By on May 11, 2020

Back when your author was the (soon to be not) proud owner of a 93-horsepower Plymouth, Toyota was prepping the American populace for a new kind of driving experience. A futuristic one, and a thrifty one, to boot. Two decades ago, it debuted a model that first appeared in its home country three years earlier: the Prius.

Eighty trillion jokes later, and after selling more than 1.9 million of the things to U.S. consumers, Toyota is marking the Prius’ 20th anniversary in this country with a limited run of special edition models. And they happen to look better than the stock Prius.

Just 2020, um, 2020 Editions will make their way to buyers. To be clear, this is the 2021 2020 Edition, which should confuse absolutely no one.

Offered in two colors (Supersonic Red and Wind Chill Pearl), the 2020 Edition dons a blacked-out treatment that Toyota says lends the model a touch of “mischief.” Of course, if there’s one thing your typical Prius driver knows about, it’s hijinks and badassery. The blackout treatment is applied to the 17-inch allow wheels, exterior trim, B-pillars, and side mirror caps, though the rear spoiler is a body-color affair.

Aside from these flourishes, bolstered by embossed key fob and floor mats (plus a smattering of minor interior alterations), the 2021 2020 Edition is just like any other fourth-generation Prius. An earlier report that suggested the anniversary model would appear as a loaded-up front-drive model turned out to be correct, as the 2020 Edition is available only in XLE FWD guise. This version, of course, will see its presence on the road limited by the automaker, not the public.

As we’ve told you before, the success of Toyota’s hybrid technology has punted the Prius to runner-up status ⁠— even among its stablemates. With Prius sales slowly declining and consumer tastes trending towards larger vehicles, the RAV4 Hybrid is now by far the best-selling gas-electric model in Toyota’s lineup. At the same time, other automakers have benefited from Toyota’s hybrid tech prowess. All of this is the Prius’ legacy ⁠— popularizing a form of propulsion that’s now commonplace.

Standard on the 2020 Edition, as well as other MY2021 Priuses, is Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 ⁠— a suite of safety aids that includes pre-collision braking with low-light pedestrian detection, full-speed dynamic cruise control, bicyclist detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, road sign assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Android Auto connectivity is now standard across the range (it appeared as standard fare on the 2020 Limited).

The 2021 2020 Edition Prius goes on sale later this year for a price that’s TBD.

[Images: Toyota]

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33 Comments on “Happy 20th, Toyota Prius...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Happy 20th, Prius

    May the left lane at 10mph under the limit always be your open road

    • 0 avatar
      Zipster

      Lie2Me

      Off the subject, although I do have a prius, the recent exchanges regarding the Musk article convinced me that these people who present long, detailed pieces with many cites are professional propagandists who draw upon material previously composed by right-wing authors for later dissemination. No one would spend their working hours, generating this froth unless someone was paying them. I could cite other examples, but I believe that you already know who they are.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “working hours”

        Hahahahaha!

        Nah, just a bunch of grumpy old retired boomers with nothing better to do then stir the poop :)

        • 0 avatar
          CaddyDaddy

          Prius. 20 years of Virtue Signaling by eco freaks via a car which is nothing more than a rolling toxic waste dump.

          The useless false mask. Now that gas is less than $2 in places of normalcy, the new virtue signal of the 20’s.

          CaddyDaddy not Boomer and not retired.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Dodge Ram Diesel Dualie. 20 years of Virtue Signaling by macho s**theads via a car which is nothing more than a rolling toxic waste dump.

            The useless false mask.

            FreedMike who’s figured out that whatever you drive signals some kind of virtue.

          • 0 avatar
            Zipster

            Lets hear about your “waste dump” and how it compares with generating many more thousands of tons of CO2 than a Prius.
            Perhaps ingesting some bleach will clean the toxic wastes from your brain.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @lie2me: “working hours”: One would hope that the companies hiring professional propagandists would have higher standards.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            That’s what I’m thinking, who the hell would pay these guys to be little more then annoying?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Naah, the ultimate Left Lane Bandit Mobile is DEFINITELY the Subaru Outback. I classify the odds as follows:

      1) Outback: 10:1
      2) Outback with “Coexist” sticker: 5:1
      3) Outback with “Pet Rescue” sticker: 3:1
      4) Outback with “Pet Rescue” and “Coexist” stickers: the fix is in, bet the house

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Don’t forget the “Imagine Whirling Peas” bumper sticker

        • 0 avatar
          Verbal

          You mean “Visualize Whirled Peas”. Those stickers were very popular in the 90’s.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            There were a lot of variations “Give Whirled Peas a Chance” was another one

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Revised odds:

            -“Coexist” and “My kid is an honor student” sticker – 4:1

            (After all, mom might be rushing to get the honor student to school on time, and therefore not clogging up the left lane.)

            But ANY car with that “Rescue pet” sticker on it is pretty much guaranteed to be as fast as Conestoga wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        ktm

        @Freedmike, it depends on where you are at. I travel a lot (until recently) and can tell you when in the greater Portland area, you do what you have to do to get ahead of either: a) a Subaru, or b) a Volvo. When driving out to McMinnville the roads will narrow to just a two lane road. You will be driving 10 mph under if you get stuck behind either.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Depends on the Volvo, I’d say. The old ones are DEADLY slow (I owned a ’92 740 non-turbo wagon, so I know), but the new ones are pretty quick, and tend to be bought by folks who value that.

          But any Subaru that doesn’t have the three letters W, R and X on the back is generally a bad car to get stuck in back of if you want to drive even somewhat quickly.

          Another Major Offender: anyone in an old-school Ford Ranger.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Dear Lord, you know that the black wheel trend has to end when they are stuck on a (bleeping) Prius…

    And who else had gas prices shoot up 35+ cents over the weekend? This continues, the Prius might not be totally dead yet.

    • 0 avatar
      cardave5150

      Gas prices around the Chicago area have really jumped in the last week, from about $1.75 per gallon locally to about $2.29.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        For over six weeks, down I-65 from you in (Postponed-)Derby City, we were in the $1.45-$1.63 range. Then starting around 10 or so days ago, they started creeping back up – a few cents at a time. And then over the weekend…bam. Stations are now creeping at or just over $2/gal. Still cheap, but now that we are starting to have places to go to again, not as cheap as it was!

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      The black wheel trend’s 15 minutes are up. I’ve never been a fan.

  • avatar
    randyinrocklin

    Typical LIV. Slower Traffic Keep Right????? What’s that?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    God, what an awful looking car…

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Yeah, the styling of the current-gen is waaaaay overwrought. The previous-gen is better looking, as is the second-gen. The first-gen cars are just quirky, since they were designed for the home country.

      • 0 avatar
        ktm

        Agreed. My wife had a 2nd gen and currently owns a 3rd gen plug-in. Both look a lot better than the current version, though the entire of the 3rd gen is a bit of a mess up front with its flying buttress center console.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      You don’t have to pay a couple grand extra to get this version. You just need two cans of Krylon spray enamel and a roll of masking tape. And you can add an extra black bit or two while you’re at it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The 2nd gen Prius was an extremely significant vehicle, but this current version looks bizarre and Toyota offers many hybrids now that IMO are more compelling.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    Just look at how hideous that thing is. I guess it can be said it hasn’t aged well.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I remember the first one I saw, a RHD first-gen model, back in 2000, parked in front of a local newspaper office.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I remember they had pretty good product placement on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Unless Larry David really drove one.
    I can never understand why the brodozers hate them – they help keep the price of gas down!

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      For awhile they were the “woke” celebrity car of choice to prove to the paparazzi they were environmentally kosher, meanwhile their Bentleys and G-Wagons were safe at home under-wraps

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Heh, the Prius is almost as much of a superconducting lightening rod as Hillary Clinton.
    Let the insults, hate, and stereotypes fly!!

  • avatar
    kurkosdr

    I wouldn’t call the Prius ownership experience “thrifty” considering how high the price of the vehicle is compared to vehicles that offer similar performance and interior space. Sure you will save a bit on gas but not enough to lower the total cost of ownership to be the same as -say- a Honda Fit. Unless you drive a crazy amount of miles every day (aka unless you are an Uber driver). It’s an “eco statement” car for most people.

    • 0 avatar
      Zipster

      An interesting point. A fit will get in the high 40’s on the highway vs. low 50s for a prius. However, it is in city driving where the prius will virtually double the mileage of the fit. For about $4,000 more, the prius is also a more pleasant driving experience with independent rear suspension and 4 wheel disc brakes which the fit lacks. I believe if you have the extra money and can tolerate the styling, the prius is the better buy.

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