A reliability analysis of the 2016 and 2017 Toyota Prius.
John Goreham's picture

Is the New 2016 and 2017 Toyota Prius As Reliable As Older Prius Cars?

We break down the 2016, 2017 Toyota Prius reliability using Consumer Reports, CarComplaints.com, and NHTSA data.
Advertisement


The current generation of the Toyota Prius debuted about 16 months ago as a 2016 model year car. The 2017 model year Prius is now on sale and both are proving to be very reliable. To come to a conclusion on the new Prius' reliability, Torque News carefully reviewed the data at three trusted sources.

2016, 2017 Toyota Prius Reliability Data - Consumer Reports
Our first source is Consumer Reports. Cutting right to the chase, Consumer Reports selected the new Prius as one of the top 10 cars for reliability. In fact, the folks at Consumer Reports didn't just add the Prius to this list, they put it at the very top based on it being the most reliable car period. If that is not a solid endorsement of the Prius' reliability, we don't know what is.

Consumer Reports* said of the Prius in its October 2016 article, "We study 17 trouble areas, from nuisances—such as squeaky brakes and broken interior trim—to major bummers, like out-of-warranty transmission repairs or trouble with four-wheel-drive systems. We weight the severity of each type of problem to create a Predicted Reliability Score for each vehicle. That score is then combined with data collected from our track testing, as well as our owner-satisfaction survey results and safety data, to calculate each test vehicle's Overall Score. Based on that analysis, these models are the most reliable. They are presented in rank order, with the Toyota Prius being the best."

Prius Reliability, CarComplaints.com Data
Next, we looked carefully at the 2016 Toyota Prius at CarComplaints.com. This site compiles consumer complaints and then reports the findings. There are almost no complaints on the 2016 Prius, despite it having been the top selling car in its segment. There are no trends showing any known trouble spots common to the Prius at this site. You can review the data yourself, but be sure to take the complaints in context. Typically, a car with a defect will have dozens or even hundreds of owner complaints listed. A handful is no indication of any trouble.

NHTSA Data - Toyota Prius
Finally, we looked at the 2016 and 2017 Toyota Prius recalls and technical service bulletins. Recalls and TSBs themselves are not necessarily indicative of a vehicle that is not reliable. One must look at what the recall and TSB says and why it was issued to gain a full understanding. There are two minor recalls for the Prius in 2016. The first was for a parking brake issue and the second an airbag issue that is not related to the Takata exploding airbags, but rather something else. We consider these insignificant as related to the vehicle's reliability. (More on page 2)

Likewise, we looked at the TSBs and the issues addressed seem minor. There are 7 TSBs, but two are repeats simply updating the cars affected. We would not say that the TSBs show any pending long-term issues that Toyota cannot easily fix at a normal service visit (which are free for two years with all Toyotas).

Toyota Prius Reliability - Conclusion
Based on the analysis of these three trusted sources, all of which rely on actual owner reported problems, we don't see any reason to believe that the new 2016 and 2017 Prius will be less reliable than the prior generations, and that is a high compliment. The Prius has proven to be one of the most reliable automobiles built - ever.

- Related Story:
Can A Toyota Prius Battery Last 250,000 miles?

*Note that Consumer Reports is subscription only. Therefore, we link to the general Consumer Reports home page, rather than the individual stories we cite.


Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.