- 2022 Toyota Prius ($24,525 – $32,820)
- 5-Star Overall Safety Rating – NHTSA
- Pro: The 2022 Toyota Prius relies on a tried-and-true combination of reliability and outstanding fuel efficiency.
- Con: The Prius’ styling is still not for everyone and it is a little expensive for an economy car.
If you were to think of a hybrid car, which car would immediately come to mind? Most likely a Toyota Prius. No one would blame you considering Toyota’s ubiquitous and otherworldly-looking hybrid compact has been around for over two decades. It’s safe to say that it has firmly solidified itself in the annals of automotive history. Love it or hate it, the Prius is here to stay and for the 2022 model year, there have been a few changes.
A new trim level, a couple of new tech features, and a vital safety feature have all been added to America’s best-selling hybrid car for this year. Otherwise, the Toyota Prius remains largely the same and a leader in the segment.
Which Toyota Prius trim level is right for you?
For 2022, there are five different Toyota Prius trim levels to choose from:
- L Eco: $24,525
- LE: $25,735
- XLE: $28,745
- Nightshade Edition: $29,445
- Limited: $32,820
An electric all-wheel-drivetrain is available on the LE, XLE, and Nightshade models and costs up to $1,400 extra depending on the trim level. The new-for-2022 Nightshade Edition gives the Prius a goth look with black door handles, black headlight accents, mirror caps, and a shark fin antenna.
Black 17-inch wheels are added to the darkened theme when the FWD configuration is selected, but the AWD-e models get 15-inch wheels with black lug nuts. The color palette for this specific trim includes Midnight Black Metallic, Super White, and Silver Metallic.
My tester for a week was a 2022 Prius Nightshade Edition in front-drive form. There weren’t any optional features included except for a $402 accessory package that included a first-aid kit and carpeted floor mats. The total MSRP as tested was $31,056 (including a $1,025 destination charge).
The Toyota Prius still upholds its futuristic aerodynamic looks
Admittedly, the Toyota Prius has looked weird ever since it came out in 2000. However, those unique aesthetics are what make it stand out in everyone’s minds. After all, there’s a Toyota Corolla Hybrid that no one likely thinks about. But I digress.
For 2022, not much has changed as the Toyota Prius still sports a wind-cheating, futuristic look. It now has narrow head and taillights along with a sloping silhouette that gives it an ultra-low 0.24 coefficient of drag. Additionally, that sloping roof is part of why there is so much room on the inside.
How comfortable is the Prius?
The Prius is very comfortable to sit in, even for long periods of time. The car’s semi-bubbly shape makes for a high roofline and an excellent amount of shoulder space. That being said, every seat in the cabin has enough room for five adults to fit comfortably. My tester’s SofTex-trimmed seats made the car feel more upscale and the graphic displays in the middle of the dash made it feel far more futuristic.
The touchscreen infotainment system sits in the middle of the dash and easy-to-navigate HVAC controls are below that. Interestingly, the weird little blue shifter now takes up space on the dashboard instead of the center console, which can take some getting used to.
The Prius comes loaded with standard features
Anyone looking to buy a 2022 Prius will be happy to know that it’s generous with its feature even at the base level. According to Kelley Blue Book, the Prius ECO L model comes standard with a seven-inch infotainment screen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity in addition to Amazon Alexa. Other standard features include a backup camera, a push-button start, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, LED daytime running lights, and a smart-flow climate control system.
Upgrading to the LE trim level will unlock more features. The most notable being blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert and parking sensors. If you want a little more luxury out of your Prius, then the XLE trim is a great choice. At that level, the Prius will come with 17-inch alloy wheels, SofTex-leather seats, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a wireless charging pad, and a heated steering wheel.
The XLE trim is also available with an Advanced Technology package for an extra $800. That package includes more features like a color head-up display, navigation, a hybrid system indicator, and an adaptive front lighting system.
If you want everything on your Prius, then the Limited trim is for you. The top trim includes the adaptive front lighting system with auto-leveling lights, a JBL premium sound system, an upgraded 11.6-inch infotainment screen, navigation, and a color head-up display.
The Prius doesn’t exactly handle like a racecar
As you can imagine, the Toyota Prius doesn’t exactly handle like a sports car by any means, but it’s not terrible either. After pitching around some tight canyon corners at speed, I quickly learned that I had to slow things down when the tires started complaining at every turn. Apparently, the Bridgestone Ecopia tires are made for economy, not sporty handling.
That being said, the Prius does well at slower speeds and drives smoothly on the highway. The suspension is soft and compliant over bumps and road imperfections. However, the cabin is a little noisy as you can hear a good amount of road noise when driving over rougher pavement. It’s not a luxury car either, my decibel meter read an average of around 80 dB at highway speeds. For reference, most of the Lexus models I have tested measure at around 70 dB.
It’s obvious that the Prius was made for one thing; getting the best gas mileage no matter what kind of driving you do. As such, I averaged 45 mpg during the week that I had it, which is pretty good, but not good enough. The EPA fuel estimates for the 2022 Prius is 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway with a combined average of 52 mpg. As we can see, I was nowhere close.
The Prius is more fun when driven in “power” mode
The Toyota Prius doesn’t deliver the most exciting driving experience or acceleration, but one saving grace is “Power” mode. The Prius can be put in three different drive modes – Eco, Normal, and Power – in order to tailor the driving experience. In reality, each mode either dampens the throttle pedal or makes it more responsive; Power mode does the latter and makes the car feel a little more lively.
Otherwise, I found that the Prius has enough power for your daily driving duties, even if some of it requires an uphill climb. Under the hood of the Prius is a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s tied to an electric motor for a total output of 121 hp. That power is routed to the front wheels, but if you choose the all-wheel-drivetrain, then it’s routed through all four wheels via an extra motor between the rear axles.
Is the Toyota Prius safe?
The 2022 Toyota Prius is very safe. It even comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of features. That suite includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure assist, auto high beams, and lane-tracing assist.
Opting for the higher trim levels will give you more safety features like blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and parking sensors. With all of these features, it’s no wonder that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Prius a five-star overall safety rating for 2021.
The Toyota Prius is easy to maintain
Toyota vehicles are known for being some of the safest cars on the road and the Prius is no exception. According to Edmund’s True Cost to Own analysis, it can cost new Prius owners an average of $3,661 in maintenance fees for the first five years of ownership. As for repairs, they can cost an average of $744 for the first five years.
Fortunately, new Prius owners won’t have to worry too much about shelling out extra cash for the first few years as the car is covered by Toyota’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty. There’s also a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty on the powertrain and an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on the hybrid system. The battery even has its own 10-year/150,000-mile warranty.
The 2022 Toyota Prius soldiers on as a leader in the segment
As the hybrid car movement leads us into the future, it’s clear that the Toyota Prius is fit to lead the way. Its superior fuel efficiency, comfortable cabin, and a bevy of standard features make it a perennial favorite in the hybrid segment. It’s no wonder that the Prius is America’s best-selling hybrid car.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2022 Toyota Prius an expert rating of 8.7 out of 10
The editor at MotorBiscuit gave the 2022 Toyota Prius an overall rating of 8.7 out of 10. The Toyota Prius has become the gold standard in the hybrid category for decades. Although there are a few up-and-comers to look out for — like the Hyundai Ioniq — the Prius will undoubtedly offer any buyer a superior fuel-sipping experience for many years.