Should You Buy a 2011 Prius?

The 2011 Prius has incredible fuel efficiency and an impressive resale value—but issues with oil consumption and light problems are common complaints.
Written by Mary Cahill
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
May 20, 2022
You can’t talk about hybrid cars without mentioning the
Prius
. What started out as a simple subcompact car soon morphed into an exceptional fuel-efficient hatchback edition. The 2011 Prius offers convenience and environmental consciousness, but excessive oil consumption and light problems are marks against Toyota’s good intentions.  
As part of Prius’ third generation, the 2011 model offers customers a more aerodynamic body style, and the kind of fuel economy that
Toyota’s
competitors continuously strive for—(think 51 miles to the gallon). Despite its flaws, Prius remains a major contender in the hybrid market it helped revolutionize back in over two decades ago. 
If you have your eye on the 2011 Prius,
Jerry’s
here to help. Jerry is more than a
car insurance
comparison expert and
super app
, it’s also your guide to everything you need to know about the 2011 Prius: from the specs, the perks, and even the drawbacks. We’ll walk you through how much you should expect to pay and help you save money on your coverage once you’ve purchased the Prius that’s perfect for you.     
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Is the 2011 Prius worth it?

Toyota’s stellar reputation for practicality and variety in its vehicles is certainly well-earned and the 2011 Prius embodies both of these qualities. Plus, with its high safety score, spacious interior, and coveted hatchback feature, the 2011 Prius won awards for being the most family-friendly hybrid of the year. 
The Toyota Prius also has the distinction of having a remarkably low depreciation rate in comparison to other
green cars
. That being said, a low depreciation rate is usually synonymous with high resale value—which is nice if you’re the seller, but is buying a 2011 Prius a good deal?   

Cost

The first thing to consider is what the Prius is going for brand new. A 2022 Toyota Prius has a starting price of $25,650 which is quite reasonable—especially considering how much you’ll save on gas
Let’s take a look at Kelley Blue Book’s predicted fair market range for the five different trim levels of the 2011 Prius:
Trim level
Fair market range (dealership)
Typical dealership listing
Private seller listing
2011 Toyota Prius One
$8,755-$11,572
$10,579
$10,164
2011 Toyota Prius Two
$9,177-$12,134
$11,025
$10,656
2011 Toyota Prius Three
$9,129-$12,072
$10,866
$10,601
2011 Toyota Prius Four
$9,004-$11,911
$10,693
$10,458
2011 Toyota Prius Five
$9,928-$13,131
$11,630
$11,530
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There’s no question that you could save a substantial amount of money if you opt for a used Prius—but customers who decide to invest in a newer model year could reap the benefit of a longer warranty period on their vehicle. 

Specs and performance

As the third generation of the Prius entered its second model year in 2011, customers were already anticipating the popular hatchback body design and previously unheard-of fuel economy that debuted one year earlier. 
Toyota delivered—in fact, the 2011 and 2010 Prius models are nearly identical when it comes to specs and performance—with one of the only differences being that the 2011 Prius boasts climate control as a standard feature. 
As for its power, the 2011 Prius is fitted with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine and dual electric motors. With an output of 134 horsepower and 0-60 capability of 9.8 seconds, the Prius wasn’t getting invited to any road races—but that wasn’t what it was built for. 
When we talk about the specs of a Prius, the star of the show will always be its fuel economy of 51city/48 highway mpg. And seeing as the auto industry in 2011 was still making its way out of the economic recession, it was hard to walk away from a stat like that. 

Complaints

Where there are pros, there will also be cons. The popular website carcomplaints.com ranks the 2011 Prius as one of the worst model years to buy used. The most common complaints were of excessive oil consumption and tractions control and ABS turning on. According to 2011 Prius drivers, these issues begin to arise once the vehicle hits 113,000 miles on the odometer. 
Excessive oil consumption was rated as the #1 complaint about the 2011 Prius. What’s concerning about the nature of this complaint is its potential to cause costly engine issues that require maintenance by a
professional mechanic
. If the engine on your 2011 Prius fails, you could be stuck with a car whose repairs total more than its worth. 

The bottom line: proceed with caution

If a certain model year of a Prius is known to have engine issues, it’s probably not a vehicle you’re dying to buy. All in all, a used Prius is worth the investment, you might just want to consider purchasing a newer model—like a 2017 to 2019 Prius.  

Is it better to buy a used Prius or a new Prius?

If you can manage taking on a car payment to drive a brand new Prius, it’s likely in your best interest to do so. Most people who buy used vehicles are lured by the prospect of not having to finance their purchase—plus you’ll get to experience a bunch of modernized features like the 2022 Prius’s Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.0 tech
It’s common for drivers to shun financing a vehicle so that they can simply pay upfront for their Prius and own it outright. The good news for buyers on the used market is that there are a lot of options if you’re interested in purchasing a 2011 Prius model. 
On the other hand, drivers who have the vision to
customize their Prius
would benefit from exploring those modifications on a new model. 

Pros and cons of owning a Prius

Pros 

What more can we say? Those looking for a car celebrated for its efficiency and good quality have good reason to be drawn to the Prius. Between the brag-worthy fuel economy and the straightforward, no-nonsense design, it’s no wonder Prius is continually rated as one of the
most reliable vehicles to buy
.

Cons 

Prius’ downsides have never been a secret—its sluggishness in the speed department and lack of frills in the way of tech features have been black marks on the Prius track record since the beginning. If you’ve locked in on the idea of driving a hybrid but need a little more oomph from the car you choose, you might want to explore other contenders in the hybrid sector, like the
Honda Insight
.  

How to find the best Prius insurance

Regardless of whether you go with the 2011 Prius or another hybrid vehicle, you’ll need to purchase a quality car insurance policy to keep you safe on the road. To get access to the best online quotes available, just ask
Jerry
As a licensed broker and the #1 rated insurance app, Jerry does all of the insurance shopping for you—and in record time. Once you download the free app and enter some basic information, it takes Jerry around 45 seconds to browse more than 50 providers and pull the most competitive rates.
With Jerry’s expert assistance, you could save an average of more than $800 a year on car insurance! 
“I wanted to buy my first car soon, so I needed cheap and fast insurance.
Jerry
was a lifesaver! Their fast and friendly service got me affordable insurance quickly! Thank you!” —Parker A.
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