At the time of its release in 1997, the Toyota Prius was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid.
Today, the Prius retains all the features that made it popular: frugal fuel economy, comfortable interior and advanced features.
The Prius represents great value for anyone, but is it durable? Read on to find out.
Here is the short answer to how long Toyota Prius last?
Even though it is a hybrid, the Toyota Prius can last up to 250,000 miles in top shape. If you drive, on average, 15,000 to 20,000 miles yearly, you can use your Toyota Prius for 12 to 16 years. But you will need to follow up on maintenance to get these lofty miles.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from A Toyota Prius?
Typically, most people doubt that hybrids can reach high mileages. However, the Prius is proof that hybrids can last as long, if not longer, as regular vehicles.
If you maintain your Prius religiously, you can get anything between 200,000 to 250,000 miles from it.
The Prius may not be as fun to drive, but it sure lasts longer than most hybrids on the market. In fact, we have found examples of Prius models with over 250,000 miles on them.
For example, a Prius owners’ forum, PriusChat, has had members with 300,000 miles on the odometer. We only decided to put 250,000 miles as the average lifespan of a Prius because it is more realistic for a small hybrid.
Nonetheless, the lifespan of your Toyota Prius depends on two things: regular maintenance and responsible use. If you do both properly, there is no reason you should not get top miles from your Toyota Prius.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on A Toyota Prius?
Using customer reports as a guide, we estimate that your Toyota Prius may rust within the first six years.
Of course, this may be different for you, based on several factors.
For instance, if you live in an area where roads are salted, your car will rust earlier.
More so, if you drive on dirt-filled roads, rust spots will pop up quickly. Why?
Stone chips will peel the paint, exposing the bare metal to moisture. Eventually, rust will appear on the metal and spread.
According to owners, the following parts on Prius models are highly susceptible to rust:
- Rear wheel wells
- Quarter panels
- Vehicle underbody
- Rear suspension components
Note: Rustproofing your Toyota Prius model will prevent, or at least, reduce rust on it. You can either go for a DIY rustproofing procedure or get it done at a repair shop.
Make sure to also read our article on 5 most common problems with Toyota Prius.
How Long Do Toyota Prius Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
We have said the Toyota Prius is among the longest lasting hybrids on the market. For further proof, we will compare the Prius’ longevity with other models from the same segment.
Toyota Prius vs. Ford C-Max
The Ford C-Max has a shorter service life when compared with the Toyota Prius. In our research, the highest mileage we saw for the Ford C-Max was 200,000 miles.
By comparison, the Toyota Prius can get you up to 250,000 miles, or more, with luck.
We should also add that, of the two hybrids, the Toyota Prius is cheaper to maintain.
RepairPal estimates that you will spend $364 on annual repairs for the Toyota Prius.
Conversely, the Ford C-Max has a higher maintenance cost ($557 per year).
Servicing expenses are valuable in predicting longevity as prohibitive running costs will force owners to abandon a vehicle.
Toyota Prius vs. Chevrolet Volt
The Toyota Prius will last you longer than the Chevrolet Volt will.
We estimate the lifespan of the average Chevrolet Volt to be around 200,000 miles. This is some 50,000 miles lesser than the Prius’ lifespan (250,000 miles).
With reduced running costs, the Prius is the better choice for long-term ownership.
On average, you will spend $364 annually on repairs for the Prius. That is about $187 lesser than the Volt’s yearly service expense ($551).
Toyota Prius vs. Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf is not a hybrid like the Toyota Prius; it is an all-electric vehicle.
However, the two cars get compared a lot, thus we decided to make our own comparison too.
From our research, the Toyota Prius’ lifespan (250k miles) is higher than that of the Nissan Leaf (150k miles).
Additionally, cheaper repair-related expenses make the Prius the better choice in the long run.
Per RepairPal data, the Nissan Leaf’s average repair expenses add up to $748. This is more than double the Prius’ maintenance costs ($364).
Please also read our article about 10 Toyota Prius statistics you should know.
How Reliable Is a Toyota Prius?
Apart from its famed fuel efficiency, the Toyota Prius is also popular for its reliability.
Many customers have attested to the Prius’ ability to handle daily use without breaking down. This explains why the Prius made an iSeeCars list comprising longest lasting hybrids.
The Prius receives a 4.5 Reliability Rating from RepairPal and is in the upper half of the segment’s reliability rankings.
In addition, the Prius C and the Prius V are among the 10 most dependable small cars, according to the J.D. Power 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study.
The Best and Worst Years for Toyota Prius
According to Car Complaints, the worst year on record for the Toyota Prius is the 2011 model year. The biggest problem with the 2011 Toyota Prius was the engine’s excessive oil consumption.
Owners said the engine was “burning” through oil rapidly. In critical cases, the engine used up as much as one quart of oil per 1,000 miles.
Noticing the problem, the owners consulted mechanics, only to be quoted thousands of dollars in repair costs.
In fact, the average amount users paid to fix the problem was around $4,000. This is because they had to replace either the gasket or the engine itself to solve the issue.
Other issues that plagued the 2011 Toyota Prius included widespread problems with the brakes and headlights. Reportedly, the headlights were prone to burning out, forcing owners to replace them repeatedly.
Also, drivers complained of sudden brake disengagement on bumpy surfaces, e.g., roads with potholes. This often led to the car lurching forward, accompanied by loss of control.
Given its many problems, we would advise that you avoid the 2011 Toyota Prius. You can buy the 2019 Prius, which has received positive reviews since its release.
With few reported problems, the 2019 Prius is on course to be the best model year in the Prius lineup.
What About Recalls for These Models?
Toyota has issued 26 recalls for the Prius models since it started producing them in 1997. We have ranked each model year according to the number of recalls for it:
- 2010: 10 recalls
- 2006: 6 recalls
- 2009: 6 recalls
- 2005: 6 recalls
- 2012: 6 recalls
- 2011: 6 recalls
- 2004: 6 recalls
- 2016: 5 recalls
- 2008: 4 recalls
- 2007: 4 recalls
- 2001: 3 recalls
- 2013: 2 recalls
- 2014: 2 recalls
- 2002: 2 recalls
- 2018: 2 recalls
- 2003: 1 recall
Toyota Prius Model Year List
Here are the model years for the Toyota Prius:
- 1997 Toyota Prius
- 1998 Toyota Prius
- 1999 Toyota Prius
- 2000 Toyota Prius
- 2001 Toyota Prius
- 2002 Toyota Prius
- 2003 Toyota Prius
- 2004 Toyota Prius
- 2005 Toyota Prius
- 2006 Toyota Prius
- 2007 Toyota Prius
- 2008 Toyota Prius
- 2009 Toyota Prius
- 2010 Toyota Prius
- 2011 Toyota Prius
- 2012 Toyota Prius
- 2013 Toyota Prius
- 2014 Toyota Prius
- 2015 Toyota Prius
- 2016 Toyota Prius
- 2017 Toyota Prius
- 2018 Toyota Prius
- 2019 Toyota Prius
- 2020 Toyota Prius
Also read our article about where Toyota Prius is made.
Are Toyota Prius Expensive to Maintain?
Based on available data, we can safely say that the Toyota Prius has economical maintenance costs.
Compared to rival models, servicing expenses on the Prius is reasonably low. If you are looking for a hybrid that you can keep running on a budget, the Prius is an excellent choice.
Of the Prius models, the Prius Plug-In hybrid has the lowest service expenses ($364). The Prius costs an average of $408 to service per year; the Prius V costs $437; and the Prius C costs $383.
Below are some common repairs on the Prius models and their respective prices:
- Blower Motor Replacement: $232 – $244
- Serpentine Belt Replacement: $56 – $68
- Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement: $163 – 196
- Emergency Brake Cable Replacement: $441 – $510
- Brake Shoe Replacement: $188 – $219
- Head Gasket Replacement: $1,698 – $2,111
- EGR Valve Replacement: $587 – $852
Prius Plug-In Hybrid
- Radiator Replacement: $200 – 233
- Air Conditioning Expansion Valve Replacement: $195 – $299
How Long Does the Brakes Last?
The brakes on your Toyota Prius can last between 30,000 to 70,000 miles. However, if you do frequent stop-go driving, they may wear out faster.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
Prius owners report that tires should last up to 60,000 miles.
Proper maintenance is important if your tires are to last that long. Tire maintenance covers things such as wheel alignment and tire rotations.
How Long Do the Transmissions Last?
The transmission can last between 100,000 to 200,000 miles. We advise that you change the transmission fluid regularly and do a thorough flushing once every 60,000 miles.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
Spark plugs on your Toyota Prius will last you upward of 100,000 miles.
What About Insurance Cost?
The Prius is quite cheap to insure, with insurance costs adding up to $1,188 per year. Based on this, you will pay about $100 per month.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Toyota Prius
Below are some strategies to help increase the lifespan of your Toyota Prius:
- Perform routine maintenance activities.
- Drive responsibly, not aggressively.
- Buy spare components from reputable brands; avoid dirt-cheap, no-name brands.