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2011 Toyota Prius

Overview
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2011 Toyota Prius Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

The Toyota Prius, now in its third generation, derives its name from the Latin word meaning "to go before." And, while the name is certainly fitting – the Prius is the world's first mass-produced and best-selling hybrid car, after all – it no longer carries the original car's quirky, new-age image. The 2011 Prius has gone from eco-novelty commuter to the vehicle of choice for those desiring to spend less on fuel and more on comfort and versatility. Not only has the Prius invaded the garages of empty-nester across America, it has become a catalyst for prodding other manufacturers to enter the hybrid arena. Interestingly, while cars like the all-electric Nissan LEAF can't travel as far as the Prius, plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt certainly look to give the Prius a run for its money.

You'll Like This Car If...

With EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy ratings of 51/48 mpg, the Prius' fuel efficiency is unmatched in its class. Solo drivers will like that, in some states, the Prius is allowed full-time access to the commuter lanes.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Those who are turned off by the Prius' hatchback design may be happier with more conventional hybrids such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid or Toyota Camry Hybrid. Those who don't mind a hatchback but want to save some money might consider the less expensive Honda Insight.

What's New for 2011

A low-cost entry level Prius I is added for 2011.

Driving the Prius

Driving Impressions Driving the 2011 Toyota Prius is a remarkably quiet experience because the transition between electric motor and gasoline engine is nearly seamless (but most noticeable while at idle). "EV, "Eco"...

and "Power" buttons allow the driver to exercise a little more control over fuel consumption and throttle response, a welcome change from the previous generation's one size fits all setup. Depress the "EV" button and the Prius operates solely under electric power (speed and distance permitting.) Switch to the "Power" button, and you'll get more lively throttle response with acceleration more akin to a regular gas-powered four-cylinder vehicle. In "Eco" mode, the computer modifies the throttle response so that no matter how lead-footed or determined a driver may be, the vehicle won't rapidly accelerate. This mode also affects the air conditioning operation and shuts it off when the vehicle is left idling. In our time behind the Prius' wheel, no matter what mode we were in, our fuel economy numbers easily surpassed the posted EPA figures without much effort.

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 at a constant temperature. Additionally, a button on the key fob allows the air conditioning to be remotely started for up to three minutes, providing the batteries are fully charged.

Power Button
Although the Prius is a lean, green, gas-saving machine, sometimes a little more power is warranted. For those situations, putting the car into Power mode gives you some extra oomph to get where you need to go.

2011 Toyota Prius Details
Interior

Thoroughly modern in every way, the Prius' contoured dash is imprinted with a "swirl" pattern of sorts complimenting the car's available two-tone color scheme. The steering wheel is fitted with Touch Tracer Display "wheels" that control a variety of fuel usage displays on the vehicle's information display screen. These touch-sensitive buttons can be used to control the car's air conditioning, information screens, radio volume and station settings. Because the information is displayed directly in the information cluster, the driver no longer needs to look away from the road to make adjustments. Environmentalists will be pleased to know the Prius' cabin uses a number of ecologically sound materials, including plant-derived (and recyclable) resin plastics for the driver's-side seat cushion and lower door panels.

Exterior

Fresh from a complete redesign last year, the 2011 Prius continues the aerodynamic profile displayed by the second generation car, but with a more refined, upscale look. New energy efficient measures include available LED taillights and sharper edges for improved coefficient of drag (the measure of how easily a car slips through the air). The base Prius models ride on 15-inch wheels, but buyers wanting a sportier-looking hybrid can opt for the Prius V and its 17-inchers. In a move to increase rear seat headroom, Toyota designers have moved the roof's apex rearward, creating a windswept profile that adds a decidedly sporty flair to this economically minded car.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A nicely equipped 2011 Toyota Prius I includes a wide variety of standard features, including a tilt/telescopic steering wheel with air conditioning controls and Touch Tracer Display, height-adjustable driver's seat, auto up/down on all windows, push-button start, two 12-volt power outlets, a tonneau cover, and auxiliary input jack. The Prius II adds keyless entry with Smart Key, MP3 compatible CD player and a rear window wiper. Moving up to the Prius III adds an upgraded JBL AM/FM/CD changer with satellite radio, Bluetooth and eight speakers, while the Prius IV trim is enhanced with a leather interior, heated front seats with driver's lumbar support and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The top-of-the-line Prius V adds 17-inch alloy wheels and energy-saving LED headlamps and foglamps.

Optional Equipment

A number of advanced safety systems are available for the top-of-the-line Prius V, including Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, the Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist and Intelligent Parking Assist; all offered in the Advanced Technology Package - which includes the Navigation Package. Techno-savvy Prius shoppers will likely be interested in the optional power moonroof with solar-powered ventilation and remote air conditioning operation to help keep the vehicle cool.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Toyota Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine matched with an electronically-controlled continuously-variable transmission. It is rated at 98 horsepower. The total hybrid system horsepower (gasoline engine and electric motor combined) for 2011 is 134 horsepower. The 2011 Prius' fuel economy ratings of 51 city/48 highway can be pushed even higher when utilizing the full EV mode.

1.8-liter in-line 4 with 60-kilowatt Permanent Magnetic Synchronous Electric Motor Atkinson Cycle Hybrid
98 horsepower @ 5200 rpm (gasoline engine); 80 horsepower (electric motor); 134 hp net total hybrid system
105 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm (gasoline engine); 153 ft.-lb. of torque (electric motor)
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 51/48

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2011 Toyota Prius Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 365 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

My Prius Rocks!

By on Friday, March 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Relaxing and fun to drive"

Cons: "Backup visibility is poor so get the backup camera"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love my Prius and will get another one ASAP! While my Prius can go as fast as any car I tend to drive slower now as I am never in a hurry and which gets me better mileage. Now I let all the other drivers waste their money and get frustrated!"

Will not be buying a Toyota any time soon!!!

By on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I was excited to own a Prius and going "green." For my surprise, at the end of 4 years the door locking mechanism started acting unpredictable. In two weeks time, both front doors actuators completely stopping work. Nothing else nothing more than $1000 to fix the problem. Due to the unusual nature of the problem in a new car, I contacted Toyota Corporation, whom offered no help to resolve this problem."

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Great

By on Monday, March 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "gas mileage, ease in traffic."

Cons: "can't think of any."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my second Prius and I will probably own another. I owned a 2003 and had an accident that totaled it, and the safety devices worked just like they were designed to do. The gas mileage is great and it handles great in traffic. Easy to park."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Best Hybrid on the Market

By on Sunday, March 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great price, economical, roomy, quiet"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We've been a Toyota family since 1988 and won't buy anything else. Toyota has the best reputation and their cars really do hold up. The Prius is a great value, has lots of power, roomy interior, and the gas mileage is incredible: we average 40-44 mpg on combined city and highway driving. The hybrid battery is warranted for 8 years or 100,000 miles and they rarely have to be replaced. We are currently considering trading in our 2010 Prius for a 2015 Prius! You can't go wrong with a Toyota product."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Love the car, but we need a AWD version!!

By on Wednesday, March 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great on gas, comfortable for long travel"

Cons: "doesnt do well in snow"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I absolutely love my Prius; however, I work at a hospital so in the winter when it snows, I have major issues with driving to work. I would recommend this car to anyone who doesn't have to get out in snow. This car is AMAZING on gas mileage. I have never had any major issues that weren't backed by the warranty that came with my car. This was my first Toyota vehicle and I have loved it so much that when I purchase an SUV I will make sure it is Toyota brand. I had a Kia Rio before and had nothing but trouble with it so this was a nice change."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

decent with a couple issues

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"This is first and last Prius. It gets terrific mileage in the non-Winter months (45 mpg plus). It get fair mieage in the Winter (30-35 mpg) due to the engine running a lot to keep the heat warm. Also, have had two issues: one with the hybrid system and one with the engine. The Toyota dealer guesses at the cause and solution - not encouraging. We will be looking at a Honda Civic should these issues persist and for our next vehicle."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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