Here Are The Best Prius Years and Most Reliable Used Models

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you ready to hit the road in an eco-friendly, fuel-efficient hybrid car that’s both reliable and packed with features?

We present the Toyota Prius, the top choice for drivers who want to reduce their carbon footprint without sacrificing performance.

But with so many model years to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

In this new auto tips publication, we’ll take you on a journey through the best Prius years to consider when making your purchase.

From the sleek and modern 2022 model to the classic and reliable 2003 version, we’ll explore each year’s unique blend of efficiency, style, and value.

And if you’re looking for a steal on a used Prius, don’t miss my in-depth analysis of the 2017 model, complete with all the safety features you need and a price tag that won’t break the bank.

Best Prius Years

Best Prius Years Overview

Features and Mileage

When it comes to selecting the best years for the Toyota Prius, some standout models include the:

2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, and 2003 versions.

These models have received praise for their features, reliability, and fuel efficiency. As you explore these options, you can expect to find years with impressive specs:

  • 2017 Prius: This year’s model is great for its important safety features like blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, and even automatic parking. You’ll also find it at a reasonable price.
  • 2003 Prius: Known for its durability, the 2003 Prius offers a firm steering wheel, foldable seats for more trunk space, and extremely efficient fuel use.

Efficiency and Reliability

The Toyota Prius is well-regarded for its fuel efficiency. For example, the L Eco version offers an EPA-estimated 58 mpg in the city, 53 mpg on the highway, and 53 mpg combined.

The Prius has a reputation for its reliability, making it a top choice for those who want a long-lasting, eco-friendly vehicle.

While the models mentioned above are generally considered some of the best years for the Prius, it’s also important to research user experiences and reviews to find the one that aligns with your needs.

Each year’s model brings various improvements and enhancements, so take your time deciding on the perfect Prius for you.

Newer Models

One standout model is the 2020 Prius, with its solid performance and excellent fuel efficiency. It boasts an EPA-estimated 58 mpg in the city, 53 mpg on the highway, and 53 mpg combined.

This year’s Prius model also comes with several advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance.

The years 2018 and 2019 also rank highly among Prius fans, offering both reliability and enhanced technology.

According to various sources, these model years benefit from:

  • Improved handling and suspension
  • Smartphone connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Available all-wheel drive option

Going further back, the second-generation Prius (2004-2009) holds a special place in enthusiasts’ hearts, thanks to its innovative design and recognition by the auto industry.

It won several awards during its time, including Motor Trend’s 2004 Car of the Year and making it onto Car and Driver’s Ten Best List.

The second-generation Prius is notable for significant improvements over its first-generation counterpart, but it is not as highly sought after by collectors.

It’s also worth mentioning the 2015 Prius, which holds a reputation for reliability and fuel efficiency.

While it may not have all the bells and whistles of more recent models, it remains a solid choice for eco-conscious drivers seeking a dependable hybrid vehicle.

In summary, the best Prius years are:

  • 2020: Excellent fuel efficiency and advanced safety features
  • 2018 and 2019: Improved handling, technology upgrades, and available AWD
  • Second-generation (2004-2009): Innovative design, industry recognition
  • 2015: Reliability and fuel efficiency

2004-2009: Second Generation Prius

Fuel Efficiency

During the second generation of the Toyota Prius, you’ll notice improvements in fuel efficiency.

The 2004-2009 models utilized the Toyota Hybrid System II, which contributed to an increased fuel economy compared to the first generation.

With these models, you can enjoy a more environment-friendly and cost-effective driving experience.


The 2004 Prius stands out as a particularly reliable model amongst its second-generation peers, making it an ideal choice if you’re looking for a dependable hybrid vehicle.

However, it’s important to note that while some years within this generation have fewer reported issues, other years, like 2006 and 2008, have had some more complaints, mainly related to the powertrain and pricey hybrid battery system repairs.

2010-2015: Third Generation Prius

Performance Improvement

During the third generation of the Toyota Prius, which spanned from 2010 to 2015, you’ll find that the overall body shape remains largely unchanged, but there have been several updates to improve performance.

One of these changes was an improvement in the car’s drag coefficient. This was achieved by reshaping the bumpers, mirrors, headlights, taillights, and adding a rear diffuser, which helped to stabilize the car at higher speeds.

Moreover, the third generation Prius comes with better fuel efficiency than its predecessors.

The L Eco version, for instance, has an EPA-estimated 58 mpg in city driving, 53 mpg on the highway, and 53 mpg combine.

With these improvements, you can enjoy a more fuel-efficient Prius while still getting great performance.

Safety Features

Safety is always a crucial factor when choosing a car, and the third generation Prius offers some important safety feature improvements.

Notably, the 2014 and 2015 models have structural enhancements and airbag safety updates that lead to better performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) small overlap front crash tests.

While shopping for your third generation Prius, consider the features and improvements that are most important to you, whether it’s better fuel efficiency, improved safety, or enhanced performance.

2016-Present: Fourth Generation Prius

Advanced Technology

One of the most notable updates is the addition of an all-wheel-drive option in the 2019 model, allowing for improved traction and handling in various weather conditions.

The fuel efficiency has also been improved, reaching up to 54 mpg (combined), which is quite impressive for a hybrid vehicle of this class.

You’ll also appreciate the increased use of advanced safety features, such as Toyota Safety Sense P, which includes options like pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, and full-speed dynamic radar cruise control.

Styling and Design

With a more aggressive and sporty exterior, this generation looks set to turn heads. The interior is not left behind, as comfort and ergonomics have been prioritized to provide a great driving experience.

Inside the cabin, you’ll find an updated dashboard with a more modern and sleek layout. The available 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system offers seamless compatibility with your smartphone and various entertainment options.

Overall, the fourth generation Prius offers enhanced technology, fuel efficiency, safety features, as well as improved styling and design.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Prius Year

This section will help you navigate these factors by focusing on price and upgrade options.


The price of a Toyota Prius can differ significantly depending on the model year and its reliability. While searching for the ideal Prius, it’s essential to find a balance between affordability and reliability.

Some of the most reliable years for Toyota Prius are 2000 to 2003, while more recent models, such as 2015 and onwards, are also considered to be good options.

Consider the following when thinking about Prius price:

  • Research market prices for various years to get a sense of the cost for each.
  • Look for deals on used Prius models and focus on the more reliable years.
  • Factor in additional costs, such as maintenance expenses and potential repairs.

Upgrade Options

Some popular Prius upgrade options include:

  • Entertainment System Upgrades: Consider upgrading your Prius with features like an advanced sound system or an integrated navigation system to make your driving experience more enjoyable.
  • Safety Features: Depending on the year of your Prius, you might want to add or upgrade safety features such as a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, or lane-keep assist for increased security on the road.
  • Performance Upgrades: Enhance your Prius’ performance with upgrades like installing new suspension components or a high-performance exhaust system, which may improve fuel efficiency and overall driving experience.

Do keep in mind, though, that some upgrades might not be compatible with older Prius models.

Therefore, it is essential to research the availability and compatibility of specific upgrades, especially for the more dated model years.

Compare Different Toyota Prius Models

Here are some of the key Toyota Prius models you may want to consider:

Toyota Prius L Eco

The L Eco is an excellent choice for those looking for efficiency and budget-friendliness. This model boasts an EPA-estimated 58 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway.

While it might not have all the bells and whistles, it’s a perfect option for those more concerned with fuel economy than luxury.

Toyota Prius 2017 Model

The 2017 Prius model is a great pick when it comes to safety features and value. Although it doesn’t have all the amenities of newer models, it comes with safety features like blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, and even automatic parking. Plus, it’s available at a reasonable price.

Notable Model Years

Some notable Toyota Prius model years are 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, and 2003. These years are beloved by owners and offer various features, including Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay integration for better connectivity and utility.

Example Table:

Model Year Features
2022 Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay
2017 Blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, automatic parking
2003 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder, 70 horsepower, 82 lb.-ft. of torque

Prius Variants: Prius c and Prius v

It’s also worth noting the differences between the various Prius models, such as the Prius c and Prius v.

The Prius c is a more compact version with circular air vents and less cargo space (17.1 cu ft), while the Prius v is a larger model that offers more cargo room (34.9 cu ft) compared to the standard Prius (21.6 cu ft).


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