The Toyota Prius was one of the first hybrid vehicles that you could buy in the United States. Over the course of a couple of generations, buyers included Hollywood celebrities. Environmentalists also attracted to the car, too. For 2016, the car underwent a significant redesign. We recently had one in for review. Is it still the fuel-economy king, and should you consider it for your next hybrid?
Sedans aren’t selling particularly well in the United States right now. Cheap fuel prices are driving more and more people into crossovers and SUVs. But even with gas prices low, there’s a few reasons why you’d want to look at the 2016 Toyota Prius.
Fuel economy is first. The Prius Two Eco has the best fuel economy of the Prius lineup. The EPA says 58 mpg in the city, 53 mpg on the highway, or 56 mpg combined. Until Hyundai introduces their IONIQ line, the Prius is the hybrid fuel-economy king. During our week of testing, it was easy to get the highway rating into the 60 mpg territory. For fuel economy, it delivers as advertised.
The interior isn’t changed much from the previous-generation Prius. You get 27.4 cubic feet of cargo volume. The batteries live underneath the rear seats, freeing up cargo space. For a hybrid, there’s a decent amount of storage.
We aren’t a fan of the central-mounted instrument cluster. It’s still easy to see. With our tester’s white material trim, there was some glare on the windshield.
The gear shifter is same old Prius, and you still get the annoying chime when you put the car in reverse. I know the car is in reverse because it’s moving backwards with the rearview camera on.
The Prius was never a fun car to drive. Part of the changes made for the 2016 model is an improvement in that. These improvements make it nicer to drive.
It’s not a Mazda Miata or a Chevrolet Corvette, but it’s fun on the back roads — for a Prius. The Sport mode improves the throttle response and changes the instrument cluster red.
The sporty mode doesn’t improve acceleration or suspension, but it feels racier. The car is confident — for a Prius — entering corners.
It’s better than the previous version to drive. It won’t win over performance enthusiasts, but Toyota made an effort to make it better.
The Two Eco lacks navigation and satellite radio. Toyota assumes buyers of a model like this would rather use their cell phones. Bluetooth streaming is standard. We didn’t miss either during my week with the car.
We would appreciate blind spot monitoring and optional radar cruise control. Upgrading to the Prius Three or Four lets you choose that, but we’d like to see it on the gas miser version.
If you can get past the looks, it’s better in every way than the previous version. If you want a fuel efficient commuter without going crossover, the Prius is hard to beat.