Toyota
Prius
2017
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James Flammang
Contributing Editor - September 20, 2016

2017 Toyota Prius OVERVIEW

Arguably the hybrid that started it all, Toyota's Prius continues to win buyers with its unmatched fuel-efficiency and proven battery/gasoline technology. When you consider its other virtues, including practicality and value, it's easy to see why the Prius still remains the most recognized example of hybrid power on the road.

What's New for 2017

Totally redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Prius now gains active-safety features. They’re standard on all versions. Included in the Toyota Safety Sense group are a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Previously, these features came in an option group for upper models.

Toyota Prius

Choosing Your Toyota Prius

Although the redesigned Prius didn't change much in silhouette last year, the front and rear ends got radically different styling. Front occupants gained roomier seats, and cargo space grew. A new suspension setup provided sharper handling, along with a calmer ride.

Again this year, the Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to a pair of electric motors, one of which doubles as a generator to keep the lithium-ion battery pack charged. Combined output is 121 horsepower, delivered to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

Swiftness is still not a Prius highlight, but acceleration from a standstill to 60 mph has improved, finally achieved in less than 10 seconds: 9.8, to be precise. As expected, fuel-efficiency is stellar, estimated at 52 mpg in combined city/highway driving (54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway). The Eco version of the Prius does even better, estimated at 56 mpg combined. On the safety front, the Prius earns a five-star overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, plus Top Safety Pick + from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Prius is available in no less than six trim levels:

Two

Priced at $24,685, the Two comes equipped with automatic climate control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio, keyless ignition, a split-folding rear seat, and a six-speaker sound system. The dashboard holds a dual driver information display and a 6.1-inch touchscreen. Outside are 15-inch alloy wheels and full LED lighting with auto-off headlights. Also included this year is the Toyota Safety Sense system.

Two Eco

Delivers an additional 4 mpg thanks to special tires, a lighter battery pack, and a tire-inflation kit instead of a spare. The Two’s standard rear wiper also is deleted.

Three

White accents highlight the SofTex leatherette-trimmed steering wheel, shifter, and console. Standard features include a wireless phone charging pad. Toyota's Entune infotainment system with navigation, satellite and HD radio, and numerous integrated Smartphone apps. Audio controls are on the steering wheel. The available Advanced Technology package tacks on a sunroof and a color head-up display.

Three Touring

Gets a sunroof and head-up display as standard, plus 17-inch wheels, foglamps, LED accent lights, a unique rear bumper design, and SofTex leatherette-trimmed seats with contrasting blue stitching.

Four

Builds upon the basic Three with heated front seats (powered for the driver, with lumbar support), automatic wipers, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a cargo area cover. The Advanced Technology package remains optional. The Four is also eligible for a Premium Convenience package consisting of an automated parking system and Intelligent Clearance Sonar.

Four Touring

Sticker-priced at $30,015, the top Prius combines the Touring content with the Four's higher level of standard equipment. The Premium Convenience package continues as an option.

CarsDirect Tip

Critics still fault the Prius's split back window, but Toyota's hybrid leader has plenty of virtues to offset that imperfection, including improved performance in its latest guise. The price difference between the base Two and the Two Eco is just $480—a modest amount for attaining bragging rights in top-level fuel-efficiency. Higher up the range, the twin Touring models have some intriguing visual elements, but adding standard active-safety features this year helps make every Prius version worth considering.

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Toyota Prius

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