2012 Toyota Prius Consumer Review: Be sure this is what you want

2012 Toyota Prius Hatchback - Consumer Review

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Be sure this is what you want
By demetrios999 on


2012 Toyota Prius Two 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)


Run the numbers before making your decision.
50 mpg is impressive, but the Prius costs several thousand dollars more than a comparably equipped gas-only vehicle
(think Corolla).
If you drive 15,000 miles per year, the difference in annual fuel costs between a car that gets 30mpg and a car that gets 50mpg is only $600/year @ $3/gallon, or $800/year at $4/gallon.
You may never make up the cost difference.

Power is acceptable (not great) when you punch "Power Mode", otherwise it is a road hazard.
I always punch that button when driving from a stoplight or getting on the highway, and turn it off when I am up to speed.

Best Features

50 mpg. This is not a small car. It reminds me of a Dodge Caliber. Lots of room for cargo/luggage, with "straight-in" access at the back. Rear seats comfortably seat adults. The 3rd generation Prius is much more attractive than prior generations. Bluetooth works well.

Worst Features

The Prius drives like a barge and wallows in turns. Being a hybrid is no excuse for numb, vague steering, particularly given that it is controlled by electronics. Better stereo speakers in the base model. Base model seats need improvement - my back hurts after an hour in the saddle. The Prius needs to be fun to drive, and it could be, but it just isn't. It gets you from Point A to Point B @ 50 mpg. For a car that costs $20,000-$25,000, a little fun is not too much to ask for.
Recommend (9) (17)

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Comments (4) Post a Comment
By demetrios999
on 07/31/12 10:02 AM (PDT)

Obviously, fuel economy should have been five stars, not two stars. The others I stand by. I don't see any way to edit a review.

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By chumsae
on 08/18/12 19:43 PM (PDT)

I've only test driven a Prius for a few miles so am not as expert as an owner. I wanted to mention here that comparing a Prius to a Corolla for the purpose of calculating payback seems off the mark. Better to compare the cost of a Matrix. Even then the comparison lacks some fairness since the Prius is a superior car. That said, the payback is probably more like half as long as when compared to the more equal models. The half as long drops way down if gas goes up or if miles driven per period goes up. Of course, there are many more factors that feed the equation, many of which are dependent on outside factors such as fuel prices, depreciation, supply and demand, reliability, and others.

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By whcc90069
on 08/06/12 08:39 AM (PDT)

you're forgetting one thing..... the prius has always been about helping the environment and not saving money.

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By desertguy51
on 08/15/12 08:57 AM (PDT)

I appreciate a straightforward review and this seems to offer a lot of info. A major issue for me with a car is the structure and comfort of the seats. Most lower-mid Japanese cars have lousy seats for long drives, especially if you're a bigger driver. My Subaru kills my back for anything longer than an hour. I'd rented a Prius and had driven it for 60-90 minutes at a time, but I'm concerned about those 5-6 hour stretches. Also, thanks for mentioning the cost/savings w/regard to hybrid price vs. some other smaller cars. The environment is very important, but hybrids can't claim to be all that green because of the batteries used.

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