Cheaper Base Price, More Content as the Toyota Prius Fights Back

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
cheaper base price more content as the toyota prius fights back

Newfound hybrid competition from the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq has forced Toyota into a mid-year strategy shift. Starting imminently, the automaker plans to offer a less expensive base model of the Prius while bulking up the model’s content with no-charge added safety features.

According to automotive research and car-shopping website CarsDirect, the entry price of a Prius should drop by $1,210, bringing its base MSRP (including destination) to $24,360. That helps close the gap between it and the Ioniq, which has strategically positioned itself as the segment’s value pick.

After destination, the new-for-2017 Ioniq starts at $23,035.

To drop the Prius’ price without taking a financial hit, Toyota has shaved off the rear wiper, spare tire and seatback pockets for both rear occupants. The automaker plans to call the slightly stripped model the Prius One, CarsDirect claims, while keeping all pre-existing driver’s aids.

Toyota spokesman Nate Martinez has confirmed the changes, stating, “We are constantly striving to improve our vehicles for the benefit of our customers, including in key areas such as safety technology and value proposition. The Prius’ MY2017 changes reflect this commitment, and help to further distinguish America’s top-selling hybrid vehicle from its competition, without negatively impacting its MSRP.”

Moving up to the other models in the Prius range, Toyota plans to make its Safety Plus Package standard at no extra cost. That’s a $1,000 value that adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and parking assist to an existing roster of driver’s aids, including a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams.

As more and more rivals appear in a difficult segment, the Prius — which used to rule the hybrid landscape — finds itself increasingly under fire. Sales have continued to slide from the model’s 2012 high point, making this latest course of action not at all surprising.

[Image: Toyota]

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  • Mandalorian Mandalorian on Apr 17, 2017

    Buying a car without a spare tire is moronic. A "patch inflator kit" is useless in a lot of situations. Even a space saver spare is nothing to sneeze at.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Apr 18, 2017

      Agreed. That's why I was willing to pay full fare for the optional donut in my 13 Optima Hybrid. I'd rather get back on the road than sit helplessly waiting for roadside assistance, assuming I even have a cell phone signal.

  • APaGttH APaGttH on Apr 17, 2017

    The problem the Prius has is the looks only a Pontiac Aztek could love. Another observation, the very slow 20 year decline of Toyota from its peak continues. We can't compete on brand, content, or performance, so we're going to compete on price. Where has that worked for any automaker long term. The B&B know this dance music all too well. Also price drops are bad for residual value and resale.

    • Ermel Ermel on Apr 18, 2017

      Don't bash the Aztec. Compared to the Prius, it is a work of art. And no, this is not meant ironically at all.

  • Master Baiter A regulator's job is never done, so yeah, bring on the next level of regulations.
  • DedBull The automatic braking system in my wife's 2019 Tiguan is easily defeated by the slightest amount of solid precipitation, which is not uncommon here in western Pennsylvania. Fortunately we have regular speed-holding cruise control, because the active cruise control uses the same sensor and becomes inactive in the same conditions. It was infuriating in our loaner. I've had a few false-positives over the years, plus a couple where it didn't like my rate of deceleration. Interestingly it did not intervene at all when I had a deer strike a couple years ago. I don't mind the application of the tech, but I think they are setting a pretty high bar going forward. I'm also cautious of over-reliance on tech in vehicles.
  • FreedMike The AEB system on my car has actually engaged only once in the two years I've owned it, mainly because I actually pay attention. But not everyone does...thus, this proposal. If everyone was as diligent as I am, I'd say there's no need, but we all know how that movie ends.if it keeps some moron in a Tahoe who's busy f**king around on TikTok from laying waste to my car from behind, I'm all for it.
  • Lou_BC I've seen photo's of plates that spell "azzhole" when viewed in the rear view mirror. There was a fellow in Canada who's last name was "Grabher". They wouldn't let him have that plate.
  • IH_Fever More nannies for those who can't drive, to try to save those who don't understand crosswalks. In the end just more good feelings and money for the manufacturer, mandated by the government of course.