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Best & Worst Years of Toyota Prius – Graphs & Owner Surveys

The best years of the Toyota Prius are: 2019-2021, 2013-2016, 2011, 2004-2006, and 2008-2009. The years you should absolutely avoid are: 2001-2003, 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2017-2018. Most issues are related to the powertrain, specifically with pricey hybrid battery system repairs.

Toyota Prius parked against a green landscape

Since arriving on these shores more than 20 years ago, the Toyota Prius has become synonymous with hybrids. Lauded for leading the way on serious fuel economy figures, the Prius benefits from Toyota’s reputation for world-class engineering and reliability. However, not all Prii are created equal as we’ll illustrate below. 

After scouring Check Engine Light (CEL) data provided by thousands of FIXD car scanners installed in every generation of the Toyota Prius, a picture emerges of which model years are better than others. 

By blending in the results of extensive owner surveys, published information on fuel efficiency & safety scores, and current market values with this data – we can pinpoint the pros and cons of every model year Toyota Prius from 2001 to 2021. The results of that analysis are summarized in this table and explained in detail below. 

Best Years Why? Worst Years Why?
2019-2021

Top reliability marks across the board

>> See 2019-2021 Toyota Prius for sale

2001-2003

Terrible FIXD reliability scores

>> See 2001-2003 Toyota Prius for sale

2013-2016

Big jumps in reliability, impressive fuel efficiency

>> See 2013-2016 Toyota Prius for sale

2007

Steep drop in owner reliability

>> See 2007 Toyota Prius for sale

2011

Strong safety scores, excellent value

>> See 2011 Toyota Prius for sale

2010

Expensive annual repair bills

>> See 2010 Toyota Prius for sale

2004-2006

Notable steps up in safety and fuel economy

>> See 2004-2006 Toyota Prius for sale

2012

Mixed reliability, lots of recalls

>> See 2012 Toyota Prius for sale

2008-2009

Relatively inexpensive, good reliability scores

>> See 2008-2009 Toyota Prius for sale

2017-2018

First year of 4th generation

>> See 2017-2018 Toyota Prius for sale

Toyota Prius MPG, Engine Reliability Score, & Safety Ratings Year by Year

The charts below display engine reliability and crash-testing scores, fuel efficiency, and current market values for every model year Toyota Prius between 2001 and 2021. By combining this data with Prius-owner survey results, we are able to rank the Toyota Prius by best and worst model years. 

Engine reliability plays a main role in establishing which years of the Prius to consider and avoid with the additional data and survey answers utilized to support these rankings. A common thread here is that the first year of a new Prius generation tends to perform poorly on the reliability scoring as Toyota works out any kinks. 

The goal here is to help potential buyers of a used Prius make an informed decision and give current owners insight on the Prius in their driveway. If you’re in the market for a car, take a look at our article on the USAs’ most reliable and cheapest to repair cars in the U.S. Don’t get stuck with a lemon, use our data to help you shop.

Engine Reliability Score – Over The Years

Prius Reliability Scores

To determine which are the best and worst years of the Toyota Prius, we start with this engine reliability chart. The data points on the green line are an objective score of this metric. They are based on the number of Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) that are captured by thousands of FIXD devices installed by Toyota Prius owners. The total number of DTCs for each model year is weighted by mileage, then converted into a scale of 1 to 10 to generate the chart above. 

The gray line shows Toyota Prius reliability from the owner’s perspective. These subjective values are based on answers to a FIXD survey question that asks how reliable an owner thinks their Prius is. The multiple choice answers provided allow owners to describe whether their Prius is only capable of around-town driving, can handle cross-country road trips, or falls somewhere in between. These results are also converted to a 10-point scale. 

Though the two sets of data generally trend in the same direction, the gaps visually display the difference between objective and subjective information, which is why we analyze both sides of this engine reliability coin. The starkest divergence occurs in 2003. FIXD data gives this early Prius the lowest score of 1, while owners rate it 10 – the highest possible score. 

Looking over the data, we can see that not too many owners of the 2003 Prius responded, and those that did felt it could go cross-country without issue. However, the FIXD data points to the simple fact that this model year had a relatively high number of CELs. So, we lean on the objective information here, which lands the early Prius on our list of worst models. 

On the other hand, from 2019 through 2021, both sets of reliability data align at all-time highs making these model-year Prius’ shoe-ins as some of the best. No matter which year Prius you’re considering buying – or already own – this list of the most common Toyota CELs is helpful for getting a handle on what kind of maintenance to expect.

NHTSA Safety Score – Over The Years

Prius Safety Rating

Considering nearly 50% of Prius owners use their hybrid primarily as a family vehicle – according to FIXD survey results – crash test results are a critical piece of information. The chart above shows the average NHTSA safety score by Prius model year in green against the industry-wide safety score average. 

By and large, the Prius moves in line with the rest of the market aside from a divergence in 2011 and 2019. There is no obvious reason for the drop in 2019, but in 2011 the NHTSA revised its testing protocol to make it more strenuous. 

It appears Toyota was ready for this with the Prius as it performs quite well here, which is one of the reasons we give this model year a thumbs up. Interestingly, the same is not true of the 2011 Toyota Camry, which actually performed worse than the rest of the industry that year.

Along with peace of mind, vehicle safety plays a big role in insurance costs. If you live in one of the states listed below, we can show you the cheapest vehicles to insure in yours. 

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MPG – Over The Years

Prius Gas Mileage

The hybrid-only Toyota Prius has long been admired for its ability to stretch a gallon of gas. Which is borne out in this chart of fuel economy figures from Fueleconomy.gov. Averaging more than 40 mpg for two decades, the Prius generally improves with each generation. 

Second-gen models debuted in 2004 and moved the fuel economy average up by 5 mpg. 2010 brought gen-three and another bump up plus the first generation plug-in (PHEV), or Prime, model, which is represented by the gray line. The pattern continued in 2016 when the fourth-generation Prius arrived. 

Though it’s hard to find fault with any of these fuel efficiency figures, the first-ever Prius that ran from 2001 to 2003 is a relatively poor performer as we account for in the ranking details below. 

Current Market Value of All Toyota Prius Years & Cost Per Year to Repair and Maintain Each

Prius current market value and cost of repairs

The chart above shows current Kelley Blue Book (KBB) values of the Toyota Prius going back 20 years in green against annual Prius repair costs – per owner surveys – in gray. 

As is expected, an older Prius is generally worth less money and while this trend is mostly steady, there is a dramatic change between 2015 and 2016. The fourth-generation Prius, riding on the then-new Toyota New Global Architecture showed up in 2016. 

It was a major improvement over the prior generation, which could make it more desirable and drive up market values. As well, leading up to 2016, we can see annual repair costs steadily decline which is part of why these model years are some of our favorite Prii. 

Also worth noting is how repair costs spiked from $350 in 2009 to $925 in 2010, which happens to be the first year of the third-gen Prius. It’s not unusual for an all-new model to come with gremlins that need sorting out and in this case, those gremlins help the 2010 Prius earn a thumbs down. 

When shopping for a used Toyota Prius, it’s important to keep in mind that not all vehicles are cared for equally. To protect yourself from lemons, take along a FIXD Sensor on your test drive. FIXD connects to a free app on your smartphone to tell you more about the vehicle you’re checking out, including check engine lights and other hidden issues that the owner or dealership may be attempting to hide. Click here to learn more and get FIXD for only $19.99 (regular price $59)!

Important Features Timeline

Pius timeline of important features

2001: First-gen Prius debuts with 1.5L four-cylinder hybrid powertrain

2002: Side airbags and cruise control offered as options

2003: Carryover final model year for gen-one

2004: Second-gen Prius arrives with more power and better fuel efficiency

2005: Rear windshield wiper becomes standard

2006: Facelifted exterior, backup camera becomes optional

2007: Front-side and full-length side-curtain airbags now standard

2008: Low-cost “Standard” model added as entry-level Prius

2009: No changes for final gen-two model year

2010: Third-gen Prius comes with latest hybrid powertrain and more amenities

2011: A carryover year with no major updates

2012: Prime PHEV, larger Prius V, and smaller Prius C all debut

2013: Persona Series special edition added to lineup

2014: No major changes for 2014

2015: Backup camera becomes standard equipment

2016: Fourth-gen Prius and second-gen Prius PHEV arrive

2017: Safety Sense suite of driver aids becomes lineup standard

2018: Top models feature an 11.6” infotainment touchscreen

2019: AWD added as an option, facelifted exterior

2020: Apple CarPlay included on all models

2021: Android Auto becomes standard on every Prius

2022: New Nightshade model, standard heated front seats

The Best Years of the Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius hybrid electric gas car front passenger view

After analyzing engine reliability scores, government crash test rating, fuel efficiency figures, and owner survey results, we’ve come up with this ranking of the best Prius model years. Current market values and annual maintenance costs also factor into the ranking. DTCs and safety recall details worth noting have been included when applicable.

2019-2021 Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius Hybrid Auto with trees in the background

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 10/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 10/10

KBB Value: $20,085-$24,830

Fuel Economy: 51-53 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $250-$1,375

Safety Rating: 4-4.6/5

It’s easy to see why the 2019, 2020, and 2021 Prius are the best of the best model years on this list. All three models boast 10/10 on reliability from FIXD and owner survey data. As well, these reliability scores are an increase of one point over 2018 in both cases. In some respects, this is not surprising as these Prii are deep into the fourth generation and benefit from years of honing and refining. 

Other highlights include the average safety score stepping up from 4 to 4.6 out of 5 and less than 1 day in the shop, per owner surveys, for all three model years. This is helped by the fact that mileage runs as low as 25,000 but only as high as 75,000. 

Recalls are few with 0 in 2021, 1 in 2020 affecting the vehicle stability control system on about 7,000 Prime models, and 3 in 2019. The 2019 recall impacts fewer than 4,000 Prius’ and has to do with a malfunctioning display screen. A Toyota dealership should fix any recall free of charge on models up to 15 years old. 

When issues do pop up, DTC C1241 is a likely culprit. A common issue to the Toyota portfolio, this CEL is related to the car battery – not the more expensive hybrid battery. Resolving it may be as simple as charging the battery, but could require replacement, which can cost as much as $500. 

One maintenance-related issue of concern is the nearly $1,400 annual repair costs for the 2021 Prius. That figure was just $250 in 2019 and $375 in 2020. The values come from owner surveys however, there is currently no FIXD data on DTCs for the 2021 model, so a deeper analysis will have to wait until more devices are installed on these newer Prius’. 

Fortunately, these model years may still fall under Toyota’s factory vehicle warranty – 3 years or 36,000 miles – and powertrain warranty – 5 years or 60,000 miles – so be sure to consider that before making a purchase.

2013-2016 Toyota Prius

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 7-9/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 9/10

KBB Value: $8,576-$16,749

Fuel Economy: 48-54 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $333-$635

Safety Rating: 4.4/5

Along with some of the best fuel economy ratings, the FIXD reliability score moves steadily higher from 7 in 2013 – a jump of 2 points over 2012 and up to a 9 in 2016. That last score is notable as it is year one of the fourth-generation Prius, which typically translates to diminished reliability. 

Not only did the fourth-gen Prius show strong reliability out of the gate, but the heavily revised powertrain also punched up fuel economy from an average of 48 mpg in 2015 to 54 in 2016. Coupling that with solid owner-reported reliability and decreasing annual repair costs results in a strong overall performance.

Additionally, 25% or more of surveyed owners from all four model years expect their Prius to cruise past 200,000 miles. This is worth mentioning as the average odometer reading for these models falls between 90,000 and 145,000 meaning owner confidence is high.

Of course, problems do crop up. Between the 2013 and 2016 model years, DTC P0171 is a common issue. Related to the fuel pump, repairing this problem runs between $450 and $600. DTC P0455 was another frequent offender. Fortunately this evaporative emission control (EVAP) system problem could be as simple a fix as tightening the gas cap.

2011 Toyota Prius

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 6/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 7/10

KBB Value: $7,312

Fuel Economy: 48 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $750

Safety Rating: 4.6/5

The 2011 Prius earns a spot on our list of best model years by showing an increase in reliability year-over-year. The FIXD score bumps from a 5 in 2010 to a 6 in 2011, while the survey data leaps from a 7 to a 10 out of 10. 

As well, the safety score ticks up from 4.2 to 4.6 – one of the highest of all model years and the 2011 Prius is an excellent value for those looking to buy. Average mileage is right around 150,000 versus a KBB market value of just $7,300. 

Before you consider making a purchase, however, check on the status of a recall affecting over 800,000 2010 to 2014 Prii. One of six recalls in 2010, this particular issue had to do with excessive voltage running through the Intelligent Power Module and causing sudden hybrid-system shutdown – even while driving.

Though the typical annual maintenance cost of a 2011 Prius is only about $100 more than the $650 average across all model years, issues do occur including with the hybrid battery system. Indicated by DTC P0A80, this is a serious problem that could cost you over $1,000 to have repaired. A DIY approach is not recommended due to the high-voltage work required. 

Another common CEL from the 2011 model year has to do with DTC P0441. Found across Toyota vehicles, this issue likely has to do with a damaged charcoal canister and runs between $750 and $1,000 to repair. 

2004-2006 Toyota Prius

2005 Blue Prius parallel parked roadside

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 3-5/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 9/10

KBB Value: $3,741-$5,486

Fuel Economy: 46 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $500-$563

Safety Rating: 4-4.2/5

Though the FIXD reliability score for a 2004 Prius is low at 3/10, it’s a relatively huge improvement over the score of 1/10 on all three prior models. As well, this metric continued to improve through 2006 and owners rated it a 9 all three years.

This is impressive considering 2004 was the first year of the gen-two Prius. Not only did Toyota dramatically improve reliability, but the new model was also far more efficient at the pumps with an average fuel economy of 46 mpg – five more mpg than prior years. 

Perhaps just as important is how the safety scores over this range improved from just over 3 in 2003 to just over 4 in 2004. Interestingly, market value spiked in 2004 before settling back into a more typical trend. That could be attributed to how big an improvement the second-gen model was over the original Prius. 

Not only does the earlier model have all-time low reliability scores, the 2001-2003 Prius shows average odometer readings between 125,000 and 175,000 miles. Whereas these 2004-2006 vehicles are all at or well past 200,000 miles on the clock indicating better build quality – and a higher consumer value.

Old news now, the 2004-2005 Prius was part of a massive Toyota recall at the time. Impacting over 4 million vehicles, the issue revolved around a gas pedal that could get stuck – open. You can use the NHTSA VIN tool to determine if your Prius – or one you might buy – was impacted. 

Maintenance costs for these model years stay well under the annual average, but DTC P0420 does show up occasionally. It means the catalytic converter needs to be looked at, an issue that can run up to $2,000 for replacement

DTC P0446 is another common cause of CELs on the 2004-2006 Prius. It has to do with the EVAP system, which prevents fuel vapors from escaping into the atmosphere. A fix could be as simple as tightening the gas cap or a $200 valve in the worst case.

2008-2009 Toyota Prius

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 5-6/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 7/10

KBB Value: $5,096-$5,921

Fuel Economy: 46 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $350-$1,000

Safety Rating: 4.2/5

With a market value in the $5,000 to $6,000 range and overall solid reliability scores, the 2008 and 2009 Toyota Prius make our list of best model years. Mileage tends to run higher on these older Prii – around 170,000 – but more than 50% of owners expect their car to keep going past 200,000 miles.

Annual repair costs vary widely from one year to the next with 2008 being the outlier. There’s about an 18% chance of a $500+ repair having to do with the engine this year, specifically related to the catalytic converter as shown by DTC P0420. Repair of this critical component can run as high as $2,000.

Another potentially pricey fix common to the 2008 and 2009 Prius is the hybrid battery system. If you see DTC P0A80 on your FIXD app, it’s best to stop driving immediately. This severe issue can do damage if left in disrepair and runs north of $1,000 at a shop.

The Worst Years of the Toyota Prius

Black 2010 Toyota Prius at a parking space

2001-2003 Toyota Prius

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 1/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 4-10/10

KBB Value: $2,581-$2,960

Fuel Economy: 41 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $250-$1,750

Safety Rating: 3.4-3.7/5

Occupying the bottom of our ranking barrel is the entire first-gen Prius that was produced from 2001 to 2003. The FIXD reliability score sits at 1 for all three years, far lower than any other Prius. Owner-reported reliability is better but still lower than most other survey-based scores. As we discussed above, the survey score of 10 in 2003 appears to be the result of too small a sample size so we’ll focus instead on the objective FIXD data.

Along with low reliability scores, the first-gen Prius has the lowest safety scores of all model years and a 41-mpg average fuel economy. In a vacuum, that fuel efficiency figure is solid, but in the company of other Prius generations, it’s not as impressive.

There are no major recalls with these original Prius models, but to pile on, the market value chart moves the wrong way from 2002 to 2003 and owners strongly dislike the entertainment system per survey responses. 

When it comes to maintenance, the 2001 Prius ranks the highest – but not in a good way – with an annual cost of $1,750 and around 4 days in the shop. Those are the worst figures across a 20-year span of Prius ownership data for both metrics. 

One bright spot is that the most common CELs are not big-ticket items. DTC P0171, related to a mass airflow sensor issue, shouldn’t cost more than a couple hundred dollars. And the ignition coil problem indicated by DTC P0300 is typically less than $200 to fix though it can be a severe issue that should be looked at right away.

2007 Toyota Prius

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 4/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 7/10

KBB Value: $4,483

Fuel Economy: 46 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $472

Safety Rating: 4.2/5

The 2007 Prius is one of the worst model years due to a steep dive in reliability scores – from FIXD data and owner surveys – over the previous year. This is perhaps not surprising given the car is 16 years old and averages nearly 190,000 miles on the odometer.

When repairs rear their ugly head, it can get expensive. Catalytic converter replacement runs into the thousands of dollars so watch out for DTC P0420. Another commonly seen CEL on the 2007 Prius comes from DTC P1121. Having to do with the 3-way coolant flow control valve – this issue is fortunately low on the severity scale. 

There are four recalls associated with the 2007 Prius and one in particular, having to do with the failure of a steering component, affected nearly 700,000 vehicles. So be sure to verify this has been addressed if you own a 2007 Prius or are considering purchasing one. 

2010 Toyota Prius

Black 2010 Toyota Prius at a parking space

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 5/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 7/10

KBB Value: $6,863

Fuel Economy: 50 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $925

Safety Rating: 4.2/5

2010 marked year one of the third generation Prius and as is so often the case with the first year of a new model, it was not fully baked. Annual repair costs jump from $350 in 2009 to over $900 for this model year. That correlates with a 37% chance that an expensive repair is related to the engine and a drop in FIXD reliability from 6 to 5. 

Those repairs come with an average of nearly two days in the shop each year, which is on the high end across all Prii. Common problems include DTC C1259, which has to do with a faulty hybrid system ECU and costs around $1,000 to replace. 

The hybrid battery is another problem area for 2010 models, indicated by DTC P0A80. This is a serious issue that should be remedied quickly. It too can cost upwards of $1,000 and is best handled by the pros due to the high voltage running through it. 

In line with these bugaboos are the number of consumer complaints – nearly 3,000 – and recalls – 10 – both of which are quite high for any Prius model year. Key recalls to be aware of are an issue with the hybrid system unexpectedly shutting down, a cracked side curtain airbag inflator, and failure of the Intelligent Power Module. 

The 2010 Prius came with a bigger gas motor, revised engine management system, and a new hybrid system, so it’s not surprising that these models were buggy. The good news is that all those vehicle updates resulted in better fuel efficiency – an average of 50 mpg. 

2012 Toyota Prius

Red 2012 Toyota Prius at the countryside.

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 5/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 10/10

KBB Value: $8,380

Fuel Economy: 48 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $667

Safety Rating: 4.6/5

The 2012 Prius is a mixed bag with a poor FIXD reliability score but strong scores from owners. It was the first time Toyota offered a plug-in Prius variant, which may have contributed to the FIXD Reliability score dropping from 6 in the prior year to 5 in 2012. 

The recall count was also on the high side in 2012, with a total of eight, many of which also showed up on the 2010 Prius. Subjectively, owners are not in love with the entertainment system. Only 3% find it easy to use and 21% don’t like it at all. This is notable as 2012 brought an all-new Entune suite of smartphone and internet integration features. 

Annual repair costs for 2012 hover right around the overall average of $624, but the three most common CEL causes tend to result in pricey repairs. 

First up is DTC P0A80 for the hybrid battery system, a severe issue that can cost over $1,000. Next up is DTC P0420, which could mean your Prius needs a new catalytic converter, work that ranges from $1,500 to $2,000. Finally, there is DTC C1259 indicating a problem with the hybrid system ECU and a roughly $1,000 hit to the wallet.

2017-2018 Toyota Prius

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 8/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 9/10

KBB Value: $17,745-$18,874

Fuel Economy: 54 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $386-$607

Safety Rating: 4.4/5

Being the “best of the worst” means the 2017 and 2018 Toyota Prius models aren’t all bad, but we still wouldn’t recommend them. Reliability scores are solid but the FIXD number was higher a year earlier in 2016. That also happens to be when the 4th-gen Prius debuted so teething issues likely carried over into 2017 and 2018. 

Fortunately, some of those issues can be inexpensive like charging or replacing the vehicle battery – not to be confused with the hybrid battery. Indicated by DTC C1241, this repair can be a few hundred dollars if a new battery is required. 

However, another common CEL for the 2017-2018 Prius comes from DTC P261B and brings an uptick in repair costs. This code can mean it’s time for a new water pump. Expect to pay $700-$800 at a shop or save roughly $300 when doing it yourself. 

Recalls are few with three for the 2017 model year and just one for 2018. Common to both years is a recall for an engine wire harness shorting issue due to chafing that affected nearly 200,000 cars. As with any recall less than 15 years old, a Toyota dealership should fix this issue for free.

One interesting note from owner surveys is a jump from 44% in 2017 to over 60% of 2018 Prius owners that are unhappy with available cabin storage.

FAQs

What years of the Toyota Prius have engine and/or transmission problems?

Over a 20-year span, the Toyota Prius is largely free of major engine and transmission problems but 2010 stands out from owner survey data. That model has a 37% chance of an expensive repair ($500 or more) being related to the engine. It’s one of the reasons the 2010 Prius is on our list of worst model years to own.

What is considered high mileage for a Toyota Prius?

The average odometer reading for all Prius owners in our surveys is about 132,000 miles. Looking at individual years, that metric doesn’t cross 100,000 miles until you go back to 2015. But you have to go all the way back to 2006 to hit an annual average mileage of 200,000 and even then, there are only two model years that cross that milestone. So, 200,000 miles could be considered high mileage for a Toyota Prius. 

Do any hybrid years have problems? 

The Toyota Prius is of course a hybrid-only vehicle and has been since day one, so any major problems are addressed in the best and worst rankings above. However, Toyota has also sold a plug-in hybrid version since 2012. 

It arrived in the middle of gen-three Prius production and though our data does not break out issues specific to these PHEV, or Prime, models, 2012 happens to be one of the model years we don’t recommend. That recommendation would hold true for plug-in versions as well. 

What other vehicles should I consider? 

If you’re cross-shopping the Toyota Prius, chances are you’re looking for a hybrid. Honda’s Insight actually beat the Prius to market by one year in 2000, though the first generation – that ran until 2006 – was exceptionally quirky. The 2010-2014 Insight was a closer Prius competitor and the most recent generation was easily mistaken for a Civic, which is to say it doesn’t shout “I’m a hybrid!” from the rooftops. 

Hybrids worth considering that are no longer in production include the Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Kia Optima, and Toyota Avalon. The Toyota Camry and Corolla, Honda Accord and Civic, and Hyundai Sonata are all available in hybrid form on the used market or brand new. Our Best Hybrid Cars article goes into more detail on the ins and outs of hybrid ownership along with additional vehicle recommendations.

What owners of the Toyota Prius like to use their car for:

Frequent Use Categories: How Useful? (Out of 5 Stars)
Family Vehicle *****
Lots of Driving (travel/long commute) ****
Hauling/Towing *
Office on Wheels *
Sport/Fast Driving *
Luxurious Driving *
Outdoor/Off-Road *

A Note About Data and Information Sources

This article has many details about Toyota Prius reliability; here’s what we used for our assumptions and recommendations.

  • FIXD Reliability Score & Data: Engine reliability information is captured via the FIXD App

The FIXD Reliability Score is calculated using the number of DTCs per year, weighted by mileage. This is then turned into a scale of 1-10 for easy graphing. 

This is an objective score.

  • Owner Reliability Score & Data: This data is the result of surveying Toyota Prius owners who use FIXD. 

The Owner Reliability Score comes straight from owners of the Toyota Prius.  

This is a subjective score.

To determine the Owner Reliability Score we ask each car owner:

How reliable would you say your Toyota Prius is?

a. Just point A to point B driving

b. A Daily Commuter

c. Good for a 100 mile road trip

d. Good for a 500 mile road trip

e. I could take a cross-country road trip, no problem

From here we translate their answers into the Owner Reliability Score:

a. = 2

b. = 4

c. = 6

d. = 8

e. = 10

Keep in mind, owners may think their car is more or less reliable than it actually is. 

One potential problem is that people often buy the same make or model they are used to when they go car shopping, just a newer year.

Ford, for instance, has a number of consumer loyalty awards for the Ford F-Series, Ford Mustang, and Ford Expedition.

Car owners may be so loyal to the make or model they currently own that they would have trouble accurately comparing their cars’ reliability to others. 

It’s for this reason that we ask car owners a question that is relative to mileage rather than relative to other cars.

Still, be mindful of the accuracy of these Owner Reliability Scores, people’s perceptions and unconscious blindspots can skew data. 

We suggest looking at both the FIXD Reliability Score and the Owner Reliability Score for this reason.

  • KBB Value: Average private-seller valuations as supplied by Kelley Blue Book (KBB), based on a Toyota Prius with typical mileage for that respective model year.
  • Fuel Economy: Mileage-per-gallon estimates according to the EPA MPG on Fueleconomy.gov
  • Annual Maintenance/Repair: Upkeep expenses as reported by surveyed Toyota Prius owners
  • Safety Rating: Crash test data collected and reported by NHTSA. We average all ratings for each year to come up with a simplified, average safety score. This makes it easier to look at on a graph. 

References

  1. Toyota Prius model-specific information. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from https://www.edmunds.com/
  2. Toyota Prius model-specific recall information. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls
  3. Toyota Prius sales figures. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from https://carsalesbase.com/ 
  4. Toyota Prius model-specific information. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from https://www.auto-brochures.com 
Profile Picture of Niel Stender

Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his old Cherokee and sweet Mitsubishi Starion, which led to a degree in mechanical engineering and a job at Ford as a vehicle dynamics engineer. His writing infuses that automotive background with sales and marketing experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he enjoys digging into some of the more technical mechanical systems under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.

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Niel Stender

Niel Stender

Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his old Cherokee and sweet Mitsubishi Starion, which led to a degree in mechanical engineering and a job at Ford as a vehicle dynamics engineer. His writing infuses that automotive background with sales and marketing experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he enjoys digging into some of the more technical mechanical systems under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

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