MSRP
$24,325
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2020 Toyota Prius Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.4

The 2020 Toyota Prius earns the eye-popping fuel economy ratings. Its handling is adequate, and the Prius rides smoothly over most road surfaces. There's nothing about the Prius' performance that is exciting, but there's no reason to be disappointed unless you're looking for a sporty driving experience.

  • On the road, you'd be hard-pressed to discern any difference between the standard Prius and the new AWD-e version. They both provide acceptable acceleration and handling capabilities. They're not thrilling to drive, nor do they need to be." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • What really shines … is the hybrid system's overall seamlessness – both when accelerating and braking. The transition from all-electric power when starting off to when the gas engine comes on is smooth, and brake-pedal feel is linear and predictable. That's not to say that the gas engine runs quietly; you do hear a lot of engine drone in the cabin when the 1.8-liter four-cylinder is running. There's also wind noise at highway speeds." -- Cars.com (2019)
  • "There's no sense in pretending that an enthusiast will find the overall experience anything bu[t] antiseptic, but you've got to admit that the Prius is (and has always been) good at doing what it was designed to do: Getting you there and back, day after day, year after year, while consuming as little fuel as possible. In that respect, the AWD system doesn't shake anything up." -- Autoweek (2019)

Acceleration and Power

The Prius features a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that produce a combined 121 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) comes standard. The engine delivers enough power for all driving situations, and acceleration is reasonably quick. The transition from gasoline to electric power is seamless.

According to EPA estimates, the front-wheel-drive Prius L Eco gets 58 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway. These are among the best ratings you can get in a vehicle with a gas engine. Higher trim levels with FWD get 54/50 mpg city/highway. With all-wheel drive, ratings drop to 52/48 mpg.

  • " … it's the usual Prius experience: an efficient, affordable way to comfortably get from point A to point B. It's not a quick car by any stretch of the imagination, and that's clearly not the point. Prius customers aren't looking for speed. They're looking for efficiency, and the AWD-e still has it." -- Autoblog (2019)
  • "There's also a satisfying burst of power off the line, which makes the new Prius feel quicker than it is. Its zero-to-60-mph time of about 10 seconds isn't going to thrill, but there's more than enough power when you need it. And the fuel economy is exceptional, which is of course the point." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • 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." -- Edmunds (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Prius offers composed handling, even on winding roads, but it never feels sporty. It's less engaging than several competitors, but driving it is a stress-free experience. The ride quality is generally pretty good. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and unlike some rivals, the Prius is available with all-wheel drive.

  • On the road, the latest Prius makes some strides over its numb and uninviting predecessors. The current Prius is more engaging, touting more responsive steering and a more sophisticated suspension design that yields better body control and an improved ride. In general, the Prius feels less tinny and more substantial now, especially over big, crashy bumps. However, compared with the Honda Insight and various other compact cars, the Prius is still a bit loud, unrefined and a bit dreary to drive." -- Autotrader
  • "With all-wheel drive, the car mostly felt the same as any other Prius. It wasn't adding any huge, tangible change in driving behavior. What it does is subtle and demonstrates itself as lack of the negatives you'd otherwise notice: slip, instability, hesitation, understeer. That adds up to confidence. And it's confidence you can appreciate without having to sacrifice much in fuel economy." -- Autoblog (2019)
  • With the extra weight of the rear motor and other componentry, AWD-e cars are about 150 pounds heavier and less nimble than their FWD stablemates in normal driving conditions. Steering feel remains nothing exceptional but both versions of the Prius drive well enough and feel secure and stable for a typical day-to-day duty cycle." -- Automobile Magazine (2019)
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2020 Toyota Prius

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