By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
The world's first and most successful mass-produced hybrid car, the 2013 Toyota Prius hybrid is now a family of vehicles, a sub-brand consisting of the original hatchback Prius, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid built on the same body, the Prius V with its wagon-like extended roofline, and the smaller Prius C hatchback. All Prius models use versions of the same basic powertrain technology, a marriage of gasoline engine and electric motor Toyota calls "Hybrid Synergy Drive." Both power sources can drive the vehicle, and they normally do so in a fluid dance where either can take the lead or both can work together. With varying degrees of pure-electric range plus the gas engine and regenerative braking charging a battery pack, the overall result is exceptional energy efficiency.
If you want the best fuel economy in the hybrid field, the 2013 Toyota Prius is still king, with a 51/48 mpg rating for the standard car, 51/49 for the Plug-In, 53/46 for the Prius C and 44/40 for the Prius V.
There are no styling, specification or equipment changes to the Prius for 2013, though a new trim package is added, the Persona Series Special Edition.
Driving Impressions Due to the seamless transition between electric motor and gasoline engine, driving the 2013 Toyota Prius hybrid is a surprisingly drama-free event. The driver has a choice of performance options...via the EV, Eco and Power buttons. In EV mode, the Prius functions solely on electric power, though speed and range are quite limited. The Power mode delivers the full potential of the gasoline engine boosted by the electric motor. The Eco mode selects throttle response for best efficiency, and will even shut down the air conditioning when at idle. The Plug-In Hybrid version operates almost exactly the same, though its electric-only range is lots longer, a rated 11 miles. Driving conservatively and taking full advantage of the regenerative braking can yield fuel consumption that tops the EPA ratings.
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 comfortable. Also, the air conditioning can be remotely started to pre-cool the cabin.
Although the 2013 Toyota Prius hybrid is a lean, green, gas-saving machine, everyone can use a little more urge now and then. Putting the car into Power mode changes the Hybrid Synergy Drive program to get where you're going a bit faster.
The 2013 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-colored plastic and fabric look a little dull. 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. Plant-derived (and recyclable) plastic resins are used for the seat cushions and lower door panels.
There's no mistaking a Toyota Prius hybrid. The 5-door hatchback's familiar shape is not exactly head-turning, but it's clearly efficient and slippery. Even the car's wheel covers are aerodynamic. The roof's apex is pushed rearward, creating a slightly sporty appearance while simultaneously maximizing rear-seat headroom. Most models ride on 15-inch wheels, but the Prius Five has 17-inchers. 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 lights.
A 2013 Toyota Prius Two hybrid includes a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with air-conditioning controls and Touch Tracer Display, height-adjustable driver's seat, auto up/down on all windows, pushbutton start, two 12-volt power outlets, a 6.1-inch touch-screen audio display and Bluetooth. Trim levels Three through Five bring upgraded audio systems with Entune telematics, navigation, heated and power-adjustable driver's seat, 17-inch alloy wheels and energy-saving LED headlights and fog lights. The Plug-in Hybrid version comes as a base model with up-level features such as navigation, and as an Advanced version with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and a head-up display.
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 are offered in the Advanced Technology Package, which includes the Navigation Package. The optional power moonroof has solar-powered ventilation and remote-start 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, lower-profile tires, and a rear anti-roll bar.
The 2013 Toyota Prius hybrid is powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine mated mechanically and electronically to a 60-kilowatt electric motor, all working with a continuously variable transmission and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Total hybrid system horsepower is 134. The Plug-in Hybrid model uses a higher-capacity lithium-ion battery that can be charged from any outlet for up to 11 miles of pure-electric operation. The Prius' EPA city/highway fuel economy rating is 51/48.Learn to manage the system, utilizing regenerative braking and the low-speed full EV mode whenever possible, and you can push actual mileage even higher. The Plug-in Hybrid has a rating of 51/49 for standard hybrid operation, and 95 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) by the EPA's plug-in-hybrid formula.
1.8-liter inline-4 Atkinson Cycle
98 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
105 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
60-kilowatt Permanent Magnetic Synchronous Electric Motor
153 ft-lb of torque
Net output: 134 horsepower
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 51/48 mpg (hybrid); 51/49 mpg, 95 MPGe (Plug-in Hybrid)
By Kris on Wednesday, March 04, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great on gas, comfortable for long travel"
Cons: "doesnt do well in snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I absolutely love my Prius; however, I work at a hospital so in the winter when it snows, I have major issues with driving to work. I would recommend this car to anyone who doesn't have to get out in snow. This car is AMAZING on gas mileage. I have never had any major issues that weren't backed by the warranty that came with my car. This was my first Toyota vehicle and I have loved it so much that when I purchase an SUV I will make sure it is Toyota brand. I had a Kia Rio before and had nothing but trouble with it so this was a nice change."
By John F. on Monday, March 02, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"This is first and last Prius. It gets terrific mileage in the non-Winter months (45 mpg plus). It get fair mieage in the Winter (30-35 mpg) due to the engine running a lot to keep the heat warm. Also, have had two issues: one with the hybrid system and one with the engine. The Toyota dealer guesses at the cause and solution - not encouraging. We will be looking at a Honda Civic should these issues persist and for our next vehicle."
By Mochi2012 on Sunday, March 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas price"
Cons: "blind spots and low bottom"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I am a Toyota loyalist. After 10 years of my Toyota RAV4, I swore I needn't look at anything but Toyotas ever again. Now after 3 years with a Prius, I am revising that vow. The Prius does save money on gas ... not the 50 mpg it claims ... usually more like 41-2. Not bad, but not as advertised. Worst, though, is that the Prius has terrible blind spots. I tell all my friends never to cross left to right in front of a Prius; the driver cannot see you. I can't tell you how many times I have almost hit a pedestrian. Other Prius drivers complain of this too. In addition, compared to the higher RAV4, the Prius scrapes bottom if there's the slightest uphill grade in a driveway. I wish Toyota would make the RAV4 a hybrid."
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Lesllie on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "I like the color and mileage"
Cons: "way too many to list. See the review for details"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Worst purchase I've ever made in my life. I paid a lot of money for this new car. It is a cheaply constructed car. Seems that Toyota cuts corners in construction to make the car lighter so it gets better mileage. There are so many rattles, buzzes, and shaking noises, all the time, literally. I've stopped taking it to the dealer to try and fix, after taking it in FIVE times to fix one glove compartment area rattle. This car has tremendous road noise. Definitely noisier than the 1997 Honda Accord, which I thought was pretty noisy. I can't stand the hatchback. You have to manually open and close it; no release button. So unless your car is clean all the time, your hands (or gloves) get dirty. I always stored a lot of stuff in the trunk of my previous cars. To hide anything in the Prius hatch area, you have to pull the cover and hook it. The vertical height with the cover on is pretty short. You can’t put a daypack in vertically; has to be laid down. Shopping bags barely fit. The bottom portion of the hatch window gets so dirty so fast. You have to manually wipe it to clean it; gas station wipers don't work. And "drive-through" car washes don't dry it. The windshield wiper on the upper portion of the hatch window only lifts up an inch or so. That makes it rather difficult to clean the outer portion of the window. The bar in middle of the hatch window obstructs the view. I actually feel unsafe driving sometimes, if the window is a bit dirty—and it doesn’t take much for it to get dirty enough to affect seeing out of it. You cannot adjust the rearview mirror for night driving. Supposedly it “auto” adjusts. Well, if your eyes are light sensitive as mine are, forget it. So I have bright headlights in my rearview mirror all the time. Want to listen to your fancy schmancy radio? Just try it! The dealer told me it’s a well-known issue for the Prius that the radio reception fades in and out a lot, and there is no fix for it. I live in a large metro area and it happens all the time. My Honda never had a problem with radio reception. I bought the very expensive extra package so I could have a sunroof. Mistake! The sunroof, when open at any distance, is so noisy! I’ve had sun roofs in all my cars and this is the noisiest. I rarely use it. I have never used the extra HD stuff that comes with the package. So, a total throwaway. Front window all fogged up? Well, wait 5 minutes for it to clear up enough to drive safely, with the defrost blasting at full speed. Literally, I have sat multiple times in a bus park and ride lot, at 11pm for 5 minutes before I could see enough to drive. The windows fog up way more easily than any other car I’ve driven. No idea why. Very frustrating. I typically drive with the rear defrost on, because otherwise the rear window tends to fog up. I’m the only person in the car. Shouldn’t fog up like that, especially when it’s not raining or humid. And why does Toyota think that I want the front defrost to always go on full blast??? If I don’t want that, I have to be ready to push the down arrow on the air volume to stop it at the level I want. I generally don’t need the defrost at full blast (except as noted above). The front end is so low to the ground, it doesn’t clear a lot of parking lot space curb dividers. I’ve given up trying to not scratch it."
By LovePrius on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, save gas"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have own so many cars, Honda, Ford, Acura, Mazda, Scion, Toyota highlander , Camry, and this is the best car I have ever had, love it, should have bought them years ago, could have save over $$$$$ just in gas. Great single or family car. not for racing."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By VAJEFF on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive and makes me feel good."
Cons: "Still thinking....."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After 3 years of lease time I was looking forward to the purchase today. I loved a Corolla many years ago and a couple Camry's since then, but it's such a good feeling to cruise down the road, relatively smooth and quiet, and knowing that this car is being pushed along with only a gallon of gasoline per 50 miles or more. It's not a racecar and wouldn't do well at the track, but I'm not a topnotch driver and enjoy curves not necessarily on a country road. Nothing wrong with that, but the Prius is a good car, woth the investment...so far."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful