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The Toyota Prius is perhaps the most iconic hybrid car. It's one of the best examples of how innovation and forward-thinking can pay off in the automotive industry. After many years in the market, the Prius is still leading the way. The 2021 Toyota Prius has a lot of attractive features, and its size makes it practical for a wide range of buyers. Of course, the main thing working in its favor is its efficiency, and this overview will describe how the Prius offers much more than great mileage.
What's New for 2021?
Some minor changes have been made to the Prius for the current model year. Non-Apple users will be happy to hear that Android Auto is now standard on every model except the Limited. In addition, Toyota has put in automatic high beams as well as cyclist and pedestrian detection into the 2021 Prius.
One other change won't affect most buyers, but it's good to know about anyway. Along with the standard 2021 trims, Toyota has designed a special 2020 Edition trim to commemorate the fact that the car has been in the market for two decades. There will be 2,020 of these types of cars available. The 2020 Edition has many similar features to the XLE trim, but it has black wheels and exterior trim. It can come in either a bright red or a pearl white color.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Toyota Prius – The Pros
1. Saves Money on Gas
Most people are at least familiar with the Prius because it was a pretty big deal when it first became available. Probably the main reason why the Prius attracts so many buyers is its efficiency. The Prius can earn up to 58 miles per gallon, and this type of fuel economy is going to be hard to pass up for anyone concerned about gas consumption. Exact numbers will depend on the trim selected, but no one is going to argue with the fact that the Prius delivers on its promise to conserve fuel.
2. Fits Many Budgets
The starting price of the Toyota Prius is about $24,500. This is a competitive price that puts the Prius within reach of most consumers. While there are increases in cost as the trim moves up, the price jumps are fairly modest. The LE, for example, costs about $1,000 more than the base L Eco trim. At the high end, there's the Limited, which costs approximately $32,500. Even this price can be considered reasonable.
3. All-Wheel Drive is an Option
In the past, the Prius was only offered as a front-wheel-drive vehicle. Now, the LE and XLE trims can come equipped with all-wheel drive so they can better handle difficult road conditions.
The all-wheel-drive system is always ready to engage, and this can give drivers a lot of peace of mind. If there is a loss in traction, power can be sent to the rear wheels. The system is mostly there to give the car a boost when the front tires are spinning and not making sufficient contact with the road surface. The rear wheels can also receive power at higher speeds if the road conditions are particularly difficult. Using an on-demand model improves overall fuel economy.
4. Safety is Toyota's Priority
When building the Prius, Toyota made sure to include a comprehensive safety package. The Prius comes with a backup camera, hill start assist, and a service called Safety Connect that gives people access to 24/7 emergency assistance. A few different stability systems are in place to prevent skidding and loss of traction.
There's also something called Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. This group of technologies gives the Prius the ability to hit the brakes if something is in its path, keep itself centered in a lane, automatically turn on its high beams when traveling on dark roads, and read road signs. With full-speed adaptive cruise control, the car can adjust its own speed to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
5. Lots of Room for Cargo
In the back of the car, there's a dedicated cargo area that has a volume of 27.4 cubic feet. This is a lot of room, especially considering many sedans have trunks that are less than 15 cubic feet. Because the Prius has a hatchback design, there's a lot more space to take advantage of. The rear seats can be folded down if one wishes to expand the cargo area, and this would result in a cargo capacity of 50.7 cubic feet. This is comparable with the space available in many of the smaller SUVs.
6. Attractive Infotainment Package
In a world where technology is king, people like to be able to stay connected to the network while in their vehicles. Fortunately, the Toyota Prius comes standard with a seven-inch touchscreen and smartphone compatibility. Every Prius trim has Amazon Alexa to make things more convenient. Using voice commands is much easier - and safer - than typing in a search bar or scrolling through a menu. The Limited trim's infotainment system has an upgraded screen that measures 11.6 inches, integrated navigation, and JBL speakers that can enhance the sound quality.
7. Cabin Upgrades Available
While the lower trims of the Prius are certainly comfortable, the higher trims have some nice upgrades. Instead of having fabric seats, the have SofTex seats. SofTex is a type of synthetic leather that has a premium look. Those front seats are heated, and the steering wheel is heated as well. SofTex is even included on the armrests of the doors, and it provides a good visual contrast to the chrome accents on the doors.
8. High-End Exterior Features
The Toyota Prius has a modern appearance. Part of its vibe can be attributed to its striking shape, with angles and sculpted edges carved into its frame. Another reason why it looks almost futuristic is because of the available exterior features. The Prius can come with adaptive front lights that can level themselves if the car is traveling over bumpy roads, and it can have a power moonroof. LEDs are standard in the taillights, stoplights, headlights, and Daytime Running Lights, and they can be found in front fog lights.
9. Stand Out With the 2020 Edition
As mentioned at the beginning of this overview, one of the 2021 trims is the 2020 Edition. Despite the fact that making the 2020 Edition available as part of the 2021 model year is slightly confusing, Toyota has made a great move with this trim. The 2020 Edition has bold accents, such as black badges, blackout components in the headlights, and 17-inch black wheels. More black can be found inside the cabin, which even has its own special floor mats.
10. An Unmistakable Style
The Prius is instantly recognizable for its interesting shape. In the rear of the vehicle, it has a hatchback design, but it's not quite the same as other hatchbacks that have vertical rear windows. This unique style is intriguing, and there have clearly been a lot of consumers who have loved how the Prius looks.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Toyota Prius – The Cons
1. Second-Row Passengers May Feel Cramped
With only 33.4 inches of leg room in the back seat, the Prius isn't the most accommodating in terms of passenger space. Adults may feel a little crowded in the back, and fitting three adults might not work so well. If anyone plans on having the occasional rear-seat passenger and will rarely transport three in the back, it probably shouldn't be an issue.
2. Sits Very Low to the Ground
Ground clearance is only 5.1 inches. This isn't much, and it might make some people wonder whether the Prius is a practical vehicle for driving on uneven terrain. When winter weather hits, the all-wheel-drive system can be useful, but it won't be as helpful if the car has trouble clearing certain parts of the road.
3. Needs More Horsepower
Perhaps the biggest factor working against the 2021 Prius is its small engine. It uses a 1.8-liter engine in addition to an electric motor, and together, these components yield 121 horsepower. Many consumers these days are looking for more power, so the Prius won't cut it for them, especially considering there are some types of hybrids that have much more capability.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
When it first hit the market, the Prius was very unique in what it had to offer. The hybrid market has gotten a lot more competitive, but the Prius still stands out in several ways.
2021 Toyota Prius vs 2021 Honda Insight
Though the Honda Insight matches up pretty well with the Toyota Prius, it doesn't come with all-wheel drive. This is sure to be noticed by any consumers who live in colder climates and have to deal with slippery conditions. Another way in which it doesn't meet the standard set by the Prius has to do with cargo volume. As a sedan, the Insight is limited in how much cargo space it has.
2021 Toyota Prius vs 2021 Kia Optima Hybrid
Like the Insight, the Kia Optima Hybrid has a traditional sedan shape. This limits its cargo capacity, and this puts it at a disadvantage when compared with the Prius. The Optima Hybrid has good efficiency, but the distance it can travel on a single gallon isn't quite as far as what the Prius can do.
Anyone interested in hybrid vehicles would be making a smart move going with the Prius. As one of the most well-known hybrids, the Prius remains one of the leaders in the field. It's poised to continue its success, especially now that more people are concerned about being eco-friendly. The 2021 Toyota Prius is affordable, stylish, and nicely appointed, and its efficiency can make people feel better about their driving habits.
• Why buy a 2020 Toyota Prius? w/ pros vs cons