Is a Toyota Hybrid Worth It?

The Prius is just the beginning. Everything you need to know about every Toyota hybrid model starts here.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
May 6, 2022
With nine super-reliable hybrid models, including the pioneering
Prius
,
Toyota
is still a leader in the hybrid car market. You can also buy two Toyota hybrid plug-ins: the
Prius Prime
and the
RAV4 Prime
Automotive history changed in 1997 when Toyota debuted the Prius, a plucky little hatchback whose gas-powered engine worked in tandem with an electric motor for unparalleled fuel efficiency. Since then, hybrid vehicles have become an increasingly popular and viable option for US drivers looking to cut down on fuel costs—and with no less than 11 hybrids in their lineup, Toyota remains one of the major players on the market. 
Here to walk you through Toyota’s hybrid lineup is
Jerry
, a licensed
car insurance
broker and the first
super app
for car owners. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each Toyota hybrid and give you tips on making your driving life more sustainable. 
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2022 Toyota hybrid models guide

The star of Toyota’s hybrid lineup is, of course, the Prius hatchback. The small-but-mighty Prius wasn’t just Toyota’s first hybrid car when it debuted globally in 1997—it was the first mass-market hybrid vehicle in the world! 
Decades later, the Prius is still going strong, but it’s now flanked (and, by the judgment of most experts, outflanked) by a fleet of eight other Toyota hybrids. 
Three of the automaker’s most popular sedans—the
Avalon
, the
Camry
, and the
Corolla
—are available as hybrids, along with the
Highlander
,
RAV4
, and
Venza
SUVs. Toyota even has a hybrid minivan in the
Sienna
, which dropped its gas-only powertrain in 2021, and a pickup: the full-size
Tundra
The table below breaks down each Toyota hybrid model, along with pricing information and the fuel economy numbers for the base trim.
Model
Vehicle type
Starting price
Fuel economy (base trim)
Toyota Avalon
Sedan
$38,875
43 city/43 highway/43 combined mpg
Toyota Camry
Sedan
$28,505
51 city/53 highway/52 combined mpg
Toyota Corolla
Sedan
$25,075
53 city/52 highway/52 combined mpg
Toyota Highlander
SUV
$40,770
36 city/35 highway/36 combined mpg
Toyota Prius
Hatchback
$25,650
54 city/50 highway/52 combined mpg
Toyota RAV4
SUV
$30,790
41 city/38 highway/40 combined mpg
Toyota Sienna
Minivan
$35,925
36 city/36 highway/36 combined mpg
Toyota Tundra
Pickup truck
$54,995
19 city/22 highway/20 combined mpg
Toyota Venza
SUV
$34,455
40 city/37 highway/39 combined mpg
In addition to its standard hybrid models, Toyota also has a couple of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Both are versions of existing Toyota hybrid models: the
Prius Prime
and the
RAV4 Prime
.
Model
Vehicle type
Starting price
Fuel economy (base trim)
Toyota Prius Prime
Hatchback
$29,245
54 combined mpg/133 combined MPGe
Toyota RAV4 Prime
SUV
$41,515
38 combined mpg/94 combined MPGe

Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric car: what’s the difference?

What separates the Prius Prime and the RAV4 Prime from the rest of Toyota’s hybrids? As PHEVs, these two vehicles have larger batteries and can function essentially as electric cars when the battery’s charged—the gas engine only kicks in when the charge runs out. 
By contrast, Toyota’s standard hybrids still run on gas. Electric motors work together with a gas engine to aid propulsion and power the car, particularly at low speeds, but you can’t charge the battery or run the car entirely off electricity. 
Toyota has just
one all-electric car
—the futuristic bZ4X SUV, starting at $43,215—but it’s planning to offer an expanded lineup of up to 30 BEVs (battery electric vehicles) worldwide by 2030. 
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The best Toyota hybrid cars

With so many options to choose from, what is the best Toyota hybrid you can buy? While the best car for you depends on a multitude of factors (including personal taste!), a few models stand out from the pack for their great performance, high reliability ratings, and overall awesomeness. 

Best Toyota hybrid overall: Toyota Avalon Hybrid or Toyota Camry Hybrid

It’s hard to pick between these three hybrid all-stars. There’s the award-winning Avalon, which won J.D. Power’s award for
Most dependable hybrid/electric car
in 2021 and 2020. This full-sized sedan’s generous luxury features make it one of the best hybrids on the market. 
But the tried-and-true Camry hybrid ties for second place on U.S. News’s list of the best hybrid cars, and it scored higher than any other hybrid on
Consumer Reports’ 2021 study of hybrid cars
. Comfort and performance take the Camry to the top of the list, and its more practical styling keep costs lower than the nearly-luxury Avalon. 

Best used Toyota hybrid: Toyota Prius

One way to reduce the high upfront costs associated with buying a hybrid car is to buy used. While you’d be safe buying just about any Toyota hybrid used, your best option is the classic:
a used Prius
If you’re buying used, avoid the 2008, 2009, and 2010 model years. Malfunctioning headlights and excess oil consumption, particularly in the ill-fated 2010 redesign year, make these used Priuses riskier buys. But any Prius from 2000 to 2003, as well as most model years after2013, are solid choices, with the 2017 Toyota Prius standing out from the pack. 

Best Toyota PHEV: Toyota RAV4 Prime

If you’re itching to dip your toes into the world of electric vehicles but aren’t ready to take the plunge with a fully electric BEV, the Toyota RAV4 Prime might be the perfect compromise. Powerful performance, a 42-mile range for electric-only driving, and the appealing practicality of RAV4 styling all make the RAV4 Prime a serious competitor in the PHEV market. 

Are Toyota hybrids worth it? 

Let’s break down what makes Toyota hybrids so good. 

Performance

The generations of research and testing that perfected the Prius have led to Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive®, which powers every Toyota hybrid and delivers performance comparable to the make’s gas-powered cars. 
High speeds are a struggle for some Toyota hybrids, like the Sienna, but let’s be real—nobody’s buying a minivan to do the quarter-mile in record time. The RAV4 Prime, on the other hand, is just about the fastest Toyota you can buy. Its 5.4-second 0-to-60 time beats Toyota’s GR86 sports car and can only be beaten by the Supra—which is essentially a BMW with the Toyota nameplate. 
The bottom line? You’re not going to lose out on performance by opting for the hybrid version of any Toyota: in fact, you’ll be buying into a shining legacy of hybrid engineering. 

Reliability

The Prius and Venza, Toyota’s two hybrid-only models, both get 4/5 ratings from RepairPal, making them above average for reliability, while the plug-in Prius Prime gets an excellent 4.5 out of 5! In fact, a 2020 study by iSeeCars.com discovered that Toyota’s hybrids are some of the longest-lasting vehicles out there, with sky-high value retention

Cost of ownership

Even with Toyota’s great performance and reliability specs in mind, that higher ticket price might be hard to get past. But how do Toyota hybrid models compare to gas-powered Toyotas when it comes to the overall cost of ownership? 
Let’s look at the Corolla, which consistently hits the top of Toyota’s sales figures. The starting MSRP for a 2022 Corolla LE sedan is $21,550, but Edmunds calculates the five-year cost of ownership as $27,142. That includes: 
  • Insurance: $4,799
  • Maintenance: $3,280
  • Repairs: $618
  • Financing: $1,720
  • Taxes and fees: $2,083
  • Fuel: $8,382
  • Depreciation: $6,260
By contrast, the five-year cost to own a 2022 Corolla LE Hybrid sedan is just $26,305—even though the starting MSRP is over $3,000 higher at $24,675
What makes the difference? Fuel costs, of course. While most of the costs of ownership, like insurance and maintenance, are slightly higher for the hybrid model, buying a hybrid Corolla slashes fuel costs by $3,077 over five years. 
If you own a hybrid Toyota, you may also be eligible for
insurance discounts
. Buying a new Prius Prime or RAV4 Prime could even earn you
federal tax credits up to $7,500

How to get sustainable rates on car insurance

Buying a Toyota hybrid is one way to lower your car-related expenses (while being kind to the planet!). Shopping for car insurance with
Jerry
is another. 
If you’ve spent any time comparing car insurance quotes, you know how exhausting and demoralizing the process can be. That’s why Jerry exists—to get you all the savings of a thorough quote comparison without any of the headaches or time sink. Just download the app, plug in your information, and you could save an average of $800+ a month! 
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