The 2021 Toyota Prius Only Made It to No. 2 on This List of the Most Fuel-Efficient Small Cars

by Gabrielle DeSantis

No car is more iconic than the Toyota Prius when it comes to hybrid models. However, while the reputation of the iconic Toyota hybrid is well-earned, it’s not actually the most fuel-efficient hybrid car on the market. Here’s a look at how the 2021 Toyota Prius ultimately only made it to second place for fuel economy in the hybrid segment.

The Toyota Prius has always been the car to beat

2021 Toyota Prius | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

While the Tesla company’s latest adventures in the EV segment might make headlines, it wasn’t that long ago when the Prius was the biggest name in the game. When people wanted a fuel-efficient or environmentally friendly car, they looked no further than at the Prius available at their local Toyota dealership. The model’s popularity was seen in its sales numbers too, and it showed automakers that a lot of people wanted fuel-efficient cars. 

Due to the success of the Toyota Prius, it wasn’t long before automakers rolled out hybrid options for a long list of other cars. That said, despite the increased competition in the hybrid segment, the Prius has, generally speaking, maintained its dominance. It’s done that by simply doing what it’s been doing for the last decade or so. Not only is the Toyota brand’s beloved hybrid model reliable and safe, but it’s also convenient due to its price point and its fuel economy.

What hybrid won this year?

According to MotorTrend, the Toyota Prius gets a max fuel economy of 58 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on highways, for 56 mpg combined. This is an incredible fuel economy for its price tag, which starts at about $25,000. With that said, despite getting that great fuel economy, the Prius only landed in second place. 

First, it’s important to note that the baseline model has a maximum fuel economy of 56 mpg, but other Prius options don’t. However, as MotorTrend wrote, all models and options will get at least 49 mpg combined. On top of that, all Prius models will have the same hybrid powertrain. However, Toyota offers many additional options for the model, such as the Prime Limited Hatchback, which costs about $34,000. 

However, if you don’t want those options and instead get the standard model, the Prius Eco, then that’s how you’ll hit that high fuel economy number. That’s because the standard Prius has many features, such as smaller wheels, that ultimately improve its fuel economy. Those improvements, however, were not enough to allow it to beat the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid.

How the Prius compares to the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

It was a close race, but according to MotorTrend, the Ioniq’s 59 combined mpg slightly edged out the combined 56 mpg of the Prius. That said, other than a 3 mpg difference, the Ioniq is a very similar car to the Toyota hybrid. For example, the Ioniq starts at about $24,000 at almost the same price tag. Additionally, both cars are relatively reliable, and they both have quite a few standard smart safety features. 

However, while they have a lot of similarities, they also have many differences. For instance, MotorTrend complimented the Ioniq’s interior while it didn’t have nice things to say about the Prius in that regard. On the other hand, the Prius definitely has a more iconic and recognizable look than the Ioniq.

RELATED: These 4 Used Toyota Prius Models Under $20,000 Are Consumer Reports-Approved

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