Toyota Prius hatchback
Price £23,295 - £27,450
- Low running costs
- Good practicality
- Divisive looks
- Limited rear headroom for tall passengers
- Automatic gearbox drones when worked hard
At a glance
"The looks of the Toyota Prius may divide opinion, but it’s an efficient, practical and comfortable car with a smart interior."
The fourth-generation Toyota Prius is the latest version of the iconic petrol-electric hybrid model, which was originally launched in 1997. Back then, the car seemed so futuristic it could have come from a science-fiction film, but in recent years it has become ubiquitous on our roads and the technology has ceased to be ‘advanced’ when compared to hydrogen-powered cars and all-electric models.
With that in mind, and amid criticism that the Prius had started to look a little bland, the latest model takes inspiration from the hi-tech, hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai. The Prius certainly looks more striking, but the design is likely to divide the public into two distinct groups: those who love it and those who hate it.
The car is available with just one hybrid setup, consisting of a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. Toyota has engineered the latest model to be lighter, stiffer and more efficient to improve running costs and handling. It has also redesigned the interior; the cabin is smart and well laid-out as a result.
While the Prius no longer feels like a taste of the future, it's actually a far easier car to live with then it has ever been in the past. It now represents less of a compromise for drivers switching from conventional cars out of concern for the environment or the size of their fuel bills.
Like the previous model, the new car has been awardded the full five stars from the safety experts at Euro NCAP. As well as several airbags, stability control and anti-lock brakes, the Prius also comes with Toyota's 'Safety Sense' suite of safety technologies. this includes adaptiv cruise control - which can keep a set distance to the car in front - road sign assist (which will alert you if the speed limit changes) as well as a host of other features.
Our pick of the range is the Business Edition model, which is the next trim level up from the entry-level Active car. The soft-touch materials on this model really make a difference to the feel of the car inside and you also get some nice extras such as heated front seats.
The cost of running the latest Toyota Prius should be very low
The Toyota Prius is a competent rather than fun on the open road but feels nippy around town
The interior of the new Toyota Prius is smart, high-quality and comfortable
The Toyota Prius has more bootspace than ever and a spacious interior
The Toyota Prius has proved very reliable over the years and the new one should be no different