2012 Toyota Prius vs. Its Competition

The 2012 Toyota Prius. Image: Toyota
John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor

While the subcompact Honda Insight looks a lot like the Prius and is several thousand dollars cheaper, it's smaller inside and doesn't deliver the same 50 mpg that the larger car does.

Perhaps a more logical rival sits in Toyota's own showroom: The new-for-2012 Camry Hybrid offers a 41-mpg combined rating, mid-size sedan room and comfort, and it doesn't require the owner to put up with Prius jokes.

In the same vein is the laudable Ford Fusion Hybrid, with a 39-mpg combined rating in a refined, comfortable, and very competent U.S.

contender.

The Lexus CT 200h is also a hybrid hatchback, though it's a compact and several thousand dollars pricier.

But it adds back the fun-to-drive factor, not to mention a larger dollop of luxury.

Finally, for drivers who do most of their miles on the highway, the clean-diesel VW Jetta TDI (offered as a four-door sedan and a Sportwagen) gets highway mileage that approaches the Prius figures, and is far more rewarding to drive.

Its city mileage, however, is nowhere near the Prius.

The 2012 Toyota Prius. Image: Toyota2012 Toyota PriusBrowse Used Listings2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid2012 Ford Fusion HybridBrowse Used Listings2012 Honda Insight EX with Navigation2012 Honda InsightBrowse Used Listings2012 Lexus HS 250h 4-door Sedan Angular Front Exterior View2012 Lexus HS 250hBrowse Used Listings2012 Lexus CT 200h2012 Lexus CT 200hBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
7.6
The 2012 Toyota Prius remains the highest-mileage car offered in the U.S., and it's a practical and capacious mid-size hatchback with room for five
8.0
The 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid scores with its deft hybrid integration, and for preserving so much of the Fusion's basic goodness.
7.0
The 2012 Honda Insight has been updated for 2012, but it has less space than other subcompacts and lower mileage than several other hybrids.
7.6
The 2012 Lexus HS 250h offers lots of technology along with its high gas mileage, but it's not engaging to drive, nor is its level of luxury particularly spectacular.
7.8
The 2012 Lexus CT 200h is a surprisingly stylish, fun, and unexpected car, blending Lexus levels of refinement with superb hybrid gas mileage. It's the sole compact luxury hybrid hatch, but it offers good value and a new way of driving green.
MSRP From    
$23,015N/A$18,500$37,030$29,120
Gas Mileage    
51 MPG City / 48 MPG Hwy41 MPG City / 44 MPG Hwy35 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy43 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy
Engine    
Gas/Electric I4N/AGas/Electric I4Gas/Electric I4Gas/Electric I4
EPA Class    
Midsize CarsN/ACompact CarsMid-SizeCompact
Style Name    
5-Door HB One (SE)N/A5-Door CVT PZEV4-Door Sedan HybridFWD 4-Door Hybrid
Drivetrain    
Front Wheel DriveN/AFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
5N/A555
Passenger Doors    
N/AN/AN/AN/A4
Body Style    
HatchbackN/AHatchback4 Door Sedan4 Door Hatchback
Transmission    
Continuously Variable RatioN/AContinuously Variable TransmissionContinuously variable ratioContinuously Variable Ratio