2018 Toyota Prius

2018 Toyota Prius Review

Fuel economy, practicality and comfort continue to make the Prius a standout compact hybrid.
4 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Will Kaufman
Edmunds Editor

If you want pure efficiency and eco-friendly driving without the hassle of plugging in your car, the 2018 Toyota Prius remains at the top of the heap. Pretty much nothing short of a plug-in hybrid will return better real-world results.

We've had a 2016 Prius in our long-term test car fleet, and after more than a year we averaged about 50 mpg, even with thousands of miles spent in brutal Los Angeles traffic. We also appreciate the Prius' practicality and comfort, with its generous cargo area and smooth ride quality. Of course, the Prius compromises on acceleration and handling, proving less rewarding to drive than many traditionally powered vehicles. There's also the question of Toyota's infotainment system, which lacks some functionality, and the car's questionable styling.

If you're shopping for a hybrid, know that there's more competition than ever. The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid actually claims slightly higher EPA-rated fuel economy than the Prius and offers a longer warranty. It certainly has a more functional interior with better technology, too. However, the Ioniq is even less satisfying to drive than the Prius, and it's a less comfortable place to spend time. There's also the Kia Niro hybrid, which has the look of an SUV, and a slew of midsize hybrid sedans to consider.

Still, there's a reason the Prius remains the king of the hybrid cars. If you put a premium on efficiency and value, you won't be disappointed by the Prius.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Toyota Prius as one of Edmunds' Best Hybrid Cars for this year.



what's new

The Prius carries over into 2018 with no significant changes.

we recommend

Buyers looking to get the most bang for their buck should check out the Prius Two, which adds a rear windshield wiper and a few extra conveniences. Toyota is also including the Safety Plus package, with more active safety equipment such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, as a no-cost add-on.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Toyota Prius is a four-door hatchback that seats five passengers. It's available in seven trim levels: One, Two, Two Eco, Three, Three Touring, Four and Four Touring. The compact Prius C and plug-in Prius Prime are different models covered in separate reviews.

Power for all Prius trims comes from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors/generators. Their combined 121 horsepower is sent through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) to the front wheels.

The Prius One and Two are similarly equipped, with the One missing a few minor features, such as a rear window wiper. Otherwise, standard feature highlights for both include 15-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED running lights and taillights, heated mirrors, keyless entry (driver door only) and ignition, automatic climate control, dual 4.2-inch driver information screens, adaptive cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat.

Also standard is a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice recognition with Siri Eyes Free, and a six-speaker audio system with a USB port, an auxiliary audio jack and a CD player. Standard safety features include automatic high beams, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, and lane departure warning and intervention.

The Prius Two also currently comes with the Safety Plus package as a no-cost add-on, which includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors and automated parking assist.

The more efficient Prius Two Eco is equipped with ultra-low-rolling resistance tires, a lighter lithium-ion hybrid battery, an inflation kit instead of a spare tire, and illuminated keyless entry. The rear wiper that comes standard on the Two trims is not offered, nor is the Safety Plus package. It returns an impressive 56 mpg combined (58 city/53 highway).

Inside the Prius Three, you'll find simulated leather on the steering wheel and armrests, white interior accents, a wireless phone charging pad, and the Toyota Entune premium infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen, navigation, satellite radio, HD radio, and access to apps such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, OpenTable and Yelp when paired with a smartphone running the Entune app.

The Prius Four comes with automatic wipers, simulated leather upholstery with contrasting white stitching, heated front seats, a power driver seat with adjustable lumbar, seatback storage pockets and a rear cargo cover.

Standard equipment on the Three Touring or Four Touring includes everything from the corresponding Three or Four, plus 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, LED clearance lights, unique rear bumper styling, and imitation-leather upholstery with contrasting blue stitching.

Note that the aforementioned Safety Plus package is also a no-cost add-on for the Three and Four. The Prius Three and Four (but not the Touring versions) can also be upgraded with the Advanced Technology package, which consists of a sunroof and a head-up display. Finally, the Prius Four and Four Touring can be equipped with the Premium Convenience package, which includes a 10-speaker JBL audio system, a self-parking system and Safety Connect emergency services. The Safety Connect system that can be added to Prius Four and Four Touring is subscription-based (with a one-year free trial) and includes automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator, and one-touch access to roadside and emergency assistance.



trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Toyota Prius Three Hatchback (1.8L inline-4 hybrid | CVT automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Prius has received some revisions, including adjustments to trim-level features and expanded availability of active safety features. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Toyota Prius.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5.0

Driving

3.5 / 5.0

Acceleration2.5 / 5.0
Braking3.0 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling3.5 / 5.0
Drivability4.5 / 5.0

Comfort

4.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort5.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.0 / 5.0

Ease of use4.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out5.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.5 / 5.0
Visibility4.5 / 5.0
Quality4.5 / 5.0

Driving

edmunds rating
Fuel efficiency is the name of the game with the Prius, and the raw performance numbers reflect this. On its own, though, the Prius is a competent and efficient hatchback with solid handling and an easy-to-drive nature.

Acceleration

edmunds rating
Acceleration is adequate. A 9.8-second 0-60 mph time is near the bottom of the segment, though the Prius has enough zip off the line to feel lively around town.

Braking

edmunds rating
In our emergency braking test, the Prius posted average stopping performance. Except at crawling speeds, pedal feel is smooth and linear without any of the awkwardness indicative of many hybrid systems.

Steering

edmunds rating
The steering is direct, though it doesn't provide much feedback from the road. The system is well-weighted, and little effort is required to point the Prius in the intended direction without catching grooves or seams.

Handling

edmunds rating
The Prius feels responsive and reasonably agile on the street. Body roll is present and the tires fight for grip, but the car never feels unwieldy or dangerous. The Prius remains composed over midcorner bumps and dips.

Drivability

edmunds rating
The transition from EV to hybrid mode is unobtrusive, though the engine sounds harsh when firing up. Acceleration is smooth. The cruise control holds speed well going both up- and downhill.

Comfort

edmunds rating
The Prius is comfortable and quiet around town, especially in EV mode. The seats aren't class-leading, but they're comfortable and a step up from the previous model. It's only the buzzy engine that drags down the Prius' comfort level.

Seat comfort

edmunds rating
The seat offers a lot of vertical adjustment, but there's no lumbar adjustment. The seat cushion remains comfortable after long drives. The moderate side bolstering supports without squeezing.

Ride comfort

edmunds rating
The Prius is smooth and composed on the street. Rebound over bumps is minimal, and the car never feels too bouncy or too stiff. Broken or uneven pavement doesn't upset the car or translate into a harsh ride quality.

Noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Extremely quiet in EV mode, but the engine provides a noticeable hum, which is exacerbated when the transmission keeps the engine's rpm high. Wind noise is moderate and not overly booming.

Interior

edmunds rating
The interior of the Prius is, unsurprisingly, both practical and spacious. The cargo area is roomy, and the large windows allow in plenty of light. The center-mounted gauge cluster and shifter design are odd.

Ease of use

edmunds rating
The touchscreen is user-friendly and very responsive, but other functions are controlled by touch-capacitive icons and not real buttons. Most controls are simple and well-placed, but the odd shifter design and center-mounted gauges provide no tangible benefit.

Getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The Prius is quite easy to get in and out of. The doors open wide allowing easy access to the front. Rear-seat access is also good but is hampered slightly by the sloping roofline.

Roominess

edmunds rating
There's generous front head-, legroom and shoulder room. Rear seating is also very good.

Visibility

edmunds rating
Forward visibility is great, with large windows and a low dash providing a great view. Rear visibility is OK, but the split in the glass cuts through the sightline. Over-the-shoulder visibility is only slightly hindered by a sloping roof.

Quality

edmunds rating
The Prius feels solidly built, and overall it uses nice materials throughout the cabin. The very plasticky white trim on the center console of certain models will almost certainly prove polarizing for some buyers.

Utility

edmunds rating
The Prius provides a large cargo area (24.6 cubic feet), with folding rear seats for extra space. The cabin contains plenty of places to stash small items, and LATCH anchor access for the rear outboard seats is excellent.

Technology

edmunds rating
The touchscreen infotainment system is straightforward to use but lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Apps and other cellphone integration features require installing Toyota's Entune app, which is clunky and can prove frustrating. Some active safety features are standard.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.