Toyota Prius Reviews: Price, Models and More

Toyota Prius Reviews: Price, Models and More

The dawn of the new millennium brought the arrival of what is without a doubt the forerunner of not just hybrid cars but of environmentally conscious car culture, too: the Toyota Prius. The first to roll onto North American roads – and ever so quietly, literally – came in 2001. 

But the Prius had been available for purchase in Japan as early as 1997, shortly after it made its grand debut at the 1995 Tokyo Auto Show. That makes it the world's first hybrid auto to be mass produced for the global market.

Now in its fourth generation, more than 4 million Priuses – or “Prii” (pronounced “pre-eye”), at least according to Toyota's official ruling (yes, for real) –have been sold around the world. 

There's no denying that in its 20 years of production, the Toyota Prius has paved the way for the parade of other hybrid cars to follow in its tire tracks, such as the Chevy Volt, the Honda Insight, the Hyundai Ioniq, the Kia Niro and the Nissan Leaf

But in the EV world, the Prius is without a doubt a classic.

What is the price of a new Toyota Prius?

New Toyota Prius models are priced at $24,500-$32,650. Standard features on the L Eco base model include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Alexa compatibility and the best fuel economy of all its trim model siblings: 58 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the freeway. 

Next in line are the LE and LE AWD models, which start at $25,735 and $27,135 respectively and come with a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and an intelligent parking assistance feature. 

Then there's the XLE, which, at $28,575, comes with alloy wheels, titanium wheel inserts, heated front seats and a wireless smartphone charging feature. The AWD version of the XLE goes for $29,575 and includes a heated steering wheel, so considerate of Toyota given that AWD models are more likely to be used in colder climates. 

Leading the crew in terms of cost and cosmetics are the commemorative limited-edition “2020” model for $29,875, and the Limited with its auto-leveling headlights, a JBL audio system and a 11.6-inch touchscreen display as opposed to the 7-inch version that's standard on the other trims, for $32,650.

How much does a used Toyota Prius cost?

The price of a used Toyota Prius tends to average $8,000-$25,000, depending on the model year, trim package and total mileage. Third-generation models, which are those manufactured between 2010 and 2015, fall on the lower half of that pricing tier, whereas the cost of a fourth-generation Prius – those made after 2015 – tends to be more costly. 

Something to keep in mind is the fact that the 2021 Prius still belongs to the fourth-generation family, so it's fair to say not much has changed on the car in terms of overall look and feel since 2016. That's worth considering if you're open to the option of purchasing a used Prius rather than a new one, as the savings will most likely be substantially significant. A Shift certified used 2016 model averages around $15,000, as opposed to the new base model that starts at nearly $25,000.

How much horsepower does a Toyota Prius have?

How much pick-up can be expected of a hybrid compact car that banks more than 50 miles per gallon? All of a whopping 134 at the most, to be exact. Yes, the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine may make for a somewhat tame driving experience behind the wheel. But the Prius compensates for its arguably lackluster umpf with spectacular fuel economy and roomy seating, with plenty of space for five. 

Sure, the Prius is no speed demon when it comes to horsepower. But it is reliable. And not to mention oh-so friendly on the wallet when it's finally time to pull up to the gas pump, which at 58 mpg on city streets and 53 mpg on the freeway, could take a while.

2014 Toyota Prius Two (from $14,500)

 2014 Toyota Prius Two (from $14,500)
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 2014 Toyota Prius Two (from $14,500)
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What are the different Toyota Prius models?

Fourth-generation models of the Toyota Prius – 2016-2021 models, specifically – come in six different trims: the L Eco ($24,525), the LE ($25,735) and LE AWD-e ($27,135), the XLE ($28,575) and XLE AWD-e ($29,575), the “2020” edition ($29,875) – a special release to commemorate the car's two decades on the market, of which Toyota made only 2,020 – and the Limited ($32,650). 

The third-generation Prius – 2010-2015 models – comes in five different varieties, each with a different numerical name: Two, Three, Four, Five and Persona. A higher number denotes more add-ons – features like heated seats, a solar roof, alloy wheels, lane-keep assistance, push-button start, voice recognition, JBL GreenEdge speakers – and a steeper sticker price, too. 

The creme-de-la-creme Persona model is equipped with heated outside mirrors, alloy wheels and other cosmetic curb appeal such as chrome accents on the door grips, wheel and shifter, blue accent lighting in the driver and front-passenger foot area and either special-edition pearl or supersonic red paint jobs.

These days, most third-generation Prius models sell for $8,000-$15,000.

2016 Toyota Prius Two (from $18,300)

2016 Toyota Prius Two (from $18,300)
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2016 Toyota Prius Two (from $18,300)
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Which is the best model-year Toyota Prius?

Each of the four Toyota Prius generations has its major pros and minor cons, but generally speaking, the second generation (2004-2009 models) tends to win the title of best Toyota Prius among fans and critics alike. It's worth mentioning, however, that certain updates to the third generation make it a tough contender when it comes to choosing a sole champ.

With the second generation of the Prius, Toyota outfitted the car with a sleeker, more modern look when compared to the first generation and, thanks to an upgraded V-6 battery pack, gave it more power to make for a peppier ride, too. Toyota sold nearly 1.2 million models of the second generation Prius globally. Despite their age, second-generation models have proven themselves to be long-lasting and many are still on the roads around the world today.

With the third generation (2010-2015 models), Toyota improved the aerodynamicity of the body to allow for less drag, which ultimately allows for more fuel efficiency. They also introduced several plant-based plastics to the car's interior and cut the price by nearly $3,000, much in part to compete with the lower sticker price of the Honda Insight

If you're in the market for a hybrid car like the Toyota Prius, it's probably safe to say you're looking to do your part to lessen your carbon footprint by driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Doing so ultimately translates to not just helping to save Mother Earth but also to saving big at the pumps, too. On average, the Prius consumes approximately 50 percent less gasoline than its non-hybrid counterparts. 

Opting for a hybrid like the Toyota Prius is not only a proactive step in helping to slow the effects of climate change. Buying a used Prius in lieu of a new model also reduces waste in the long run. 

Regardless of its age, any Prius to come from Shift's expansive inventory of hybrid and electric cars has passed a 150-point inspection at the hands of a team of ACE-certified mechanics. So you know it's essentially as good as new, be it a Toyota Prius, Chevy Volt, Honda Insight, Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Niro or Nissan Leaf

And for added peace of mind, all Shift cars come with a 7-day/200-mile return policy and Shift certified cars come with a 30-day warranty, too. 

2010 Toyota Prius II (from $8,950)

 2010 Toyota Prius II (from $8,950)
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 2010 Toyota Prius II (from $8,950)
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No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Prius

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Author
Shift Editorial Team