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2015 Toyota Prius

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2015 Toyota Prius Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

As the best-selling hybrid in the world, it's no surprise that the 2015 Toyota Prius is the car most people think of when they hear the word "hybrid." With traditional and plug-in models available, the fuel-efficient 5-door hatchbacks pair a thrifty gasoline engine to an electric motor. Thanks to some very clever drivetrain programming, you'll get excellent fuel economy almost regardless of how heavy you are on the gas pedal. It does this with all the practicality of any hatchback, with a decently sized rear seat and plenty of cargo room. These days, the Toyota Prius faces stiff competition from the more refined Ford C-Max and Chevrolet Volt – both of which are more engaging to drive – but remains the hybrid to beat.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2015 Toyota Prius is all about fuel economy. If you're looking to get a hybrid to save the most gas, has the best reputation and killer resale value to boot, then the Prius is the king.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Prius may get the best fuel economy, it's not much fun to drive. The Ford C-Max is more interesting to drive, while the 2-seat Honda CR-Z is a sporty interpretation of the hybrid formula. The Chevy Volt gets roughly three times the electric-only range of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

What's New for 2015

The 2015 Toyota Prius gets a special edition this year, while the rest of the lineup remains unchanged. The Prius Persona Series Special Edition adds dark-finish 17-inch wheels, heated outside mirrors, dark chrome accents inside, and is painted either Blizzard Pearl or Absolutely Red.

Driving the Prius
Driving Impressions

The 2015 Toyota Prius is not exactly exciting to drive, at least not in the traditional sense. Acceleration is leisurely at best, and an Eco mode even dials it down...

... from there by reducing throttle input and even shutting off the air conditioning at stoplights to help save more fuel. Handling is best described as "safe," and braking and steering are both fine, if unexciting. On the highway, the Prius’ stiff and noisy ride can wear on you quickly. However, the real excitement comes when you look at the average fuel economy. Whether you're lead-footing it or trying to save, the Prius does everything it can to save gas, and it's very good at its job. By running in pure electric mode at low speeds such as parking lots, the Prius can easily top its already-impressive EPA ratings when driven conservatively, and match them almost regardless.

SOLAR ROOF PACKAGE
One option that shouldn't be exclusive to cars like the Prius is the solar roof package. A panel on the roof helps power a fan, venting heat from the interior on warm days. Why this isn't more common, we have no idea. Unfortunately, it's not available on the Plug-in Hybrid.

POWER BUTTON
Despite its mostly deserved humdrum reputation, the Prius does offer a "Power" button. Press it, and you get a bit more urgency from the throttle when you step on the gas. While the difference is maybe improving from molasses to maple syrup, it's still welcome.

2015 Toyota Prius Details
Interior

If you like driving the future, you'll love the interior styling of the 2015 Toyota Prius. The handsome contoured dash sweeps down into the center console, leaving a clever storage area underneath. Speaking of storage, there are nooks and crannies everywhere, offering enough space to put your cups, wallet, purse, phone and whatever else you carry around with you. The center-mounted gauges take a little getting used to, but they're clearly visible from the comfortable front seats. Rear-seat room is decent, as is cargo space under the hatch. Our one wish is for more color inside.

Exterior

Other cars may mimic its styling, but there's no mistaking the 2015 Toyota Prius for anything else. It's not exactly sexy, but the 5-door hatchback shape cheats the wind with numerous touches, including its aero-sculpted wheels. The rearward "hump" to the roof looks good, and helps enhance rear-seat headroom. This year, the Prius Three model can be ordered with the Persona Special Edition, which adds special white or red paint, plus dark-finish 17-inch alloy wheels and special badges. In addition to a recharge port, Plug-in Hybrid models are distinguished by their special grille, wheels, door handles and lights.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base-model 2015 Toyota Prius Two hybrid comes equipped with a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, automatic climate control, 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. Also standard is the Touch Tracer display, which displays which wheel-mounted control pad you're using on the center display, with individual controls lighting up red as you touch them. Prius Plug-in Hybrid models come more lavishly equipped, including things like navigation as standard equipment.

Optional Equipment

Most options are bundled into the different model levels on the 2015 Toyota Prius. Opt for the Prius Three through Five, and you get upgraded audio systems including Entune, navigation, heated and power-adjustable driver's seat, and even 17-inch alloy wheels. Energy-saving LED headlights and fog lights are also available on higher trims. Prius Plug-in Hybrid models can be ordered with an Advance package, which adds active cruise control and a head-up display. Similar options are available on the top-of-the-line Prius Five, as well as a Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist and Intelligent Parking Assist.

Under the Hood

The 2015 Toyota Prius hybrid uses a fuel-efficient 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine combined with a 60-kilowatt electric motor. The engine runs on gasoline, while the electric motor uses a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The 134 horsepower combination routes power through a continuously variable automatic transmission. The Plug-in Hybrid model uses a higher-capacity lithium-ion battery, which when fully charged from a power outlet gives the Plug-in an electric-only range of up to six miles. The EPA rates the Prius hybrid at 51/48 mpg for city/highway, but better economy can be achieved if you're careful with the gas, and use the EV mode frequently. The Plug-in Hybrid gets 51/49 mpg when running as a hybrid, or 95 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) by the EPA's plug-in-hybrid formula.

1.8-liter inline-4 engine + electric motor
Engine:
98 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
105 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
Electric motor:
80 horsepower/153 lb-ft of torque
Net output: 134 horsepower
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 51/48 mpg (hybrid), 51/49 mpg (Plug-in Hybrid)

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