The Toyota Prius is the original mainstream hybrid. However, it's not resting on its laurels for low cost to own. Redesigned last year, this latest Prius is the first vehicle built on the Toyota New Generation Architecture, which means it boasts a stiffer body, lower weight and better dynamics thanks to a fully independent suspension. Granted, buyers pick the Prius more for its fuel economy than its ability to carve up twisty roads, but the TNGA chassis has the benefit of giving this hatchback a great ride and an easy-to-drive nature.
Toyota has also decided that it needed to give the car a more distinctive, edgy look. Particularly fetching are the tall LED rear taillamps that really stand out at night. But beneath the sharply creased sheetmetal, it's a familiar package, a compact size on the outside with the room of a class-larger car on the inside. You can fit five and the flexibility of the hatchback design also means you can carry stuff with the rear seat up or folded down.
While the total system output of the Toyota Prius is only 121 horsepower and 120 lb-ft of torque, the electric motor working in tandem with the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine instantly provides enough twist to at least smartly step off from stop lights. It's not a boy racer by any means, but it's not meant to be. Rather, its forte is fuel economy, which it delivers in spades at 54 mpg city and 50 mpg highway. You can opt for an Eco model that's even better at 58 mpg city/53 mpg highway.
Along with its low 5-Year Cost to Own performance, the 2017 Toyota Prius delivers both fuel economy and trouble-free operation, coupled with the Japanese automaker's reputation for excellent resale value.