New for 2014
The 2014 Toyota Prius remains largely unchanged from the previous model year, but the lineup loses the Persona Series special-edition model.
The Toyota Prius is the automaker’s hatchback hybrid that sets the bar for mainstream hybrids. The Prius fits above the Yaris but below the Corolla in the automaker’s lineup, falling in price and size not far from the midsize Camry. The Prius sits above the subcompact Prius C, but below the larger Prius V in the Prius family.
The 2014 Toyota Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter I-4/electric motor, which transfers its 134 net hp to the front wheels via a CVT. The regular Prius can travel about one mile on electric only, while the Prius plug-in hybrid can travel up to 11 miles. EPA estimates place the Prius at 51/48 mpg city/highway and the plug-in variant at 95 MPGe in EV mode. The Prius plug-in fully charges its battery in one-and-a-half hours at 240V and in three hours at 120V.
Toyota offers a host of hybrid-friendly features on the Prius, and has built in three different selectable drive modes: normal, EV, POWER, and ECO. EV (on a regular Prius) will allow about a mile of all-electric motion under certain conditions, POWER increases throttle sensitivity, and ECO adjust throttle input and climate control settings. An available solar roof can circulate air with a small fan so that cars parked in direct sunlight are more comfortable upon reentry, which is part of a solar roof package. Inside Toyota has integrated a head-up display, 6.1-inch infotainment system, and a feature that places an image of your steering wheel controls on the information display when you touch a button, allowing you to know which button you’re about to press without having to look away from the road.
The 2014 Prius received a four-star crash test rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and is considered a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS. The Prius Plug-In has not been evaluated individually by the NHTSA or the IIHS. Safety packages include dynamic radar cruise control, a pre-collision system, lane keep assist, and parking assist.
What We Think
The Toyota Prius is a longtime leader in the hybrid segment. When Toyota attempted to set a record-setting lap of the Nürburgring in a Prius Plug-In, we explained the effort: “The goal here was miles-per-gallon, not miles-per-hour. Without any special aerodynamic trickery or body modifications (purely aesthetic TRD parts were added), the Toyota Prius Plug-In used less than five tablespoons of fuel on its triumphant 12.9-mile outing. You’ll find more honey in the average pitcher of sweet tea. Because the car’s battery was fully charged, the only time the gas engine intervened was during one long hill climb.” The record was 698 mpg, with an average speed of 40 mph.
- Class leader hybrid
- 50 mpg combined
- The plug-in version if your commute is short enough
You Won’t Like
- Not very exciting to drive
- Styling screams hybrid
- Honda Accord Hybrid / Plug-in
- Ford C-Max Hybrid / Energi
- Chevrolet Volt
- Ford Fusion Hybrid / Energi
- Honda Civic Hybrid