First introduced in Japan in 1997 and the United States in 2000, the Toyota Prius quickly became the first successful modern hybrid vehicle. With its unique look, the Prius is not a car that everyone loves. However, it’s one that Consumer Reports loves. The 2021 Toyota Prius is included on a Consumer Reports list of the best vehicles of 2021. Here’s a look at why.
Toyota dominates Consumer Reports’ “10 Top Picks of 2021: Best Cars of the Year”
Consumer Reports recently released a list of 2021 model year cars that “meet [their] very highest standards for performance, safety, reliability, and more.” The list of the best is based on Consumer Reports’ 50 vehicle tests and information from surveys from owners on reliability and owner satisfaction.
They have good crash test ratings and come standard with forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. All of the top picks have Overall Scores from Consumer Reports that are some of the highest for their vehicle categories.
Toyota is the most dominant auto manufacturer on this list, with three top picks, all on the affordable end of the list. Consumer Reports named the 2021 Toyota Corolla the top pick for small cars (under $25,000). It named the 2021 Toyota Prius the top hybrid ($25,000 to $35,000), and it named the 2021 Toyota Camry the top midsize sedan (also $25,000 to $35,000).
Why the Toyota Prius is the best hybrid of 2021
There are many hybrid options these days, but the 2021 Toyota Prius still stands out for having what Consumer Reports calls a “high-efficiency model with such a balanced overall package.” The Prius has great fuel efficiency plus reliability and satisfied owners.
Toyota also recently introduced all-wheel drive for the Prius and a plug-in hybrid version, called the Prius Prime. It earns Consumer Reports’ new Green Choice designation, showing it has low emissions and is environmentally friendly.
Of the five compact hybrid vehicles that Consumer Reports rated for the 2021 model year, the Prius has the highest overall score, with an 80 out of 100. It also has the top predicted reliability of five out of five rating along with the Honda Insight and Toyota Corolla.
And, it’s the only one that receives the top predicted owner satisfaction rating of five out of five. It rounds that out with the highest road-test score of 73. It does come in second best for fuel efficiency, with 52 MPG, just behind the Honda Insight, which gets 54 MPG.
The 2021 Toyota Prius
The 2021 Toyota Prius is recommended by Consumer Reports, and every model year of the Prius since 2004 has received a recommendation from Consumer Reports. The Prius has a practical hatchback design, although it doesn’t have great rear visibility, says Consumer Reports.
Its hybrid powertrain has a 1.8-liter gas engine and an electric motor, which combine to produce 121 hp. It doesn’t have great acceleration, and Consumer Reports feels the Ford Fusion Hybrid has more engaging handling.
However, it’s easy to drive using just electric power as long as the Prius is going less than about 40 MPH and the driver doesn’t accelerate quickly. It’s rated for 43 MPG in the city, 59 MPG on the highway, and 52 MPG overall.
The interior of the Prius has a modern design, but it is unusual in having its instrument panel in the center of the dashboard. Its gear selector is a little unusual too.
The infotainment system comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen, but an 11.6-inch touchscreen is available, says U.S. News. Apple CarPlay is standard, and Android Auto is standard on all except the Limited trim.
The 2021 Prius provides plenty of advanced safety features. It comes standard with automatic emergency braking with low-light pedestrian and daytime bicyclist detection, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.
Blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on all trims except the base model. The starting price for the 2021 Prius is between $24,525 and $32,650.
The Toyota Prius has been a popular hybrid for many years, and Consumer Reports confirms that it’s among the best by including the car on its list of the 10 Top Picks of 2021.