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2012 Toyota Prius

Overview
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2012 Toyota Prius Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.1

The world's first and most successful mass-produced hybrid car, the 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid continues to expand its dominance with two new models joining the growing Prius family. The wagon-like Prius V stretches the current hatchback's dimensions by adding a larger cargo area and higher seating, while the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is ready to take on the Chevrolet Volt. But, the most popular and best-selling model remains the 3rd Gen Toyota Prius hybrid hatchback. The 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid may not make the cover of the hot-rod magazines, and it probably won't be on the wish list of every newly licensed teen-age boy. But, for the vast majority of folks who simply need a high-mileage mode of transport that is also very eco-friendly, very reliable and very much in demand, the 2012 Prius hybrid in all its forms is the hybrid of choice.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for the best fuel economy in the hybrid field, the 2012 Toyota Prius' 51/48 mpg rating is still king. As some states also allow hybrid cars to waive the 2-person-per-car minimum to drive in the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, the 2012 Toyota Prius might actually be able to speed up your commute times. With the Plug-in Hybrid version, you could theoretically stop using gasoline altogether if your commutes are relatively short.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a more conventional or even sporty design, and don't mind sacrificing a few mpg, the Ford Fusion Hybrid Sedan or sporty Honda CR-Z hybrid coupe is certainly worth a look, as are the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima hybrid sedans. Those seeking to save some money should look at the less expensive Honda Insight hybrid.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid gains some new styling, with a revised front end, new headlight and taillight designs and new 15-inch wheel covers on the Prius 2. A host of new audio systems is added, including Toyota's Entune. Entune is a subscription infotainment service similar to Ford's SYNC that uses voice-recognition software for many of its functions, and includes apps for Bing, Pandora and Movietickets.com.

The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid uses a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged in 3 hours via a standard power outlet or half that time on a 240-volt line. The car can travel in electric-only mode for 11 miles and at speeds up to 62 mph, then works as a regular Prius hybrid after the battery discharges.

Driving the Prius

Driving Impressions Due to the seamless transition between electric motor and gasoline engine, driving the 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid is a surprisingly serene event. The driver is given a range of performance...

options via the EV, Eco, and Power buttons, which allow for variations in throttle application and fuel consumption. In EV mode, the 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid functions solely on electric power (speed and miles permitting), while the Power mode setting delivers the full potential of the gasoline engine assisted by the electric motor. The Eco mode setting is probably the most useful of the three, allowing the Prius' computer to modify the throttle response for the best balance of fuel consumption and performance. The Eco mode is so efficient, it will even shut down the air conditioning when at idle. During our time with the 2012 Toyota Prius, we played with all three settings and to our surprise, found our fuel mileage easily topped EPA estimates no matter what mode we were in.

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 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid 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 extra oomph to get where you need to go.

2012 Toyota Prius Details
Interior

The 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid hatchback features an interior as modern and different as its exterior. The contoured dash looks particularly handsome with its 2-tone panels, although on base models the gray plastic and fabric choice are a bit depressing. The Prius' steering wheel incorporates a wheel-like control that operates the Touch Tracer Display controlling a number of fuel-usage and hybrid-operation displays on the Prius' LCD information screen. The touch-sensitive switches can also be employed to control the Prius' A/C, information screens, volume and station settings. With all this data displayed directly ahead of the driver, he can keep his eyes on the road ahead while operating various functions. In a nod to champions of recycling, the 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid features plant-derived (and therefore recyclable) plastic resins for the seat cushions and lower door panels.

Exterior

Despite the new design and continued freshening, the 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid, for better or for worse, is still easily identifiable as a Toyota Prius hybrid. The 5-door hatchback's familiar shape is not exactly head-turning, but it is not unattractive by any means. The Prius' sheet metal is designed to cheat the wind, with sharp-edged creases and flush glass panels. Even the car's wheel covers are aerodynamic. The roof's apex is pushed as far rearward as possible, creating a slightly sporty appearance while simultaneously maximizing rear-seat headroom. Base models ride on 15-inch wheels, but moving to the Prius Five brings 17-inch wheels as well as the option for the new dealer-installed Plus Performance accessory package. Plug-in Prius models feature a port on the right side where the charging cable goes, while the left side has a traditional gas cap. Plug-in models also have a distinct grille, wheels, door handles, and headlights and tail lights.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A nicely equipped 2012 Toyota Prius One hybrid 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 Two adds a 6.1-inch touch-screen audio display, a USB port, Bluetooth, LED daytime running lights (DRL), keyless entry, MP3 compatible CD player and a rear-window wiper. Moving up to the Prius Three adds the 3-door Smart Key entry system, navigation, rearview camera, Entune infotainment with free 3-year subscription, an upgraded JBL AM/FM/CD changer with satellite radio, Bluetooth and eight speakers, while the Prius Four trim is enhanced with the JBL audio plus eight "Green Edge" high-efficiency JBL speakers and 8-channel amplifier, a leather interior, heated front seats with driver's lumbar support, an 8-way power driver's seat, auto on/off headlights and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The top-of-the-line Prius Five adds 17-inch alloy wheels and energy-saving LED headlights and foglights. The Plug-in Hybrid version of the Prius comes two ways: a base model that incorporates features of higher-trim Prius hybrid models such as a nav system, and an Advanced version that ups the ante with features like Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, premium navigation, head-up display, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Optional Equipment

Several advanced safety systems are available for the top-of-the-line Prius Five, including Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, head-up display, 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 to help keep the vehicle cool. The dealer-installed Plus Performance accessory package adds a sport-tuned suspension with stiffer springs, ground effects, 17-inch lightweight alloy wheels, low-rolling-resistance, low-profile tires and a tuned rear sway bar.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid are powered by a 1.8-liter 4-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 2012 is 134 horsepower. The 2012 Prius' fuel economy ratings of 51 city/48 highway can be pushed even higher when utilizing the full EV mode. Fuel economy ratings for the Plug-in Hybrid are 95 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent) and 50 mpg in standard hybrid mode.

1.8-liter in-line 4 with 60-kilowatt Permanent Magnetic Synchronous Electric Motor Atkinson Cycle Hybrid
98 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm (gasoline engine) + 80 horsepower (electric motor) = 134 net horsepower
105 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm (gasoline engine); 153 ft-lb of torque (electric motor)
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 51/48 (hybrid); 95 mpge/50 mpg (Plug-in Hybrid)

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2012 Toyota Prius Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 316 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

Perfect car but for no memory drivers seat.

By on Friday, July 25, 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
10/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Perfect car for one driver, great mileage."

Cons: "No drivers memory seat."

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

"Would buy another if they had a drivers memory seat, should offer sun roof on the Prius 5 (not to be confused with the Prius V), which is available on the cheaper models,ie. 2,3,4. Passenger seat isn't as comfortable as the drivers. They should at least offer options like the above but they don't. Deal breakers."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

a little over rated

By on Thursday, July 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
1/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
4/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "saves at the pump"

Cons: "high service costs, slow , boring and not to safe"

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

"well thought this would be a money saver with high prices at the pump but with scheduled service at the dealership almost every other month and at thier over inflated prices. As i sit in the waiting room during my time off talking to other owners all we talk about is the great mpg, but once you add in all the manditory service costs its doesnt add up too well. I drove a ford for years and only changed oil this thing has a ton of little gremlins that are always there. the dealer tries to sell you on its so high tech and bla bla. Its an ok ride but dont feel safe either as there have been a lot a battery fails and you can feel the heat when you drive up a hill or strain the car with a little load. Ill keep it it for a while but will for sure sell it before the short warrenty is up. if the quality was so good why dont they raise it past 3/36 like 90% of the other companies???"

Best car I've ever owned. 50mpg, good take off

By on Wednesday, July 23, 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
10/10

Pros: "Fun driving machine"

Cons: "Can't think of any negatives."

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

"I have never owned a car as much fun to drive than this Prius. It has all the bells and whistles with satellite radio, solar vent system, navigation, moon roof and Bluetooth. The extra power acceleration is more than adequate and I have no regret giving this car an absolute 10. I enjoy passing gas stations with my 50mpg in all types of driving."

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."

9 people out of 13 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."

16 people out of 21 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

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