2021 toyota prius
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2021 Toyota Prius
$341 / month
$355 / month
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Buying Tips

What you must know before buying the Toyota Prius

Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - September 4, 2020
  • 2021 Prius is here
  • Rebate: Up to $1,750 off
  • Finance: 0% APR
  • Lease: From $249/mo.

2021 Prius is here:

The carryover 2020 Toyota Prius is in showrooms now and gains a few new promotional offer, like an enhanced cash rebate. We expect no new offers by Labor Day.

The 2021 Prius, which is also a carryover model, is arriving now, and it has a few offers. None of the 2021 model's offers are as attractive as the 2020 Prius' deals.

The Prius has been a slow seller for a variety of reasons, but one culprit has been its outrageously expensive promotional lease that ranked as one of the worst values for a hybrid.

Toyota's deals are regional and expire on September 30, 2020. All deals mentioned here are for Southern California.

Cash incentive remains:

The 2020 Toyota Prius continues with a cash incentive worth up to $1,750 off ($750 increase). The 2021 Prius also has a cash incentive, but it's worth only $500.

This cash incentives aren't stackable with the low APR offers below.

Expecting to graduate soon? Be sure to ask about the Toyota College Graduate Finance Program. When financing through Toyota, new grads are eligible for a $750 rebate.

APR deals enhanced:

The 2020 Prius has two new low APR deals, including 0% APR offer for up to 60 months and 1.9% APR offer for 72 months. The latter replaces last month's 2.9% APR for 72 months.

The 2021 Prius gains its first APR offers this month: 1.9% for 60 months or 2.9% for 72 months.

Buyers cannot combine these APR deals with the cash incentives above, but they are eligible for the 90-day payment deferral.

Lease from $249/mo.:

The 2020 Toyota Prius continues with the same promotional lease offer: a 36-month lease on the L Eco trim that runs $249 per month with $1,999 due at signing. With an effective monthly cost of $305, this is a good value relative to its MSRP.

The Prius has been plagued by poor lease offers, so now's the time to lease a 2020 Prius.

The 2021 Prius has no promotional lease offers, but you can nab a 36-month lease at the retail rate, which would run $364 per month with $3,014 due at signing. With an effective monthly cost of $48, this is a terrible value relative to its MSRP.

The Prius' promotional leases allows up to 12,000 miles per year.

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Advertised Lease Deals

L Eco (Estimated Payment)
$364Monthly Payment
Term Length (months): 36
Due at signing: $3,014
Mileage: 12k
MSRP: $25,520
Deal Valid in: Southern California
Expiration: 9/30/20

This ranks as an excellent deal based on our expert analysis of: vehicle price, length of lease term, amount due at signing, monthly payment, etc.

CarsDirect Target Price

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CarsDirectPricing as of 9/24/20 in 20149
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Cash Incentives

Incentive available to most customers and purchasing situations.
Customer Rebate Customer Cash (Expires 9/30/20) Customer Rebate: Customers must take delivery of this vehicle prior to the expiration date to be eligible for this manufacturer rebate. This rebate may not be available on special factory orders or used in conjunction with special manufacturer financing or leasing programs. Other special financing programs may be available. Please check with your CarsDirect Trusted Dealer for complete details.%NotesManuf% %Eligibility% Not valid on Special Lease/Preferred Option transactions, APR programs or vehicles otherwise excluded based on the terms and conditions. %Qualification% Must be 18 years of age or older and have a valid driver's license. $500

Financing Incentives

Promotional APR Offer Promotional APR programs available for qualified buyers. Please check with your CarsDirect Trusted Dealer for complete details.%NotesManuf% %Eligibility% Contracts must be processed by TFS.
Term(s)1 - 2425 - 3637 - 4849 - 6061 - 72
Rate %1.9%1.9%1.9%1.9%2.9%
Eligibility Contracts must be processed by TFS.

Hurry! Offer expires

Leases For Similar Cars

Based on 2021 Toyota Prius L 5dr Front-wheel Drive Hatchback - MSRP $25,520

Best Toyota Deals & Lease Offers In September

Toyota has something for everyone this month as attractive offers can be found whether you buy or lease. The 2020 Highlander sees a $10 drop in lease payment, starting at... View All Toyota Lease Deals

2021 Toyota Prius Overview

Willis Kuelthau
Automotive Editor

What's New

The 2021 Toyota Prius returns largely unchanged as it celebrates two decades on the market worldwide. Toyota is celebrating with a limited 2020 Edition, making – you guessed it – 2,020 of them. It gets special black wheels and black exterior trim.

The only minor changes for the Prius lineup at large this year are the additions of Android Auto compatibility to most trims, pedestrian and bicyclist detection, and automatic high beams.

This generation of Prius is starting to age, and we expect a full redesign in the next couple years.

Choosing Your Toyota Prius

Including the limited edition, this year’s Prius comes in five trims: L Eco, LE, XLE, 2020 Edition, and Limited. After destination fees, prices start at $25,520 for the L Eco and extend up to $33,645 for the Limited.

Engine Choices

The Prius sticks to one powertrain, and performance isn't a strong suit. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine teams up with a 53-kW electric motor for a total of 121 horsepower. The system utilizes an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission.

Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available on the LE and XLE trims for $1,000 (XLE) or $1,400 (LE). AWD models use a separate motor to power the rear wheels at speeds up to 43 mph. That makes the Prius one of few all-wheel-drive hybrids on the market, although the low clearance may be a deterrent for snow-state buyers.

The Prius remains a star in the efficiency department. The base L Eco trim uses skinny low-resistance tires, which help boost efficiency to an EPA-estimated 58 miles per gallon city, 53 mpg highway, and 56 combined. The other trims achieve 54/50/52 mpg (city/highway/combined), while AWD variants return 51/47/49 mpg.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

All Prius models seat five passengers in relative comfort. Second-row space is only average with 33.4 inches of rear leg room, but sculpted front seat backs make it feel bigger.

The trademark hatchback shape is good for practicality, opening up 27.4 cubic feet of space behind the seats. Fold the second row, and capacity expands to 50.7 cubic feet.

Safety Features

Every Prius comes with advanced safety technologies like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, and automatic high beams.

The LE and above add blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking sensors to the mix. The Limited alone gets adaptive and auto-leveling headlights.

Last year’s Prius was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and we see no reason why the new model won’t get the same honor. The only safety ding is rearward visibility, which is interrupted by the Prius’s double-window design.


The Prius keeps its 7-inch infotainment system, but this year it supports Android smartphones in most trims. The system also comes with Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, wi-fi hot spot capability, and three USB ports.

The XLE and above add wireless charging, while the top Limited trim gets a larger 11.6-inch touchscreen, navigation, a 10-speaker JBL audio system, and a color head-up display. Oddly, the range-topping trim loses Android Auto compatibility.

L Eco - From $25,520

In addition to being the cheapest Prius, the L Eco is the most efficient. That’s thanks to tiny 15-inch wheels, which join LED lights to decorate the exterior. Inside, the L Eco keeps things basic with manually-adjustable front seats, fabric upholstery, and the base infotainment display. Keyless entry and push button start are standard.

LE - From $26,730

The Prius LE gains a few handy upgrades like a rear window wiper, blind-spot monitoring, and parking sensors. A marginally heavier weight means that the LE isn’t as efficient as the L Eco, but it keeps the 15-inch wheels.

All-wheel drive is available for an extra $1,400 at this trim. For drivers who upgrade, Toyota adds in fog lights and alloy wheels.

XLE - From $29,570

As it pushes closer to $30,000, the XLE trim pushes toward luxury. The wheels swell to 17 inches, and rain-sensing windshield wipers are included. The numerous interior upgrades include wireless charging, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, leatherette upholstery, and an eight-way power driver's seat. All-wheel drive is available for an extra $1,000.

The XLE trim is the first to unlock feature bundles. Techies will want the Advanced Technology Package ($800), which adds a head-up display and auto-leveling headlights. The other option is the Premium Convenience Package ($515), which tacks on a power moonroof and unique 15-inch wheels.

2020 Edition - From $31,295

The limited 2020 Edition is essentially a Prius XLE with aesthetic upgrades. The wheels are blacked out, as are the shift knob, side mirrors, and portions of the front grille. Custom badging decorates the exterior and the floor mats, and the rear deck lid sprouts a spoiler.

All-wheel drive is not available on the 2020 edition. Oddly enough, the packages from the XLE trim aren’t available either.

Limited - From $33,645

The Limited trim is the most luxurious a Prius can get, although it compromises in some areas. Most notable is the infotainment system, which grows to 11.6 inches but loses Android Auto compatibility. Navigation is included, as are all the features in the Advanced Technology Package.

Compare Prius Trims Side-By-Side

CarsDirect Tip

The 2021 Toyota Prius struggles to make a case for cost against its Toyota Corolla Hybrid sibling, which is cheaper and nearly as efficient. The Prius L Eco trim makes the most sense for commuters, but an XLE with all-wheel drive may be the best value.

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