Kurt Verlin
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Are the Toyota Prius’ Glory Days Over?

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2016 Toyota Prius Four Touring

The Toyota Prius’ status in the automotive world is legendary. Regardless of what you think of its styling or handling (bland and bland, yes we know), there’s no denying that it set something extraordinary in motion back in 1997, when it became the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in the world.

Today, the Prius is the poster child for green cars and it hasn’t been resting on its laurels; the latest model is still the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered car available in the United States without plug-in capability.

But the Prius isn’t novel anymore. Hybrids can now be found in the lineups of just about every major automotive brand, and plug-in hybrid and all-electric models are becoming increasingly common as well.

In fact, plug-in hybrids are arguably better than hybrids in every way: they’re more efficient, have more range, and can theoretically be driven purely in electric mode provided your commute is short enough for you to be able to recharge in between.

Still, it would be an error to just discount the Toyota Prius. Sure, most people don’t like the 2016 model’s styling, but it does remain the most efficient non plug-in hybrid you can buy and Toyota continues to sell nearly 200,000 per year.

For the first time, the Prius is also kind of fun-to-drive—and these are words you would have never heard someone utter in that order a few years ago. Even if you don’t find it as interesting as you might have back then, there’s always the Prius Prime on its way to US markets later this year.

In fact, if the Prius’ glory days are coming to an end, it might just be the Prius Prime that steps in to take over.

  • Kurt VerlinEditor

    Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.

  • petey53

    “In fact, plug-in hybrids are arguably better than hybrids in every way: they’re more efficient, have more range…”. Not true. Plug-ins are more expensive, are heavier and have less interior space. In many states, a Prius produces less CO2 than a plug-in. On long trips a non-plug-in Prius is more efficient and has longer range and fast refueling. Plug-ins do work well for some people but a non-plug-in Prius can work well for anyone looking for an efficient gas car. There is not one “best” car for everyone.