Hybrids & Electrics

2021 Toyota Prius vs. Camry Hybrid: You Really Can’t Go Wrong

Toyota has been a player in the hybrid game for decades. And two of its best models — the Camry Hybrid and Toyota Prius — are becoming increasingly prevalent. Their growing popularity largely stems from their impressive fuel economy. But their affordability over all-electric vehicles is another major factor.

Whether you yearn for better fuel economy, reduced carbon emissions, or improved safety, you can’t go wrong with a Toyota Prius or Camry Hybrid.

The 2021 Toyota Prius

RELATED: Good Luck Finding a Toyota Prius That Consumer Reports Doesn’t Recommend

The Toyota Prius has been around the block. In fact, “the original Prius helped make hybrid vehicles mainstream back in the early 2000s, and it continues to be one of the most recognized hybrid nameplates,” Car and Driver reports.

The Prius flaunts purposely peculiar exterior styling and unconventional interior design, delivering a polarizing effect. Despite the fierce competition from newer rivals like the Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq, the Prius still rules the hybrid segment thanks to its stellar reliability.

In 2019, Toyota added an all-wheel drivetrain to the Prius. In a bid to attract more buyers, it features new rear and front bumpers, wide-ranging wheel designs and paint colors, a new rear hatchback, and updated LED headlights and taillights. The 2019 Toyota is available in L Eco, LE, LE AWD-e, XLE, XLE AWD-e, and Limited trims.  

The 2020 Toyota Prius boasts excellent gas mileage, a user-friendly infotainment system, and roomy, supportive seats. Better still, all 2020 Prius models come with Apple CarPlay integration. They include the L, LE, XLE, Limited trims.

The 2021 Toyota Prius is available in L Eco, LE, XLE, 20th Anniversary Edition, and Limited trims. All come standard with either XLE AWD-e or LE AWD-e variants incorporating Electronic On-Demand AWD. Although the 2021 Prius retains most of its predecessor’s specifications, it packs more advanced safety and driver-assistance features.

The XLE AWD-e offers the best value among the trims thanks to its wireless phone charger, heated and power-adjustable seats, heated steering wheel, and proximity-key function.

The 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Related: The Toyota Camry Hybrid Dominates the Honda Accord Hybrid

Having morphed from a splendid family sedan into an anonymous four-door, the Camry Hybrid has since reverted to its previous glory. Now the midsize sedan is becoming more and more desirable in a competitive hybrid/EV segment. In fact, it might be more popular if it weren’t for the Honda Accord Hybrid.

But the Camry Hybrid stands out from other sedans with its powerful shape, charming design, and sweeping curves. Its chiseled surfaces also augment its muscular design, creating an exceptional silhouette.

According to U.S. News, “Toyota makes the 2021 Camry Hybrid in four trim levels: LE, SE, XLE, and XSE … every trim has a four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), and front-wheel drive.”

Both are excellent hybrids

Related: The 2020 Toyota Camry is still a great four-cylinder car you shouldn’t ignore

With their many plusses, you can’t go wrong with the Toyota Prius or the Camry Hybrid. U.S. News reports that the 2021 Prius “boasts a spacious cabin and outstanding gas mileage.” However, “its performance takes a hit because of a lethargic powertrain.” But the Toyota Prius Prime compensates for the loss.

The plug-in hybrid Prius Prime combines the hybrid Prius’s aptitude with slightly better fuel efficiency. The Prime’s powertrain, including a battery pack, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, dual electric motors, and CVT, get it “133 mpg equivalent (MPGe) in hybrid mode, 54 mpg in gas mode, 25 miles of all-electric range, and 640 miles of total range,” Car Gurus reports. What’s more, the Prius Prime comes with helpful tools such as Drive Monitor, Eco Score, Eco Diary, and Eco Savings Record to track driving performance.

The Camry Hybrid’s key shortcomings include numb steering and cheap cabin materials. Yet, it provides sleeker styling, better handling, and standard advanced safety systems that set it apart from other midsize sedans. This spacious car boasts a spirited powertrain, gentle ride, and the latest infotainment tech. The base-model LE’s attractive $29,000 price and many amenities make it the most popular trim, Edmunds reports. But for about $6,000 more, the XLE offers luxe features such as leatherette upholstery, an 11.6-inch vertical infotainment touchscreen, and wireless device charging. Or, if you seek sharper handling, the SE and XSE boast sport-tuned suspensions.

Bottom line, both the Prius and Camry Hybrid are excellent cars. So, if you’re shopping for a car with unmatched practicality, efficiency, and technology, either model will likely tickle your fancy.