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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 394 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

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."

3 people out of 4 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!"

2 people out of 2 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!"

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

I can't believe you rated three Fords over Prius!

By on Monday, November 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Great car"

Cons: "I am 6'4" tall, and I could use a little more room"

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

"Two of the Fords were over twenty thousand dollars, but their mileage was less. This is my second Prius, and I would not consider buying any other car. She handles like a dream, hugs the road, excellent service, maintenance free, fun to dive, and I forget the last time I had to buy gas."

15 people out of 22 found this review helpful

A trooper!

By on Wednesday, November 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,235

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage, amazing engineering"

Cons: "small blind spots towards the rear"

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

"My Toyota Prius saved my life in a collision with a deer. The buck hit me while I was going 75 MPH, and the car did exactly as it should! The engine took the damage and crumpled on itself, my air bags held me in place, and I walked away from the crash with a small bruise from the where the seat belt clicks in. Sadly, the Prius was totaled, but it definitely protected me until the end! The police couldn't believe I walked away from that severity of a crash."

12 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Love the mileage, combined 54 mpg over 2,500 miles

By on Saturday, September 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "High mpg, handles well, low cost to operate"

Cons: "Poor acceleration, poor in deep snow."

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

"The car is everything promised and better. I've measured the mpg several times, each over a couple thousand miles and combined mpg consistently around 54 mpg. Rides much better than expected. Weight of battery I guess gives it the weight for better handling. No repairs, just routine service. The car is NOT high performance so if you want high mpg and speed I suggest a Tesla. It also does not do particularly well in deep snow, but does fine on ice."

19 people out of 24 found this review helpful

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