After 20 years in production, the Toyota Prius has become a global icon for hybrid electric vehicles, but last year’s introduction of the four-generation Prius gave this fuel-sipping hatchback major improvements to style and handling.
Although the standard 2017 Toyota Prius liftback carries over with no changes, the Prius lineup does get the advanced and ultra-efficient Prius Prime plug-in, which we’ll be testing in the near future. For now, though, our first seat time with the current hybrid is with the mid-level 2017 Toyota Prius Four loaded up with all the goodies.
2017 Toyota Prius Exterior:
Love it or hate it, the 2017 Toyota Prius definitely stands out for all the right reasons. No longer just a wedge-shaped hatchback, the new Prius design has a bold style while still proving to be very aerodynamic with a drag coefficient of just 0.24. To some, the new Prius might have a “busy” design, but this polarizing look is just what Toyota needed for its global green car. The body has very fluid-like lines with plenty of light-catching creases that gives the Prius a dynamic and somewhat sporty appearance. The face has narrow grille opening with hybrid-specific blue Toyota emblem, and the oddly shaped headlights help reduce some of the visual effect of the short, sloped hood. Likewise, the rear of the Prius uses similar cues including the stretched taillights, two-piece rear glass, blacked-out C-pillar and the slight hint of a trunk, which hearkens back to the original Prius sedan while still providing the added practicality of a hatchback. This tester looked great with the Blizzard Pearl ($395) paint, but the 15-inch wheels looked undersized – not to mention aged with full plastic hub caps.
2017 Toyota Prius Interior:
While the exterior is a huge departure from previous Prius designs, the interior of the 2017 Toyota Prius is about what we’ve come to expect from the car over the years. On the plus side, this means lots of interior space, and the cabin of the 2017 Toyota Prius gets even better with the car’s revised rear suspension and smaller battery pack with plenty of room for five passengers and still enough space for 27.4 cubic feet of cargo. The cabin is quite stylish, but you still have to contend with the quirky instrument panel design that includes a center-mounted gauge cluster and the Prius’ signature shifter. The Prius Four comes standard with Toyota’s Softex eco-friendly faux leather (with heated, power adjustable front seats), which is available in three colors including this tester’s Harvest Beige.
The 2017 Toyota Prius comes standard with content including a backup camera, Smart Key System with push-button start and a 4.2-inch multi-information display, and this car also had white accents on the steering wheel and center console, Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging and the Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite. This well-equipped Prius Four added even more content with the $3,055 Premium Convenience Package, which adds the power moonroof, color head-up display, Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) with Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) and the upgraded 10-speaker audio system.
2017 Toyota Prius Powertrain:
As always, the highlight of the 2017 Toyota Prius is its advanced, fuel-sipping powertrain. All Prius models use a 1.8-liter Aktinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission and two electric motor/generators, and with the exception of the base Prius Two trim level, all other models utilize a lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery. The new hybrid components and smaller battery pack helps reduce curb weight and maximize interior volume. Total system output is 121 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque, but the most important numbers for any Prius buyer are the fuel economy figures. For this 2017 Toyota Prius Four (and most other trim levels), the car has EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway – and this isn’t even most-efficient Prius model either as the stripped-down Prius Two Eco and plug-in Prius Prime are even better!
One of the best parts of driving the 2017 Toyota Prius is that you don’t have to drive like a hypermiler in order to meet or exceed official fuel economy ratings. On top of that, the wider stance and a double wishbone rear suspension help the new Prius handle better than its predecessors with a ride that can be surprisingly fun. The only major buzzkill about the new Prius’ driving dynamic is the Electronically Controlled Brake System, which is still tuned to maximize brake regeneration and has noticeable squishiness to the pedal and delay to the responsiveness. This is a hybrid, not a sports car, after all.
2017 Toyota Prius Safety:
Not only is the 2017 Toyota Prius an incredibly efficient family vehicle, but it is also one of the safest. Matching other 2017 Toyota models, the 2017 Toyota Prius comes standard with a full battery of safety features including the Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS –(P) with Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Auto High Beams and Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Thanks to all of this technology, the 2017 Toyota Prius gets a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as well as a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
2017 Toyota Prius Overall:
The 2017 Toyota Prius is probably still going to be the unofficial car of Whole Foods parking lots and the bane of highway drivers in the passing lane, but the new style and handling of the Prius will certainly give the world’s best-selling hybrid even more mass-market appeal. Better yet, it can do so without breaking the bank as the starting price of the 2017 Toyota Prius is just $24,685 with this fully loaded Prius Four carrying an as-tested price of $32,585*.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Toyota dealership and test drive the ultra-efficient 2017 Toyota Prius today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.