2013 Toyota Prius Review

Pros & Cons

  • Superior fuel economy
  • abundant backseat room
  • spacious cargo area
  • comfortable ride
  • available high-tech luxury goodies
  • strong safety scores.
  • Awkward driving position for some
  • disappointing interior materials
  • elevated amounts of road noise
  • slow acceleration
  • busy-looking gauge cluster.
List Price Range
$8,000 - $16,491

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2013 Toyota Prius continues to be the quintessential hybrid, though other newer hybrids are more desirable to drive.

Vehicle overview

If we played a little word association with the general public, we're pretty certain it would go something like this: Copier: "Xerox"; Tissues: "Kleenex"; Hybrid: "Prius." These are all brands that have dominated their respective markets so greatly that their names have become the de facto way of referring to the product itself. The 2013 Toyota Prius continues that trend, though we would say hybrid shoppers enjoy a wider range of appealing choices than ever before.

Certainly, there are many reasons behind this Toyota's popularity. First and foremost is its incredible fuel efficiency -- the Prius' EPA combined rating of 50 mpg is topped only by the smaller Prius C and much more expensive plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt. Yet it's also a pretty nice car to drive. The Prius' hatchback body style provides generous passenger and cargo space, and if luxury is your thing, Toyota's got you covered with a plethora of high-end options. Given all that plus its strong reliability record, it's no wonder that the Prius is used as a taxi in many cities.

But it's not all green lights for this green car pioneer. The materials quality within that roomy cabin is mediocre in places, and the driving position can be awkward for many people. While the Prius still easily outclasses its chief rival, the Honda Insight, it's a harder sell against the new 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, which is nicer inside and more refined to drive. The latest hybrid midsize sedans, including the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid, are also impressively good.

And then there is the price of going hybrid to consider. Today's standard compact cars (either gasoline- or diesel-powered) get excellent fuel economy while costing much less, meaning the Prius might not produce the savings in fuel costs that you think it will. Still, the 2013 Toyota Prius continues to validate its position as the quintessential hybrid. Its blend of fuel efficiency, practicality and handy high-tech features make it an easy choice in its segment.

2013 Toyota Prius models

The 2013 Toyota Prius is a four-door hatchback available in five trim levels: Two, Three, Persona Series Special Edition, Four and Five. The "Five" is not to be confused with the Prius V, which is a larger wagon version of the Prius that's addressed in a separate review.

Standard equipment on the Prius Two includes 15-inch alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, a rear window wiper, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, an advanced trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a touchscreen electronics interface and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The Prius Three gains an enhanced keyless entry system, a rearview camera, a navigation system, voice controls, satellite radio, HD radio and Toyota's Entune system, which includes real-time information (traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports scores) and a suite of apps that connect the car to Internet sites like Pandora, iHeart Radio and Open Table through your smartphone.

The Prius Persona Special Edition is similar to the Three but includes 17-inch alloy wheels, charcoal/black "SofTex" (synthetic leather) upholstery with red stitching and dark chrome interior accents.

Stepping up to the Prius Four reverts back to 15-inch wheels but gets you automatic headlights, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, SofTex upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a JBL sound system with eight GreenEdge speakers. The Prius Five features 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps and LED headlamps with auto level control and washers.

An optional Solar Roof package for the Prius Three adds a sunroof and a solar-powered ventilation system that keeps the car cool to limit the burden on the air-conditioning system. It's also offered for the Four, and then includes a head-up display, Safety Connect emergency communications and an upgraded navigation system with a high-definition display and split-screen capability.

The Five's Advanced Technology package adds adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision alert system, a lane-departure warning system, Safety Connect, a head-up display and the higher-quality navigation display.

Available on all trims is the Plus Appearance package, which adds unique 17-inch alloy wheels and a seven-piece aerodynamic body kit. To this the Plus Performance package (availability depends on trim level) adds a sport-tuned suspension and unique badging.

2013 Highlights

Apart from the debut of a new trim level – the Persona Series Special Edition – the Toyota Prius stands pat for 2013.

Performance & mpg

The 2013 Toyota Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a pair of electric motor/generators. Together they send a total output of 134 horsepower through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT).

In track testing, we clocked the Prius from zero to 60 mph in 10.1 seconds; that's about the same as the Insight, but slower than the C-Max Hybrid and other hybrid midsize sedans. The EPA estimates the 2013 Prius will return a very impressive 51 mpg city/48 highway and 50 mpg combined. In real-world testing, we found these estimates to be reasonably accurate.

Safety

Every 2013 Toyota Prius comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. The Prius Four and Five can be equipped with Toyota's Safety Connect emergency communications system. The Prius Five includes a pre-collision warning system and a lane-departure warning system.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Prius came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet -- very good for a compact or midsize car.

In government crash tests, the Prius received a perfect five stars for overall protection, with four stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Prius the highest possible rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Driving

Acceleration in the 2013 Toyota Prius is far from sprightly, but it'll likely be adequate for most buyers. Four driving modes -- Normal, Eco, Power and EV -- allow the driver to choose 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 allows a maximum speed of 25 mph and requires at least a half-charged battery pack.

Around town, the Prius is an easy-to-drive runabout. The electric steering doesn't provide much feedback, but it's very light in parking lots and doesn't become overly boosted on the highway. The ride is comfortable, but nastier bumps can leave it a bit flummoxed. There is also an excessive amount of road noise that permeates the cabin regardless of speed, and the noises emitted by its smaller gasoline engine are hardly what we'd describe as sonorous.

Interior

The 2013 Toyota Prius features straightforward 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 standard touchscreen operates many of the Prius' high-tech features and is, for the most part, smartly designed. 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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2013 Toyota Prius.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Love my new Prius
pattiprius,10/03/2013
Four 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I owned a 2005 Prius for 8 years with no problems ever. It averaged 48-50 mpg most of those years. My new 2013 is a Prius 4 with more bells & whistles, which I thought would lower the mpg, but not so far. I averaged 53 mpg on my 1st tank! I don't care for the center console area, less storage area than earlier models. And they replaced the map size door pockets with cup/bottle size pockets. I almost went with the larger PriusV because of the cosole area. The solar air circulation seems to work pretty good, considering I am in FL! Anyway, it was a little higher priced, but if it works as well as my old one, it'll be worth it not to have any issues!
Another distinctive white Prius! Yay!
rcatley@charter.net,04/12/2016
Two 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
We bpught this car new. Excellent fuel mileage. The Prius rides and handles like any small firm suspension car, it is NOT a luxury cruiser or sports car. The Prius has a deceptively large interior with excellent cargo space. It does run with the pack on our busy interstates. Slightly noisier than one would expect. There is a learning curve in adapting your driving habits to a Hybrid. Zero mechanical problems or malfunctions so far, (at least prior to the current accident). Interior materials are inferior but tough,could be much better. We have not been able to duplicate the advertised 51 Mpg (average), but it is only a minor disappointment as I find 48.7 for all my local, city, and Interstate driving quite acceptable. We get occasional trip averages of over 60 mpg (My Ford pickup gets 14mpg at best). Trips of over a thousand miles were comfortable enough, and I am 6'2" tall. The Prius does what it is designed to do, which is to cleanly use the minimum of fuel while getting you safely to your destination. Safety, unfortunately, I can attest to the excellent safety of the Prius in an accident situation, after being rear ended by a speeding Nissan pickup truck in a multi - vehicle accident. *** $8500.00 + damage to the rear and front. All sheet metal, no major systems involved. ruined the hatch.NO encroachment to the actual interior! Destroyed the front of the Nissan pickup truck back to the engine block. From my experience the Prius is one tough little car! Would I buy another Prius? Absolutely, positively yes! **** New: Mileage now at 35000 . We just completed 2000 + mile round trip emergency evacuation from hurricane Florence. No incidents or problems with the Prius, just drastically overloaded and cramped. 'Cause we had two adults, 3 medium large dogs, 5 kitty cats, and everything it was possible to cram into the car, we took everything that we could not replace. We ran the car continuously for 22 hrs, only shutting it down for refueling, and to ck oil,water and tire pressures . After completion of the return trip our mileage for the trip was down to 43 mpg, which was ok for 1700+ miles of 70 plus mph Interstate, and 300+ miles of poor secondary roads, in this totally overloaded vehicle. I would not advocate or recommend abusing your Prius in this way. I would not normally do it, but at the time we were given a Mandatory Evacuation and Florence was a cat4 Hurricane. In conclusion the Prius performed admirably in every way. P.S. I am always very careful to avoid standing water in the Prius under any circumstance. Our mileage is now returning to normal parameters now that we are home. April 2021. Replaced the factory Yokohama tires with Kumhos. at 40,000 miles. Car is quieter with less road noise,ride is slightly improved. Mileage still ranges from a low of 40 mpg, but usually jn the 48 to 60 mpg area, absolute best was 70 mpg. At 8 years old we have only replaced the car battery,tires, and windshield wipers.Toyota has dealt with everything else including oil changes,and two software recalls So far this has been the most efficient and reliable car we have ever owned. It even surpasses our '93 Previa in reliability.
excellent vehicle for my purpose
radar17,03/12/2015
Two 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I bought a 2013 Prius new, largely to drive on country roads with an annual cross-country trip. Vehicle currently has 40,000+ miles on it with zero problems. On the cross county trips I stick to the freeways and it stays above 70 all day long and fully loaded with luggage, average about 48mpg (unless big head wind) as measured by fuel used. Around home I consistently average above 50mpg. Impressive amount of interior space for size of vehicle. Before buying I checked with several taxi drivers who told me they often see Prius cabs with over 300,000 miles on them with no major problems. I'm 6'2" @ 210. Plenty of leg room. Very happy with car and would buy again. UPDATE 9/13/17... now have 84,000 miles on vehicle. Performance, etc. continues as in original review.... very satisfied. Only expenses so far are new tires at 60k, 12 volt battery at 80,000 miles and oil and filter changes at 10k intervals as per maintenance guide. Brake pads still in good shape.. Great car.
spacious, stylish, superb mpg's
ga2,08/02/2015
Two 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Hybrid battery replaced once under warranty. We love this car. Now at 165000 miles.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover12.1%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2013 Toyota Prius

Used 2013 Toyota Prius Overview

The Used 2013 Toyota Prius is offered in the following submodels: Prius Hatchback. Available styles include Two 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), Three 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), Four 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), Five 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), Persona Series Special Edition 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and One Fleet 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT). Pre-owned Toyota Prius models are available with a 1.8 L-liter hybrid engine, with output up to 134 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2013 Toyota Prius comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: continuously variable-speed automatic. The Used 2013 Toyota Prius comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 2 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2013 Toyota Prius?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 Toyota Prius trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 Toyota Prius Three is priced between $9,500 and$13,200 with odometer readings between 86666 and129585 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Toyota Prius Four is priced between $11,971 and$16,491 with odometer readings between 44959 and91065 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Toyota Prius Two is priced between $8,000 and$11,995 with odometer readings between 84409 and161379 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Toyota Prius Persona Series Special Edition is priced between $13,804 and$13,804 with odometer readings between 77225 and77225 miles.

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Which used 2013 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) 2013 Toyota Prius for sale near. There are currently 10 used and CPO 2013 Priuses listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,000 and mileage as low as 44959 miles. 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 2013 Toyota Prius.

Can't find a used 2013 Toyota Priuss you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota Prius for sale - 9 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $16,827.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 5 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $16,444.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota Prius for sale - 7 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $21,883.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota for sale - 7 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $19,491.

Should I lease or buy a 2013 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.

Check out Toyota lease specials
Check out Toyota Prius lease specials