Shopping for a new Toyota Prius?
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Here at FamilyCarGuide, we're giving the Toyota Prius an 8 out of 10 overall, for its decent backseat space, versatility, top-notch gas mileage, and hard-earned reputation for reliability. Drawbacks include interior materials that aren't so impressive, and in some cases, powertrain noise.
There's a lot to like about the Prius from a family standpoint, especially if your inclinations are to go green. The Prius gets an outstanding 51 mpg city, 48 highway in the EPA cycle, and we've seen results in that range in don't-think-about-it mode—or much better when we're trying to drive mindfully.
Front seats in the Prius are comfortable enough for around-town errands, and even six-footers can fit in the rear seats. Hybrid components don't at all get in the way either; the cargo floor is surprisingly low, and backseats can be individually folded forward to maximize space when no one's riding in them.
One of the few things we don't like about the interior packaging is the Prius's "flying buttress" instrument-panel design, which juts uncomfortably against knees with its hard plastic surfaces. Those accustomed to driving luxury cars might be surprised how raucous the interior can get during quick merges. Likewise, if you're the type to loath commuter appliances—or if you're not the type to obsess over your momentary mileage—the driving experience is pretty dull and unexciting; but that arguably goes with the territory.
The Prius hasn't quite been perfect in its safety scores, but there's a lot of active safety available on the options list—including a rearview camera, a lane-departure system, Safety Connect, and Intelligent Parking Assist. A solar-roof package is among the other available tech wizardry.
If the 2011 Toyota Prius isn't quite enough family car for you and yours, stay tuned. Later this year, a new 2012 Toyota Prius v will go on sale. With higher seating position, better passenger space, plus a deeper cargo bay, the Prius v will add more utility and practicality while still getting about 42 mpg combined.
In the meantime, for more information about the Prius, visit The Car Connection's full review of the 2011 Toyota Prius.