Toyota Prius Review & Features

Long Term Road Test

2016 Toyota Prius: Monthly Update for August 2017

Where Did We Drive It?
Are we running out of things to say about our long-term 2016 Toyota Prius? As the staff's resident Prius fanboi, I like to think that the car's quiet competence has simply left most of my colleagues speechless. We refueled the Prius twice during the month of August, and that's also how many comments were added to the logbook — two.

But those tanks of gas bought us many hundreds of pleasant commuting miles to and from our Santa Monica headquarters. You just hop into this car and go, as if you're driving a well-insulated golf cart. That simplicity makes it easy to take the Prius for granted. It's also why I gladly grab the key whenever it comes my way.

2016 Toyota Prius

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Our August adventures accounted for 577.1 miles, officially, during which the Prius consumed 12.3 gallons of 87 octane. That's good for a monthly average of 46.8 mpg, slightly below our overall average. It's notable that we're not particularly close to the EPA combined figure of 52 mpg, although 48.6 mpg ain't too shabby.

Average lifetime mpg: 48.6
EPA mpg rating: 52 combined (54 city/50 highway)
Best fill mpg: 57.2
Best range: 42.3 miles
Current odometer: 13,590 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

Logbook Highlights

Performance
"As with many hybrids and EVs, the Prius gives drivers the option to choose between aggressive regenerative braking and a more typical gradual slowdown when rolling off the throttle. Pull the transmission selector to the left and down to D for normal driving, or straight down to B for greater use of the battery-charging regen brakes (which facilitates so-called one-pedal driving).

"Notably, the Prius requires the user to select D before B can be selected. I found this out the hard way after backing out of my driveway and attempting to put it straight into B. It took a few seconds for me to realize that you can't go immediately into B. I appreciate the patience exhibited by the drivers who waited while this clueless driver figured out how to work his Prius after pulling out into the middle of the street.

"For the record, the Volt allows you to go right into regen brake driving. It's the L on its classic PRNDL shifter." — Cameron Rogers, Staff Writer

Interior and Cargo Space
"It's no secret around the office that I'm a big Prius fan. One reason is the just-right size of this car. It's like a compact-plus hatchback. Easy to park, feels nimble in traffic, but I'm 6-foot-1 and can easily sit behind the driver's seat when it's configured for my long legs. Can't say that about true compact hatches. Also, the trunk is big enough that my golf bag drops right in; no need to fold down a seatback. It's unfortunate that the versatility of the Prius gets lost in all the talk about its hybrid-ness." — Josh Sadlier

2016 Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius Review

As with many of Toyota's vehicles, the Prius (from the Latin "to go before") has become a standard-bearer in its segment. While many automakers' hybrid models are still in their nascent stages, Toyota's Prius is already well into its fourth generation. This four-door hatchback hybrid has become a hit with consumers because of its stellar fuel economy, spacious cabin, relatively uncompromised driving characteristics and reasonable price.

Due to its popularity and relatively long sales history, Toyota's original hybrid car is a strong candidate for a shopper interested in a used hybrid vehicle. Pleasingly, Toyota's solid reputation for reliability and durability is holding true for the Prius. However, potential buyers of a used Prius should take extra care during the research process. As the Toyota Prius is quite complex, future repairs and part replacements could be quite expensive.

Current Toyota Prius
There are six Prius trim levels: Two, Two Eco, Three, Three Touring, Four and Four Touring. Standard feature highlights for the Prius One and Two include 15-inch wheels, keyless ignition and entry, automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic LED headlights, a rearview camera, and a Bluetooth-compatible touchscreen stereo. Standard safety features include forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, lane departure warning and intervention, and automatic high beams. The Prius Two Eco adds low rolling resistance tires and a lighter battery and eliminates the spare tire (replaced with an inflation kit) and rear wiper.

The Prius Three builds on the Two with an upgraded stereo with navigation, satellite radio and the Toyota Entune app suite, as well as a wireless charging pad and upgraded interior trim. The Prius Four adds blind-spot monitoring, automatic wipers, imitation leather upholstery with contrasting white stitching, heated front seats, power adjustment for the driver seat, and a rear cargo cover. Both the Three and Four are available in Touring versions, which add 17-inch wheels, foglights, a unique rear bumper and imitation leather with blue stitching.

The Toyota Prius' hybrid powertrain consists of a 1.8-liter gasoline engine that's used in conjunction with two electric motors and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Total system power is 121 horsepower; fuel economy rates an impressive 52 mpg combined, while the Two Eco is rated for a remarkable 56 mpg.

Under full acceleration, both gasoline and electric power sources work together to provide maximum propulsion. In stop-and-go traffic, the Prius usually runs on battery power alone, which maximizes fuel economy. Under deceleration, the electric motors switch to generator mode, recharging the car's batteries. As expected, performance is far from exciting, but adequate for passing and merging onto highways. The Prius' space-efficient hatchback body provides a roomy backseat and cargo area, making it a plausible replacement for a family sedan or compact SUV. Interior fittings and materials on the current Prius are of high quality, a sharp contrast from the third-generation vehicle.

Used Toyota Prius Models
The current Prius represents the fourth-generation model, which made its debut for 2016. This latest Prius' styling is controversial, but improvements to cargo space, cabin ambiance, refinement and fuel economy made it a very appealing hybrid.

Prior to this was the third-generation Toyota Prius offered from 2010 through 2015. Its general shape remained largely unchanged compared to the previous generation, though the sheet metal took on a more sculpted character. The interior received a more radical overhaul, with a more conventional center control stack and the hybrid system display relocated high on the dash. It was also a bit more comfortable for taller drivers, thanks to a height-adjustable seat and a telescoping steering wheel. Unfortunately, the interior materials were rather low rent.

The 2010-'15 Prius' hybrid powertrain produced 134 hp, and fuel economy rated an impressive 50 mpg combined. There were four Prius trim levels: Two, Three, Four and Five. Changes throughout the model run were minor; pre-2012 models lack a few features offered on later versions, such as power front seats and the Entune smartphone integration system, and a rearview camera was added to the standard equipment list in 2015. Overall, this Prius stood out for its high fuel economy, roomy rear seating and cargo area, and many available tech features. Downsides included slow acceleration, low-buck interior materials and elevated wind and road noise at highway speeds.

The second-generation Toyota Prius was produced for the 2004-'09 model years. It sat five people in a four-door hatchback body that provided extra versatility in terms of carrying items. This Prius' hybrid powertrain featured a smaller, 1.5-liter gasoline engine that produced 76 hp and 82 pound-feet of torque. With the electric motor spinning out power, peak net hp was 110.

Aside from its hybrid system upgrades, most buyers will find the interior to be the biggest area of difference between the second-generation model and the current Prius. The dashboard and controls were unconventional and futuristic, with stereo, climate, vehicle system and optional navigation controls residing in a touchscreen interface. There were steering wheel buttons for frequently used items, but ultimately, too much was put under the jurisdiction of the touchscreen (which could wash out in sunlight). The odd gear-selector action of today's Prius was carried over from this generation, but then it was mounted on the dash. Another important difference to note is the lack of a telescoping steering wheel and height adjustment, making for an even more awkward driving position for taller people.

During its successful tenure in Toyota's lineup, this second-generation Prius received minor changes. For 2006, a back-up camera, leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and an auxiliary audio jack were added to the options list. A Prius Touring model was added the following year with a slightly firmer "sport" suspension, different 16-inch alloy wheels, a larger rear lip spoiler and several optional items. Side and side curtain airbags also became standard across the board. A "standard" trim level, which lacks cruise control and heated mirrors but in exchange had a significantly lower base price, was added for 2008.

In reviews of the Toyota Prius, our editors have cited outstanding mileage, ultralow emissions, hatchback utility and a reasonable price as the car's greatest strengths. Downsides include soft handling characteristics at highway speeds and, compared to regular midsize sedans, unimpressive maximum acceleration. Most Prius owners say their cars typically achieve real-world mpg ratings in the mid-40s.

The original Prius debuted in the North American market for the 2001 model year. However, Toyota had been selling it in Japan since 1997. This model was the second hybrid vehicle available to U.S. consumers after the Honda Insight. In just about every aspect, the original Prius has been eclipsed by the second-generation car. The first-generation Toyota is slower, smaller and not as comfortable.

Though less advanced than those in the newer generations, the older Prius' powertrain still paired a gasoline engine with an electric motor. Its 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine made 70 hp at 4,500 rpm and 82 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. The electric drive motor was worth another 44 peak hp.

Toyota Prius Cars for Sale

2017 Toyota Prius Four
NEW 2017 Toyota Prius Four
MSRP$32,892
Special Offer See special offer AutoNation Toyota Leesburg(5mi)(14)
Dealer Notes

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY PACKAGE,PREMIUM CONVENIENCE PACKAGE,Sun/Moonroof,Navigation System,PRIUS FOUR/FOUR TOURING SAFETY PLUS PACKAGE,ALL-WEATHER FLOOR LINER PACKAGE,REAR BUMPER APPLIQUE,50 STATE FEDERAL EMISSIONS,BLACK; SOFTEX SEAT TRIM,MAGNETIC GRAY METALLIC,PRIUS FOUR PACKAGE,PRIUS FOUR/FOUR TOURING SAFETY PLUS PACKAGE CREDIT

2017 Toyota Prius Four Touring
NEW 2017 Toyota Prius Four Touring
MSRP$34,959
Special Offer See special offer Koons Tysons Toyota(15mi)(1)
Dealer Notes

This vehicle won't be on the lot long! Both practical and stylish! All of the premium features expected of a Toyota are offered, including: a blind spot monitoring system, heated seats, and much more. Smooth gearshifts are achieved thanks to the 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine, and for added security, dynamic Stability Control supplements the drivetrain. Our sales reps are extremely helpful knowledgeable. We'd be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Stop in and take a test drive!

2017 Toyota Prius Four
NEW 2017 Toyota Prius Four
MSRP$32,902
Special Offer See special offer Fitzgerald Toyota Gaithersburg(17mi)(12)
2017 Toyota Prius Four
NEW 2017 Toyota Prius Four
MSRP$32,980
Special Offer See special offer Miller Toyota(18mi)(75)
2017 Toyota Prius Four Touring
NEW 2017 Toyota Prius Four Touring
MSRP$32,422
Special Offer See special offer Jim Coleman Toyota(18mi)(33)
Dealer Notes

$3,148 off MSRP! Factory MSRP: $32,422 Awards: * 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ 1.8L 4-Cylinder DOHC 16V VVT-i. Reviews: * Capable of 50-plus miles per gallon; cabin remains quiet even when the gasoline engine is engaged; easy to see out of and maneuver around town; offers a complete package of high-tech active safety equipment. Source: Edmunds * Capable of 50-plus miles per gallon; cabin remains quiet even when the gasoline engine is engaged; liftback design makes for easy access to the cargo area; plenty of room for four adults in the spacious cabin; offers a complete package of high-tech active safety equipment. Source: Edmunds 2017 Toyota Prius Four Touring 50/54 Highway/City MPG At Jim Coleman Toyota, we offer new Toyota cars in Bethesda, along with used cars, trucks and SUVs by top manufacturers. Our sales staff will help you find that new or used car you have been searching for. For years, our financial staff at Jim Coleman Toyota has offered expert advice for those seeking a great Toyota car loan or lease. Our service doesn't stop there. Bethesda customers can come in and take advantage of our knowledgeable Toyota car repair technicians and a fully-stocked inventory of Toyota car parts. You can reach Jim Coleman Toyota any time by filling out our contact form, by calling us or simply visiting our Bethesda Toyota dealership. Price includes: $1,750 - TMS Customer Cash - CAT. Exp. 10/02/2017

2017 Toyota Prius Four
NEW 2017 Toyota Prius Four
MSRP$32,207
Special Offer See special offer Bill Page Toyota(20mi)(16)
2017 Toyota Prius Four
NEW 2017 Toyota Prius Four
MSRP$33,254
Special Offer See special offer Koons Arlington Toyota(22mi)(1)
Dealer Notes

Check out this 2017! Providing great efficiency and utility! All of the premium features expected of a Toyota are offered, including: a blind spot monitoring system, lane departure warning, and more. Smooth gearshifts are achieved thanks to the 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine, and for added security, dynamic Stability Control supplements the drivetrain. We have the vehicle you've been searching for at a price you can afford. Stop by our dealership or give us a call for more information.

2017 Toyota Prius Four
NEW 2017 Toyota Prius Four
MSRP$32,823
Special Offer See special offer DARCARS Toyota of Frederick(24mi)(5)
Dealer Notes

You may qualify for other college graduate or military rebates. Prices exclude tax, tags, and $200 processing charge. We try to confirm the accuracy of each listing. However, please call to confirm vehicle availability, equipment and price. *DARCARS is not responsible for errors in listings.

2017 Toyota Prius Four
NEW 2017 Toyota Prius Four
MSRP$33,695
Special Offer See special offer Priority Toyota(25mi)(8)
Dealer Notes

Price includes: $1,750 - TMS Customer Cash - CAT. Exp. 10/02/2017

2017 Toyota Prius Four
NEW 2017 Toyota Prius Four
MSRP$33,513
Special Offer See special offer Warrenton Toyota(26mi)(34)