At the time it was released, the Toyota Prius was the world’s first mass-market hybrid vehicle.
It had incredible fuel economy and was, for years, the benchmark for environment-friendly vehicles. The car also offered considerable cargo space and impressive safety features, factors that made it popular among American families.
We’d recommend that you buy the Prius if you’re looking for a fuel-efficient, family-friendly car.
Read our Prius statistics guide, which covers production statistics, recall history, depreciation rates, and more:
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How Many Toyota Prius Have Been Sold Per Year In The U.S.?
The Prius has been immensely popular in the U.S. since it was first released there in 2001.
First-year sales of the model were around 15,000. By the tenth year, total sales had crossed over one million vehicles.
The Prius has been Toyota’s top-selling hybrid model for years, accounting for a large percentage of annual sales. However, yearly sales of the Prius have dropped in recent years, mostly because of low gasoline prices.
Fuel is cheap and demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, while still high, isn’t as it was in the past.
Besides, the rise of other hybrid models such as the Honda Insight and Toyota’s own Rav4 hybrid have also contributed to reduced sales.
Despite this, yearly sales of the Prius model remain strong. It was the second highest-selling Toyota Hybrid after the Rav4 Hybrid in 2019, accounting for 25% of total sales.
Below is a breakdown of annual sales of the Toyota Prius in the U.S. till date:
|Year||No. of Prius Models Sold|
What Year Did Toyota Start The Prius Models?
Toyota initially started production of the Prius in 1997. But it would take another four years for the first Prius models to hit U.S. showrooms.
Now in its 19th year, the Prius model has evolved over the years to meet consumer demand. Noteworthy is the addition of newer models to the original lineup.
The Prius C and the Prius V were added in 2011, while the Prius Prime Plug-In Hybrid joined in 2016.
The Prius has been in production for 23 years [19 for the U.S. market], undergoing four generations:
- 2001-2003 [First Generation]
- 2004-2009 [Second Generation]
- 2010-2015 [Third Generation]
- 2016-date [Fourth Generation]
How Is The Fuel Economy On Toyota Prius?
If there’s one thing the Prius models do best, it’s saving fuel.
Much of the Prius’ popularity is for its ability to go hundreds of miles on a full tank of gasoline. This single factor drove up sales in the early post-2000 years when gas prices increased.
During that time, the Prius was the go-to choice for individuals wanting to save on fuel costs.
More fuel-efficient vehicles have come out since then, with models like the Honda Insight offering better gas mileage. Nonetheless, the fuel economy of the Prius vehicle is among the best in the compact car segment.
Within the Prius family, gas mileage varies according to trim level and powertrain. Base models equipped with Front-Wheel Drive [FWD] have higher fuel efficiency than others.
Higher trims [with FWD] also earn good gas mileage figures, although lesser than the base models. Selecting an AWD-equipped model can also reduce the overall fuel efficiency of the models.
The Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] ranks the Prius Eco model the most fuel-efficient car in the midsize car segment.
Similarly, the car performed highly on Kelley Blue Book’s fuel efficiency study, with the Prius and Prius Prime placing 10th and 7th respectively on the 11-car list.
How Quickly Do Toyota Prius Models Depreciate?
Asides its high fuel economy, the Prius model has built a reputation for reliability.
This, and many other factors, have made the Prius extremely popular. And such popularity can only mean high demand for models.
Strong demand for both regular Prius hybrids and the Prime plug-in variant has allowed used models command better prices. Buyers know that regardless of the mileage, a Prius will still continue to perform optimally.
They are willing to pay more for used versions of the hybrid.
The Prius [base model] and Prius C both led the iSeeCars ranking of five-year depreciation for hybrid vehicles. The Prius Prime was also Kelley Blue Book’s pick for a hybrid car with the best resale value.
iSeeCars put the average 5-year depreciation rates of the Prius and the Prius C at 49.7% and 53.5% respectively.
Similarly, the Prius Prime’s value is expected to depreciate by 59.7% [after the first five years], according to Kelley Blue Book.
Did Toyota Recall Any Of The Toyota Prius Models?
Although the Prius has done much to strengthen Toyota’s reputation for reliability, it has had a few problems over the years.
Such problems have forced Toyota to issue recalls for some model years of the car. In some situations, like the 2014 case, recalls may affect thousands of owners.
Since its U.S. release in 1996, the Prius has been recalled some 30 times.
Here’s a statistical breakdown of recalls issued for individual model years of the Prius models:
|Model Year||No. Of Recalls|
How Much Do The Prius models Pollute?
The Prius single-handedly spawned the hybrid vehicle segment.
It was the original “green vehicle” when green vehicles weren’t yet a thing. With its extremely frugal fuel consumption, the first Prius model was among the most environmentally friendly cars on the planet.
It was so clean that the State of California gave it a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle [SULEV] designation. That meant the Prius model was 90% cleaner than the average gas-powered model.
Even with the arrival of newer fuel-efficient rivals, the Prius has some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions across the automotive market.
Of the Prius vehicles, the Prius Prime variant has the lowest emissions. Although the reason for its exceptionally low pollution is its status as a plug-in hybrid. It can run for miles on electric power alone, which reduces its total emissions greatly.
The other Prius C, Prius V, and Prius models also have class-competitive emissions figures.
Below is a table showing the EPA-rated emissions level for the 2020 Prius models:
|Model||CO2 Emissions||Emissions Score|
|Prius Eco 1.8 L (4-cyl.)||158 grams per mile||10/10|
|Prius 1.8 L (4-cyl.)||169 grams per mile||10/10|
|Prius AWD 1.8 L (4-cyl.)||176 grams per mile||10/10|
|Prius C 1.5 L (4-cyl.)||193 grams per mile||10/10|
The Prius V was discontinued in 2017 and was replaced by the Prius Eco, hence its absence from the list.
How Reliable Are Toyota Prius?
One of the attractive qualities of the Prius model is its remarkable longevity.
The Prius has proven itself as one of the most reliable hybrid vehicles out there.
RepairPal awarded it a 4/5 reliability rating, ranking it 10th out of 24 cars in terms of reliability and longevity. The Prius C and Prius V also ranked among the top 10 on J.D. Power’s 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study [Small Car Segment].
We also found several examples online of Prius cars that had crossed the 200,000-mile mark.
Therefore, we can safely conclude that the Toyota Prius is a reliable vehicle.
How Safe Are Toyota Prius models?
In producing its vehicles, Toyota has always ensured its cars are among the safest on the road.
The Prius is no different and comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense [TSS]. This suite of safety technologies contains features such as Pre-Collision Detection System and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
The 2020 model is designated as a ‘Top Safety Pick’ by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety [IIHS].
It also received a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA after performing exceptionally well in crash tests.
What Is The Typical Buyer Demographics For This Model?
The Toyota Prius isn’t your regular compact car, so we expected a few surprises here.
We found surprises and came to some conclusions. One such conclusion is that the average Toyota Prius buyer demographic differs significantly from the average compact car buyer demographic.
Prius buyers are generally older and more affluent than the average compact car owner. They are usually aged 67 and earn an annual income of $96,429.
Most of them tend to be males belonging to the Baby Boomer generation and are usually retired individuals.
For Prius buyers, the most important factors when choosing a car are fuel economy, environmental impact, and safety.
Other factors like vehicle uniqueness, handling, and acceleration are not important in their opinion.
Toyota Prius Theft Numbers
We’ve compiled a comprehensive list containing annual theft numbers for the Prius model.
The years represented in the list extend from 2001 through 2014 and are based on data from the NHTSA Vehicle Theft Database:
|Year||No. Of Models Stolen|