Toyota Prius: still ahead of the game, under minor conditions
- Full model name: Toyota Prius Limited HV
- Final assembly point: Toyota, Aichi, Japan
- Fuel economy (manufacturer’s data): 54 mpg city / 50 mpg hwy / 52 mpg combined
- Fuel economy (our data): 58 mpg city / 53 mpg hwy / 53.4 mpg combined
- Engine: 1.8L DOHC 16V 4-Cylinder
- Power: 121 hp & 105 lb-ft
- Price as tested: $34,586
When Toyota presented the new Prius, at first, people were a bit skeptical about buying it. Now, this world runs on Prius and if you look at any busy intersection, you’ll notice at least one. So what’s the hype of owning the Toyota Prius? Why taxi and rideshare drivers love them? Let’s break down what to expect from the Toyota Prius and how Toyota is trying to be “a new Tesla on the budget.” Shall we?
Time flies by, and now you have a ton of options. Toyota used to make smaller Prius C but discontinued it in 2019. They also had Prius V but canceled the production in 2017. However, we still got Prius Limited that I’m driving today. Plus, you have a fully electrical Prius Prime that you can charge and get up to 25 miles of EV range. It’s worth mentioning that Toyota Mirai is essentially the same car but it runs on hydrogen. If you’re curious about Mirai, check out our detailed review here.
Toyota’s “secret sauce”
So, Toyota did take some time to play with different models and styles. And even though many people find the exterior “weird,” sales remain strong. The reason is pretty simple: the Prius starts from $24,325. If you don’t care about options, you will get up to 58 mpg city and about 53 mpg highway. None of the cars today can offer a better gas mileage for below $30K. At this point, no electric car can go 500 miles without refueling, and this is also where the Prius shines. With an 11-gallon gas tank, this is a perfect option for someone who’s been commuting or doing deliveries.
Our test package, Limited, cranks up the price tag to $34,586. You can get an LE or XLE package with AWD. Toyota is trying everything to appeal to different buyers and weather conditions, and that’s a good point! Plus, you also get ToyotaCare, a no-cost maintenance plan and roadside assistance for two years or 25K miles, whichever comes first. That’s some extra value buying a 2020 Toyota Prius.
From the outside, it’s awesome to have this big, convenient hatch. Even if you’re a taller person, you can still walk underneath and put lots of items there. We’re talking about 25 qu. ft. of cargo behind the seats and you get more than 50 qu. ft. if you fold the rear seats down. So even if you’re not the biggest fan of the exterior design, you’ll love the interior. The new Prius got space, comfort, tech perks, and more.
Safety and tech
When you get inside and see this big infotainment screen, your first thought is that Toyota is going after Tesla. It’s not an iPad or your kitchen TV. This is an 11.6” screen that’s paired with JBL stereo. Normally, I would advise against paying extra for JBL but this one is really good.
On the downside, this massive screen is something new and not all the software is there yet. For instance, there’s Apple CarPlay but still no Android Auto. At first, I didn’t understand why Toyota decided to put volume controls on the other side. However, after driving it for a bit, I’ve realized this is actually a more convenient position. The driver gets their controls on the steering, and the front passenger will appreciate having volume buttons on their side.
Overall, the Prius shines in the interior department. You have very comfy seats, several USB ports, a wireless charger, and again, it feels more spacious than most crossovers you can buy in the same price range.
With the new Prius, you also get the Toyota Safety Sense standard. It’s pretty basic but still got useful features. A Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection helps you with emergency brakes, and it’s especially essential in a city or at a tight parking spot. Among other features, you also got Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
In short, better than you would expect from a hybrid. For this road test, we took it for a spin on a twisty road. The tires are designed for minimum road resistance, but the proper weight distribution (the hybrid battery on top of the rear axle and engine upfront) helps to feel confident while driving through the curves.
You can seamlessly spend days with the new Toyota Prius, and we ended up putting over 280 miles during our week with it. Combining city and highway driving, we got 53.4 MPG on average, which turned out to be a better number than the manufacturer claims.
In my view, some additional work with the exterior design and a better user experience for this cool-looking Tesla-style infotainment system would put the Prius on top of the shopping list for any hybrid vehicle. And yes, they would need to update safety features and add Android Auto before public space travel would become widely available.
Overall, this is an exceptional value for your commuting needs. Whether you like it or not, the Toyota Prius is the name we now associate with the whole class of hybrid cars. Over the years, it proved its reliability, including the main components of hybrid batteries and powertrain. If you need the best city vehicle, go for it. Just be careful with options, since it can get really pricy.
Photos by Dennis Bindarau, LiveFEED