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2011 Toyota Prius

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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 399 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

A bag of rattles

By on Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Good exterior styling, good gas mileage"

Cons: "cheap plastic everywhere, rattle and wind noise"

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

"This was my first Toyota purchase and will be my last. First of all the dealer screwed me on the deal. I bought this certified pre owned a year ago and now I'm $10,000 upside down on the car. There were added on alarms and 3 service contracts, extended warranties, etc. The car rattles, squeaks, creaks mostly because of too much cheap plastic everywhere...door panels, center console,etc the doors "boing" like a tin can when you close them, there are numerous wind leaks on the door seals so the car howls when you drive it down the highway. The interior surfaces are cheap and harsh. The polyester covering on the arm rests give you instant rug burn on your elbows. If you lean into the center console at all it creaks, then in snaps open... speaking of snaps... no dampers on the upper glove compartment so it slams to the open position. Seats are uncomfortable for any long distance driving. The care is a NIGHTMARE on wet and slippery roads. I drove it over the Rockies in a rain storm with the front end skidding and jerking left to right and the "traction" warning light blinking constantly at 40mph, and this is with brand new tires on it. The shift from gasoline to electric power is very noticeable under these conditions. The car is horrendously under powered for anything other than flat, suburban driving - worthless at high altitudes and any kind of mountain driving. The only plusses I'll give is an average of 41 MPG over 20,000miles in mixed driving, the exterior styling, and the useful cargo space... unfortunately they've screwed up the rear storage (added a lip, no more flat load from tailgate, narrower space between wheel wells, severely reduced rear headroom in back seat and other downgrades) in the 2016 model, although the interior materials look improved."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Better outside than inside

By on Saturday, April 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Gas mileage, good power, roomy interior"

Cons: "cheap plastic interior, rattles, creaks"

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

"Positives I really like the overall styling of the car, LOVE the solar roof, love the gas mileage, better than expected power, flexible interior for hauling odd items. Negatives The overall construction of the car is SO CHEAP. When you close a door it goes "boing" instead of "thunk". Air leaks around the driver door seals already. SO at 30,000 The interior is full of plastic that rattles and "creaks" esp console and doors. There's a rattle in the back seat on bumpy roads that the dealer refuses to fix. In the past 15 years I've owned two Hondas and two SAABs, none of them rattled even after 300k - huge step down from both Honda and SAAB in fit and finish) the upper glove box, slams open with no dampers, the synthetic cloth upholstery becomes abrasive over time, especially on the arm rests which turn to sandpaper.. I have "rug burn" on both my elbows from it. Door detents are not strong enough - bruised my my 84 year old mothers legs when the doors slammed shut on her in the wind. I've had all of them replaced, but this seems to be a weak spot in Toyotas in general. Interior storage is poorly laid out for small items, no cup holders in rear doors. The displays are outdated in terms of driver information. In my last Honda, it showed which door or hatch was open, rather than a generic "some door is open light". There is no indication of how long until the next service until it is already due. The "low fuel" indicator is just the last segment of the fuel gage blinking and comes on at 21 miles to empty. First of all it should be orange or red, and come on at 50 miles to empty. In many parts of the country, you might be a lot farther than 20 miles from a gas station."

14 people out of 28 found this review helpful

Prius, great vehicle with some bad engineering

By on Sunday, April 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "great economy"

Cons: "bad engineering for display in the sun or a bright"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"This is my second Prius and 6th Toyota product so I like the Manufacturer. Our Prius has the leather package with the built in GPS. I was excited about that feature but this is where the engineer team fell asleep. On our first trip I set up the address and volume while in the garage and of we went. Very quickly we discovered we could not see the display nor hear it. I would have turned up the speaker but I could see where turn it up. The screen is at an angle that all the sun or light makes everything disappear. I have the screen as bright as it will go and that does not help. Dealer had no answer either. You also cannot see the radio controls unless it is dark or a cloudy day. Very bad design for a premium option. Also my wife keeps shutting off the entire display because her knee is right at the button. Other than that it is a great car but I will not get another if that is not fixed."

9 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Well designed but overly noisy

By on Sunday, January 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fuel economy, large cargo space"

Cons: "Road noise, weak power steering"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"The Prius is very well designed. The instrument controls are within easy reach (especially the climate controls), there is abundant cargo space, it has excellent fuel economy (50 mpg average) and the dashboard display is informative. A minor complaint is the power steering is too weak. The major problem with the Prius (model year 2013) is road noise. While wind noise is low, and engine noise is tolerable, road noise is high and detracts from the overall value of the Prius."

17 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Once you go Prius you never go BACK!

By on Thursday, December 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200

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: "Excellent MPG, current price, nice handling"

Cons: "None"

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

White delight

"So I decided to trade in my 2013 Prius c for a 2016 Tundra (I know one extreme to the other) the truck was awesome and here in Texas people move out the way and show you respect on the road unlike the Prius c where people literally merged in my lane forcing me into the grass at times..no JOKE! However the Tundra had horrible gas millage and I know I can't compare it to the Prius but seriously not even close to decent it was like driving a UHAUL! So I lucked out when Toyota decided to redesign the Prius and all the old models when on sale, got myself a 2015! two version and I can't be happier! so many nice extras (keyless entry, DRL) along with the excellent MPG! Seriously if you want to save money at the pump and have a very nice car this is it. ps. yes you will be the punch line of jokes but being broke isn't!"

12 people out of 14 found this review helpful

White delight

Best car for economy and comfort

By on Sunday, December 20, 2015

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

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
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Comfort, Reliability, Economy, low maintenance"

Cons: "Navigation system"

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

"I have driven this car for two years on long trips and daily commutes and I find it to be one of the best I've ever owned (3 Lexus, 5 MB, 1 BMW). I am a big guy and it has more room than a friends Caddy. With the back seats down you can haul a lot of freight. Took most of my kids college items in it. Gas mileage is between 46-52 depending on conditions. The only thing I don't like is the Navigation system. Screen to small and hard to work. Very easy to DIY on maintenance like Oil change, filters. Many youtube videos to show you the way. I would recommend this car to anyone who wants a everyday car that can fit almost all roles. PS your friends will make you the punch line of many jokes, but the jokes on them!"

19 people out of 22 found this review helpful

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