Toyota Prius

#6 in Compact Cars Overall Score: 8.6 / 10
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2017 Toyota Prius Overview

The 2017 Toyota Prius ranks 6 out of 24 Compact Cars.

The Toyota Prius ranks highly in the crowded and competitive compact car class. Its phenomenal fuel economy has brought millions of buyers into showrooms for past models, and the 2017 Prius will have little trouble continuing this trend, thanks to its fuel efficiency, comfortable ride, and well-appointed interior. 

SEATING


5

MPG


54-58

  CITY


50-53

  HWY

DRIVETRAIN


FWD

HP


121
See full 2017 Toyota Prius specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Outstanding fuel economy estimates
  • Excellent cargo room
  • Comfortable and composed ride
  • Clunky smartphone infotainment integration

Notable for 2017

  • Safety Sense driver assistance features now standard

Toyota Prius Rankings and Research

The 2017 Toyota Prius ranking is based on its score within the Compact Cars category. Currently the Toyota Prius has a score of 8.6 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 24 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Scorecard

Overall: 8.6
Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.1
Safety: 9.3
Reliability: 3_5

Rankings

2017 Toyota Prius Pictures

2017 Toyota Prius Review

By Mel Anton July 20, 2017

The Toyota Prius ranks highly in the crowded and competitive compact car class. Its phenomenal fuel economy has brought millions of buyers into showrooms for past models, and the 2017 Prius will have little trouble continuing this trend, thanks to its fuel efficiency, comfortable ride, and well-appointed interior. 

Is the Toyota Prius a Good Car?

The Toyota Prius is absolutely a good car. With a full suite of driver assistance features standard in all trim levels, excellent fuel economy estimates, and an upscale, feature-rich interior, there is little wrong with the Prius. The main complaints with the Prius are its sometimes clunky smartphone integration and its merely adequate performance. The Prius will carry you back and forth to work with little fanfare, but it won’t win any drag races. However, unless you are buying the $156,000 Acura NSX, very few hybrids are going to give you track-ready performance thrills. For the price, the Prius is the best hybrid in the class and one of the best alternatives to gas-only cars.

The Prius hybrid's value goes beyond price, though. Its long-term ownership costs are also fairly low. It’s the 2017 Best Hybrid Car for the Money because it has the best combination of quality and long-term value in the class. 

Should I Buy the Toyota Prius?

When buying any new car, some of the top considerations are usually safety, reliability, fuel economy, and price. The Toyota Prius excels in all these categories. With forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and a rearview camera all standard, coupled with top-tier crash test scores, the Prius is definitely a great pick for those looking for a safe car. The Prius is made by Toyota, which has some of the highest dependability ratings among all car brands, and the Prius follows suit, with its own history of solid dependability ratings. The Prius is consistently at or near the top of the hybrid pack when it comes to fuel economy, and the 2017 Prius’ 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway continue this trend. Best of all, you can have all of this for less than $25,000.

If you want a hybrid, the Toyota Prius is the best of the bunch.

We Did the Research for You: 24 Pieces of Data Analyzed

Our team is here to help you decide if your next new car purchase should be the 2017 Toyota Prius. To achieve this, we analyzed 24 pieces of research about the Prius. This includes crash test scores and reliability ratings, as well as opinions from many professional automotive journalists. We did all the research, found all the relevant information, and then organized it into one comprehensive review. Here you can easily learn all about the Prius and how it compares to other cars in its class, and then decide if it is the right car for you.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we have been ranking and reviewing cars for close to a decade. Our team has a combined 75 years of experience in the automotive industry, giving us the expertise to help answer all of your questions. Finally, we do not accept exorbitant gifts or go on expensive trips sponsored by car companies, and advertising that you see on our site is handled by a third company.

How Much Does the Toyota Prius Cost?

The base Prius Two has a starting price of $24,685. The next trim is the Prius Three, with a starting price of $26,735. One step above that is the Prius Three Touring for $28,115. Next is the Prius Four, with a starting price of $29,135. Lastly, the top trim is the Prius Four Touring, with a starting price of $30,015. Where available, the Prius Two Eco is slotted between the Prius Two and Prius Three, with a base price of $25,165.

The 2017 Toyota Prius seats five people and comes standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is not available in the Prius. All Prius models come with the same 1.8-liter four cylinder gasoline engine, electric motors, and continuously variable automatic transmission.

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

Toyota Prius Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Toyota Prius or Toyota Prius Prime?

The Toyota Prius Prime is similar to the Prius, but it's a plug-in hybrid. This means you can plug your car into a wall outlet to recharge the battery (which is larger than the regular Prius' battery), something you can't do with the regular Prius. From this, you gain up to 25 miles of pure electric driving. To put this in perspective, if your office is less than 25 miles from your house, and you have the ability to charge your Prius Prime at work, you can theoretically commute every day and not use a single drop of gasoline.

However, this battery-powered boost comes at a cost. The base model Prius Prime costs $27,100, which is $2,415 more than the base model Prius. The Prius Prime’s bigger battery cuts into the available cargo space, dropping it to 19.8 cubic feet compared to the Prius’ 27.4 cubic feet. Finally, though the interior dimensions of the Prius and Prius Prime are about the same, the Prius Prime only has two rear seats (with a large center console) instead of the traditional three-person rear bench that comes in the Prius. At the end of the day, the extra money for the Prius Prime is only worth it if you're able to efficiently utilize the Prius Prime’s electric-only drive time. If not, the regular Prius will still get you that incredible fuel economy you are looking for.

Which Is Better: Toyota Prius or Toyota Camry Hybrid?

The three main differences between the Prius and the Toyota Camry Hybrid are interior space, fuel economy, and price. The Camry Hybrid is bigger inside, as you'd expect when comparing a midsize car to a compact. Total interior passenger volume for the Camry Hybrid is 102.7 cubic feet, while the Prius only has 93.1 cubic feet. The Camry Hybrid is bigger in almost every way except front legroom, where the Prius actually has a slight 1.6-cubic-foot advantage over the Camry Hybrid.

However, since the Prius is a hatchback, its cargo space and functionality exceed what the Camry Hybrid can offer. The Prius boasts 24.6 cubic feet of space in the base model, along with 60/40 split-folding rear seats that fold flat to create a larger cargo area. The Camry Hybrid has a traditional trunk with just over half the amount of space (13.1 cubic feet). Though its rear seats also fold down with a 60/40 split, there is a smaller opening between the trunk and the back seats, which limits your cargo configurations.

When it comes to fuel economy, the Prius outclasses the Camry Hybrid. Because the Camry Hybrid is bigger, and therefore heavier, the base Camry Hybrid only gets 42 mpg city/38 mpg highway compared to the Prius’ 54 city/50 highway. These numbers drop further (40 city/37 highway) in higher trim levels of the Camry Hybrid. While the Camry Hybrid is competitive when compared to other midsize hybrid cars, it can’t overtake the Prius. Finally, a bigger car will come with a bigger price tag. A base model Prius starts at $24,685, while a base model Camry Hybrid starts at $26,790 – about $2,100 more than the Prius. If you need luxury touches and a little more space in your hybrid, the Camry Hybrid is a great choice. But if you need the absolute best fuel economy, the Prius is the better option.

Which Is Better: Toyota Prius or Toyota Corolla?

The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car in Toyota's history and one of the top-selling cars in the world. The Prius is the best-selling hybrid for Toyota and the best-selling hybrid in the world. None of these things happened by accident. Both the Prius and the Corolla are good cars, but as usual, the debate between a gas-only car and a hybrid car comes down to fuel economy and price. While the Corolla’s fuel economy estimates (28 city/35 highway) are decent for a compact car, the Prius’ estimates are far better. At 54 city/50 highway, the Prius has some of the best fuel economy estimates in the class. But that bump in fuel efficiency is pricey: A base model Prius is $6,185 more than the starting price of a base model Corolla ($18,500). Both options are comfortable, safe, practical, and reliable; you really can’t go wrong with either. If you need an inexpensive car that will last 10 to 15 years with few problems, the Corolla is a great option. But if you are willing to spend a bit more for a car that will provide class-leading fuel economy and also last a long time with few problems, you won’t regret the Prius.

Compare the Prius, Prius Prime, and Camry Hybrid »

Prius Interior

How Many People Does the Prius Seat?

The Prius seats five people. The driver and front passenger should have plenty of room to get comfortable. Passengers in the rear will find ample headroom but only adequate legroom. Average-sized adults will have no trouble sitting in the back for quick trips, but taller passengers may want more space to stretch out their legs. If you have tall friends and family members, the Toyota Camry Hybrid will give you more space in the back seats. The Toyota Prius Prime has almost identical interior dimensions as the Prius. The main difference is that both the Prius and Camry Hybrid seat five while the Prius Prime seats only four, with two large rear bucket seats and a center console in the back – similar to what you would find in the front seats – instead of the typical three-person bench. The Prius Prime's larger rear seats may make your passengers more comfortable, but you won't have the option to carry a third person in the back like you will with the regular Prius or Camry Hybrid.

Prius and Car Seats

The Prius has two full sets of LATCH connectors for car seats in the outboard rear seats. The middle seat has an upper tether, and you can borrow the lower anchors from the outboard seats. All the connectors are easy to find and reach.

Prius Interior Quality

The Prius' cabin features a unique design, with upscale materials and solid construction. The base Prius comes with cloth upholstery and a tilting and telescoping steering wheel. Stepping up to higher trims will get you leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat. If you want a little more luxury in your cabin, the Toyota Camry Hybrid offers genuine leather seats as opposed to the SofTex imitation leather seats found in the Prius and Prius Prime. 

Prius Cargo Space

You'll have 24.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats if you buy a Prius Two, Three, or Three Touring. Because the Two Eco, Four, and Four Touring have a tire repair kit instead of a spare tire, they have even more cargo space, with 27.4 cubic feet. Regardless of trim, the Prius has more cargo space than nearly every compact car competitor, including hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf and Kia Soul. Even among hybrid cars, only the Prius v wagon has more cargo room than the Prius. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat is standard in all trims, providing more flexibility to store your stuff while keeping an open seat or two in back for passengers.

The Prius Prime is a hatchback similar to the Prius, but its larger battery results in a raised cargo floor, cutting cargo space to 19.8 cubic feet. This is still a good amount of space, with plenty of room for a few suitcases or a couple weeks’ worth of groceries. The Camry Hybrid has a traditional trunk, cutting cargo space to an even smaller 13.1 cubic feet. Still, this is more than enough space for a couple of suitcases and a set golf clubs for a weekend getaway. Both the Prius Prime and Camry Hybrid have a 60/40 split folding rear bench to increase cargo space.

Prius Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

You'll get either a 6.1-inch or 7-inch touch screen in the Prius, depending on trim level. The smaller screen has more basic features and is used mostly for controlling the six-speaker audio system. With the larger system you get Toyota's Entune App Suite to let you use internet apps like Yelp and Pandora. To use the App Suite, you'll need to download an app on your smartphone, connect your phone to the infotainment system, and then let the App Suite use your phone's data connection. This can make it an unfriendly user experience. Aside from the app suite, both infotainment systems are straightforward to use, with quick responses to inputs and clear graphics. Also, you don’t need to use the App Suite to do things like play music from your smartphone, because the Prius has standard USB and Bluetooth connections.

This infotainment setup is identical in the Camry Hybrid. If you are looking for a still bigger screen, the Prius Prime and its available 11.6 inch Tesla-style touch screen will have you covered. Its vertical orientation and large size is a unique feature in this class. Most cars have a horizontally oriented screen that typically doesn’t exceed 8 inches or so. Additionally, with such a big screen taking up dashboard real estate, there is little to no room for physical buttons or knobs, meaning most functions need to be performed though tap or swipe actions on the touch screen. Although a large screen makes maps and other navigation features large, clear, and easy to see and read, such a large screen can be distracting and more difficult to use while driving.

The Prius' climate controls are easy to adjust with physical buttons and knobs on the center stack. In some competitors you need to use the touch screen to make minor adjustments, which can be more distracting. Speaking of distracting, when you're sitting in the Prius' driver's seat, you'll notice that the digital gauges are mounted not directly in front of you, but more toward the center of the car. You'll need to glance down and sideways to check your speed. If you prefer a more driver-oriented set up, the Prius is available with a head-up display that projects your speed on the windshield in front of you. The Prius Prime shares this center setup style (with an available head-up display), while the Camry Hybrid has a more traditional gauge layout behind the steering wheel.

Read more about interior »

Prius Performance

Prius Engine: Quick and Powerful… for a Hybrid

The Prius comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors that combined make 121 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT), which functions like an automatic, is standard. The electric motors deliver all of their power as soon as you press the gas, so you can pull away from a stop briskly to get around traffic in the city. When you try to pass other cars or merge onto the highway at higher speeds, the gasoline engine does all of the work and feels more strained, but it should still be enough power for most drivers.

The Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid with a battery that can be recharged through a wall outlet, as opposed to the Prius, which has a smaller battery that can only be charged through daily driving. The Prius does not allow for any substantial electric-only drive time, unlike the Prius Prime, which you can drive up to 25 miles on pure electricity. The Camry Hybrid has a more powerful hybrid powertrain, with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motors that combine to make 200 horsepower.

For more information on CVTs, check out, What Is a CVT Transmission?

Prius Gas Mileage: One of the Most Efficient Cars on the Road (Come on, it’s a Prius)

Getting up to 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway, the Prius is easily one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road. But sibling rivalry runs deep at Toyota, and the Prius has been upstaged by its new brother, the Prius Prime. According to Toyota, the Prius Prime gets 55 mpg in the city and 53 on the highway, with up to 25 miles of pure electric driving on top of that. The base Camry Hybrid gets 42 mpg city/38 highway, which is decent when compared to other midsize hybrids but a pretty big step down from either the Prius or Prius Prime.

Toyota does offer a Prius model called the Prius Two Eco in select markets, which has been retooled for even greater fuel efficiency, getting up to 58 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway. This is achieved by swapping in ultralow-rolling resistance tires, a lighter lithium-ion battery, and an inflation kit instead of a spare tire. The Prius Two Eco costs $480 more than the Prius Two. To break even on this additional cost, you will have to drive 48,000 miles, which the average driver does in just over three years. And with Toyota's stellar dependability ratings, you can expect your Prius Two Eco to drive that distance many times over, making this slight price increase a worthy investment.

Prius Ride and Handling: Calm, Cool, Collected

Before its redesign for the 2016 model year, the Prius was pretty dull to drive. The latest model, however, ups the fun quotient. It's by no means sporty, but it handles corners with more composure. Still, its ride is mostly tuned to keep you comfortable as you cruise around town. The Prius Prime’s ride and handling are comparable to the Prius, while the sedan-based Toyota Camry Hybrid will get you an even smoother ride.

The Prius, like all hybrid vehicles, uses a system called regenerative braking. When you apply the brakes, it captures the energy usually wasted during braking and uses it to charge the battery. The system then transitions to traditional friction brakes to bring the car to a full stop. A common complaint among hybrid owners is that this transition can sometimes be jarring. Luckily, that is not the case with the Prius, where that changeover is smoother than most. This also holds true for the Prius Prime and Camry Hybrid.

Read more about performance »

Prius Reliability

Is the Toyota Prius Reliable?

J.D. Power and Associates rates the Prius at four out of five for reliability, which is above average. The 2017 Prius Prime hasn't been assigned a predicted reliability score yet, but Toyota has strong brand dependability, so it should last you a long time as well.

Toyota Prius Warranty

The Prius is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Prius’ hybrid-related components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles. Both the Camry Hybrid and Prius Prime share this warranty, though in select states the Prius Prime’s hybrid battery is covered for up to 15 years or 150,000 miles.

If you are looking for a longer warranty, check out the Kia Optima Hybrid or Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, both of which offer a best-in-class five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. The hybrid components are covered on the Optima Hybrid for 10 years or 100,000 miles, while the hybrid battery on the Sonata Hybrid is covered under a lifetime warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Prius Safety

Prius Crash Test Results

The Prius earns a five-star overall rating in crash testing performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Camry Hybrid shares this rating, but the Prius Prime has not yet been rated by the NHTSA.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has designated the Prius a Top Safety Pick+, its highest safety rating. The Camry Hybrid shares this accolade, though it should be noted that the IIHS does not differentiate between gas-only and hybrid models. The IIHS has not yet tested the Prius Prime.

Prius Safety Features

Safety Sense is Toyota's suite of collision avoidance features, and for the 2017 model year it's standard in all Prius models. Safety Sense includes a rearview camera, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. Blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert are standard in the top-level Prius Four and Prius Four Touring trims and unavailable in lower trims. Safety Sense is standard in all Prius Prime models, and like the Prius, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert are standard only in the top trim level of the Prius Prime and not available in lower trims.

Strangely, the Camry Hybrid only offers a rearview camera as a standard safety feature. To get a pre-collision warning system, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, blind spot detection, and rear cross traffic alert, you must add them as expensive packages and additional options in the highest trim level.

To learn more about advanced safety features, read 8 Safety Features You Shouldn’t Skip.

Read more about safety »

Which Toyota Prius Model Is Right for Me?

The Prius Four ($29,135) will get you the most for your money. In this model you get blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert added to your safety suite, as well as heated leatherette front seats for less than $30,000. The Prius Four Touring ($30,015) costs an additional $880 and only adds unique styling features that are not worth the extra money. If you don’t need the heated seats, or if the Prius Four is still too expensive for you, the Prius Two ($24,685) is exceptionally well-equipped for a base model car. With a standard driver assistance suite, a feature-rich infotainment system, and other upscale features like push-button start and automatic climate control, which are difficult to find in the base models of other compact cars, the Prius Two is a great and inexpensive way to get into a Prius. If available in your area, the Prius Two Eco ($25,165) is only $480 more than the Prius Two and the fuel economy bump is worth the extra few hundred. Neither the Prius Three ($26,735) nor Prius Three Touring ($28,115) add enough features to justify their higher price.

Toyota Prius Two

The base Prius Two starts at $24,685. It comes standard with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, two electric motors, an automatic transmission (CVT), fabric upholstery, automatic climate control, push-button start, a 6.1-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

The Prius Two Eco, priced at $25,165, is equipped similarly to the Prius Two but weighs less, so it earns higher fuel economy estimates than the other trims. However, the Prius Two Eco is only available in select markets. Check with your local Toyota dealer for more information.

Toyota Prius Three

Moving up to the $26,735 Prius Three gets you a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, the Entune App Suite, HD Radio, satellite radio, and wireless mobile device charging.

You can get the Advanced Technology package in this trim, which adds a head-up display and a moonroof for $1,350.

Toyota Prius Three Touring

The Prius Three Touring, which is priced at $28,115, adds fog lights, leatherette upholstery, and unique styling elements to what is included in the Prius Three.

Toyota Prius Four

The Prius Four can be yours for $29,135, and it comes with rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and adds blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert to the driver assistance suite.

The Premium Convenience package, which costs $3,055, is available for this trim. It gets you a 10-speaker JBL audio system, the Safety Connect telematics system, active park assist, and front and rear parking sensors. You can also get the Advanced Technology package ($1,350) with this trim as well.

Toyota Prius Four Touring

For $30,015, you get the top-of-the-line Prius Four Touring trim, which has the unique styling elements of the Prius Three Touring along with the features from the Prius Four.

You can add the Premium Convenience package ($3,055) on this trim as well.

The Prius c is a subcompact car with a starting price of $20,360 and is reviewed separately. The Prius v is a wagon with a starting price of $26,675 and is also reviewed separately. The Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid with a starting price of $27,100 and is reviewed separately as well. The Toyota Mirai ($57,500) is a hydrogen fuel cell car that is only available in select California markets and therefore not reviewed by us.

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 2017 Toyota Prius specs and trims »

The Final Call

Your concern about fuel economy is likely what got you thinking about the Toyota Prius in the first place. The Prius’ exceptional fuel economy estimates alone are a great reason to consider a Prius, but add in a standard driver assistance suite, a wealth of passenger and cargo space, and classy interior finishes, and the Prius becomes one of the best buys among all cars.

If after all of this, you're still hung up on “but it’s a Prius,” then that's too bad because you will be missing out on one of the best cars, hybrid or otherwise, that Toyota has to offer, and one of the best hybrids on the road today.

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

  • "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 I get it now. While I'm still not convinced that it pushes any emotional buttons for a true car enthusiast (unless they are fascinated by its technology), it's appliance-like delivery of reliability, safety, comfort, and fuel efficiency is what 90 percent of the driving public really needs when they are in quest of a new vehicle. Toyota sells about 130,000 units a year, which is notable, but that figure should be significantly larger. Yes, I like the 2017 Toyota Prius – here's to hoping I don't mistakenly wait another 15 years before driving it again." -- Forbes
  • "While Toyota's 2017 Prius hybrid embodies the original car's same basic concept, that being an internal-combustion engine wedded to an electric motor, the latest version is both stylistically and technologically leaps and bounds better. … With its slick new styling, refined interior, improved chassis and new standard suite of driver-assist technologies, the 2017 Toyota Prius remains the gold standard in hybrid automobiles." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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
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