When I bought my $1000 Prius, I had to spend copious amounts of time to get the carpets clean. The lady I bought it from was a little less than hygienic, so after all my time, I needed to keep my Prius as fresh as possible.
I am a person who will spend more money for quality products rather than fighting with something that is cheaper but does not work as well. Cheap floor mats, cut-to-fit ones and the junk you can buy at Wal-Mart, was not going to cut it for me. Living on a dirt road means I pick up, rocks, sticks then in the winter, mud and water. I was not about to let my hours of hard work get destroyed. It was time to see what the internet had for options.
What I found out through looking over all types of floor mats, I came up with three things that led me down the path to ultimately choose the mats I did for my Prius. Basic floor mats are a waste of money, universal floor mats are misunderstood and premium mats are expensive. I want to break down each of these ideas and show why I went with a premium option.
What I Look For In Quality Floor Mats For Toyota Prius
I look for great coverage, security, and price. All of these components have to be in the mix otherwise you end up with, in my opinion, worthless junk.
Basic floor mats for anything other than a feel good barrier are just a waste of money. They usually have poor workmanship, thin material and do not stay locked down to the floor either (huge safety concern there, just ask Toyota about that).
Apart from the poor workmanship the materials used typically less than satisfactory. For instance, if I were to have chosen a carpet mat, a cheap mat would have a low thread count, with a backing that would be thin and very brittle. The stitching would be single line stitch and any other fabric or material that would be used would be also follow the same criteria as the rest of the mat.
Cheap Carpet/All Weather Mats
Cheap all weather mats are typically of thin rubber. The poor quality mat also will wear through quickly, this is due to not being secured to the floor the constant chafing between it and the carpet. They also do not cover the floor area completely. Not only is this bad for the mat, but you carpet is taking some serious abuse as well.
While they may seem like a good idea, dirt, mud, water and other junk will get around the areas that are not covered. This will stain the carpet and can lead to unwanted cleaning and odors. Not to mention they cannot be secured making them a safety hazard. Cheap mats that cannot be secured are just a waste of money.
Universal All Weather Mats
Universal floor mats are confusing to people and most of the time, are not a great solution. Universal mats are designed as cut-to-fit, which people that buy them promptly ignore doing that. These mats, are typically slightly higher quality, the rubber is thicker and the backing is nicer, but they still suffer from the same fate as cheap ones.
They are not securable. If I was going to skimp out and not protect my floors, I would choose this option, but again, the time required to cut and fit them in is not worth it. Add in the fact that coverage is slightly better than cheap mats and you have yourself another loser in the floor mat arena.
Universal mats can cover more area and fit more cars, but for what you pay, there are better options. So when accessorizing your Prius, use my options below to ensure you are getting the best mats for your car.
Premium All Weather Floor Mats
Premium mats are the best, they are also the most expensive as well. This is where I want to place my focus and do the comparison. The Premium mats are going to include my top 3 choices. Premium mats give the best coverage, stay secured and (some of them do not, and I will explain why) keep all the junk from spilling off onto the carpet.
Kagu Maxpider 3D Premium Floor Mats
These floor mats came to me by total accident. I love looking for good additions and hacks for my Prius. Even though I will pay a premium for quality goods, it does not mean that I want to miss out on a great deal. I was actually searching for the best price on weathertech (which I will mention next) and found these. I am really glad I did. The weather tech options, no matter what I tried, I could only seem to get them for about $200 (front and rear no cargo) These babies were $115 (thank you Wikibuy) and covered everything the weather tech mats did and more.
The maxpider 3D mats took what weathertech did, and made it better. Here are the highlights. Better coverage was the first thing that I noticed. The sides of the Maxpider mats actually goes up higher on the sides, front and rear. This is really great for when you want to rest your foot while on long drives on the foot rest. This keeps the foot rest (which is embedded into the carpet) from wearing out prematurely and this keeps debris from falling behind the mat and getting ground into the floor. Total win in my book.
The second thing that I love about these mats is the backing. The MAXpider backing is where the name comes from. It is sort of like a velcro but without the harming effects of it. The tiny "hair like" backing grabs onto and holds steady the mat bonding it in a way that keeps it secure. Even if this mat did not have the standard secure holds for the floor, I feel that is cool technology would for sure keep the mat from moving. Safety in two ways is a definite double bonus.
The top layer material. One of the three parts that is the makeup of this mat is the top layer. A thermoplastic layer with a carbon fiber design give this mat strength and style. Overall, this mat (comes in three standard colors, gray, black, tan) is a very good fit and they work awesome in my Prius.
WeatherTech Premium Floor Mats
WeatherTech was a total game changer for really great floor mats. Their laser line design was the first mat in the aftermarket that literally hugged the carpet. Make from a rugged thermoplastic also, they were incredibly durable and stylish. The WeatherTech design allowed it to stay in place which is nice, but they also incorporated the hold downs as well for extra (not double) security.
The backing on the WeatherTech mats (I should note here I am not talking about the rubber flat mats, these are the plastic ones with sides) well there is not any. Even though the laser lining allows the mat to hug the carpet, it does not hold it down. I feel that the MAXpider for sure has the advantage here when keeping debris from getting in behind.
Overall, these are great mats, but they are more expensive than the Kagu 3D. Personally, for my Prius I am super pleased with the others even though WeatherTech was my first choice.
Dealer Installed Toyota Prius All Weather Mats
Honestly, this was a toss up between these mats and the Husky Brand liners. I will say that for the money the Husky liners are a better deal than the WeatherTech, and offer about the exact same coverage. No backing, but secure hold are a thing.
The reason that I chose those to write about, is because they are a very popular add on to many new car sales. The thing that stinks about these, especially for all Toyota vehicles, is they have heavily thinned the mats out. This was done because of all the unintended acceleration claims that happened a few years ago.
These mats are a good option because they are an exact fit for the car, but with no sides to keep the debris out you still have more vacuuming than you want to do. At least that is the way that I see it.
The Kagu MAXpider 3D was hands down the best choice. When using Wikibuy I ended up getting them for $115 dollars shipped to my door. Similar quality WeatherTech mats were $200 and did not have the same features as the 3D ones. The Husky Liners to me just felt like a cheap knock off of the WeatherTech mats and a little trashy. They were not for me. The OEM ones were an option, if I could have found a used set for cheaper that were in good condition. At about the same price at the 3D there really was no comparison in what I should buy.
The winner was the KAGU MAXPIDER 3D for my Prius. Here is the link to Amazon, but again, use Wikibuy and see if you can find the same deal that I did.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about 3 options for floor mats for your Toyota Prius. Check out my other story Why the first generation Prius is better than either generation Nissan Leaf.
See you in the next story where I am discussing why the Toyota Prius AWD-e is the best one yet and why car enthusiasts and average car guys loathe the Toyota Prius.
Also Watch New tech means more MPG from your Toyota Prius and Click to Subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for Daily Toyota Prius and Automotive News.
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He is an automotive technology instructor at Columbia Basin College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter.