For a practical and economical used hybrid, the 2014 Toyota Prius is tough to beat. It has lots of interior room and gets great gas mileage. Keep in mind that the Prius has trade-offs, like some cheap-feeling interior materials and sluggish acceleration.
Gas mileage is the where the Prius excels, getting 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highways. A 1.8-liter engine and an electric motor create a modest 134 horsepower, so if you’re looking for something fast and furious, the Prius isn’t it. It can take a bit of time to move the car up to speed, and the engine makes a lot of noise trying to get there. At speed, the Prius feels disconnected from the road. The brakes also feel squishy. That’s because the Prius uses friction from its brakes to recharge its batteries; if you’ve never driven a hybrid before, it can take some getting used to. Shifting the Prius into gear is also a bit unusual. Once you move the gearshift into drive or reverse, it pops back to the center position. It’s a little odd at first, but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
There are lots of hard plastics in the Prius, which make the interior look a little cheap. On the other hand, they should be fairly durable. Every Prius has a touch-screen infotainment system, a USB port, and Bluetooth; though the touch screen may be just out of reach for some drivers. In higher trims, you get Toyota’s Entune system, but it’s not worth the extra money. It’s slow and unresponsive at times, and using its apps (like Pandora and iHeartRadio) burns through your phone’s data.