Used Toyota Prius Review | Auto-Express

The Mk4 Prius was well received right after its launch; It won the Green Award at the Auto Express New Car Awards 2016 and followed with two consecutive gold medals (2016 and 2017) at the New Car Awards of our sister site Carbuyer for the most economical car and the best hybrid small car. It takes a very special car to win so many titles in such a short period of time and that is undoubtedly the Prius, with its impressive usability, reliability, efficiency and distinctive design.

In addition, Toyota’s new 10-year retrospective warranty means that all cars under 100,000 miles will still be covered. When you have service at a major Toyota Dealer, you get a one-year recharge guarantee that gives you extra peace of mind without the likely need for such an assurance.

If any car is synonymous with hybrid technology, it is the Toyota Prius. Many people believe this was the UK’s first gasoline-electric model, although the original two-seat Honda Insight put it on the market by a few weeks.

The Insight has long been forgotten, however, and even the more practical version of the second generation Honda has come and gone.

But Toyota has not tried to break into the hybrid market like its Japanese rival. More than 200,000 petrol electric cars have now been sold in the UK, most of which are examples of the Prius. We are now on the fourth generation version and, as you might expect, the best yet.

Models covered

  • Toyota Prius Mk4 (2015-date) – The award-winning hybrid is reliable and efficient, but not cheap to use.

Toyota Prius Mk4


The original Toyota Prius hit UK showrooms in 2000 (it was introduced in Japan in 1997). Its successor followed in 2003 and the third generation model came in 2009.

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Toyota opened the order books for the Prius Mk4 in November 2015, with the first cars delivered to owners in March 2016; A year later came a plug-in model.

All versions had a 1.8-liter petrol engine that was powered by an electric motor that was fed by its own battery pack; The power was sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable (automatic) transmission. The battery in the plug-in hybrid model is larger and can be charged via the power grid to achieve a purely electric range of 55 kilometers.

A revised Prius was shown at the end of 2018, and the first cars hit dealerships in spring 2019. For the first time there is an all-wheel drive option (largely unnecessary for UK buyers), as well as better smartphone connectivity and a light exterior refresh with a cleaner front end.

Toyota Prius Mk4 reviews

Which one should I buy?

When choosing the right Prius, you don’t have to make many decisions, because you only have two powertrains to choose from (plug-in and regular hybrid) and four equipment variants – or only two for the just plug-in model (Business Edition Plus and Excel ), which is now less expensive than the regular Prius. On the used market, the difference is minimal, because the hybrid models seem to have held their value better than the plug-in hybrids.

The Active entry-level equipment of the regular Prius offers 15-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a reversing camera, two-zone automatic air conditioning and electrically folding exterior mirrors.

The Business Edition offers wireless phone charging, a blind spot monitor, heated front seats, improved trims and a color head-up display. The Business Edition Plus offers self-parking and 17-inch rims, while Excel offers leather upholstery and an upgraded JBL stereo system.

Alternatives to the Toyota Prius Mk4

If you want a hybrid that is not a plug-in, there are two from Toyota to consider: the C-HR and the Lexus CT 200h, both of which use a powertrain similar to that of the Prius. The CT is making headway, but the C-HR looks high tech and is a great car that is let down by a lackluster gearbox. The latest Toyota Corolla also uses this hybrid engine, and both it and the C-HR are also available with a more powerful 2.0 liter hybrid powertrain.

Not in the mood for Toyota? The Hyundai Ioniq looks more conventional than the Prius and is a bit cheaper, although its hybrid drive is not quite as elegantly integrated. There are also many hybrid SUVs such as the Ford Kuga and Honda CR-V, as well as a wide range of family-sized plug-in hybrid SUVs.

Look what

Security kit

Blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic warning are standard on all models with the exception of the entry-level Active.

Spare wheel

Every Prius comes standard with a space-saving spare wheel, but if you want the extra security a full-size wheel can be customized.


Useful functions such as automatic high beam, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control are part of the standard equipment. The infotainment system could be more intuitive to use, but 2020 and later models will get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can use your phone’s apps if you prefer.

Security assessment

When Euro NCAP crash tested the Toyota in 2016, it declared it the safest large family car one can buy.


The dashboard design is certainly interesting, but a bit confusing at first. The quality is rather good than excellent, although it has to be said that the levels of refinement are excellent.

Overall, the space in the cabin is good, but the plug-in model only has two rear seats and the headroom is very high due to the sloping roof. The trunk volume is 297 liters with the seats folded up or a tiny 191 liters for plug-in models (both measured on the parcel shelf). That is a bit far from a gasoline-powered family hatchback like the Ford Focus or the Volkswagen Golf, which both offer around 380 liters.

Running costs

Whether your Prius is a plug-in or a regular hybrid, it needs servicing every 12 months or 10,000 miles. The initial sequence is Intermediate (at £ 185) then Full (£ 335) but at 60,000 miles and then again at 100,000 miles the car needs a Full Plus service which costs £ 395.

At the age of five, a Prius qualifies for Silver (£ 120) and Gold (£ 200) services under Toyota’s discounted Essential Care maintenance program for older models.

There is no timing belt installed, but the coolant needs to be replaced after 100,000 miles or 10 years, requiring fresh brake fluid every two years or every 20,000 miles. The costs for this are included in the respective service.


The Prius Mk4 has been recalled six times; the first in November 2016 concerned a possible parking brake failure on 4,617 cars. A week later, 691 models were recalled due to a passenger airbag issue – and a similar recall was made again in September 2019 for many different Toyota models. In December 2017, three cars were recalled because of a defective hybrid drive capacitor. A campaign in September 2018 looked at a potential fire risk in 32,000 UK copies of the Prius and Prius plug-in and the C-HR hybrid. In December 2019, there was a recall for cars produced in a two-week window in July of this year, and most recently in June 2020 for an ECU inspection.

Driver Power owner satisfaction

An impressive fourth place in our Driver Power 2018 new car survey shows how confident the Prius is. It took a few top five places – among other things for engine and transmission, safety, operating costs and reliability – and driving behavior and comfort were also rated highly by the owners. The lowest score the car received on the survey was practicality. Toyota, meanwhile, continued its strong performance on our 2020 manufacturer list, finishing sixth out of 30.

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