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Many drivers count on tax credits and fuel savings to mitigate the higher sticker prices of hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius, but they often neglect to research other long-term ownership costs like car insurance. Edmunds estimates that you’ll pay about $1,600 per year to insure a Prius. This adds up to $8,000 over five years, and it constitutes a monthly payment of about $133. Your individual car insurance rates could be much higher or lower so enter your zip code in the box above to compare car insurance quotes.
How much will car insurance cost you for a Toyota Prius? Compare car insurance quotes and find cheap car insurance online.
Toyota Prius Ownership Costs Compared
When it comes to sticker price, the 2011 Toyota Prius has the third-lowest starting MSRP of any hybrid on the market, at $23,520. With a starting MSRP of $18,200, the Honda Insight is most affordable hybrid. The Prius beats out two other highly-ranked hybrids, the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Chevrolet Volt, by thousands of dollars. When it comes to car insurance rates, though, both of these vehicles have lower estimated costs than the Prius’ $1,600 per year. Edmunds estimates that car insurance for the Chevrolet Volt will cost owners only about $1,373 per year, and it estimates that insurance rates for the Ford Fusion Hybrid will be around $1,483 per year.
Fuel costs are foremost in the minds of most hybrid owners, and the Toyota Prius performs well in this regard. Its electric motor and gasoline engine power the vehicle together through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This setup delivers 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway, making the Prius the most fuel-efficient hybrid on the road. The Chevrolet Volt only gets an EPA-rated 35 city mpg and 40 highway mpg, but if you’re using it primarily to commute short distances, you’ll actually pay less for fuel than you would if you drove the Prius or the Fusion. This is true because the plug-in Volt only uses gasoline when traveling longer distances, usually 50+ miles.
Edmunds estimates that at about $3,917 over five years, maintenance costs for the Prius will be a bit higher than for the Volt or the Fusion. Maintenance for the Volt is estimated to be $2,309 over five years, and it is expected to cost about $3,302 over five years for the Fusion. Edmunds expects that repair costs for all three vehicles will be under $1,000 during the first five years the cars are on the road.
Safety Features and Ratings for the Prius
In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s testing, the 2011 Toyota Prius earned the highest possible rating for all tests conducted, including frontal offset, rear crash protection, and side impact. The federal government has not tested the 2011 Prius, but it gave the 2010 model its second-highest 4-star rating in front-impact, rear-impact, passenger-side impact, and rollover crash testing. The 2010 Prius only earned the full five stars in one category, driver’s side collisions. If safety is a primary concern for you, consider the Toyota Camry or Ford Fusion hybrids, which both performed better than the Prius.
Electronic stability control, brake assist, traction control, and side curtain airbags all come standard in the Toyota Prius. All Prius models also include driver’s side knee airbags, electronic brake force distribution, and tire pressure monitoring systems. You can also upgrade your Prius with the Safety Connect System, which allows the driver or passengers to contact emergency responders. Lane Keep Assist is an optional feature that senses lane markers and alerts the driver to unintended lane departures, and the optional Pre-collision System slows the Prius down if a front-end collision is imminent.
Reviews for the 2011 Toyota Prius
Overall, the Toyota Prius ties with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Chevy Volt for the #1 spot on U.S. News and World Report’s list of affordable hybrid cars. When the Prius is pitted against all affordable midsize cars, it shares the #2 spot with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the gasoline-powered Hyundai Sonata. The gasoline-powered Ford Fusion is ranked #1, and the Chevrolet Volt is not included in U.S. News’ “Affordable Midsize Car” category due to its high starting MSRP. U.S. News also designated the Toyota Prius as the “Best Hybrid Car for the Money.”
The Prius allows drivers to select between Eco, Normal, and Power modes, but even the Power setting won’t let you forget you’re driving a hybrid. Reviewers say that the Toyota Prius’ strength is definitely its fuel economy, not its power or handling. The Prius gets its 134 horsepower from a 1.8 liter I4 engine and an electric motor. This makes it significantly less powerful than the Ford Fusion or the Volt, even when the latter is in all-electric mode. However, reviewers like Automobile Magazine concede that the 2011 Prius performs better than previous models.
Reviewers also note that the 2011 Prius has gained a more spacious cabin and slightly improved tech features. Edmunds maintains that the driving position is “awkward” and the interior materials still feel cheap. USA Today’s reviewer complains that the digital gauges are difficult to read. Some deficiencies are to be expected, though, given the Prius’ low entry-level price compared to its competition.
U.S. News describes the Prius’ interior as “futuristic,” and the vehicle has options to match. All Toyota Prius models are equipped with digital displays that provide information about fuel consumption, energy use, average fuel economy, and average speed. The base model comes standard with an AM/FM stereo, 6 speakers, a CD player, and MP3 connectivity. Higher-level trims include a 6-disc CD changer, 8 speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 90-day trial subscription to XM Radio.
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