Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Toyota Prius hatchback?
With the Toyota Prius often favoured by drivers in towns and cities, look for signs of mistreated bodywork such as mismatched paintwork, cracked bumpers and damaged wheels, while on the inside make sure the seats and carpets are in good condition. Last thing you want is to end up with a car that has served on post-nightclub taxi duty for years on end.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that Toyota changed its warranty structure during the lifetime of the third-generation Prius. For cars built before June 2010, the standard warranty was three years for the car and five years for the battery. In 2010, the standard warranty increased to five years and battery cover to eight years and 100,000 miles. Then, in April 2014, Toyota switched it again to give the battery the same five-year, 100,000-mile cover as the rest of the car.
Among the recalls affecting this generation of Prius was one for around 30,000 cars built until February 2014 to adjust the hybrid system to avoid the risk of it cutting out. Other recall work has concerned making changes to the feel of the brake pedal on pre-2011 cars, and addressing a possible defect with the curtain airbags on cars built up until April 2012. Toyota’s online recall checker makes it easy to see whether any work might be due on a particular car – all you need is its registration number.
What are the most common problems with a used Toyota Prius hatchback?
Some pre-2011 examples of the third-generation Prius used more oil from new than you might expect, but this should have been addressed by now. Other than that, and provided there’s evidence of servicing every year or 10,000 miles, a Prius shouldn’t give you any problems greater than replacing wear and tear items such as the wipers, tyres and brakes.
The batteries are also proving to be extremely durable, easily lasting 10 years or more and going for 200,000 miles. It’s still worth looking out for the telltale signs of a weak battery, though, which are the petrol engine running constantly or a car that struggles to get above 40mpg on the instant fuel economy readout. If worse comes to worst, a replacement battery from Toyota is £1200.
Also check you can live with the compromised rear visibility that results from the split rear screen.
Is a used Toyota Prius hatchback reliable?
With early concerns about the need for expensive replacement batteries largely unfounded, the Prius has cemented a reputation as an incredibly reliable car. This is backed by its excellent rating of 92% in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, in which Toyota itself also performed extremely well.