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Which Toyota Prius Generation Has The Best Resale Value?

Thinking of buying or selling a Toyota Prius? Here is my take on which ones have the best resale value and why.

What Prius generation has the best resale value? Well, that depends on a lot of things. I want to cover in this article a comparison between a Generation 2 and 3 Prius on which one should have the greater value.

Generation 2 Prius: The Trusty, Kind Of Ugly Prius
The majority of Prius that I have owned, fixed, and operated have been Gen 2. Why? They are tanks. The inverters are reliable, engine and transmission have very few issues, and should you encounter a problem, there is help everywhere.

2007 Toyota Prius Blue on vehicle hoist

Gen 2 Prius built the foundation for all other Prius models. Gen 1 was the hook that got you interested. From 2004-2009 Toyota pumped out hundreds of thousands of these little gas savers, and people bought them like mad.

What was so intriguing about a Gen 2, though? They are not the best-looking cars, and they are not the most comfortable either. That is not what keeps people buying them. It is that Gen 2 Prius is very reliable and easy to repair.

Most of the common issues with Prius (even the hybrid battery, should you be in the know) can be repaired for $250 or less if you are a DIY person like me.

Many hybrid mechanics buy and sell these cars all the time because of that. Simply put, Gen 2 is still wildly popular, and the resale price tag shows that.

I have sold Prius from $2500 up to $5500. For cars that are 17 years old or so, that is quite good. People still want this older Prius because they have proven themselves in the field of battle for nearly two decades.

Generation 3 Prius: The Diva
Everything about Gen 3 Prius was supposed to be better, and to its credit, it was. Then time and age happened. People "forgot" to get maintenance taken care of, recalls started pilling up, and before you knew it, the car you liked was now the car you did not.

2012 Toyota Prius Red

Gen 3 Prius was a complete redesign for Toyota. New engine, similar transmission, new inverter, body style, etc... Honestly, I would rather drive a Gen 3, but I do not want to keep messing with all the problems they have.

I have done head gasket repairs and EGR cleanings enough to the point where I said enough. The sad part is that when you buy one of these, the resale value is typically higher than that of a Gen 2. Astounding for a vehicle with more known problems.

In my opinion, Gen 2 should have a more substantial resale value. It is a better vehicle, even though it did not win the beauty pageant.

Gen 3 should have a lower resale value because of all the recalls and nonsense of the engine and inverter. That is just my two cents, but for now, I will keep driving my Gen 2.

Thank you all for reading. I sincerely hope this helps someone make an informed decision on buying or selling a used Prius. I look forward to seeing you in the next article.

Have you wondered why Toyota is offering more hybrids with Lithium battery options?

Check out this wild new battery tech that Tesla has and why it will forever change the auto industry.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. 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. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.


Frank (not verified)    March 4, 2021 - 9:47PM

What about Prius V? I love my 2017 full dress V. It’s a Prius truck, with good performance and huge volume, far more than my wife’s beautiful Volvo XC 60. She loves to drive the nimble Prius- calls it her little Maserati. We use the Prius around town, her self-driving Volvo on trips. It’s a great combo!

rj (not verified)    March 7, 2021 - 11:17AM

In reply to by Frank (not verified)

If you want a v the 2017 is the one to get. But its still gen3 when the hatchbacks became gen4 in 2016. As a gen3 it still has a poor egr design that may well be responsible for gen3 head gasket issues. Other gen3 issues like inverter and master cylinders may show up on a 2017 v with miles.

Larry Rosenow (not verified)    March 5, 2021 - 9:41AM

You have expressed a view that supports my observation...but our 2014 Prius has been a tank with only one mechanical issue: left rear wheel bearing went out around 55K. Currently, resides in Cabo San Lucas with 122K miles.

Russ (not verified)    March 5, 2021 - 11:46AM

My gen2 burned lots of oil and was underpowered. My gen3 with bigger engine at 140k is peppier, better looking, and so far bullet proof?

George Horton (not verified)    March 17, 2021 - 2:29PM

I have a 2007 Prius Touring which I purchased new in Dec2006. Maintenance has been done on schedule by Toyota. Have used Mobil 1 synthetic oil and, perhaps as a result, the car burns almost no oil. Has only 109,000 miles. The check engine light went on a few years ago and based on the code, an intermittent 4th cylinder misfire was detected. But despite extensive analysis by both Toyota and an independent shop, neither can tell me what is causing the misfire (which is barely detectable by shops and has not affected mileage) or how to fix the problem. This issue has prevented me from passing the CA smog test and renewing my registration - not because the car is polluting but because a code is being produced. Toyota has suggested a valve job ($4,500) but does not guarantee that this will solve the problem. CA says that I have to fix the problem or scrap the car which is crazy as it runs like new. CA bureaucrat told me that this engine is similar to Scion engine which had similar problem and cannot be fixed, which I find doubtful. Any suggestions for diagnosis and fix? Thanks in advance for your ideas - I have hit a dead end otherwise.

Earl (not verified)    April 29, 2023 - 10:02PM

My gen 3 (2011) Prius had a head gasket replacement in November 2022 which also
included water pump replacement , timing chain pulley, and all spark plugs replaced by my local Toyota dealer. everything now. runs smoothly , but it set me back to the total cost of $5400. I have 179000 miles ODO and was not expecting this to happen because of the Toyota brands reliability ratings. Now I recently got a hybrid check engine light and will replace the hybrid battery because I am not ready for a car payment for newer car. So the author is correct about gen 3 Prius engine problems after 100,000 miles I am disappointed and feel these motors where not designed with expected Toyota reliability.