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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 373 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

A Car I had Originally Shunned

By on Friday, May 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Lot of Tech, Great Fit, Much Room, Easy to Clean."

Cons: "Glare on Radio/GPS Screen, No Coin Holder"

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

"When the sales rep directed me to the Prius I l said "No man really, I came here looking at the Camry". But he asked me to just at least give it a look and I got in it and it fit like a glove. I'm not a typical male, I'm 5'6", on most cars either I have to pull up the seat at an uncomfortable level, or deal with a steering wheel that even pulled forward was a stretch. The Prius was different. Empty, it looks like any other car, sit in it, you feel like you're being surrounded and all the components are there to assist you. From the visuals at night, the dash and the near by console cleverly positioned making the entire experience a joy to drive. One of things I enjoy about the car that may seem small is the lack of an automatic trunk release. I had a Camry and it was annoying how many times my trunk lid opened because the release button was pushed in my pant pocket, coming back to either see it open, once receiving a note from someone nice enough to shut it for me. No more worries. Also the trunk space, amazing, I can fold the back seats flat, the g/f was buying for her business and we were able to get two large flatbed carts from a popular warehouse store in the back. For those that sit in the back the first time, they laugh about the optical illusion, you are outside the car, it looks small, you get in, it's huge, bigger than larger cars they see on the road. Average mileage if you are a cautious driver in the right lane, about 60mpg's if you are a bit lead footed it can go anywhere from 35mpg to 50mpg. Eventually you'll start to learn to drive the car better and should get an average of 55mpg or more. So the minuses .. Well the plastic interior, I know Toyota did this to keep costs down, it is however pretty pleasing to look at, it's not wood, not high end, but seats are comfortable and I'm focused on driving. The space below the console...not sure what that is..other than putting a baseball cap and maybe your cell phone, nothing else I can find use of. No change holder, but you can buy the astray option (or a simple cup) and use it for a change holder. And one thing that does annoy me, the GPS is not easy to see during the day with the sun glaring on it, there is an aftermarket accessory available but someone should have realized "hey hard to see, maybe we should add a CD insert free with every purchase that lets the driver see the GPS better" Other than the nit picking, great car, I have the solar roof option which makes it a pleasant sit overtime, even in the worst heat it's much better than any other car I've been in, worth going with the Prius 3 solar/sunroof package."

Best car for saving on fuel costs.

By on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Great mileage, no problem in snow."

Cons: "Can't think of any."

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

"I average 50.1 mpg driving to and from work. I estimate I save about $2000 a year in fuel costs! I love knowing I'm saving money. I've had my Prius five years and therefore saved over $10,000! Not bad at all. I will buy another without question."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

ONE OF THE BEST CARS I HAVE OWNED.

By on Sunday, May 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"ONE OF THE BEST CARS I HAVE EVER OWNED. SNOW, RAIN WHATEVER SHE WENT THRU IT. ONLY HAD 1 MECHANICAL PROBLEM IN 98,000 MILES AND THAT WAS A WATER PUMP FOR THE HYBRID SYSTEM, COST TO FIX THOUGH WAS $970.00. NOT TOO SHABBY FOR OWNING THE CAR FOR 5 YRS. SUPER MILEAGE AND A GREAT CAR, WISH IT WASN'T SO EXPENSIVE TO BUY. HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT. WISH I COULD AFFORD ANOTHER ONE. UNLESS YOU BUY THE PRIUS 3 OR ABOVE THE CAR HAS NOTHING IN IT. ALL OF THE GOODIES ARE IN THE HIGHEER LEVEL AND MUCH MORE COSTLY!"

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Low cost,reliable,smooth,++cargo space,versatile

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

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

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Driving range, keyless start, solar technology"

Cons: "Poor ground clearance"

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

"I LOVE my PRIUS IV! It can seat 5 or with the back seats down using the hatchback, I can pack it to the ceiling like a truck! Beyond the 50 mpg, it drives so smoothly, has all the conveniences of keyless entry, keyless start, bluetooth, & that great solar powered cabin temp control fan for when it's parked in the sun on a hot day-all of which make me feel very spoiled or privileged compared drivers of other more ordinary cars on the road. If those other drivers only knew how cost efficient and high tech 'cozy' my Prius is they'd sure reconsider their plane-jane gas guzzlers!"

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle on the highway

By on Sunday, May 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

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
Not Rated
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Traded in a 2005 Toyota Corrola best thing we did"

Cons: "Needs more headroom for 6 footers"

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

"Bought this Prius new in 2011 have taken it on trips and my wife drives it 24 miles a day to work and back, gets 50 mpg back and forth, a minor thing with your reviewer it's A/C is electric just like the power steering and the A/C will run on the hottest days for approx. 30 min. On a trip to Louisville it averaged 51 mpg.at 75-85 mph. on the way out and coming back thru the mountains it averaged 54 mpg, Also the cruise control is so good that descending the mountains it would only let you go 1 mph faster than it's setting before the electric motor started braking to maintain speed"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

First owner since 2010.Top design of pack III

By on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,159

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Feel so cool to drive Prius."

Cons: "It's too small for after school activity."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This is the best car for gas mileage, perfect maneuver on any road and high way. The JBL premium sound system is providing the big concert for your road trip. The GPS is so cool for this P III. This car was in the show room when I bought it. The exterior and interior electronic designs are totally different from others Prius in Pack III. What's not so great about this car is that Prius is a small sedan."

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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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