Hybrids & Electrics

Why Is the Toyota Prius the Most Hated Car on the Planet?

The Toyota Prius has been around since the turn of the century and has been hated ever since. Of course, there has been a lot of love, too, as Toyota has sold over 4 million Prii (yes, that’s the correct plural term) since its introduction. However, one would think that a car that is so loved and so hated would in turn be considered neutral, but no, it’s not. There is more likely a lot more hate than love in this world for Toyota’s most-successful hybrid, but why?

The Toyota Prius is only meant for one thing, and it excels at it

In case you have been living under a rock for the last 20 years, the Toyota Prius is a four-door hybrid hatchback that was first introduced in 2000. Since then, it’s gone through four different generations and has become more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient in the process. Its looks have also changed a lot, but we’ll get to that later.

It’s not sporty by any means, nor does it hold more than five people, but it has some of the best fuel economy ratings among any car on the market, and that’s the first reason that it gets so much hate. It’s because the Prius is really good at what it does and it has a pompous aura to it. It’s as if it gives every car a pretentiously smug look as it slowly passes by every gas station, flaunting its seemingly unlimited fuel range.

And just like the nerd in the class that always has the right answers, or the guy at work that’s perfect at his job and constantly kisses up to the boss in hopes of a promotion, it’s easy to hate on the Prius. Because the Prius is “that guy.”

RELATED: Fuel-Saver Flashback: First-Generation Toyota Prius

side shot of a second-generation Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Toyota Prius is lacking in the “looks” department

Another reason that the Toyota Prius is so hated on is that it looks ugly. OK, “ugly” is a really strong word but let’s just say that Toyota could have made it look better if it was willing to sacrifice fuel economy. Prius owners may disagree, however, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Also, we’re well aware that the Prius looks like it does because Toyota increased its aerodynamics over the years, leading to a really low 0.26 coefficient of drag (lower than a Nissan GT-R), but it still looks like a futuristic cheese wedge and most people don’t seem to like it.

RELATED: Is the Toyota Prius AWD-e the Ultimate Rideshare Car?

a red toyota prius drives down the road

Prius drivers tend to drive slowly

Yet another reason why the Toyota Prius is the hated on isn’t due to the car itself. Rather, it’s due to Prius owners and their collective driving behavior. Notice we didn’t say the word “habits?” That’s because the Prius driver doesn’t develop bad habits, instead, he or she exhibits a very slow driving behavior that tends to anger other drivers sharing the road.

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Driving slowly in the fast lane of the highway
  • Driving slowly on highway onramps
  • Driving slowly while getting onto the highway
  • Driving slowly on the highway off-ramps

OK, you get the point. In general, Prius drivers tend to drive slower than others, which is a necessary part of getting good gas mileage. And since they bought the car for its fuel efficiency, that shouldn’t be a surprise. For people who need to get somewhere fast, that can be frustrating at best and insulting at worst.

Bravo, Prius drivers! Now just give it a little more gas so we can all get to work on time.  

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between the Toyota Prius and Prius Prime?

The Toyota Prius isn’t as green as everyone thought

Yes, driving a Toyota Prius will lower your carbon footprint in the world and get you the best fuel economy of your life, but it’s really not that good for the environment. It turns out that manufacturing hybrid batteries has proven to be very toxic to the environment and a lot more pollution is produced during the making of every Prius. All so that Prius drivers can scoff at you when they fill up once a month at the nearest gas station. Or just never show up because their car doesn’t need gas very often.

RELATED: The Toyota Prius AWD-e Is the Best Toyota Car You Can Buy Today

a cutaway of a toyota prius
Toyota Prius cutaway | Toyota

It’s fun to hate the villain

Regular Cars once referred to the Toyota Prius as a “villain,” and went on to state that everyone loves to hate a villain because “a good villain gives us purpose.” And we couldn’t agree more. It’s not that the Toyota Prius is a bad car. In fact, it’s one of the best cars on the road when it comes to reliability and fuel economy.

But it’s just too good at what it does, and it’s not cool enough, so enthusiasts love to hate it. Because it’s great at one thing car enthusiasts tend to scoff at. But who’s to say someone can’t be an MPG enthusiast? Maybe Prius haters just love to hate.