Product Reviews

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The Prius's 52 mpg overall is a phenomenal achievement. It's a significant improvement over the previous generation's 44 mpg overall.  There's more going on with the fourth-generation Prius than just fuel sipping, though. It still packs the traits Prius owners have come to love, such as hatchback versatility and just enough quirks.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph (sec.) 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
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Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
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Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
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Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
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Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side and head protection air bags available, standard from 2007. ESC available from 2004, standard from 2010. Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking available from 2010, standard from 2017.
Road Test

The Prius's 52 mpg overall is a phenomenal achievement. It's a significant improvement over the previous generation's 44 mpg overall. 


There's more going on with the fourth-generation Prius than just fuel sipping, though. It still packs the traits Prius owners have come to love, such as hatchback versatility and just enough quirks. The improved handling and more sculpted styling are meant to inject a younger persona to the Prius.

Improvements to the hybrid' s powertrain allow the gas engine to shut down earlier and more often when it's not needed. Aerodynamic styling augmented by active grille shutters also helps. The car can run on electric power more often -- especially helpful in city driving. This enabled the Prius to achieve 43 mpg in our city cycle, versus the old car's 32 mpg. Highway fuel economy has improved from 55 to 59 mpg.In most driving situations, the Prius has sufficient oomph, with the electric-drive torque giving a smooth start off the line. That said, it's still far from quick. Sprinting from 0-60 mph took a leisurely 10.3 seconds in our tests. The well-tuned transmission, a form of a CVT,  keeps engine revs at a reasonable level unless hard acceleration is called for.

The Prius is based on a new platform, with a more sophisticated independent rear suspension. The result is a ride that is both more comfortable and steady than the old Prius, and with less body roll in corners. Turn-in is prompt, and the Prius was secure and forgiving around our test track. Still, you won't mistake it for the more engaging Ford Fusion Hybrid in terms of overall sharpness. Brake feel is improved, too, and it's easier to modulate for smooth stops. While the brakes can feel a bit grabby at times, that immediacy is less than we find in most hybrids. 

The car's low stance means you have to drop down into the front seat. The rear seat sees the most compromises, with a head-duck maneuver required to get in and less leg room than the outgoing car. Head room will be enough for most adults, though. Rear visibility is hampered due to a horizontal bar that splits the hatchback window. Too bad the front seats aren't more supportive. They're fine for short drives, but the lack of lumbar support adjustment in most versions -- along with minimal door and center armrest padding -- compromises comfort on longer trips. Power lumbar adjustment comes with the power driver's seat and faux-leather upholstery in the Prius Four, making the seats more supportive.

The interior sees a major upgrade in terms of fit and finish with flashes of chrome, and a modern, high-tech look. The white plastic surround below the console on our test car may not be to everyone's taste, though. Other Prius oddities: the instrument panel is located in a center dashboard pod, and the gear selector takes some getting used to. It also lacks some desired safeguards to prevent unintentional roll away.

The Prius comes standard with a comprehensive suite of active safety systems, called Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P). This includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitoring is optional.


Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door hatchback
Transmissions Available
  • CVT
Engines Available
  • 1.8-liter 4 hybrid (121 hp)
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