2020 Toyota Prius

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2020 Toyota Prius Test Drive Review: Sips Fuel With The Best Of Them

Since its introduction in 1997, Toyota's electrified car, the Prius, has been the tip of the spear in bringing hybrid technology to the mass market. The Prius is still one of the most fuel-efficient cars you can buy today, but it doesn't dominate the market anymore. The problem the Prius faces in 2020 is that the majority of popular vehicles for sale in the U.S. now either already have a hybrid drivetrain model or are about to have a hybrid version. That draws a question regarding its relevance as we head into the next decade.

Today, the most frugal Prius in L Eco trim gets 56 mpg combined but is beaten out by a few MPG by the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue model. Toyota's own Corolla Hybrid isn't far off in fuel economy and is a lot cheaper to buy and better looking, and, for a small drop in fuel efficiency, the Camry Hybrid offers more interior space. That means the Prius needs to provide more than futuristic looks and wallet-friendly visits to the gas pumps to stay competitive. Is the Toyota Prius still the quintessential hybrid, or has it had its day?

Read in this review:

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2020 Toyota Prius Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Prius?

The fourth-generation Prius hybrid has been around since 2016, and with last year's model being handed a substantial refresh along with the option of AWD, 2020's version continues relatively unchanged. However, the infotainment suite has been bolstered with a new seven-inch touchscreen in L Eco, LE, and XLE derivatives, and all trims get standard access to Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay. Each is now equipped with Toyota Safety Connect for the automatic contact of emergency services.

Pros and Cons

  • Still a benchmark in fuel economy
  • Well equipped across the lineup
  • Uniquely available in AWD
  • Impressive levels of noise insulation
  • Great visibility
  • Alien styling still a sore point
  • What performance?
  • Doesn't feel as premium as rivals
  • Awkwardly positioned driver display
  • Still no Android Auto integration

Best Deals on 2020 Toyota Prius

2020 Toyota Prius Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
L Eco
1.8L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$24,325
LE
1.8L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$25,535
LE AWD-e
1.8L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Other
$26,935
XLE
1.8L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$28,375
XLE AWD-e
1.8L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Other
$29,375
See All 2020 Toyota Prius Trims and Specs

2020 Prius Exterior

2020 Toyota Prius Front View CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Prius Rear View CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Prius Front Angle View CarBuzz
See All 2020 Toyota Prius Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 180.0 in
  • Wheelbase 106.3 in
  • Height 57.9 in
  • Max Width 69.3 in
  • Front Width 60.2 in
  • Rear Width 60.6 in
  • Curb Weight 3,010.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Classic Silver Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Sea Glass Pearl
  • Electric Storm Blue
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Super White
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Supersonic Red

2020 Prius Performance

2020 Toyota Prius Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Prius Alloy CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Prius Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    1.8L Inline-4 Hybrid
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    FWD, Other

Handling and Driving Impressions

Things do get better once you start turning the wheel. Steering weight is well proportioned, and the Prius is surprisingly responsive to input, which adds to its overall performance in the city. There's very little feedback from the tires, though, leaving the steering feeling numb on center and uninspiring on a bendy road.

Braking is an area we expect to feel numb in a hybrid system due to regenerative braking being mixed with the traditional friction braking system. We found it took a little practice with the brakes on the Prius to use muscle memory over braking feel to use them smoothly.

All of the above is as expected, but the biggest complaint we have for the Prius is Toyota's decision to mount the instrument panel high and center on the dashboard. Everything is put into a 4.2-inch color dual-multi-information display, including the speedometer. That means any information a driver regularly refers to is out of the line of sight and you're looking down and to the right to check speed.

2020 Prius Interior

2020 Toyota Prius Dashboard CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Prius Steering Wheel Details CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Prius Navigation System CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.3 in
  • Front Head Room 39.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 33.4 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.4 in

2020 Prius Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Toyota Prius Trunk Space CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Prius Cargo Room CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Prius Rim CarBuzz

2020 Prius Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ Unlimited Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: Is the 2020 Toyota Prius A Good car?

If you just want amazing fuel economy, Toyota's reliability, and aren't bothered about performance, then the Prius is a good car. However, it's definitely an acquired taste when it comes to styling, and there's not much excuse in 2020 for such sluggish performance in a hybrid car. At this point, it does feel like Toyota is differentiating the Prius for the sake of it. Things like the center-mounted gauges are awkward and distracting, and the Hyundai Ioniq is demonstrating the fact that you don't need crazy styling for excellent aerodynamics.

Look at Toyota's own Corolla Hybrid, though, and the Prius starts to look redundant. It packs the same drivetrain and the same fuel economy into a smoother-looking contemporary package that doesn't yell to everyone in traffic that you're driving a hybrid.

Check out other Toyota Prius Styles

2020 Toyota Prius Comparisons

Honda Insight Honda
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Hyundai
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota Prius121 hp58/53 mpg$25,075
Honda Insight 151 hp55/49 mpg$25,760
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid 139 hpTBC$23,600

2020 Toyota Prius vs Honda Insight

The Honda Insight is a little more affordable than the Prius, around $2,000 cheaper at the base level. It comes equipped with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that's significantly more powerful than the Prius' and equally as fuel-efficient. The Insight is faster too, completing the 0 to 60 mph sprint in around eight seconds. It's the better driver's car in general, delivering far greater performance and handling and without any compromise in ride comfort either. The Insight is more attractive, too, and its cabin exhibits far more of a premium feel. Both are somewhat on par in the way of features, though the top-specced Prius boasts a superior infotainment setup. That said, however, the Insight features Android Auto in place of Amazon Alexa, something that may win over the Android fans. The Prius boasts nearly double the Insight's trunk. While both fulfill similar roles, we feel the Insight is the better hybrid in general.

See Honda Insight Review

2020 Toyota Prius vs Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

For around $1,000 less than the Prius, buyers can opt for the far more attractive Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid. It's equipped with a slightly more powerful four-cylinder engine that makes it faster than the Prius, and yet still more fuel efficient in base guise, returning class-leading gas mileage figures of 57/59/58 mpg. The Insight offers as much practicality as the Prius with 26.5 cubes in the trunk though may have a slightly tighter cabin. It comes fitted with a fancier and more user-friendly infotainment system, too, along with Android Auto functionality which the Prius lacks. The Ioniq comes with a class-leading warranty as well but doesn't share the renowned reliability and quality of Toyota. Still, the Insight's safety ratings are on par with the Prius'. Overall, the Ioniq bests the Prius in many ways and the better value for money option, it leads the segment in fuel-efficiency as well, so it's a no brainer for the eco-conscious.

See Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Review
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