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2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in

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2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/6/2012


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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you don't mind sacrificing a few mpg, and you'd like something more conventional, or more sporty, the Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan and Honda CR-Z hybrid coupe are certainly worth a look.

What's New for 2013

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 It 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.

Favorite Features

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.

POWER BUTTON
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.

Vehicle Details Interior

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.

Exterior

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.

Notable Standard Equipment

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.

Notable Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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
80 horsepower
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)

Pricing Notes

The base 2013 Toyota Prius Two (One is a thinly equipped model for fleet purchases only) has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $24,960. Each successive trim adds a couple thousand dollars, with the Prius Five coming in just under $31,000. The new-this-year Persona Series Special Edition with its tasteful dark trim costs $27,890. Depending on trim level, an Advanced Technology and Navigation package, Plus Performance package and Plus Appearance package can be specified; a fully loaded Prius Five can top $40,000. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid comes in base form for $32,760 or Advanced for $40,285, with only minor accessories to add on top of that. To find out what the Prius is selling for in your area, check out KBB's Fair Purchase Price. The Prius has historically retained above-average resale value and we expect the 2013 to do the same.

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