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Although hybrids don’t yet have the fuel efficiency that EVs like the Tesla Model S, Audi E-Tron, or Porsche Taycan enjoy, they are the next best option in the world of low-emission vehicles. The word “Prius” has become a byword for “hybrid” since the introduction of the nameplate’s second generation in 2003. It has consistently been top of the list for efficiency and has proven itself a safe purchase in the used market. U.S. News ranked the 95 best hybrid cars to buy used, and unsurprisingly, four Prius model years appear in the top 10. 

2010 Toyota Prius

A red 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid hatchback model parked near a field of yellow flowers
2010 Toyota Prius | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The 2010 Toyota Prius represents the first model year of the third generation. Before the release of the fifth generation, this era was considered the most attractive Prius to date. While it may have now lost that title for many, it is certainly the most ubiquitous. Still, unlike the new Prius, the 2011 model year is minimal on power. The 1.8L Atkinson Cycle engine combined with the hybrid battery makes a meager 98 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque, reports MotorTrend. Thankfully, no one in the market for a hybrid tends to be all that picky about performance. What the hybrid buyer cares about is fuel economy.

The 2010 Prius manages 51 city mpg and 48 highway mpg. This Prius generation also boasts exceptional rear seat dimensions and cargo capacity, making it an excellent choice for a small family. Despite being 13 years old, U.S. News reports the average purchase price to be between $8,441-$10,402—quite a reasonable price considering the longevity of the third-generation Prius. U.S. News gives the 2010 Prius a score of 9.2. We should note, however, that the 2010 model year represents the worst year of the Prius, according to CarComplaints. Being the first model year of a new generation, this isn’t that surprising. Despite this, the 2010 Prius should still be a safe bet on the used market. 

 2011 Toyota Prius

U.S. News scores the 2011 Toyota Prius just below that of the 2010 model year with a score of 9.1. Though just one year newer than the more highly rated 2010 Prius, the 2011 model year has fewer reported problems on CarComplaints, and the average purchase price is slightly lower. U.S. News reports 2011 models selling between $7,908-$9,945, though both 2010 and 2011 models can be found for under $7,000 with high mileage. The 2011 model is mostly unchanged from the previous year, meaning you won’t be blown away by the tech. Still, such niceties like leather heated seats, Bluetooth, an upgraded sound system, and cruise control are included depending on which trim you spring for. 

2012 Toyota Prius 

The 2012 Toyota Prius model year saw over 235k units sold, making it the best-selling year in the history of the nameplate. The 2012 model came with a facelift, so while the powertrain remains the same, some excellent features were added. The biggest addition was the standard 6.1” touchscreen infotainment system. Beyond that, you can also find models equipped with adaptive cruise control, a USB port, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning. You could also get a moonroof with a solar-powered air conditioning system that regulates the cabin temperature when the car is off—not too dissimilar from what Teslas can do today. U.S. News reports pricing for 2012 Prius models is a bit higher, ranging from $10,433 to $11,368 on average. Despite the added tech and refreshed looks, the 2012 model is rated at only 8.9. 

2009 Toyota Prius 

Related The 4 Most Reliable Toyota Models Based on Consumer Reports Member Surveys

The 4 Most Reliable Toyota Models Based on Consumer Reports Member Surveys

Of the four Toyota Prius model years on this list, the 2009 model is the cheapest on average. These Prius models can be found for between $6,959-$7,452. The discount is likely due to the 2009 model year being the final year of the previous generation. This means fuel economy takes a hit at only 48 mpg city and 45 mpg highway. This generation is also powered by a weaker 1.5L engine that, combined with the hybrid battery, only produces 76 hp and 82 lb-ft of torque. So, it’s slower, less efficient, and not as well equipped as the generation that followed, but still a heck of a used buy for hybrids.

The top half of this list is Prius central

The hybrid list courtesy of U.S. News is overpopulated with Prius models. Along with the previous model years, the top 10 also includes the 2013 and 2014 Prius V—a wagon-like version of the Toyota Prius. This list also features the likes of the smaller Prius c hatchback and many additional standard Prius model years. It’s worth noting that nearly every Prius model is in the top 30 on this list, and of the 95 cars, over 15 are some variation within the extended Prius family. They aren’t fast or pretty, but they are surely the best used hybrid money can buy.