8 Best & Worst Toyota Prius Prime Years (Facts & Stats)

Launched in 2017, the Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

It has sleek and attractive styling, loads of standard features, and respectable acceleration.

In this article, we’ll be analyzing all of the best and worst model years of the Prius Prime.

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Toyota Prius Prime Are:

The best Toyota Prius Prime model years are 2024, 2023, and 2021. The worst model years of this model are 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Toyota Prius Prime?

2024 and 2023 Toyota Prius Prime

The 2023 and 2024 Prius Primes stand out as top choices, being virtually identical. The 2023 update introduced significant enhancements, marking the start of the Prius’s fifth generation.

These improvements include:

  • Sleek redesign
  • A stiffer structure for better ride and handling
  • A more powerful, longer-range plug-in powertrain.

Auto critics praise them for their fuel efficiency, respectable power, and easy-to-use infotainment system.

There are 3 trim levels to choose from: SE, XSE, and XSE Premium. Base pricing ranges between around $34,000 and $41,000.

The most popular version is the midrange XSE, which starts out at $37,320.

Regardless of trim, owners get a 220-horsepower hybrid system (engine + battery pack) that delivers power exclusively to the front wheels. 

Our favorite driver-assistance features are:

  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
  • Safe Exit Assist

2024 Toyota Prius Prime:

  • Edmunds: 4.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 5.0 / 5.0

2023 Toyota Prius Prime:

  • Edmunds: 4.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 5.0 / 5.0

2023 Toyota Prius Prime, Edmunds Review:

“This car is so smooth and responsive. When fully charged it runs around 40 miles on pure electric, then seamlessly switches to hybrid mode. I’ve only put a little over 400 miles on it, but only had to run in hybrid mode once, when I took a trip of about 90 miles…”

2021 Toyota Prius Prime

The 2021 Prius Prime is the penultimate model of the fourth generation. It excels in fuel efficiency with up to 25 miles of electric-only range. It also offers comfortable seating and exceptional value.

Based on owners’ reviews online, these are the great aspects of this model:

  • Fuel economy
  • Comfort
  • Handling
  • Steering
  • Infotainment system
  • Value for money
  • Safety

New for this model year is enhanced driver aid functionality, Android Auto connectivity (for the based model), and respectable power and acceleration.

There are 3 available trims: LE, XLE, and Limited. All share the same body style and powertrain, with key differences found in available equipment.

All trims are powered by a 1.8-liter gasoline 4-cylinder engine that is paired to a battery pack and combine for a total output of 121 horsepower.

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.8 / 5.0

2021 Toyota Prius Prime, Edmunds Review:

“Bought this car because I wanted something that reduced my gasoline consumption substantially, but wasn’t ready to go all-electric. Suits my setup very well. I charge overnight in the driveway on a regular plug (scheduled easily with the in-car timer), then drive to and from my office, a total of 21 miles round trip. When the car first arrived, it would indicate 22 miles of electric range. Now a few weeks later it’s up to 28.5 miles…”

Consumer Scores For Best Toyota Prius Prime Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
2024 Toyota Prius Prime4.8 / 5.05.0 / 5.0
2023 Toyota Prius Prime4.8 / 5.05.0 / 5.0
2021 Toyota Prius Prime4.3 / 5.04.8 / 5.0

Related: 11 Common Toyota Prius Prime Problems (Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Toyota Prius Prime?

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

For the initial 2017 Prius Prime, the common inquiry seems to be, “Is there anything right with this car?”

This is the most problematic Prius Prime that has ever been produced, and has accumulated more problems and complaints than all the other existing model years combined.

It goes without saying, avoid this version at all costs.

There were several recurring issues. In fact, there are too many to list here, so let us take a look at two of the most widespread problems.

First, the hybrid system of this model is highly unreliable, with multiple instances of it going offline or deactivating. This has led to total loss of power and functionality while driving.

“The contact owns a 2017 Toyota Prius. The contact stated while driving 10 MPH and pulling out of a parking lot, the vehicle lost motive power and made abnormal sounds. Several unknown warning lights were illuminated. The vehicle failed to restart…” – NHTSA.gov

Second, the brakes have frequently malfunctioned. Complaints indicated loud ringing noises and brake pad issues. This was also accompanied by failure of certain brake-related safety features (such as lane departure assistance and cruise control).

“Just five minutes after I left the house, I was driving at 15 miles mph on a curved road and the vehicle completely lost power. This includes both the electric motor and the gas motor. both the steering system and brakes malfunctioned, causing the steering wheel to become too stiff to turn and the brakes were not able to be pressed down no matter how hard i tried…” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2015 Toyota Prius Prime had a total of 6 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 124 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.

Common problems:

  • Wires chewed by rodents
  • Windshield chips and cracks easily
  • Water leaking into vehicle
  • Difficulty starting
  • Battery issues
  • Hybrid system malfunctions
  • Loss of power steering
  • Brake issues
  • Electrical system malfunctions
  • Total loss of power

2018, 2019, and 2020 Toyota Prius Prime

The 2018, 2019, and 2020 Prius Prime versions, though less troublesome than the earlier model, still posed significant challenges for many owners.

These cars inherited some of the issues of the 2017 model year but also brought some unique problems, including windshield issues and tire-related problems.

Owners complained about a surprisingly fragile windshield, resulting in various chips and cracks without any apparent external force or impact.

“The car had about 8000 miles on it. It was parked in Garage the night before. In the morning the outside temperature was 39F. During my 30 minutes driving, the front defrost was turned on. Afterwards it was parked in the driveway and at that time the windshield was fine. 6 hours later, I noticed a spider web-like crack under the camera section on the front windshield. The crack was about 11 inch long. It looks like the glass could not handle the temperature change.” – NHTSA.gov

Tire blowouts were quite common as well. Owners experienced numerous flat tires and premature wear and tear.

“The passenger side behind the driver’s seat’s tire blew out. started to drive and the car was moving slower and eventually had to pull over because the car felt unstable. was not given an alarm that the tire was blown and flat. was driving less than 30mph, in a straight, flat street.” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime had a total of 1 complaint on CarComplaints.com and 11 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.
  • The 2019 Toyota Prius Prime had a total of 1 complaint on CarComplaints.com and 7 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.
  • The 2020 Toyota Prius Prime had a total of 7 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 13 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.

Common problems:

  • Windshield chips and cracks easily
  • Wires chewed by rodents
  • Battery randomly dies

2022 Toyota Prius Prime

Last (and least problematic) on this list is the recently released 2022 Prius Prime. 

The chief complaint of owners is sudden unintended acceleration (SUA), with instances of the vehicle suddenly ramping up to twice the speed it is currently at, clearly posing a significant safety risk for both the driver and fellow motorists on the road.

“The contact owns a 2022 Toyota Prius Prime. The contact stated while driving at approximately 25 MPH, the vehicle suddenly experienced unintended acceleration, and the vehicle accelerated to 50 MPH before the contact was able to stop the vehicle by depressing the brake pedal. The contact stated that the failure reoccurred the following day…” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2022 Toyota Prius Prime had a total of 7 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.

Common problems:

  • Sudden unintended acceleration
  • Steering issues

Related: 11 Most Common Toyota Prius Problems (Explained)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
(CarComplaints.com)
Problems
(NHTSA.gov)
Recalls
(NHTSA.gov)
2024 Toyota Prius Prime000
2023 Toyota Prius Prime000
2022 Toyota Prius Prime071
2021 Toyota Prius Prime040
2020 Toyota Prius Prime7131
2019 Toyota Prius Prime171
2018 Toyota Prius Prime1110
2017 Toyota Prius Prime61244

What Problems Do Toyota Prius Prime Have?

  • Plug-in charging system malfunction
  • Dead 12-volt battery
  • Blown head gasket
  • Clicking front axle
  • Heat exchanger coolant leak
  • Head unit reboots
  • Parking sensor issues
  • Grille shutter issues
  • Fuel refill issues
  • Rust on rear hatch release
  • Peeling steering wheel trim
  • Windshield cracks and chips
  • Sudden unintended acceleration

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Toyota Prius?

The Toyota Prius is considered one of the most reliable compact cars in the market.

The Prius secured the 7th spot (ahead of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid and Toyota Prius Prime), with a great score of 7.8 out of 10. 

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid8.8$27,200 – $35,550City: 45 – 50 /Highway: 51 – 54
Honda Accord Hybrid8.7$27,320 – $37,190City: 44 – 48 /Highway: 41 – 48
Toyota Camry Hybrid8.7$27,480 – $32,920City: 44 – 51 /Highway: 47 – 53
Toyota Avalon Hybrid8.5$37,350 – $43,650City: NA /Highway: NA
Honda Insight8.4$25,760 – $29,790City: 51 – 55 /Highway: 45 – 49
Hyundai Elantra Hybrid8.3$24,400 – $29,000City: 49 – 53 /Highway: 52 – 56
Toyota Prius7.8$25,075 – $33,370City: 51 – 58 /Highway: 47 – 53
Toyota Corolla Hybrid7.7$23,750City: 53 /Highway: 52
Toyota Prius Prime7.7$28,220 – $34,000City: NA /Highway: NA
Hyundai IoniqNA$23,600 – $33,250City: NA /Highway: NA

Source: cars.usnews.com

Related: 17 Best & Worst Toyota Prius Years (With Facts & Stats)

References

Author:

  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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