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2018 Toyota Prius

$23,475 - $30,565
Price Range (MSRP)
Toyota Prius

2018 Toyota Prius Review: Still The Go-To Hybrid For All

by Adam Lynton

One thing the Prius has going for it is reputation. As part of the first hybrid vehicle range that made a significant impact on the market, the Prius has become synonymous with the idea of green automobiles. Although a hybrid is certainly not for everyone, the Prius appeals to those who want a reliable, efficient and low-cost vehicle that covers all the bases in terms of comfort and technology, good safety features and a spacious, practical cabin. In this regard, the Prius offers excellent value for money and compares favorably against rivals such as the Ford C-Max Hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq, and even the non-hybrid Honda Fit. while the Ioniq manages better gas mileage, the Prius offers a more comfortable interior and a better driving experience. Hindered only by lack of space in the back for taller passengers, and a lackluster performance in terms of acceleration, the Prius remains an excellent option in the compact car segment. In comparison to the Prius c, the smaller offering from Toyota in terms of hybrid powertrains, the standard Prius makes one wonder why the Prius c is even still on the market.

Read in this review:

2018 Toyota Prius Changes: What’s the difference vs 2017 Prius?

As part of the fourth generation from the 2016 year, the Prius carries over with no changes, although a larger 11.6-inch touchscreen is now an optional extra on top-level trims.

Pros and Cons

  • Superb gas mileage - upwards of 50 mpg
  • Discrete hybrid engine
  • Practical and comfortable cabin
  • Good visibility and driver position
  • Numerous standard safety features
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility
  • Rear seat is tight for taller passengers
  • Passing maneuvers are tricky with hybrid engine's lack of power

Prius Exterior

The Prius has garnered a reputation for its unique and angular styling, with bi-LED head and taillights and daytime running lights making up the majority of its striking look. Folding exterior mirrors and color-coded door handles, together with a shark-fin antenna, add to the sleek profile. Entry-level models have standard 15-inch wheels, which have a two-tone insert on mid-range options. The top-tier variants are equipped with 17-inch alloys and offer a moonroof as optional. The two Touring models are equipped with integrated fog lights and clearance lights, as well as a unique front and rear bumper. Piano-black side skirt rocker panels can be equipped additionally.

2018 Toyota Prius Front View
2018 Toyota Prius Three Quarter Front Right Side View
2018 Toyota Prius Three Quarter Front Right Side View
See All 2018 Toyota Prius Exterior Photos

Dimensions

At the more spacious end of the compact car segment, the Prius has a length of 178.7 inches, a width of 69.3 inches, and it stands 58.1 inches tall. Although longer than most rivals, it sits somewhere in the middle in terms of other dimensions; it is also heavier than the Hyundai Ioniq and the Honda Fit, but lighter than the Ford C-Max Hybrid, weighing in at 3,010 lbs for the lightest Two Eco trim and 3,080 for the fully loaded Four Touring model. A wheelbase of 106.3 inches is substantially longer than other competitors, no doubt assisting with the smooth ride and well-spaced interior. Sitting low to the road, the Prius offers ground clearance of 5.1 inches.

Exterior Colors

A total of seven exterior colors are available for the Prius, with two that cost $395 additionally - namely the signature Toyota elite color, Blizzard Pearl, and the vibrant Hypersonic Red. The five standard Metallic colors that are available include Midnight Black, Blue Crush, Sea Glass Pearl, Magnetic Gray, and Classic Silver - none of which do anything to help make the Prius look like anything truly special.

  • Blue Crush Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Sea Glass Pearl
  • Classic Silver Metallic
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Hypersonic Red

Prius Performance

The Prius is equipped with a 1.8-liter engine paired to an electric motor, which feeds a combined power output of 121 horsepower to the front wheels. 105 pound-feet torque is available from the inline-four engine, which results in an enthusiastic performance from a standstill, although this doesn't mean the Prius is a fast car. It features in the bottom rankings for overall acceleration, making the 0-60 mph dash in 9.8 seconds, which is below average for this segment (it's more of a jog than a dash, really). Although not designed with performance in mind, getting up to speed is not problematic around town - given the fact that the purpose of the Prius is to conserve fuel, the pay off in your budget is worth the sacrifice for speed. Both the Honda Fit and the Ford C-Max produce much more power and are faster off the line overall, but the Prius performs adequately for stop-start driving and dense traffic conditions; it provides a sense of eagerness which isn't present in its baby brother, the Prius c, where acceleration feels forced at best.

2018 Toyota Prius Three Quarter Front Left Side View In Motion
2018 Toyota Prius Rear View
2018 Toyota Prius Engine

Engine and Transmission

A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine provides 95 hp and 105 lb-ft torque; the on-board electric motor adds on another 71 hp and 120 lb-ft to produce a combined output of 121 hp. Mated to a continuously variable transmission, the Prius offers smooth (although not particularly powerful) acceleration that fares well in urban driving, thanks to predictable gear shifts. Passing maneuvers and overtaking at higher speeds will prove to be a challenge though, and while driving the Prius is anything but sporty and entertaining, it is relatively easy going: throttle responses are quick, with a willing engine that tries hard to get up to pace, making it feel faster than it actually is. The nippy hybrid engine is a little noisy at start-up, but it quietens down during driving and transitions to hybrid mode discreetly. The cruise control functions well too, and very little noise carries through to the cabin; overall it makes for an amiable driving experience.

  • Engine
    1.8-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Thanks to a lower, longer, and wider structure than the older generation Prius, as well as that of main rivals, the Prius has a low center of gravity to enhance road holding and handling; although the rigid frame helps to create a sense of solid, sturdy competence, driving the Prius is a bit of a mixed bag. Despite being responsive and reasonably nimble, it lacks connection and grip, and presents with quite a bit of body roll in corners. Suspension is adequate though, and it handles bumps and jostles without relaying discomfort to the cabin, providing not too much bounce, and not too much harsh rigidity in mid corner bumps either.

Braking responses are consistent, if nothing else. Smooth and linear braking at higher speeds is encouraging on the Prius, as most rivals have negative reviews in this regard. Emergency braking performance is average though. The steering is solid, but could do with more road feedback - it takes little effort to direct the vehicle, but it doesn't provide much engagement either. The comfortable and quiet drive does balance out these drawbacks, however, and in general the Prius would be ideal for city driving.

Prius Gas Mileage

The very reason for the existence of the Prius is fuel economy. Here is where it excels, providing gas mileage estimates of 54/50/52 mpg city/highway/combined for most models in the range. A fuel tank capacity of 11.3 gallons means a588-mile range, which is both impressive and will result in long-term savings at the pump. The Prius Two Eco offers even better numbers, 58/53/56 mpg, equating to 633 miles per tank of gas - this is almost on the same level as the class leading Ioniq. As far as fuel efficiency goes, the Prius ranks amongst the elite in this segment - with only the Ioniq beating it, the Prius outperforms both the Honda Fit and the Ford C-Max quite significantly.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    11.3 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 54/50 mpg
* 2018 Toyota Prius One Hatchback

Prius Interior

Characterised by function and practicality, the Prius' interior is neither luxurious nor class-leading. Despite this, it is generally spacious and comfortable, with quality cloth seating on entry-level models, ample light streaming in from large windows, and a cargo area that is above average for this segment. Front seats are roomy, while the rear seat is on the tight side - definitely not comfortable for taller passengers but more than adequate for children. A high-definition touchscreen, single-zone climate control, and full set out LATCH car seat restraints are standard fitment. The cabin features excellent build quality with soft-touch areas throughout, although the dashboard offers an interesting deviation from the norm in the placement of the odometer/speedometer cluster in the middle instead of in front of the driver. Although designed to minimize driver distraction, it takes some getting used to, but it provides a very futuristic look that is quite refreshing.

2018 Toyota Prius Gauge Cluster
2018 Toyota Prius Gauge Cluster
2018 Toyota Prius Central Console Navigation System
See All 2018 Toyota Prius Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Offering maximum seating capacity for five, real-life scenarios dictate that the Prius is better suited to four adults, and preferably rear passengers who are not too tall at that. The sloping roof in the rear area, and restrictive leg room in the back seat make this an uncomfortable place to be if your passengers are closer to six feet tall. Instead, the back seat is perfectly suited for three children, and with LATCH restraints on both outboard seats and in the middle seat, will be the ideal mid-size family hatchback. The front seats offer a bit more space, and although they provide little lumbar support (offered on top-end models only), the seats are well padded and can be adjusted at least six ways. Visibility is superb due to the clever design, large windows and driving position - oddly enough, the placement of the instrument cluster in the center of the dashboard does provide better outward view, although it feels strange to keep glancing to the right.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Three basic material options are available for the entire range, with cloth upholstery as standard on the bottom four trim levels, in either Black, Moonstone, or Harvest Beige. The same colors are provided in leatherette on the top trim, while the Touring variants can be had in either Black or Moonstone SofTex imitation leather. The cabin is further kitted out in soft touch materials, and gives a neat, contemporary look overall.

Prius Trunk and Cargo Space

One of the best features of the Prius is the above-average trunk space for a hatchback. Offering up to 27.4 cubic feet (The One, Two and Three trim variants have 24.6 cubic feet), the Prius has more cargo volume than the majority of its rivals, the Ioniq included. The rear seats also fold down in 60/40 split, and provide even more area space for loading luggage, with three large bags able to fit with ease (although a step up in floor level means clever packing is required) - this is still excellent for this segment, and it rivals even some mid-size sedans.

Small item storage is ample too, with narrow door pockets, deep cupholders in the rear and a cavernous center console for storing a purse or tablet. Seatback pockets are available from the Two model upwards, and the cargo area is fitted with an easy-to-store cover as a bonus.

2018 Toyota Prius Luggage Space
2018 Toyota Prius Trunk Space with Seat Folded
2018 Toyota Prius Maximum Cargo Space

Prius Infotainment and Features

Features

At base level of the range, the Prius offers fabric seats that are adjustable six ways for the driver, and four ways for front passengers on the second and third trim levels upwards. Mid-range variants provide leatherette seating, while the top two trims are equipped with heated front seats that can be adjusted eight ways for the driver. From the Three trim level upwards, the steering is also leather-wrapped. All models feature cruise control and an integrated backup camera, as well as the Toyota Safety Sense and Star Safety suites, that include such driver aids as lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, traction control, and brake assist. Smart-flow climate control is standard across the range, and while keyless entry is available for all trim levels with push-button start, this is limited to only the driver's door on the entry-level model. The bottom-tier variants are also trimmed with chrome interior accents and upper door panels are soft-touch materials, whereas the top-end models feature leatherette upholstery on the door arm rests.

Infotainment

The bottom three models are equipped with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display that is AM/FM radio, CD, AUX/USB and Bluetooth compatible; voice recognition is standard, as is Siri Eyes Free. For the Three and Three Touring trim, the infotainment monitor is upgraded to a seven-inch screen with high-resolution graphics, six-speakers and the Entune App Suite which features predictive traffic with Doppler weather overlay. A larger 11.6-inch screen is available when purchasing the Four and Four Touring models, which offer high definition multimedia, as well as a dual multi-information display, where hybrid systems are indicated, energy is monitored and navigation is shown. There are also two auxiliary power outlets for the cabin, and a wireless charging station is equipped from mid-range Three trim levels and up.

Prius Problems and Reliability

Certain models in the 2016-2018 Prius range were recalled due to engine wire harness connection problems increasing the risk of fire, due to potential electrical short circuits. Warranties for the 2018 Prius include a three-year/36,000 mile full warranty, five-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and five-year/unlimited mile corrosion warranty. The manufacturer also offers two-years/unlimited miles roadside assistance. In terms of reliability, the Prius scored three out of five on the JD Power predicted reliability rating scale, which implies an average reliability rating overall.

Prius Safety

Noted as the Top Safety Pick for 2018 by the IIHS in the small car/hatchback segment, the Prius received the highest ratings of Good for crashworthiness, ease of use for LATCH car seat restraints, and superior in terms of crash avoidance. The NHTSA offers similarly high scores, with an overall safety rating of five stars.

Key Safety Features

The Prius, like most Toyota vehicles, is equipped as standard with a full suite of Toyota Safety Sense features, which includes pre-collision systems with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, steering assist and automatic high beams. Full-speed radar cruise control and hill start assist are basic features on all models, as are the enhanced vehicle stability, traction controls, ABS, EBD and smart stop technologies in the Star Safety System. An advanced airbag system, LATCH lower anchors on outboard rear seats and tether anchors throughout, are also present. A vehicle proximity notification system rounds out the full house of safety features.

Additional safety aids can be added by means of purchasing extra bundles, which would include intelligent clearance sonar with intelligent parking assist, color head-up display and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert (which is standard on the Four and Four Touring models).

Verdict: Is the 2018 Toyota Prius a good car?

As far as hybrid vehicles go, the Prius makes for an excellent buy. With numerous advanced safety features in place, a generous cabin and brilliant gas mileage ratios, the Prius has good standing in comparison to rivals. Whereas the Hyundai Ioniq stands out for class-leading fuel efficiency, the Prius counters with better handling and a quieter ride overall. It nullifies the need for the smaller, less practical Prius c, and although more pricey than the more powerful Honda Fit, ranks higher in terms of practicality, comfort and fuel economy. It will not satisfy drivers seeking performance, or those who thrive on a dynamic vehicle - the Prius is quite bland in this regard, but bland is fine for the budget-conscious buyer who needs a dependable vehicle to face the daily slog to work and back, and save money at the pump in the process. Rebates between $500 and $1000 dollars are also offered to select customers, including College Graduates and Military personnel, which further enhance the value this vehicle offers.

What's the Price of the 2018 Toyota Prius?

Coming in at $23,475 for the base model, the Prius is priced within the same range as the Hyundai Ioniq and the Ford C-Max - the Honda Fit remains cheaper by over $7,000 at the outset, but will undoubtedly cost more in terms of fuel during its lifespan. The Prius Two has an MSRP of $24,685, while the Two Eco costs a little more at $25,165 (bearing in mind that it offers a better range per tank of fuel). At mid-point of the fleet, the Prius Three has a base price of $26,735, while the Three Touring variant is marketed at $28,115. At the top end of the spectrum is the Four and Four Touring, each listed with an MSRP of $29,685 and $30,565 respectively. All prices are exclusive of a $920 destination charge.

2018 Toyota Prius Models

The Prius is sold in seven trims for 2018: One, Two, Two Eco, Three, Three Touring, Four and Four Touring. All vehicles in the range are equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery.

The base model, One, features LED lights, 15-inch wheels, single-zone climate control, fabric seats and a 6.1-inch touchscreen paired to six-speaker sound system. An integrated backup camera and keyless entry on the drivers door is standard on this model as is the Safety Sense driver aid package.

The Prius Two adds two-tone wheels, a spare wheel and lightweight cargo area cover. The Two Eco offers the best-in-range fuel efficiency by means of ultra-low-rolling resistance tires, a less weighty hybrid battery, and the replacement of the spare tire with an inflation kit. It includes illuminated keyless entry as well.

In the middle of the range, the Three variant offers keyless entry and an upgraded seven-inch high resolution touchscreen with Entune App and HD radio. Predictive traffic and weather are also standard, and a leatherette-trimmed steering wheel is equipped with hands-free phone controls and audio/display buttons.

The more luxurious version, the Three Touring, adds leatherette seating for the driver and front passenger, 17-inch wheels, integrated fog lights and LED accent lights, together with a unique rear bumper treatment.

On the Four, exterior changes are limited to rain-sensing wipers, while the interior receives the Entune Premium Audio system with navigation, 11.6-inch infotainment screen with HD multimedia display. Heated front seats are included from this trim and up.

The fully-loaded Touring Four boasts only exterior changes, which include integrated fog lights, LED clearance lights, 17-inch alloy wheels and unique rear bumper treatments.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
One
1.8-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,475
Two
1.8-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$24,685
Two Eco
1.8-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$25,165
Three
1.8-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$26,735
Three Touring
1.8-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$28,115
See All 2018 Toyota Prius Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

An additional Safety Plus package can be equipped on the One and Two models, and is already installed on the other trims at no charge: or for an additional $1,000, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, intelligent clearance sonar and parking assist can be equipped. There is also a Safety Connect package exclusive to the Four and Four Touring, priced at $500, which pertains to emergency assistance, stolen vehicle locator, roadside assistance and an automatic collision notification.

For additional piano black side skirt rocker panels, two-tone front and rear bumper in gunmetal and black, the Appearance package is available for all models from Two and up. This also exclusively adds 17-inch wheels to both Touring models under this bundle as well. The total cost for this package is $1,410.

At $1,350, an Advanced Tech package is available for the Three and Four trim levels, which is comprised of a power tilt-and-slide moonroof, color head-up display with speedometer, navigation and hybrid systems indicator.

Lastly, the Premium Convenience Package for the Four and Four Touring variants is available for $1,205 and is a comprehensive bundle that includes clearance sonar, parking assist, premium JBL audio with the 11.6-inch screen, navigation and Entune App suite. Siri Eyes Free, as well as predictive traffic and doppler weather overlay are also added on.

What Toyota Prius Model Should I Buy?

Although the budget-wise Two Eco presents as the best bet in the segment due to its incredible gas mileage; for $1,500 more the Three variant offers a bigger infotainment display screen as well as navigation, leatherette-wrapped steerings and the option to add the Advanced Technology package. This means that for a total of $29,000, a well-specced hatchback with a moonroof, color head-up display and full safety suite can be yours; this seems like the perfect compromise between practical and comfortable, with just a slight penalty in overall fuel economy.

Check out other Toyota Prius Styles?

2018 Toyota Prius Comparisons

2018 Toyota Prius
2018 Toyota Prius

2018 Toyota Prius vs Honda Fit

The Honda Fit is not a hybrid, but with an entry-level price of only $17,085, needs to be considered as a worthy opponent to the Prius. Both vehicles have restrictive back seats and both offer great utility in terms of cargo space by means of folding rear seats (which the Honda does exceedingly well). The Honda's 1.5-liter engine results in gas mileage that, while still good, is not quite as good as what the Prius achieves, remaining in the mid- to high-thirty mile per gallon range; but the payoff is a more dynamic and engaging drive thanks to stronger throttle responses. For buyers seeking a hatchback with spunk, the Honda Fit is the better choice. Those who are focused on fuel costs and practicality will not be disappointed in the Prius.

See Honda Fit Review

2018 Toyota Prius vs Ford C-Max Hybrid

The Prius boasts a cheaper MSRP than the Ford C-Max, but only by a few hundred dollars. The Ford has a peppier engine, much better acceleration and more comfortable rear seats and it also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which the Prius does not have. Still, the yearly budget for fuel on the Prius is much less, and the host of safety features which the Ford does not have (even optionally), make the Prius a better choice and better overall value.

See Ford C-Max Hybrid Review

2018 Toyota Prius vs Toyota Prius c

When comparing the two Toyota hybrid hatchbacks, the standard Prius' overall performance, space, and gas mileage is so much more impressive than what the Prius c has to offer, that it begs the question, why is the Prius c still even an option? With the release of vehicles such as the Hyundai Ioniq and the general upsurge in hybrid popularity, it would make more sense for Toyota to invest in an upgrade for the standard Prius or the expansion of hybrids in their overall fleet, instead of punting the rather average Prius c. Subsequently, the Prius c barely fits into the equation - although the standard Prius costs $2,300 more at entry level, it remains a better choice in every other aspect.

See Toyota Prius c Review

Toyota Prius Popular Comparisons

2018 Toyota Prius Video Reviews