to change a prius hybrid battery. My first time took me 50 minutes. Takes about a full hour after you put extra features that will protect the newly installed battery. Not only this, but you can RECYCLE the bad battery for about $150 and that's the price I buy the bad batteries at(which can be repaired by simply replacing cells). I also drive this car on average around 40,000 miles a year because I travel so often. This is a review from someone who not only has 3 total cars that are 1st-3rd generation Prii and not a single other type of car and who works on them and learned by himself. For those who do not know, 1st generation= 1997-2003(1997-1999 Japan only), 2nd generation= 2004-200, 3rd generation= 2010-2015 :). And an extra note- I buy my Prii on Craigslist and generally get them with less than 140k miles for under $1,900.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2002 Toyota Prius

Used 2002 Toyota Prius Overview

The Used 2002 Toyota Prius is offered in the following submodels: Prius Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT). The Used 2002 Toyota Prius comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: continuously variable-speed automatic. The Used 2002 Toyota Prius comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Toyota Prius?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2002 Toyota Priuses are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2002 Toyota Prius for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Toyota Prius.

Can't find a used 2002 Toyota Priuss you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota Prius for sale - 6 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $23,768.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 3 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $25,651.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota Prius for sale - 9 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $11,649.

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Should I lease or buy a 2002 Toyota Prius?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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