Review: Toyota Prius (2016)

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Low emissions of 70g/km. Relaxed, quiet and comfortable. Spacious cabin. Lots of safety kit as standard. TNGA platform provides excellent ride, handling and steering.

Expensive to buy new. Official fuel economy figures are unrealistic in real world driving.

Toyota Prius (2016): At A Glance

The latest incarnation of the Toyota Prius is still king of the hybrids, with impressive fuel economy, extremely relaxed driving dynamics, good build quality and a very comfortable cabin. If you want to glide around effortlessly without using too much fuel, there are few better ways to go about it.

It sits on Toyota's TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform that provides an excellent combination of ride, handling and steering, far superior to Previous Prius.

Toyota has opted to use the same hybrid system as in the previous Prius, but it has been revised and reworked. The updated engine is paired to new aerodynamic styling, providing an official economy figure of 94.1mpg and CO2 emissions of just 70g/km, despite this being a traditional hybrid rather than a plug-in.

The radical exterior looks are mirrored in the cabin, which has a futuristic layout with a large and easy-to-use touchscreen system as standard. Space is generous up front and the back row has plenty of leg room, but the aerodynamic roofline hampers headroom for taller passengers. The boot is spacious with a capacity of 343 litres.

On the road the Prius is incredibly easy and relaxing to drive, thanks to its CVT automatic transmission. At slow speeds the car runs in near silence and will often operate on electric power alone, making it very serene around town. Even at higher speeds it’s very quiet and refined, plus it has safe, predictable handling and light controls.

Standard equipment includes alloy wheels, auto lights, auto wipers, road sign assist, a reversing camera, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control – so even buyers of the basic model won’t be left wanting. Upper trim levels gain luxuries like wireless phone charging and automatic parking.

There are some new rivals to consider including the Hyundai Ioniq, which is available as a pure EV, a plug-in or a traditional hybrid, the latter of which undercuts the Prius on price. However, it’s safe to say that the Prius, despite being more expensive than its main rival, is an excellent choice for those who want to flaunt their eco-friendliness and get around in a bubble of serenity. 

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Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

What does a Toyota Prius (2016) cost?

List Price from £24,350
Buy new from £21,896
Contract hire from £345.47 per month

Toyota Prius (2016): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4460–4540 mm
Width 1745–1760 mm
Height 1470–1490 mm
Wheelbase 2700 mm

Full specifications

The interior of the Prius is light, airy and futuristic, with a swooping dashboard layout and lots of glossy plastics. There are a few elements that look a little cheap, but everything seems sturdy and built to last, plus there is a good level of space for passengers and luggage.

The front seats are comfortable and there is plenty adjustment, while the back row provides plenty of legroom and, for most passengers, enough headroom – although the aerodynamic roof means taller occupants might struggle a little. The outer two rear seats have Isofix mounting points.

The boot is nice and low but it has a fairly large load lip and it narrows between the rear wheels. That said, it is still very spacious and practical - capacity to the load cover is 343 litres, or 502 litres to the roof. Capacity can be expanded even further by folding the rear seats flat, freeing up 1558 litres.

There is a large colour touchscreen system on all variants, which controls audio and connectivity, plus it incorporates a reversing camera as standard. Also standard across the range is DAB radio, USB connectivity, Bluetooth, auto lights and keyless entry and a start button.

Safety kit is generous too. All models get pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control that matches the speed of the car in front, auto high beam, road sign assist and hill start assist, plus there is lane departure alert with steering control.

Standard Equipment:

Active models get 15-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, smart Entry (driver’s door) and push-button start, LED headlights, Toyota Touch 2, DAB radio, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, driver’s seat lumbar adjust, dual 4.2-inch colour TFT multi-information displays, Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Sign Assist, Lane Departure Alert and Automatic High Beam.

Business Edition adds soft-touch cabin trim, wireless phone charger, smart Entry (all doors and boot), colour head-up display, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, heated front seats, a leather steering wheel trim and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Business Edition Plus comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, Toyota Touch 2 with Go (satellite navigation and connectivity functions), Simple Intelligent Park Assist plus front and rear parking sensors

Excel is additionally equipped with leather upholstery, a JBL premium audio system, rain-sensing wipers and Toyota 2 with Go Plus (satellite navigation and connectivity with added functions).

Child seats that fit a Toyota Prius (2016)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Toyota Prius (2016) like to drive?

Toyota has retained the basic powertrain from the previous Prius for the latest generation, but with various changes to improve its economy. A 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine lives under the bonnet, while under the floor is a smaller, lighter battery pack than that used in the outgoing car, linked to an electric motor.

The engine produces 98PS and 142Nm of torque, while the electric motor has outputs of 72PS and 163Nm. Logically that means the Prius has peak power of 170PS, but it’s not that simple, since the engine and electric motor don’t produce peak power at the same time. Overall peak system power for the Prius is actually 122PS.

From a standstill the Prius accelerates swiftly and seamlessly, although it can get a little loud due to the CVT automatic gearbox. This is only a problem when accelerating hard though – and it’s far quieter than the outgoing Prius. For town driving the quiet, relaxed Prius is great, making light work of stop start traffic.

It’s impressive out of town too. Improved refinement makes motorway driving more pleasant, plus ride quality is reasonable even on uneven country roads, though it can get a little wobbly when the surface is really bad. Through bends the Prius is predictable and the steering, while on the light side, is accurate enough to inspire confidence.

The biggest draws of the Prius for most buyers will be its eco-friendliness and running costs. Emissions are 70g/km on variants with 15-inch wheels, with an official fuel economy figure of 94.1mpg. That’s getting on for plug-in hybrid levels of economy, but with no need to plug into the mains.

That said, take the official figures with a pinch of salt. The average figure on Real MPG is just over 54mpg, although some drivers are getting close to 70mpg so it very much depends on how and where the car is driven. Besides, almost 55mpg for a large, comfortable petrol-powered car isn’t bad going. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
Hybrid 79–83 mpg 10.6 s 70–85 g/km
Plug-In Hybrid 135 mpg 10.4–10.6 s 22–49 g/km

Real MPG average for a Toyota Prius (2016)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

48–171 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Toyota Prius (2016)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the best hybrid to buy?

Which are the best self-charging hybrids on the market?
We think the best hatchback is the Toyota Corolla 1.8 hybrid. It's easy to drive, refined, comfortable and returns around 60mpg on-the-road: If you need something larger, the Toyota Prius 1.8 hybrid is also very good:
Answered by Dan Powell
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