Should You Buy a 2021 Prius?

The 2021 Prius was rated #1 overall in the compact car segment by J.D. Power, making it an excellent investment.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
May 23, 2022
The
2021 Toyota Prius
is one of the best-rated model years yet, which is why you shouldn’t hesitate to buy one.
Toyota
hasn’t always gotten it right when it comes to the iconic Prius. Whether it’s complaints about oil consumption for the 2010 model year or issues with cracking windshields in 2016 certain Prius-owners just couldn't seem to get a break. But in 2021, Toyota delivered one of the most reliable and efficient Priuses to date.
Here to help you understand what makes the 2021 Prius such a great investment is your resident
car insurance
broker and the
super app
for car owners,
Jerry
. In this guide, we’ll give you the low-down on everything from costs to complaints, and pros to cons when it comes to owning a 2021 Toyota Prius.
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Is the 2021 Prius worth it?

First introduced in 2001, the Toyota Prius has since made a name for itself as an adorable, fuel-efficient, and reliable hybrid. But the Prius has had a few hiccups along the way, so it’s reasonable to question whether the 2021 model year holds up. Let’s take a closer look to find out.

Cost

Green vehicles
aren’t necessarily known for their affordability, but the Prius has always been an exception to that rule. A brand new 2022 model starts as low as $25,650, and, unlike most hybrids, the Prius holds its value very well.
Though Toyota is poised to release the first 2023 Priuses soon, buyers can still find new 2021s on dealer lots, as well as used options. Here’s Kelley Blue Book’s breakdown for fair market value on all the Prius’s 2021 trims:
Trim level
Fair market range (dealership)
Typical dealership listing
Private party range
2021 Toyota Prius L Eco
$22,881-$24,502
$25,520
$25,173-$27,104
2021 Toyota Prius LE
$24,259-$26,055
$26,730
$26,744-$28,795
2021 Toyota Prius XLE
$26,610-$28,489
$29,570
$28,867-$31,082
2021 Toyota Prius 20th Anniversary
$27,470-$29,433
$30,870
$29,243-$31,488
2021 Toyota Prius Limited
$30,031-$32,170
$33,645
$31,408-$33,819
As you can see, the current used vehicle market hasn’t done much to majorly affect the price of a Prius. In most cases, it would cost about the same for you to buy a used 2021 as it would to find a new one on a dealer’s lot.

Specs and performance

Toyota launched its fourth-generation Prius in 2015 with minimal style changes and maximum performance upgrades. In addition to little additions, like standard power outlets and USB ports for charging and powering electronics, Toyota also focused on continuing to fine-tune their already best-in-class hybrid engine.
The key focus areas for the new generation Prius’s engine were combustion performance and downsizing. This focus allowed engineers to build an engine that achieves a maximum thermal efficiency of 40%, in a smaller, lighter package that improves the Prius’s already record-setting fuel efficiency.
The 2021 Prius featured a total body redesign with improved aerodynamics and record-shattering fuel efficiency. The fourth-generation Prius’s 1.8L inline-four-cylinder hybrid engine is capable of generating 121-hp at 5,200 rpm. It’s not a sports car, but that’s kind of the point—sports cars aren’t generally capable of almost 60 mpg fuel economy.

Complaints

So far, the 2021 Prius is one of the model’s best years with only 6 complaints logged on
CarComplaints.com
and only 2 logged with the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
. These issues all fall into two categories: steering problems and window and windshield problems.
In addition to some drivers reporting that their windshields cracked very easily, some have also reported that the Prius’s Lane Tracking System will sometimes follow tire tracks rather than lane markers. While this is certainly very annoying, it hasn’t caused any accidents or required a recall.

The bottom line: go for it

Even a used 2021 Prius, is essentially still a brand new car. Any issues that might arise—and it doesn’t look like many are arising—will likely be covered under the vehicle’s warranty. However, if you’re looking to save a few grand on a new-to-you Prius, you really can’t go wrong with any fourth-generation model year. Just avoid the 2016 Prius, as it experienced dangerous engine and airbag issues that resulted in 5 recalls.
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Is it better to buy a used Prius or a new Prius?

Buying new versus buying used depends on you and what you’re looking for in your new-to-you car. Let’s look at a few scenarios:
  • If upfront costs are your concern, opt for an older used model. You can find a reliable used Prius for as little as $6,000, but buying a 2021 model will set you back at least $22,000.
  • If safety is your biggest concern, you should go for a Prius built after 2018. That’s when Toyota released their Safety Sense™ 2.0 technology that’s now standard on all new Priuses.
  • If
    customization is your goal
    , you can go either way. Adding features and options at the dealership is a great way to get the Prius that’s perfect for you. If you’re looking for modifications on a budget, you can buy new or used and try some
    cheap and easy aftermarket mods
    to customize your ride.
  • If saving on fuel costs is your main goal, you really can’t go wrong with any model-year Prius, but the fourth generation returns the best fuel economy so far. Overall, the fourth-generation Prius is rated for 52 mpg city, 48 mpg highway, and 50 mpg combined fuel economy

Pros and cons of owning a Prius

Pros 

There are a lot of pros to owning a Prius. Not only do you get best-in-class fuel economy but you also get a quiet, comfortable ride and reliable performance in an affordable package. The Prius is consistently rated
one of the most reliable vehicles you can buy
, new or used, and that rating includes both hybrid and standard powertrain vehicles. In fact,
J.D. Power
named the 2021 Prius the #1 vehicle overall in the compact car segment!

Cons 

If you’re looking for style and speed, the Prius will disappoint. No one will ever mistake the Prius for a sports car, or even a peppy little compact. To be blunt, drivers often describe it as sluggish. Add the dated styling that’s been begging for a redesign since the third generation and you have a relatively boring hatchback.

How to find the best Prius insurance

Whether you choose a 2021 Prius, an older used model, or a brand new 2022, you’re going to need
car insurance
that’s as reliable as your ride. You’ve trusted
Jerry
to tell you all about the 2021 Prius, so now, give us 45 seconds to find you cheap, reliable insurance customized to your needs.
Jerry makes shopping for car insurance easy. No long forms or phone calls—just answer a few questions on the free app and Jerry takes care of the rest by finding you offers for coverage that save the average user over $800 a year!
Jerry
is an awesome tool to find rates personalized to your specific needs! I’m literally still sitting at the dealership and already finalized my new insurance so I can drive my new car off the lot.” —Charity R.
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