Go

2012 Toyota Prius

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Toyota Prius Review

By

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)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Toyota Prius Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 396 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Better outside than inside

By on Saturday, April 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Gas mileage, good power, roomy interior"

Cons: "cheap plastic interior, rattles, creaks"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Positives I really like the overall styling of the car, LOVE the solar roof, love the gas mileage, better than expected power, flexible interior for hauling odd items. Negatives The overall construction of the car is SO CHEAP. When you close a door it goes "boing" instead of "thunk". Air leaks around the driver door seals already. SO at 30,000 The interior is full of plastic that rattles and "creaks" esp console and doors. There's a rattle in the back seat on bumpy roads that the dealer refuses to fix. In the past 15 years I've owned two Hondas and two SAABs, none of them rattled even after 300k - huge step down from both Honda and SAAB in fit and finish) the upper glove box, slams open with no dampers, the synthetic cloth upholstery becomes abrasive over time, especially on the arm rests which turn to sandpaper.. I have "rug burn" on both my elbows from it. Door detents are not strong enough - bruised my my 84 year old mothers legs when the doors slammed shut on her in the wind. I've had all of them replaced, but this seems to be a weak spot in Toyotas in general. Interior storage is poorly laid out for small items, no cup holders in rear doors. The displays are outdated in terms of driver information. In my last Honda, it showed which door or hatch was open, rather than a generic "some door is open light". There is no indication of how long until the next service until it is already due. The "low fuel" indicator is just the last segment of the fuel gage blinking and comes on at 21 miles to empty. First of all it should be orange or red, and come on at 50 miles to empty. In many parts of the country, you might be a lot farther than 20 miles from a gas station."

Prius, great vehicle with some bad engineering

By on Sunday, April 03, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "great economy"

Cons: "bad engineering for display in the sun or a bright"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"This is my second Prius and 6th Toyota product so I like the Manufacturer. Our Prius has the leather package with the built in GPS. I was excited about that feature but this is where the engineer team fell asleep. On our first trip I set up the address and volume while in the garage and of we went. Very quickly we discovered we could not see the display nor hear it. I would have turned up the speaker but I could see where turn it up. The screen is at an angle that all the sun or light makes everything disappear. I have the screen as bright as it will go and that does not help. Dealer had no answer either. You also cannot see the radio controls unless it is dark or a cloudy day. Very bad design for a premium option. Also my wife keeps shutting off the entire display because her knee is right at the button. Other than that it is a great car but I will not get another if that is not fixed."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

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."

10 people out of 14 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!"

5 people out of 5 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!"

11 people out of 12 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."

16 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

Advertisement