2017 Toyota Prius vs. 2017 Honda Fit: Compare Cars

December 5, 2016
2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium

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The Toyota Prius hybrid remains the most fuel-efficient vehicle sold in the U.S. without a plug: 52 mpg combined for this year's all-new model. Every facet of every Prius reflects the car's designers and engineers striving for maximal efficiency from every drop of fuel.

But the smaller Honda Fit sits at the top of the subcompact economy car segment, with a combined fuel-efficiency rating of 36 mpg. It's supremely flexible, with an interior that can be configured into what passes for a small moving van, and it's also around $10,000 cheaper.

Both are highly efficient cars against the whole market, but which one fits you best?

MORE: Read our full reviews of the 2017 Honda Fit and 2017 Toyota Prius

Both are hatchbacks, but the Fit is a subcompact, while the Prius qualifies as a mid-size car based on its interior space. The Prius was entirely redesigned for this year, while the Fit was all-new just a year ago. And they take different approaches to fuel efficiency.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Prius is the lower and sleeker of the two cars. It's still a hatchback with a tall tail, but the nose is low and deep sculpting makes it look racier. We don't mind the front and sides of the car, but it all goes strangely wrong at the rear, with too many accent lines and bizarre taillights shaped like question marks. It pulls off the unusual trick of making its predecessor look sedate and conventional.

2016 Toyota Prius Two Eco

2016 Toyota Prius Two Eco

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2016 Toyota Prius C

2016 Toyota Prius C

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2016 Toyota Prius, Catskill Mountains, NY, Dec 2015

2016 Toyota Prius, Catskill Mountains, NY, Dec 2015

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2016 Toyota Prius, Catskill Mountains, NY, Dec 2015

2016 Toyota Prius, Catskill Mountains, NY, Dec 2015

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Inside, the new Prius uses higher-quality materials, with more soft-touch surfaces and a wide sweeping design that mixes intuitive and Space Age-y controls. Its full-color digital instruments sit in a low, wide in the center of the dash toward the base of the windshield.The seats are comfortable, supportive, and far better than the last generation's. Four adults can fit comfortably, although the rear seat sits a bit on the low side, leaving adults in a knees-up position.

The Fit is a more conventional small, tall five-door car with body creases and other design tricks to hide its boxy, almost wagon-like shape. But it somehow comes across as cheerful, almost perky, while the Prius looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Despite its small size the Fit is capable of holding four adults in its surprisingly roomy passenger space. The front seats are particularly comfortable, but the real win for Honda is the aptly-named "Magic Seat" arrangement. The rear seats fold and flip to create a cargo area from the floor to the roof, while the front seats recline fully to create an almost-flat upholstered interior platform. The littlest Honda wins hands down for interior adaptability.

Toyota has engineered every component of the hybrid system in the 2016 Prius to increase efficiency and cut cost and weight. The combined output of the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors is 121 horsepower. For the first time, the Prius has two different battery options. The least expensive model, the Prius Two, uses a 1.2-kilowatt-hour nickel-metal-hydride pack, while every other version adopts a 0.75-kwh lithium-ion battery. Each is located under the rear seat.

The Honda has a 130-horsepower 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard, but most Fits will come with a continuously-variable transmission (CVT).

2016 Honda Fit

2016 Honda Fit

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2016 Honda Fit

2016 Honda Fit

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2016 Honda Fit 5dr HB CVT EX Engine

2016 Honda Fit 5dr HB CVT EX Engine

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2016 Honda Fit

2016 Honda Fit

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