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MSRP: $23,770 - 32,200

2019 Toyota Prius Review

It may not offer a lot of driving excitement, but the 2019 Toyota Prius is a well-rounded hybrid car that’s now available with all-wheel drive. The Prius earns a respectable place in the middle of our compact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Plenty of cargo space for the class
  • Lots of standard features
  • Available all-wheel drive
  • Sluggish acceleration
  • Numb steering

Is the Toyota Prius a Good Car?

The Prius is a very good hybrid car, but it finishes in the middle of the compact car class. That's mostly because the Prius lacks the power that many other small cars deliver. What it lacks in energy, however, it makes up for in fuel efficiency. Beyond just saving you money at the gas pump, this Toyota hybrid is a smooth car to drive, with composed handling and seamless transitions between its gas engine and electric motor. The Prius comes with lots of standard safety features, adult-friendly cabin space, and more cargo space than most cars its size offer.

Should I Buy the Toyota Prius?

As the original mass market hybrid in the U.S., the Prius is still one of the best. Nevertheless, there are some appealing alternatives worth consideration. If you're looking for a green car that's brisk and lively, take a spin in an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. The Hyundai Ioniq also offers sprightly performance, and is available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric vehicle.

When it comes to hybrid vehicles, Toyota provides a broad selection beyond the Prius. The subcompact Prius c is a smaller, less-expensive hatchback with a roomy back seat. The Prius Prime Plug-in Hybrid can drive up to 25 miles on all-electric power, and it has an available tax credit of about $4,500. Though Toyota doesn't build a hybrid version of its C-HR, it does offer the RAV4 Hybrid and the Highlander Hybrid

Compare the Prius, Bolt, and Ioniq »

Should I Buy a New or Used Toyota Prius?

For 2019, the Prius gains optional all-wheel drive. Other updates include a light styling refresh and new trim names. Shoppers that don't need all-wheel drive or aren't interested in the design changes may want to shop for a used model. You’ll probably save money, and you can get a used Prius that's almost indistinguishable from a new one.

Toyota launched the current generation of the Prius for 2016. We recommend shopping for a Prius from 2017 and later, since these come with a comprehensive set of standard safety features. To make cross-shopping used and new models easier, we list the new trim names with the previous trims in our Which Toyota Prius Model Is Right for Me? section below.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2016 Prius, 2017 Prius, and 2018 Prius reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Prius »

We Did the Research for You: 31 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the Toyota Prius in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with 31 professional Toyota Prius reviews.

This 2019 Toyota Prius review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which runs from 2016 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Toyota Prius Cost?

Retail prices for the 2019 Prius start at just under $24,000. That’s more than you’ll pay for the base models of most non-hybrid compact cars, but it’s about average for a compact hybrid car. For more information on vehicle pricing and features, see our Which Toyota Prius Model Is Right for Me? section below.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota Prius Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Toyota Prius or Honda Insight?

The Honda Insight is a new addition to the hybrid segment. Its styling more closely resembles a traditional sedan than the love-it-or-hate-it design of the Prius. Beyond the body type differences, these are otherwise similar, with nearly identical base prices, annual fuel costs, and standard safety features. However, the Insight has less cargo space than the Prius.

Which Is Better: Toyota Prius or Hyundai Ioniq?

Both the Hyundai Ioniq and Toyota Prius are superb eco-friendly cars, and you can’t go wrong with either one. In addition to its hybrid powertrain, the Ioniq is available as a plug-in hybrid and all-electric car. Safety-minded shoppers should pick the Prius, as it comes standard with far more active-safety features than the Ioniq. The Ioniq is a better pick for drivers who find the Prius' performance too dull.

Compare the Prius, Ioniq, and Insight »

Prius Interior

How Many People Does the Prius Seat?

The Prius is a four-door hatchback with room for five people. It doesn’t have the cushiest seats or the roomiest cabin in the class, but they are still comfortable enough. There is enough rear-seat space inside for full-sized adults, even behind a six-foot tall driver. Cloth upholstery is standard, and synthetic leather upholstery and heated front seats are available.

Prius and Car Seats

The Prius has two sets of lower anchors and three tether anchors. The system earned a Good+ rating for LATCH ease of use from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is a high designation few vehicles earn. All of its LATCH anchors are easy to locate and use.

Prius Interior Quality

One of the most appreciated changes for the 2019 Prius is the elimination of the stark white trim, which was frequently described as a porcelainlike white. In its place is a sleek piano black trim that isn't as polarizing. Overall, the cabin of the Prius is well constructed.

Prius Cargo Space

The Prius has an impressive amount of cargo space for a compact car. Most front-wheel drive trims have 27.4 cubic feet behind the seats. Cargo space shrinks slightly to 24.6 cubic feet in all-wheel-drive models. With the standard 60/40 split folding rear seat, you can expand this space even more.

Prius Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Entune infotainment system in the Prius comes nicely equipped with a touch-screen display, advanced voice recognition, and three USB ports. The menus are reasonably easy to navigate once you are familiar with the system, and the graphics are crisp. Unlike most cars, which center the driver's display over the steering wheel, Toyota places this screen above the infotainment display. This can take some getting used to.

Appealing upgrades include an 11.6-inch touch screen, wireless charging for enabled smartphones, and a 10-speaker JBL audio system. Though many new Toyotas now have Apple CarPlay, this is not yet available in the Prius.

Read more about interior »

Prius Performance

Prius Engine: Smooth, Not Swift

The Prius isn't especially quick from a dead stop, but unless you are pretending to be Mario Andretti, this shouldn't bother you. With its 121-horsepower hybrid powertrain, the Prius takes a little longer to get up to speed compared to the typical small car. Once you've merged onto the highway, the Prius feels peppy enough to easily keep up with traffic. Every trim comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

Front wheel-drive models feature a lithium-ion battery and get better fuel economy. Priuses with all-wheel drive have a nickel-metal hydride battery, which is generally better for colder climates than lithium-ion.

Prius Gas Mileage: Superb

The most fuel-efficient trim in the Prius lineup is the base L Eco. It earns an EPA-estimated 58 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway, which is outstanding for a compact car. Uplevel trims deliver an EPA-rated 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway, and models with all-wheel drive get 52 mpg city/48 mpg highway.

Prius Ride and Handling: Composed and Relatively Comfortable

The Toyota Prius delivers a comfortable ride, and it handles corners with confidence. Unlike several other compact cars, the steering in the Prius provides almost no feedback from the road.

The 2019 Prius is one of the few compact cars that's available with all-wheel drive. Models equipped with the optional AWD-e system drive much like a front-wheel-drive Prius: smooth, stable, and uneventful. The all-wheel-drive system engages unobtrusively to curtail sliding on snow and other slippery surfaces.

Read more about performance »

Prius Reliability

Is the Toyota Prius Reliable?

The 2019 Prius does not yet have a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power.

Toyota Prius Warranty

Coverage for the Prius includes a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for hybrid components.

Read more about reliability »

Prius Safety

Prius Crash Test Results

The 2019 Prius received an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It earned five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in both the frontal crash and rollover tests.

Prius Safety Features

In addition to a rearview camera, every Prius comes with Toyota Safety Sense. This suite of advanced safety features contains a pre-collision system that combines forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. It also includes full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams.

Available safety features include active park assist, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive headlights, and a head-up display.

Read more about safety »

Which Toyota Prius Model Is Right for Me?

The Prius lineup looks a little different for 2019. The previous naming system assigned a number to each trim, such as the Toyota Prius Three. Now the Prius trim levels mirror other vehicles from Toyota, and include the L Eco, LE, XLE, and Limited.

In addition to the new names, the other notable addition for 2019 is the availability of all-wheel drive. The Prius LE is the lowest trim with this option. Most shoppers will want to start with this trim anyway, as it comes with some appealing safety features, such as a rear window wiper and an active driving assistant that helps steer the car into a parking space.

Toyota Prius L Eco

The base Prius L Eco ($23,770) comes with cloth upholstery, an infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, air conditioning, automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, and 15-inch alloy wheels. Standard safety features include a pre-collision system to warn of possible frontal collisions and provide emergency braking if needed. Automatic high beams and full-speed adaptive cruise control are also standard in every new Prius. The L Eco replaces the Prius One.

Toyota Prius LE

Previously known as the Toyota Prius Two, the LE comes with active park assist, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a rear window wiper. Pricing starts at $24,980 for a front-wheel-drive Prius LE and $26,380 for an all-wheel-drive LE.

Toyota Prius XLE

The Prius XLE is the only other trim that is available with all-wheel drive. Retail prices start at $27,820 with front-wheel drive, and $28,820 with all-wheel drive. The XLE replaces the Toyota Prius Three. It comes with swanky upgrades such as synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated synthetic leather-trimmed steering wheel, and wireless charging for enabled smartphones. Rain-sensing windshield wipers and 17-inch alloy wheels are also standard.

Toyota Prius Limited

The Prius Limited ($32,200) replaces the Prius Four as the lineup's new high-end trim. Notable upgrades include a 10-speaker JBL audio system, an 11.6-inch touch screen, navigation, smartphone integration via the Entune app suite, satellite radio, HD Radio, adaptive headlights, and a head-up display.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2019 Toyota Prius specs and trims »

The Final Call

For years, the Toyota Prius has been a smart choice for hybrid car shoppers. This is partly because it has a smooth hybrid powertrain, earns exceptional fuel economy ratings, and comes with a generous number of standard features. For 2019, Toyota makes all-wheel drive available in the Prius, in an attempt to entice more shoppers in snowy climates. This option gives the Prius great traction on slippery roads, yet it hardly affects gas mileage. Though it has a few drawbacks, including its less-than-heart-pumping driving dynamics, the Prius has no major marks against it. 

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • … a day of driving refocused our lens and allowed us to appreciate the liftback for what it is: a nicely engineered and well-packaged – and, yeah, not particularly exciting to drive – solution to tackling winter weather without splurging at the pump." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "As an addition to the Prius lineup the AWD-e certainly ticks another box. Its improvement in winter capability should be well received in the Snow Belt, even if this new Prius won't convince anyone to give up their Subaru. More important, the refreshed styling means anyone looking at a Prius will no longer have to shield their eyes." -- Car and Driver
  • "Considering the 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e's advantage on snow, its relatively low cost and its negligible effect on fuel economy and interior space, it fulfills all of the expectations we placed on it. Its closest competitors really aren't close at all since they're mostly made up of hybrid compact SUVs … [which are] sure to have equal or better abilities over challenging surfaces, but they can't come anywhere close to 50 mpg … You can rest assured that Prius AWD-e does indeed possess the benefits of traction and stability that all-wheel drive promises." -- Edmunds

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: March 28, 2019

Falling Sales: Prius sales fell 19.4 percent in 2018 compared to in 2017. Sales have continued to fall in 2019, as dealerships have sold 52 percent fewer Prius models compared to the same period last year. It’s being outsold by the compact car sales leader, the Honda Civic, by a ratio of almost 4 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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