But Toyota didn’t focus solely on fuel economy gains. The 2016 Toyota Prius has sharper handling, a more cushioned ride, less grabby brakes, and nicer interior materials. And even with its flashy new exterior styling, the interior has plenty of space, while the hatchback layout makes it easy to haul large items. As such, the Prius is a proper family car for five occupants, with strong crash-test results, whereas the previous mileage champ Insight felt more like a two-seat science project.
Still, there are some oddities inside the Prius, such as the center-mounted instrument readout. The transmission’s shifter is a tiny, toy-like joystick. Our test car has a plastic center console that looks like a Stormtrooper’s bedpan. The front seats need better back support for all-day road trips, and the future-look exterior styling crimps outward visibility through squinty rear windows.
So although the Prius isn’t perfect, there’s no question it’s at the top of the fuel-efficiency game. And at $27,323 for our mid-trim Prius Three, it proves you can drive an affordable, everyday car and still get phenomenal fuel mileage.