Comfort and Quality » 8
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QUALITY | 8 out of 10
The new center console that houses the shifter is slick looking but robs some width.
remarkably quiet, more like luxury models than mainstreamers
Hard plastic dominates, with very few padded surfaces, including the dash, which was padded in the last-generation Prius.
Under the center console, there's room to hide a purse
the ride is calmer and quieter
Car and Driver
Four adults will fit fine inside a 2013 Toyota Prius liftback. It can accommodate five adults in emergencies, but in the rear, they'll have to stagger their shoulders--and they won't be particularly comfortable. Up front, the driver's seat can be adjusted for height, which isn't the case in every car. But the "flying buttress" center console limits the knee room for taller drivers, and the front seats could use a touch more padding. There's actually more headroom in the rear than in the front--chalk it up to the curved, domed roofline--and slim front seatbacks offer rear-seat riders good kneeroom.
Five-door hatchbacks usually have space-efficient layouts, and the 2013 Prius is no exception. It's practical and versatile, and you'd never know the battery pack sits below the rear load deck. Up front, it has plenty of storage cubbies, trays, and the like provide plenty of space for personal items--though the tray below the console is awkward to get to. While they're hard to the touch, the patterned plastics of the dash and door surfaces look good, offering textures and patterns you won't see in any other car--and, who knew, they're carbon-neutral to boot!
Under most driving circumstances, the 2013 Prius rides quietly, with little wind noise--one byproduct of its low aerodynamic drag. But when the car is driven hard, the howling noise from the high-revving engine shatters the quiet. It's a chronic fault, or feature, of many hybrids, which use smaller, harder-working engines for maximum efficiency. The tradeoff, though, is that on hard acceleration, they have to work at maximum speed to provide the needed power--and you hear it.
The 2013 Toyota Prius is spacious, versatile, and comfortable, though interior design and materials are far from luxurious.