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    2018 Toyota Prius

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2018 Toyota Prius Review

The well-rounded, fuel-efficient 2018 Toyota Prius earns a spot in the top third of our compact car rankings. It has a large cargo hold and a long features list, but tight rear seats and sluggish highway passing power keep it from ranking higher.

Pros & Cons

  • Stellar fuel economy
  • Wealth of standard features
  • Large cargo bay
  • Fussy Entune app, no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
  • Rivals offer more rear-seat space

Is the Toyota Prius a Good Car?

Yes, the Toyota Prius is a very good compact car. The Prius mixes fantastic fuel economy with above-average cargo space and an upscale cabin. You'll find several advanced safety features in the Prius that some classmates don't even offer as options. Standard features include a rearview camera, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. The Prius also delivers a compliant ride, controlled handling, and great maneuverability.

Should I Buy the Toyota Prius?

The Toyota Prius is a great value, but it isn’t everyone's cup of tea. Its highway acceleration isn't the greatest, and some rivals offer additional rear-seat space. Therefore, if you're looking to carry tall passengers often or you want spirited performance, you should probably bypass the Prius. That said, the Prius’ strengths overshadow its weaknesses, which is why it's a sensible choice within the compact car class.

Should I Buy a New or Used Toyota Prius?

The Toyota Prius was last redesigned for the 2016 model year, and there have been only a few notable changes since. For 2017, a slew of driver assistance features became standard. An 11.6-inch touch screen became available for 2018. If you can do without the minor changes to the 2017 and 2018 models, you may want to consider a 2016 Prius to save some money. You'll still get a very similar car to the new model. Visit our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Toyota Prius »
We Did the Research for You: 31 Pieces of Data Analyzed

We researched 31 Toyota Prius reviews and included information on price, fuel economy, and more to give you a complete overview of the 2018 Prius. This 2018 Toyota Prius overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2016 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To keep our reviews unbiased, we refuse pricey gifts and trips from automakers, and a third party handles the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Toyota Prius Cost?

Manufacturer suggested retail prices for a new Toyota Prius start at $23,475. That’s several thousand more than the starting prices of fuel-efficient, gas-powered rivals like the Honda Civic ($18,840) and Chevy Cruze ($16,975). However, a loaded Prius Four Touring with every available package costs about $33,310, which is about the same as the starting price of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt ($33,220).

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 Ford C-Max Hybrid?

The Ford C-Max Hybrid has a few advantages over the Prius. It comes with sprightly acceleration, more rear-seat space, and additional available connectivity features. These include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, neither of which is available in the Prius. Still, the Prius is a superior choice. Not only is the Toyota's starting price roughly $650 cheaper, but its yearly fuel costs are lower as well. The Prius also offers many more standard safety features, some of which aren't even options in the C-Max. The Prius is a better value.

Which Is Better: Toyota Prius or Toyota Prius c?

The Toyota Prius c is a subcompact car that has a lot in common with the regular Prius. Both have sufficient passenger space and identical standard advanced safety technology. Both vehicles are perfect for city driving, but the Prius c is even more languid on the highway than the larger Prius. You'll have to spend about $2,800 more for the regular Prius, but with the Prius c's smaller cargo bay, feeble acceleration, and low-rent interior, the extra money is worth it.

Which Is Better: Toyota Prius or Toyota Prius Prime?

The Toyota Prius Prime is a uniquely designed plug-in hybrid variant of the regular Prius. This Toyota can deliver up to 25 miles of all-electric range at full charge. The Prius Prime will save you money at the pump, but it will cost about $3,500 more upfront. However, with an available $4,500 tax credit, it could end up costing you less than the regular Prius in the long run. Both Toyotas are great vehicles, so choosing between the two will come down to whether you prefer a plug-in hybrid or a regular hybrid.

Compare the Prius, C-Max Hybrid, and Prius c »

Prius Interior

How Many People Does the Prius Seat?

The Toyota Prius is a four-door hatchback that seats five. Cloth upholstery comes standard. Leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, and heated front seats are available. The Prius treats the driver and front-seat passenger to comfortable seating.

Rear-seat passengers above a certain height may feel cramped in the Prius’ back seats, which aren’t as roomy as those in most other compact cars. Still, most passengers – including adults of an average height – won’t have a problem getting comfortable. Check out the Honda Civic sedan, Nissan Sentra, and Ford C-Max Hybrid if you want more room in the back.

Prius and Car Seats

Although the Prius isn’t the best car for ferrying around tall rear-seat passengers, it’s an ideal choice for parents of young children. The Prius has a full set of LATCH child-seat connectors in both outboard rear seats and an upper tether in the middle seat. All connectors are easy to locate and work with.

Prius Interior Quality

Toyota uses quality materials to construct the Prius’ cabin. Most surfaces are soft to the touch, and build quality is excellent. Although the interior design is a departure from the norm – with a centrally mounted hybrid system indicator and a futuristic overall appearance – it helps minimize driver distraction.

Prius Cargo Space

Behind its rear seats, the Prius has 24.6 cubic feet of space in all trims – except the Prius Two Eco, Four, and Four Touring trims, which have a 27.4-cubic-foot cargo hold. Both configurations feature more cargo space than every other compact car. The Kia Soul and Ford C-Max Hybrid come close, offering 24.2 and 24.5 cubic feet, respectively.

Prius Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Prius is a high-tech car with lots of standard gadgetry. Every model comes with automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry with push-button start, and one of three versions of Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. A 6.1-inch touch-screen display comes standard, and the Three and Three Touring trims have a 7-inch display. The Prius Four and Four Touring have a dazzling 11.6-inch screen that resembles what you’ll find in a Tesla

Each infotainment system has Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls and streaming audio, a USB port, and Siri Eyes Free. The optional systems come with navigation, satellite radio, HD Radio, and the Entune app suite. The app isn’t as easy to use as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which many automakers offer (Toyota excluded). Otherwise, the infotainment systems are user-friendly, responsive, and visually appealing. The Prius is also available with wireless device charging, a moonroof, and a 10-speaker JBL audio system.

Read more about interior »

Prius Performance

Prius Engine: A Champ Around Town, but Strained on the Highway

The 2018 Toyota Prius comes standard with a four-cylinder engine, which combines with two electric motors to make 121 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard. At low speeds, the Prius’ electric motors produce almost instant power off the line. As you merge onto the highway, you may notice the Prius strains at higher speeds. Passing other cars may require stomping the gas pedal.

Prius Gas Mileage: It’s the Fuel Economy They’re After

The ace up the Prius’ sleeve is, of course, its fuel economy. Its hybrid powertrain yields an EPA-estimated 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway. The Prius Two Eco weighs less, lifting its actual mileage to 58/53 mpg city/highway. Those are better fuel economy estimates than the Ford C-Max Hybrid and Chevy Malibu Hybrid, but the Toyota Camry Hybrid gets similar mileage to the Prius.

Prius Ride and Handling: Competent Road Manners

As part of the fourth generation Prius, the 2018 model corners better than previous iterations, thanks to more responsive power steering. It’s not as sporty as the Ford Fusion Hybrid or Honda Civic, but the Prius does a good job controlling body lean when turning. Front-wheel drive comes standard.

Read more about performance »

Prius Reliability

Is the Toyota Prius Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Toyota Prius a three out of five rating for predicted reliability. That’s a typical score for the industry as a whole.

Toyota Prius Warranty

Toyota covers the Prius with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hybrid-related components have an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. Toyota’s hybrid component warranty is lengthy, but rivals like the Hyundai Ioniq offer longer basic and powertrain warranties.

Read more about reliability »

Prius Safety

Prius Crash Test Results

The 2018 Toyota Prius earns good safety ratings overall. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety names it a Top Safety Pick and gives it the highest rating of Good in all crash tests. The Prius earns a Superior score (the highest possible) for front crash prevention and an Acceptable score (the second highest) for its headlights. From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Prius receives five out of five stars overall. It earns five stars for the side crash test and four stars for the frontal crash and rollover tests.

Prius Safety Features

Along with basic safety feature like airbags, the Prius comes with numerous advanced driver assistance features. All Prius models feature a rearview camera and Toyota Safety Sense, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams. Many rivals offer those features, but not as standard. Optional safety equipment in the Prius includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, park assist, a head-up display, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. 

For more on these features, read Today's High-Tech Car Safety Features and What They Do.

Read more about safety »

Which Toyota Prius Model Is Right for Me?

The Prius comes in seven trims: One, Two, Two Eco, Three, Three Touring, Four, and Four Touring. All Prius models come with a four-cylinder engine, two electric motors, and a continuously variable automatic transmission.

For a blend of value, features, and fuel economy, go for the Prius Three ($26,735). It adds significant upgrades to the Entune infotainment system, like a 7-inch touch screen and navigation. You can also equip it with extras like a moonroof or a head-up display.

True hypermilers will want the Prius Eco, starting at $25,165. While it doesn’t offer many of the features of the upper trims, its reduced weight gives it a boost of 4 mpg in the city and 3 mpg on the highway over all other 2018 Priuses.

Toyota Prius One

The base trim starts at $23,475. It comes with the Entune infotainment system, a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, a six-speaker audio system, a USB port, voice recognition, and Siri Eyes Free, as well as Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls and streaming audio. Other standard features include cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, alloy wheels, and Bi-LED headlights. 

You’ll also get a rearview camera and Toyota Safety Sense, which consists of a pre-collision system, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

Toyota Prius Two Eco

The Prius Two Eco starts at $25,165. Building on the Prius One’s features, it adds seatback pockets as well as weight reduction that gives it the best fuel economy in the Prius lineup.

Toyota Prius Two

The Prius Two ($24,685) adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and park assist. You’ll also get a rear window wiper, a cargo area cover, and a spare tire instead of the repair kit that comes in the lower trims.

Toyota Prius Three

The Prius Three ($26,735) gives you wireless device charging, a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, the Entune app suite, satellite radio, and HD Radio. The Advanced Technology package adds a head-up display and a moonroof for $1,350.

Toyota Prius Three Touring

Starting at $28,115, the Three Touring builds on the Three with SofTex leatherette upholstery, and unique exterior accents like 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, and a rear bumper treatment.

Toyota Prius Four

With the Prius Four ($29,685), you get rain-sensing windshield wipers, an 11.6-inch touch screen, heated and power-adjustable front seats, and a built-in garage door opener. 

The aforementioned Advanced Technology package ($1,350) is available for the Prius Four. Alternatively, you can get the Premium Convenience package ($2,555), which includes the contents of the Advanced Technology package and adds a 10-speaker JBL audio system and an automatic collision notification system.

Toyota Prius Four Touring

For $30,565, the Prius Four Touring trim, which has the same exterior styling enhancements as the Prius Three Touring trim. Packages from previous trims are also available in the Four Touring.

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 2018 Toyota Prius specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Toyota Prius offers great value. It has top-notch fuel economy, loads of cargo space, and a healthy complement of standard features. Few compact cars come standard with safety features like a pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. Some don’t even offer these features as options. However, the Prius trails the competition when it comes to rear-seat space and highway passing power. Still, neither trait is so bad that it becomes a deal breaker for most shoppers. 

The Prius has several alternatives that you may want to test drive. The Ford C-Max Hybrid offers roomier rear seats and quicker acceleration, but it trails the Prius in safety tech and fuel economy. The Toyota Prius c sacrifices engine power, interior quality, and cargo space in the name of price, saving you thousands compared to the Prius. The Prius Prime, a plug-in hybrid, gives you an all-electric range for short trips at the expense of cargo space.

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

  • "If you're looking for an affordable family-friendly hybrid with industry-leading fuel economy and the highest safety ratings, you'll like the 2018 Toyota Prius. The 4-door hatchback also has a golden reputation for reliability as well as high resale value, plus it enjoys one of the lowest 5-year cost-to-own ratings in the industry." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Living with a Toyota Prius for a full month was an eye-opening experience. My unsubstantiated dislike for the world's most popular hybrid disappeared all but completely." -- Forbes (2017)
  • "If fuel economy is a priority when you're shopping for a new car, you can't do much better than the 2017 Toyota Prius. It delivers some of the best mileage of any car on the road, along with the utility of a hatchback and a comfortable, quiet ride." -- Edmunds (2017)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: December 7, 2018

Falling Sales: Prius sales have fallen 18.1 percent this year compared to the same span in 2017. Right now the Prius is sitting right in the middle of the compact car class in sales. It has been outsold by the segment leader, the Honda Civic, by a ratio of almost 4 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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