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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 313 Ratings for the 2010 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Awesome Vehicle!

By on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,999

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Enjoy pulling by an SUV at the gas pump"

Cons: "need a back up camera"

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

"I purchased this vehicle used with 10,000 miles on it. Since then it has been driven 100 miles a day back and forth to work for 3 years. It was driven over 3200 miles in two weeks up and down the East Coast three years ago. The vehicle was recently driven cross country and back putting over 6000 miles in two weeks this year. We spent $512 in gas and did not have any problems with the vehicle. I am thrilled with my Prius! It has 108,569 miles on it and is a 2010 model. I plan to purchase a "luxury" prius next time."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Excellent car, no problems; wipers replaced

By on Thursday, June 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Great mileage (45+/-), comfortable ride, but I wish it had electric seats. Great legroom. A real workhorse -- we stuff it sometimes with plants, mulch, furniture for donation. Does have a blind spot that is worrisome on the left rear."

15 people out of 20 found this review helpful

I just love this car.

By on Monday, June 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Solar fan is great"

Cons: "Highbeam indicator on far right"

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

"This is my second Prius. I am totally delighted with this one. I have been averaging over 53 mph. I have been driving a Prius for over 8 1/2 years. Some slight repairs along the way. I just like them. Especially at the gas pump, it makes me smile. Enjoy the ride."

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Extremely reliable and love to drive it!

By on Wednesday, June 04, 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
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Economical on gas, fun to drive, quiet ride"

Cons: "Rear vision, high price"

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

2010 Prius II in Winter Gray

"I have had my 2010 Prius 4 years and it runs and drives perfectly with virtually no repairs. The car is much bigger inside than you think as I often carry 3 other passengers in comfort for several hours at a time. The ride is good and the vehicle is amazingly quiet whether in electric or gas mode. The drive train switches modes seamlessly with no jerks or sounds so you do not notice. The mileage is fantastic, but can depend on the speed you drive. At 55MPH you will get 55mpg or greater. If you drive 75MPH you may only get 45mpg, but either way, it's all good. My only complaint is the rear vision is poor due to the air dam but you get used to it and learn to use your side mirrors more. The Prius is an extremely good car and I will surely buy another one some day...but not for a long while the way this one is going. Price is high, but it's worth it as Toyota has proven their Hybrid technology better than any other manufacturer. Both the Honda Insight and Hyundai Sonata have issues with the drive transition causing a less than smooth ride."

12 people out of 22 found this review helpful

2010 Prius II in Winter Gray

great around town car ...

By on Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "utility, interior size/capacity, cheap to drive"

Cons: "not quiet on long trips"

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

"For a suburban home owner - you can't do any better. The utility, reliability, low cost of owning/running - hard to beat. A family of 4 or 5 fits - gets 50 mpg @ throw you in jail now speeds -- and it can haul a hot water heater back from the home store. When I bought the car - it was the ONLY hybrid out there that would take a full size wheel chair in the trunk - the one w/ the big wheels, not the transport wheel chairs which can fold into a bag. The only fine whine is that the road noise on poor pavement is obtrusive - rock hard tires and minimal sound insulation make it a poor choice for a 1K miles a day car. Doable - but your hearing will suffer and the aggravation of all is to be considered. I did not get the high trim version - the only reason to do so would be the back up camera and open on touch for both doors and the hatch. But at the added price - I can deal w/ not having them. The Prius has supplanted the Subaru and Volvo as the upscale (aka Yuppie) suburban vehicle in our area. The utility and low cost of driving is contagious. Buy one if you don't have long miles to drive in a single day."

12 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Very disappointed

By on Tuesday, May 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,100

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"This is my 3rd Prius and it has proved to be dissapointing. Toyota's attention to detail has slipped. For example in bright sunlight even with polarized sunglasses you cannot see how fast you are going. It is more noisey. I had to replace the tires at 26,000 mi. When I asked the dealer about it they said that Toyota had changed to tires that gave a better ride but that the milage was lower. The rear doors make a tinny sound when closed rather than producing a that nice dull thud I'm used to. I have loved my previous Priuses and am very dissappointed in this one."

13 people out of 22 found this review helpful

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