Looking for a great hybrid that delivers some of the best mileage of any car on the road, along with the utility of a hatchback? The 2017 Toyota Prius might be a good match. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
TRAVIS LANGNESS: This is Travis Langness, Edmunds editor, with an Expert Rundown of the 2017 Toyota Prius. Well, it's a Prius. I mean, you kind of know what you're getting coming into it, 50 miles to the gallon or more, and that's combined fuel economy. For 2017, the Prius gets the formerly optional Safety Sense package. So it gets that as standard now. You get features like forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning. Great features on the standard option. If fuel economy is the priority, you know the Prius is the car to go with. It's capable of over 50 miles per gallon. We've tested that out with our own long-term Prius. It's still got a quiet cabin. And hatchback design makes for easy access to the cargo area. It's pretty utilitarian. Plus, there's plenty of room for adults in the cabin. If you're using it as a cab or an Uber car, there's a lot of space in the back. And it offers a complete package of high tech available safety equipment, so you can pretty much get as much safety tech as you want. Moving on to the inside, it's got good build quality. The infotainment interface, I'm not a huge fan of. It's difficult to use. Pretty much everything is operated by the touchscreen. And it's really not our favorite on the market. Also Toyota's Entune App software is a little bit hard to connect to, and it's the only way to get everything working on the touchscreen. Bottom line? It's a Prius. It's kind of a known quantity. It gets great fuel economy and everything else falls in line behind it. Some of the chief rivals are actually a little bit bigger, cars like the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Honda Accord Hybrid. Or even if you're going for a plug-in, we recommend the Chevy Volt. For more reviews of key competitors, go to YouTube and check out more of the Edmunds Expert Rundowns.
The 2017 Toyota Prius isn't much different from the 2016 edition. That's not surprising, since the 2016 Prius had been redesigned from the ground up ? and still managed to look like the previous Priuses. After all, the Prius is an icon. It's the gas-electric hybrid car to which all other hybrids must be compared. There is now a growing range of Prius vehicles, but this car is successor to the original.
First on the Prius' list of virtues is fuel economy. The basic Prius is rated by the EPA to sip fuel at the rate of 52 mpg combined (54 city/50 highway). The even stingier Eco model gets 56 mpg combined (58 city/53 highway.)
The 2017 Toyota Prius is also a practical car. This tadpole-shaped paragon of packaging efficiency has five doors (including the rear hatchback) for loading people and cargo and provides plenty of room once they're in. And since it often operates on its electric drive system, it's quiet, with muted road noise.
Toyota's Entune integrated communications and entertainment system can sometimes be inelegant and the smartphone app that goes with it frustrating, but overall the interface between Prius, personal technology and human being is something to which you can quickly acclimate.
The Prius drivetrain features a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 95-horsepower, and it's supplemented by a pair of electric motors housed within a continuously variable transmission driving the front wheels. The electricity comes from a regenerative braking system and the gasoline engine itself, and is stored in a lithium-ion battery pack. The end result is a modest peak of 121 hp, which means the Prius is not particularly swift.
There are three Prius models: Two, Three and Four, with each representing a bit more lavish equipment and a bit higher price. Beyond that there are the Two Eco, Three Touring and Four Touring sub-models. There's no way to make a Prius sporty, but the Touring models are nearly luxurious.
There's something pure about the Prius. It wasn't the first purpose-built hybrid, but it was the first to earn significant sales and it's the one that people see when they think ?hybrid.? It's one idea pursued relentlessly since the Prius hit the market in 1997.
There's something pure about the Prius. It wasn't the first purpose-built hybrid, but it was the first to earn significant sales and it's the one that people see when they think "hybrid." It's one idea pursued relentlessly since the Prius hit the market in 1997.
Today's car market is filled with hybrids featuring a dizzying variety of technologies. Edmunds can help you decide if the 2017 Toyota Prius is the one that's your perfect fit.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.