First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
But any Prius comes with a trade-off: performance. The Prius is neither quick nor engaging to drive. Additionally, its infotainment system isn't the easiest to use and lacks Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration. But for shoppers seeking the most return per gallon, that's easily forgivable. Along with the Honda Insight, the Prius is one of our top recommended hybrids for 2019.
Its new body design is more aerodynamic, with a reduced drag coefficient of Cd=0.25. This figure is disputed by General Motors which found the value for the model with 17-inch wheels to be around 0.30 based on tests in GM, Ford, and Chrysler wind tunnels. Car & Driver measured the third generation Prius at 0.26 in a privately arranged five-way wind-tunnel test of comparable cars. An underbody rear fin helps stabilize the vehicle at higher speeds.
Toyota unveiled the Prius c concept at the January 2011 North American International Auto Show. The Prius c has a lower list price and is smaller than the previous Prius hatchback. The production version was unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show as the Toyota Aqua, and was launched in Japan in December 2011. The Prius c was released in the US and Canada in March 2012, and in April 2012 in Australia and New Zealand. The Prius c is not available in Europe, where instead, Toyota is selling the Toyota Yaris Hybrid since June 2012. The Prius c and the Yaris Hybrid share the same powertrain. The Aqua ranked as the second best selling car in Japan in 2012 after the Prius brand, as Toyota reports together sales of the conventional Prius and the Prius α. When sales of these two Prius models are broken down, the Toyota Aqua ranked as the top selling model in Japan, including kei cars, with the Aqua leading monthly sales since February through December 2012. Thereafter, the Aqua has been the top selling new car in Japan for three years running, from 2013 to 2015, and it is considered the most successful nameplate launch in Japan in the last 20 years.
On the inside, Toyota has replaced the white plastic interior trim with black glossy and semi-glossy finishes. The Prius lineup has gone through a name change, too, dropping the numbered trims with a more traditional Toyota name lineup of L Eco, LE, XLE and Limited. Feature content remains largely unchanged, which unfortunately also means Apple CarPlay is not yet available. On the plus side, the Toyota Safety Sense P suite of advanced safety features is standard on all Prius trims.
As the Prius reached ten years of being available in the US market, in February 2011 Consumer Reports examined the lifetime and replacement cost of the Prius battery. The magazine tested a 2002 Toyota Prius with over 200,000 miles on it, and compared the results to the nearly identical 2001 Prius with 2,000 miles tested by Consumer Reports 10 years before. The comparison showed little difference in performance when tested for fuel economy and acceleration. Overall fuel economy of the 2001 model was 40.6 miles per US gallon (5.79 L/100 km; 48.8 mpg‑imp) while the 2002 Prius with high mileage delivered 40.4 miles per US gallon (5.82 L/100 km; 48.5 mpg‑imp). The magazine concluded that the effectiveness of the battery has not degraded over the long run. The cost of replacing the first generation battery varies between US$2,200 and US$2,600 from a Toyota dealer, but low-use units from salvage yards are available for around US$500. One study indicates it may be worthwhile to rebuild batteries using good blades from defective used batteries.
The second generation Prius plug-in, called Toyota Prius Prime in the U.S. and Prius PHV in Japan, was developed in parallel with the standard fourth generation Prius model (XW50) released in December 2015. The model was released to retail customers in the U.S. in November 2016, followed by Japan in February 2017. In the American market, unlike the first generation model, the Prius Prime will be available in all 50 states. Cumulative global sales of both Prius plug-in generations totaled 79,300 units at the end of January 2017. The U.S. is the top selling market, with 46,133 units sold since inception through January 2017, of which, 3,788 units are second generation Prius Prime cars.
For 2019, car shoppers have another reason to consider the Prius: available all-wheel drive. The new Prius AWD-e adds an electric motor to drive the rear wheels for better initial traction between 0 and 6 mph and re-engages when front tire slippage is detected at speeds up to 43 mph. If you live in an area that has snowy or icy roads during the winter, the AWD-e could provide extra traction. Fuel economy suffers only slightly with the Prius AWD-e.
Advanced driver safety aids such as automatic emergency braking have become commonplace, but some automakers limit certain features to higher trim levels. For example, don't expect adaptive cruise control or blind-spot monitoring to come free with every model. Another thing to keep in mind is that there may be a range of infotainment systems on offer within a given model range, so make sure you check out any differences at the dealership before going with a lower-spec system.
During a brief test drive on dry pavement, we were able to shake loose some rear-drive assistance during aggressive cornering, although this served more to confirm the existence of the rear motor than to improve handling. AWD-e does not bring with it any sort of performance-enhancing torque vectoring; the Prius is still happy to understeer. A few circles in a roundabout ("Big Ben! Parliament!") showed a narrow window of all-wheel-drive operation until stability control aggressively steps in. Given the sedate pace that most Prius drivers maintain, the rear wheels will rarely be powered, which is the way Toyota wants it, a necessity to maintain the Prius's fuel-sipping EPA numbers. On a short snow-covered course, however, the rear motor helped to get the car moving from a stop as promised and kept it moving through an inch or two of the white stuff.
High gasoline prices in the US, approaching US$4 a gallon by March 2012, contributed to record monthly sales of the Prius family vehicles. A total of 28,711 units were sold in the United States during March 2012, becoming the one-month record for Prius sales ever. The third-generation Prius liftback accounted for 18,008 units (62.7%); the Prius v accounted for 4,937 units (17.2%); the Prius c, for 4,875 units (17.0%); and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, for 891 units (3.1%). Another record was set during the first-quarter of 2012, with Prius family sales of 60,859 units, it became the best selling quarter ever. Sales of Toyota Prius family vehicles in California represented 26% of all Prius purchases in the US during 2012. With 60,688 units sold during this year, the Prius became the best selling vehicle in California, ahead of the previous leader, the Honda Civic (57,124 units) and the third ranked, the Toyota Camry (50,250 units). The Prius nameplate was again in 2013 the best selling vehicle in California with 69,728 units sold in the state, ahead of the Honda Civic (66,982) and the Honda Accord (63,194).