Toyota Prius (2016 – 2022) Review

Toyota Prius (2016 – 2022) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Relaxed, quiet and comfortable, this generation of Toyota Prius is a great choice if you want a low-emissions car that is undemanding to drive.

+Spacious cabin. Lots of safety kit as standard.

-Official fuel economy figures are unrealistic in real world driving. Bland driving experience.

Insurance Group 14
On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure

The Toyota Prius had been refined to the point of brilliance when this generation was launched in 2016. Brilliant, that is, if you want a low-emissions, easy-to-live-with hatch that’s as undemanding to drive as it is on your monthly budget. Don’t expect fireworks, but it gives the Audi A3 e-tron and innovative Hyundai Ioniq a lot to contend with as a used buy. Read on for our full Toyota Prius review.

This generation of the Toyota Prius offers 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, which provides a sound combination of ride, handling and steering that is much improved over previous versions.

Toyota opted to use the same hybrid system as before, but it was revised and reworked.

The updated engine is paired with 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 Toyota Prius Plug-in was added to the range in 2017.

There was also a facelift in 2019, which added a smoother look to the front end.

The radical exterior looks are mirrored in the cabin, which has a futuristic layout with a large, easy-to-use touchscreen system as standard.

Space is generous in the front and the back row has plenty of legroom, but the aerodynamic roofline hampers headroom for taller passengers. The boot is spacious with a capacity of 343 litres.

On the road, the Toyota Prius is easy 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 serene around town.

Even at higher speeds, it’s 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 used 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 newer 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 undercut the Toyota Prius on price when new.

However, it’s safe to say that the Toyota Prius is an excellent choice for those who want to flaunt their eco-friendliness and travel around in a bubble of serenity.

Fancy a second opinion? Read heycar’s Toyota Prius review.

Ask Honest John

Why is my imported Toyota Prius charged a higher rate of VED?

"I recently purchased 2020 Toyota Prius imported and the road tax is £345 where as other vehicles paying £170 per year. Is there any way I can challenge it?"
The tax rate applied to an imported vehicle depends on if it has a CO2 figure on the final build type approval certificate. Assuming your car was imported from Japan, as this is outside the EU it will not have a CO2 figure applied to it, and in this case vehicles are taxed as private light goods which is why a higher rate is applied. Unless you are able to obtain a type approval certificate with the CO2 emissions listed, you will be unable to challenge this decision.
Answered by David Ross

Which petrol car has the best MPG?

"I am looking to purchase a 3-4 year old car. What is the best petrol vehicle that provides 55 miles to the gallon? "
There are quite a few petrol cars in this bracket, but the best of the bunch is the Toyota Prius, which in our Real MPG figures is achieving an average of 65.2mpg - well over your target of 55mpg. Strictly speaking however the Prius is a hybrid rather than purely petrol, so for a petrol-only alternative we would suggest something like the Suzuki Swift with the 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine, which is achieving an average of over 60mpg in our Real MPG figures.
Answered by David Ross

Should I buy a used Honda Insight?

"I am looking at buying a used Honda Insight for around £9,000. Just wondered if I should be worried about the battery for this hybrid. I have heard reports of warning lights appearing on the dashboard. Should I be concerned? Are there any other hybrid cars I should consider?"
Generally the Honda Insight is pretty reliable and we've not had many issues reported: That said, the Insight was pretty underwhelming when it was new and time hasn't helped. A Toyota Prius is a better all-rounder and, as it sold in bigger numbers, there'll be more to choose from on the used market. They're popular with taxi drivers, though, so look out for signs that it's been used for private hire.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Should I be paying VED road tax on my Toyota Prius?

"I purchased a 2016 model Japanese import Toyota Prius in 2021 and paid £280 road tax. This year it is £295 road tax. Is this correct as I believed this model was zero road tax?"
If this was a UK registered Toyota Prius then you would indeed qualify for free VED. However, it reads like your car is being taxed under the private light goods (PLG) tax class. This usually happens when the importer fails to provide the official CO2 emissions figure on the final build type approval certificate.
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a Toyota Prius (2016 – 2022) cost?