The 2013 Toyota Prius Hybrid earns an above average Total Car Score for the Hybrid & Electric Cars segment.
The hybrid landscape has changed considerably since Toyota first introduced the Prius, with competing gas/electric cars of all shapes and sizes coming from nearly every corner of the world. That’s one reason why Toyota expanded the Prius lineup beyond the iconic hatchback to include a stretched wagon -- the Prius v -- a Plug-In version of the standard Prius that will go much farther on electric power alone, and a compact Prius the Prius c Hybrid (reviewed separately).
Will the expanded Prius family be able to maintain Toyota’s share of this green segment? The Prius certainly has momentum on its side with a name that’s nearly synonymous with hybrid. It’s also tough to beat the Prius’s 50 mpg combined fuel economy ratings -- except by other Priuses. And even the standard Prius is roomier inside than it looks, making it a spacious means of transport for five.
There are chinks in the Prius armor, though, as competing makes deliver hybrid vehicles that are more fun to drive, more refined, and more mainstream in their styling, inside and out. Hybrid buyers now don’t have to put up with weird and/or awkward control placement, a lack of rearward visibility due to bifurcated rear windows, and seats that are too short and too firm -- all Prius traits that have garnered complaints by vehicle testers.
Last redesigned three years ago, the Toyota Prius rolls into 2013 with very few changes. A new Persona Series model has been added to the Prius hatchback line, splitting the difference between the Three and Four trim levels with unique paint colors, 17-inch wheels, distinctive upholstery stitching and interior trim, and an audio system upgraded with the Entune infotainment system and a backup camera. There are no changes to the Plug-In and Prius v models.
For 2013, Toyota offers four different gas/electric hybrid cars under the Prius name: the standard Prius hatchback, the Prius Plug-In hatchback, the extended-length Prius v wagon, and the compact www(Prius c) (which is reviewed separately).
All of the Prius models share a version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which pairs a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 98 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque with a motor generator that makes 80 hp and 153 lb-ft, for a total power output of 134 hp. The motor in the Prius and Prius v is powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack, while the Plug-In uses a lithium-ion battery pack, giving it 15 miles of electric-only range, as opposed to the mile or so the standard Prius can drive using electricity only.
The Prius hatchback is available in three trim levels (four if you count the most basic model available for fleet sale only). The base Prius for consumer sale is called the Two, and it’s equipped with 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, a multi-information display, push-button start, cruise control, power windows and door locks, and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, auxiliary and iPod jacks and Bluetooth. The Three model adds an upgraded audio system with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, satellite and HD radio, and navigation. A new model for ’13, the Persona Series, slots between the Three and Four with 17-inch alloy wheels, upgraded seat fabric and a powered driver’s seat. The Four model gets an additional audio upgrade with eight JBL speakers and hands-free audio and voice command controls; and the Five rolls on the 17-inch alloys and is equipped with LED headlights and integrated foglights.
The Prius v is available in Two, Three and Five trim levels, all packaged with equipment similar to those trim levels in the hatchback except for some small differences -- the standard wheel size is 16 inches, for example, and the Prius v Five trim comes with radar cruise control.
The Prius Plug-In is offered in standard and Advanced trim levels, with the standard equipped like a Prius Two and the Advanced like the Prius v Five (except that both are fitted with 15-inch alloy wheels).
The EPA rates the 2013 Toyota Prius as achieving 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway and 50 mpg combined; the Prius Plug-In gets 1 more mpg in the highway cycle (and a 95 mpg-e rating when the gas and electricity are factored together); and the Prius v’s fuel economy drops to 44/40/42 mpg.
Total Car Score is not affiliated with, associated, authorized, or endorsed by, or in any way officially connected to any of the Expert Resources, nor does Total Car Score endorse any of the Expert Resources, or its affiliates.
Click here to see more.