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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 341 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
    8.9/10

Golden Economy

By on Saturday, December 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Smooth, quiet, 45-55 mpg."

Cons: "some wrinkling on front bumper"

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

"This Gold 'Prius 4' has most available options including the electronic retractable sunroof and backup camera. It has been meticulously maintained with regular oil, air and cabin filter changes and it has been kept clean and waxed. Everything works on the car including the extra driving lights, the hands free telephone integrated into the navigation system and stereo systems. The keyless entry fobs both have new batteries. New Bridgestone tires were installed at 50,000 miles and look new to me. The ones we removed were not really worn out but we figured it was time to replace them. The milage has resulted from the many trips we have enjoyed over the 2 1/2 years we have owned the car. We purchased it in late 2011 during a time when we believed we were getting a good deal and were assured at the time that the 2012s were identical."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

I love driving for the first time ever.

By on Wednesday, December 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "mileage, dependability, style"

Cons: "pick-up"

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

"I love this car. As is nearly always the case, the buying experience was not the best but better than most. The car itself, though, is fantastic. Gas mileage is the best I could find. It is comfortable, quiet, and dependable. I love the automatic locks that open when you unlatch the door from outside by only having your key on your person. Also, this car will not allow me to lock my keys inside. Pick-up is a little slow, but it is a trade-off. Don't go for all the add-ons when you buy."

13 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Best Hybrid on the market

By on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

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: "greaat mileage, great features"

Cons: "I am not crazy about the console between the seats"

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

"Bought this care during the "cash for clunkers" in 2009. I had researched the Prius and knew I wanted one. I bought this car and the wife fell in love with it. This is the first new car we have ever owned but will not be the last Prius we own. While other dealers are hyping up the mileage on their hybrids and they are falling short, the Prius gets what Toyota says it will and then some. Great to be able to fill up for $20 to $30 at the pump."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Great little car that is fun to drive.

By on Monday, November 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

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
Not Rated

Pros: "Price. Gas mileage. Style"

Cons: "Not enough cup holders. Small door pockets."

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

"This is our second Prius. My wife and I enjoy driving the Prius around town and on long trips. We find it very comfortable and REALLY economical to drive. Adds pleasure to every trip."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Very good car

By on Monday, October 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Comfortable, gas mileage, sunroof, heated seats"

Cons: "brakes skip when hitting bumps in road, noisy"

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

"I am used to driving luxury cars - I have owned Acura RDX, Infiniti EX35, Infiniti G35x, so it is definitely not as comfortable or as fast or handles as great, BUT it is a very good car. Also, my husband drives the Acura TL. I had to save some money since I lost so much in my first house, so I traded my new 2012 Acura for a used fully loaded 2010 Prius with 17,000 miles on it in 2012. I have had NO maintenance issues with it. I only have a 10 mile commute every day, but we plan on driving it to Yellowstone for a 2016 3-week trip. I will update my rating after that. We did rent a base model Prius for a week in Florida in 2009 and we drove it long distances from Ft Myers to the Everglades and it was comfortable, easy to drive, and I think we spent a total of $40 on gas for the week!!!! What would I change? Well, I replaced the tire at 20,000 miles with good all weather Michelin tires and I still spin in the rain and snow, so there must be something with the battery and the weight in the middle to back of the car that causes that. I easily squeal the tires also. I probably have more of a lead foot than others. Maybe it was because I was use to driving AWD cars, not sure. Also, when you hit a bump in the road and are trying to stop, the car jumps. This is definitely a safety issue. These are my 2 major issues. This car is also noisy, but I really only notice when driving in our nicer car."

28 people out of 44 found this review helpful

high mileage, easy to drive, high tech

By on Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000

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
9/10

Pros: "high mileage, easy to drive, hatch back storeage,"

Cons: "software defect with brakes, noisy"

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

"After 3.5 years and 88,000 we have gotten to know the car quite well. Mileage of course is great, average of the low 50's (biggest variable is temperature- better in the summer and worse in the winter). The car drives fine, although takes some time to get used to the blind spots. Interior noise is higher then other cars on the highway. Annoying interior backup beeping is stupid. Biggest complaint is a defect in the software that controls the ABS breaks, that cause them to kick in for no reason on dry rough roads (see NHTS website). Other then changing the oil every 10,000 miles and a set of tires, there has no other costs to own the car. Overall very pleased with the car."

18 people out of 26 found this review helpful

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