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2018 Toyota Prius Review

An Icon of Efficiency Makes a Bold Statement. When Prius launched in 1997, it faced lofty expectations as one of the pacesetters of an automotive revolution that paved the road to greener cars. Now entering its third decade of production, it’s still shattering all of those expectations. Along the way, it has become a modern icon of eco-friendliness, thanks to a tradition of making statements with its efficient solutions.

New for 2018 - Given the already-outstanding design and generous standard equipment found on Prius, 2018 sees few noteworthy changes. Prius Four and Four Touring each receive an 11.6-in. multimedia tablet display as standard equipment, however, further bolstering their arguments as a tremendous value.

The Bottom Line - Prius continues the proud tradition of its name as it charges into 2018. The bold look and sleek, aerodynamic shape, designed to both win over crowds and cheat the wind, is retained. So, too, is the dramatic front-end lighting that speaks to the car’s technical and efficient ethos. Of course, as a Toyota, Prius also brings to the table an excellent reputation for quality, durability and reliability, not to mention its world-class fuel efficiency.

Trims

One
Starting MSRP $23,475

Key Features

  • 15-in. 5-spoke alloy wheels with full wheel covers
  • Entune™ Audio with 6.1-in. touch-screen
  • Smart Key System7 on driver’s door with Push Button Start

Every single feature comes standard, meaning that with Prius One you get advanced technologies at an affordable price. This is anything but entry level.

Two
Starting MSRP $24,685

Key Features

  • 6-way adjustable driver’s seat and 4-way adjustable front passenger seat
  • Available appearance package
  • Temporary spare tire

With added comfort and the option of further enhancing Prius’ looks, Prius Two is where the fun begins.

Two Eco
Starting MSRP $25,165

Key Features

  • Bi-LED projector low- and high-beam headlights with auto on/off feature
  • EPA-estimated 58/53 mpg (city/highway)
  • Smart Key System7 on three doors with Push Button Start and remote illuminated entry

Prius Two Eco is the most fuel-efficient Prius, offering up to an EPA-estimated 58 city mpg8 while adding in tech features like LED headlights.

Three
Starting MSRP $26,735

Key Features

  • Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charger
  • Entune™ Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite
  • Available Advanced Technology Package

Prius’ bold design is combined with plenty of options that make everyday driving more enjoyable, like Entune™ Premium Audio and the available Advanced Technology Package.

Three Touring
Starting MSRP $28,115

Key Features

  • SofTex®-trimmed front seats with seatback pockets
  • Integrated LED fog lights and accent lights
  • Touring grade unique rear bumper treatment

With unique exterior visual treatments, upgraded interior trim and integrated fog lights, Three Touring brings to light the sporty and sophisticated aspects of Prius.

Four
Starting MSRP $29,685

Key Features

  • 11.6-in HD multimedia tablet display
  • Available Entune™ Premium JBL® Audio
  • SofTex®-trimmed heated front seats with 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat

With top-of-the-line luxury features like heated seats, premium audio options, and a state-of-the-art HD multimedia display, Prius Four shatters the myth that environmentally-friendly vehicles can’t also be luxurious.

Four Touring
Starting MSRP $30,565

Key Features

  • 17-in. 5-spoke alloy wheels
  • 11.6-in. HD multimedia tablet display
  • Available Premium Convenience Package

Combining all the visual treatment options from Three Touring and the refinement and technology of Four, Prius Four Touring truly offers the best of both worlds for those that desire performance and technology.

Competitive Comparison

Safety is Standard
Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P) comes standard on every Prius, complete with Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams and Full Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. With other cars in this segment, such features generally either come at an additional cost or are altogether unavailable.

Technology You Can Clearly See
The available 11.6-in. HD multimedia display in Prius differentiates it from comparable vehicles, with a large, high-resolution, tablet-style display built right into the console. It’s standard on Prius Four and Four Touring, lending the car a high-tech vibe befitting its advanced engineering.

Blows the Competition Away
Aerodynamics is at the core of Prius’ legendary efficiency. Toyota’s engineers spent countless hours in wind tunnels carefully honing the car’s one-of-a-kind lines so that it can slice through wind with as little resistance as possible. The result is a 0.24 coefficient of drag, which ranks among the very best on the road today.

Light Up the World in Front of You
LED lighting is both energy efficient and able to be aimed with a high degree of precision — providing a crisp and callout callout-sm-lit view of the road ahead. As a standard feature on every Prius, it’s a very clear and easy-to-see edge over competitors that often charge extra for anything other than traditional halogen lighting.

Keep Your Head Up
With an available Color Head-Up Display (HUD) that displays your speed, navigation directions and a Hybrid System Indicator right before your eyes on the windshield, there’s less need to look anywhere but the road ahead. Very few cars today offer such a comprehensive and multi-color HUD without also commanding a premium price point.

Model Review

2018 Chevrolet Volt

What is it? The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Initially sold across the world under various nameplates, it’s now limited to the U.S. and Canada. Electric motors drive the five-door hatchback, which uses a gasoline engine as a generator to charge its batteries. Since its debut for the 2011 model year, Volt has been the best-selling PHEV, with callout callout-sm over 100,000 units sold.

What's the latest? 2018 marks the third year of Volt’s second generation. Upgrades to the engine, motor and battery result in an increased electric-only range of 53 miles. Volt offers two trim packages, LT and Premier, with leather trim standard on the latter. Forward Automatic Braking and Lane Keep Assist are available for an additional cost.

How does it stack up? While Volt generates more power than Prius, with the equivalent of 149 horsepower (111 kW) and 294 lb.-ft. of torque, compared to 121 horsepower and 105 lb.-ft. for Prius, it is also more expensive (MSRP $34,095). The steering wheel-mounted “Regen on Demand” paddle, which reduces the need to depress the brake pedal in some situations and results in longer EV range, is unavailable on Prius.

2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid

What is it? Ford first introduced C-Max in 2003 as a European-market five-door family car that shared many components with Focus. The second generation launched in Europe for the 2011 model year, and for 2012, Ford unveiled Hybrid and Energi (plug-in hybrid) versions. In 2013, the C-Max Hybrid and Energi became the first and only C-Max variants sold in the United States.

What's the latest? In 2017, Ford gave C-Max Hybrid a light visual update, and rolled out a new Titanium trim level that includes upgraded wheels, leather seating and a 10-way power passenger seat. Only a continuously variable transmission is offered, and it’s paired to a 188-horsepower 2.0 liter engine. A foot-activated liftgate is an extra-cost option.

How does it stack up? Prius beats C-Max in EPA-estimated fuel economy, with its 54/50 mpg (city/hwy) coming in far above the 42/38 mpg attained by C-Max. Prius, with standard TSS-P1, has numerous active safety features the Ford is lacking. While overall passenger volume is slightly greater in C-Max, EPA cargo volume behind the second row seats is virtually identical between the two8.

2018 Subaru Forester

What is it? Originally introduced in 1997, Forester has always been an all-wheel-drive vehicle. A mix between a wagon and a crossover SUV, Forester is marketed as a practical vehicle that is capable of light off-roading for camping weekends, and has developed a loyal following among its market base.

What's the latest? Forester is entering the fourth year of its fifth generation, and now offers Subaru’s active torque vectoring system that aims to simplify off-road driving for all drivers. For 2018, it also offers Eyesight® Driver Assist Technology, Reverse Automatic Braking and High Beam Assist systems as standard equipment on 2.5i Touring and 2.5XT Touring models. Forester also introduced a Black Edition package that includes paddle shifters, X-Mode and Hill Descent Control, along with LED Steering Responsive Headlights, with black accents in numerous areas.

How does it stack up? Compared to Prius, Forester offers less safety features as standard, though many of the systems found in TSS-P1 are available in Subaru’s EyeSight® for an additional cost. In terms of passenger area volume, Forester has Prius beat, with 108 cu. ft. versus Prius’ 93.1 cu. ft., and its 1,500-lb. tow rating bests Prius, which isn’t rated for towing at all. In the all-important EPA fuel economy rating, however, Prius remains champion, with a 58/53/56 mpg (city/highway/combined) rating, which far eclipses Forester’s best of 26/32/28 mpg.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

What is it? Hyundai began selling Ioniq Hybrid in its home market of South Korea in 2016, before bringing it to the U.S. for 2017. While it isn’t Hyundai’s first hybrid, it does mark the company’s first attempt at designing a car from the ground up with hybrid power exclusively in mind. It’s also available as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, called the Ioniq Electric, though that model is only sold in California.

What's the latest? Ioniq Hybrid is offered in three packages (Blue, SEL and Limited), with a starting MSRP of $22,200. The latter two packages unlock extra-cost options like Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, which is standard on Prius. At the time of its launch, Ioniq Hybrid’s fuel economy is rated at 57/59/58 (city/hwy/comb) for Blue and 55/54/55 for SEL and Limited. No major changes are anticipated for 2018.

How does it stack up? Prius comparison pending 2018 competitor release

Awards

2017 Toyota Prius was named one of Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com Top 10 most awarded cars of 2017.

The (2017) Prius received a 2017 5-Year Cost to Own Award from Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com

The 2017 Prius was named Best Hybrid Car for the Money by U.S. News & World Report.

2018 Toyota Prius is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety TSP.

2017 Prius was named an Excellent Value by IntelliChoice.

2017 Prius was named a Lowest Operating Costs winner by IntelliChoice.

2017 Prius was named a SmartChoice Maintenance Costs winner by IntelliChoice.

2017 Prius was named a Lowest Fuel Costs winner by IntelliChoice.