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Used hybrid test: Hyundai Ioniq vs Toyota Prius: costs

The Hyundai Ioniq has always been one of our favourite hybrid cars, but how does it stack up against the iconic Toyota Prius as a used buy? We have the answer...

Used Hyundai Ioniq side

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety

New, the Toyota Prius was the more expensive car by nearly £2000, but bought at this age, the difference has dropped to around £1000, and you'll pay around £14,000 for the Hyundai Ioniq and £15,000 for the Prius. The real headline figure, though, is that if you were to buy either of these two at this age you will be saving roughly half the cost of buying an equivalent new car today.

Despite being the cheaper car when new, the Ioniq tested here is mid-level Premium trim, while the Prius is entry-level Active. Both come with dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control and keyless entry and start. The Ioniq adds heated seats and steering wheel, a better stereo, a wireless phone-charger and smartphone mirroring so you can use your phone via the touchscreen. This makes the Ioniq seem like a complete bargain.

Toyota Prius side

In the real world, neither car will get anywhere near to its claimed economy figure. During our test, the Prius did best, averaging 50.5mpg – around 6mpg behind the best diesel family hatchbacks – while the Ioniq managed 46.9mpg. Although the Prius is exceptionally economical around town, it isn’t quite as frugal as the Ioniq on motorways and rural roads.

These two cars also benefit from free road tax, which later examples registered after 1 April 2017 won’t because they’ll fall under a revised vehicle excise duty (VED) system. If you do buy one registered after April 2017, you'll have to pay a flat-rate fee, currently £145 a year.

Hyundai Ioniq warning lights

In terms of servicing, you’ll actually pay a little less to maintain your Ioniq compared with a Prius. Plus, Hyundai provides a two-year warranty on all parts fitted during the service.

The Prius and Ioniq both scored the maximum five stars in their respective Euro NCAP tests. Each has plenty of up-to-date safety features, including standard automatic emergency city braking that applies the brakes if it senses an imminent impact. They both have systems to warn you if you’re drifting out of your lane on a motorway, and can show the speed limit of the road you’re driving down on the dashboard.

What is Euro NCAP and how does it work?

The Toyota Prius didn't feature in our most recent What Car? Reliability Survey but the Hyundai Ioniq finished in fifth place in the hybrid category. In the last survey where both cars appeared, there was little to separate them, with the Prius finishing in seventh place and the Ioniq in eighth, with only a 0.2% difference in their overall scores.

As a brand, Toyota finished in joint fifth place out of 30 manufacturers in our most recent reliability survey, while Hyundai capped that by finishing in joint fourth place – both impressive results.