By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.9
As heir to the world's first mass-produced hybrid car, the 2014 Toyota Prius must fill some pretty big shoes. Luckily, the 5-door hatchback has all the help it needs, with brisk sales of the original car and an army of teammates including a plug-in model, a larger wagon variant and a smaller compact. All Prius models use the same powertrain technology that has become the benchmark for Toyota's hybrid cars: a fuel-efficient gas engine teamed to an electric motor. This setup allows the Prius to run solely on electric power for short distances, on gasoline for longer trips and a combination of the two when zipping around town or asking for more power. The result is exceptional fuel economy in an inexpensive, albeit bland, family car.
If you're looking for a hybrid with the best fuel economy, best reputation and best resale, the 2014 Toyota Prius is still the king.
If you're willing to sacrifice a few mpg in return for better style, more features and a sportier drive, the Ford C-Max, Honda CR-Z and Chevy Volt make tempting alternatives.
The Toyota Prius hybrid and plug-in hybrid remain unchanged for model year 2014.
Driving Impressions Because the transition between electric motor and gasoline engine is seamless, driving the 2014 Toyota Prius hybrid is a rather benign event. The Prius offers a choice of power modes...... ranging from pure electric (EV) to performance mode (Power), or the most efficient use of both powertrains (Eco). Although the Prius can function purely in electric mode, it can do so only for a short time and at low speeds. Maximum efficiency exists in the Eco mode, which maximizes fuel economy, even shutting down the air conditioning at idle to save fuel. The plug-in version operates the same way only it can drive on pure electric at higher speeds, but just for about 11 miles. For those who like a challenge, the Prius can actually top its EPA estimates when driven conservatively by taking advantage of regenerative braking, avoiding hard acceleration and keeping speeds low.
SOLAR ROOF PACKAGE
The Solar Roof Package includes solar cells embedded just behind the moonroof. This feature helps keep the cabin cool by powering a small ventilating fan when the interior gets too hot.
We all like to save gas, but when needed we also like power to merge, pass and accelerate. Selecting the Power setting gives a bit more urgency to the Prius' forward motion, although it's not neck-snapping acceleration by any means.
The 2014 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.Exterior
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 2014 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, push-button 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 (Prius Three, Four) 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 2014 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 mpg for standard hybrid operation, and 95 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) by the EPA's plug-in-hybrid formula.
1.8-liter inline-4 engine + electric motor
98 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
105 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
Motor: 80 horsepower/153 ft-lb of torque
Net output: 134 horsepower
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 51/48 mpg (hybrid), 51/49 mpg (Plug-in Hybrid)
The base 2014 Toyota Prius Two (One is a thinly equipped model for fleet purchases only) has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) right around $25,000. Each successive trim adds a couple thousand dollars, with the Prius Five coming in just under $31,000. Depending on trim level, an Advanced Technology and Navigation package, Plus Performance package and Plus Appearance package can be specified; a fully loaded Prius Five can top $40,000. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid comes in base form for around $31,000 or Advanced for another $4,750. To find out what the Prius is selling for in your area, check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price. The Prius has historically retained above-average resale value and we expect the 2014 to do the same.
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."
1 person out of 1 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