By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
The world's first and most successful mass-produced hybrid car, the 2013 Toyota Prius hybrid is now a family of vehicles, a sub-brand consisting of the original hatchback Prius, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid built on the same body, the Prius V with its wagon-like extended roofline, and the smaller Prius C hatchback. All Prius models use versions of the same basic powertrain technology, a marriage of gasoline engine and electric motor Toyota calls "Hybrid Synergy Drive." Both power sources can drive the vehicle, and they normally do so in a fluid dance where either can take the lead or both can work together. With varying degrees of pure-electric range plus the gas engine and regenerative braking charging a battery pack, the overall result is exceptional energy efficiency.
If you want the best fuel economy in the hybrid field, the 2013 Toyota Prius is still king, with a 51/48 mpg rating for the standard car, 51/49 for the Plug-In, 53/46 for the Prius C and 44/40 for the Prius V.
There are no styling, specification or equipment changes to the Prius for 2013, though a new trim package is added, the Persona Series Special Edition.
Driving Impressions Due to the seamless transition between electric motor and gasoline engine, driving the 2013 Toyota Prius hybrid is a surprisingly drama-free event. The driver has a choice of performance options...via the EV, Eco and Power buttons. In EV mode, the Prius functions solely on electric power, though speed and range are quite limited. The Power mode delivers the full potential of the gasoline engine boosted by the electric motor. The Eco mode selects throttle response for best efficiency, and will even shut down the air conditioning when at idle. The Plug-In Hybrid version operates almost exactly the same, though its electric-only range is lots longer, a rated 11 miles. Driving conservatively and taking full advantage of the regenerative braking can yield fuel consumption that tops the EPA ratings.
SOLAR ROOF PACKAGE
Thanks to the solar cells mounted on top, the Solar Roof Package nets you a power moonroof that self-ventilates to help keep the car comfortable. Also, the air conditioning can be remotely started to pre-cool the cabin.
Although the 2013 Toyota Prius hybrid is a lean, green, gas-saving machine, everyone can use a little more urge now and then. Putting the car into Power mode changes the Hybrid Synergy Drive program to get where you're going a bit faster.
The 2013 Toyota Prius hybrid hatchback features an interior as modern and different as its exterior. The contoured dash looks particularly handsome with its 2-tone panels, although on base models the gray-colored plastic and fabric look a little dull. The Prius' steering wheel incorporates a wheel-like control that operates the Touch Tracer Display controlling a number of fuel-usage and hybrid-operation displays on the Prius' LCD information screen. Plant-derived (and recyclable) plastic resins are used for the seat cushions and lower door panels.
There's no mistaking a Toyota Prius hybrid. The 5-door hatchback's familiar shape is not exactly head-turning, but it's clearly efficient and slippery. Even the car's wheel covers are aerodynamic. The roof's apex is pushed rearward, creating a slightly sporty appearance while simultaneously maximizing rear-seat headroom. Most models ride on 15-inch wheels, but the Prius Five has 17-inchers. Plug-in Prius models feature a port on the right side where the charging cable goes, while the left side has a traditional gas cap. Plug-in models also have a distinct grille, wheels, door handles and lights.
A 2013 Toyota Prius Two hybrid includes a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with air-conditioning controls and Touch Tracer Display, height-adjustable driver's seat, auto up/down on all windows, pushbutton start, two 12-volt power outlets, a 6.1-inch touch-screen audio display and Bluetooth. Trim levels Three through Five bring upgraded audio systems with Entune telematics, navigation, heated and power-adjustable driver's seat, 17-inch alloy wheels and energy-saving LED headlights and fog lights. The Plug-in Hybrid version comes as a base model with up-level features such as navigation, and as an Advanced version with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and a head-up display.
Several advanced safety systems are available for the top-of-the-line Prius Five, including Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, head-up display, the Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist, and Intelligent Parking Assist. All are offered in the Advanced Technology Package, which includes the Navigation Package. The optional power moonroof has solar-powered ventilation and remote-start air conditioning to help keep the vehicle cool. The dealer-installed Plus Performance accessory package adds a sport-tuned suspension with stiffer springs, ground effects, 17-inch lightweight alloy wheels, lower-profile tires, and a rear anti-roll bar.
The 2013 Toyota Prius hybrid is powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine mated mechanically and electronically to a 60-kilowatt electric motor, all working with a continuously variable transmission and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Total hybrid system horsepower is 134. The Plug-in Hybrid model uses a higher-capacity lithium-ion battery that can be charged from any outlet for up to 11 miles of pure-electric operation. The Prius' EPA city/highway fuel economy rating is 51/48.Learn to manage the system, utilizing regenerative braking and the low-speed full EV mode whenever possible, and you can push actual mileage even higher. The Plug-in Hybrid has a rating of 51/49 for standard hybrid operation, and 95 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) by the EPA's plug-in-hybrid formula.
1.8-liter inline-4 Atkinson Cycle
98 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
105 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
60-kilowatt Permanent Magnetic Synchronous Electric Motor
153 ft-lb of torque
Net output: 134 horsepower
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 51/48 mpg (hybrid); 51/49 mpg, 95 MPGe (Plug-in Hybrid)
By Bob on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to save on gas! Good power on electric."
Cons: "Just the gas engine starts in winter, no switch of"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Very satisfactory but engine starts even on a one mile trip in winter from warm garage. OK in summer. goes 10 miles on charge, we drive 34% on electric only..........."
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Bill on Saturday, June 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Economical, good mechanicals"
Cons: "audio system, nav and back up camera are not good"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Since we bought this car we have averaged about 85mpg. It is a very reliable car and perfect for the crazy soccer mom driving that we seem to do every day. Also took it out through the Sierra Nevada National Parks and it did great there too. It is a regular Prius with a little bit extra. We have solar panels so it made sense to get the plug in otherwise a regular Prius would be just fine (and for less)."
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By RW on Friday, June 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Honest 50+ mpg even up to 70 mph"
Cons: "Noisy at freeway speeds."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This car has the same passenger compartment as the Camry, so it is quite comfortable for 4 average size occupants. Since there is no motor noise at slow speeds, Toyota added a grinding sound (sounds like something rubbing in a wheel well). With the windows down I keep thinking there is something broken. Since the phony sound is electrically generated, I would have used a motor sound (personally a muscle car motor sound). At freeway speeds the road noise is so great you must turn the sound system up significantly. This is not relaxing. Also, if anything is kicked up and strikes the undercarriage, it sounds and feels like something fell off the car. The seats are reasonably designed, but feel cheap and I don't have the over-priced 6-way adjustable option."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By LoveMyPrius on Tuesday, June 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Unbelievable gas mileage and comfort"
Cons: "EV battery mileage is on the low end"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my fourth Prius and is the best vehicle I have owned to date. Short trip city driving yields about 70-90 mpg and if I do longer road trips, I get 55-70 mpg depending on terrain (up hill/down hill). Extremely comfortable seats and lots of leg room, front and back. Plus, it rides very smoothly on the road. Love my Prius..."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By HyperionMark on Saturday, March 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Most fuel efficient hybrid you can buy"
Cons: "just a little more EV range would be nice"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the perfect car for me right now. I can take advantage of all electric driving for short trips around town but yet get to enjoy the great Prius gas mileage for longer trips or even road trips across the country. The hatchback is very versatile and can surprisingly hold a ton of stuff and seat 4 or 5 passengers comfortably. There is a lot of great tech in this car. By far the best vehicle I've ever owned."
20 people out of 21 found this review helpful