Consumer Reports: The 2021 Toyota Prius Is the Most Reliable Brand-New Car

The 2021 Toyota Prius is, without a doubt, one of the most recognizable hybrid hatchbacks available. Since its introduction to the U.S. market in the early 2000s, the Prius has excelled as a fuel-efficient and affordable daily driver for the masses. So much so that the fourth-generation Prius has been named the most reliable brand-new car by Consumer Reports’ annual survey.

The Toyota Prius received a high owner satisfaction rating as well

An image of a Toyota Prius outdoors.
Toyota Prius | Toyota

To determine its reliability scores, Consumer Reports conducts an annual survey to see what real owners experienced with a particular model. When it comes to the 2021 Toyota Prius, owners across the board gave it a near-perfect reliability score. Consumer Reports gives all brand-new vehicles a score out of 100. The Prius reached the first place spot by receiving a score of 93.

When it comes to the Toyota Prius’ engine, transmission, drive system, and all other major components, it received the highest score possible. This would mean that very few owners reported having issues in these areas. Consumer Reports keeps track of this data over the years as well. The result is we can see that the Prius has maintained an excellent reliability record for a considerable amount of time. So if a brand-new Prius is out of budget, opting for a used one is still a great option.

The only reliability area where the Prius did not get the highest score was the section that covers body hardware. According to Consumer Reports, this section covers things such as the power windows, locks, hatch, and mirrors, to name a few. While the Prius did not get a perfect score, it came fairly close.

Lastly, the survey found that the Toyota Prius had a perfect score in terms of owner satisfaction, likely due to the minimal quantity of complaints noted.

The fuel-efficient Toyota isn’t perfect

The 2019 Toyota Prius with all-wheel drive is shown at the auto trade show, AutoMobility LA
The Toyota Prius | David McNew/Getty Images

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While the Toyota Prius wins as Consumer Reports’ most reliable brand-new car, it certainly isn’t perfect. The Toyota Prius’ flaws became apparent during the road test. According to Consumer Reports, the Prius did not excel in both the acceleration and emergency handling categories.

The Prius’ interior wasn’t the most impressive, either. Consumer Reports noted that while the ride quality and noise levels are low, overall seat comfort and built quality was lacking.

However, once we consider the Prius’ $24,525 starting price, it would be impossible to get a perfect car for so little money. With the Prius, most of your money seems to go into the actual powertrain. That’s how the fuel-efficient hatchback is capable of consuming an average of 43 mpg in the city and 59 mpg on the highway during Consumer Reports’ testing.

The Prime ranked quite highly as well

An image of a Toyota Prius Prime parked outdoors.
2020 Toyota Prius Prime | Toyota

If the standard Toyota Prius isn’t fuel-efficient enough for you, the Prius Prime also ranked very highly. The main difference with the Prime is that it is a plug-in hybrid rather than just a standard hybrid. The result is that the Prius Prime consumed an average of 56 mpg in the city and 81 mpg on the highway during Consumer Reports’ tests.

In terms of reliability, it’s a similar story to what we saw with the standard Toyota Prius. The Prius Prime only struggled in was the in-car electronics section. This section covers things such as the speakers, infotainment system, and backup camera, to name a few. Additionally, the Prius Prime had a slightly lower owner satisfaction rating.

Regardless of which Prius you chose to go with, it seems there are no wrong answers here.