How to Buy a Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is one of the most popular hybrid models on the automotive market, and it comes with an array of perks. A Prius is more environmentally friendly than your average fuel-guzzling car, leaving less of an ecological footprint. The smaller size makes the model easy to navigate in tight spots, and there are a lot of technological options like parking assist available. If you play your cards right, you may even get a break on your taxes for your Prius purchase.

Part 1 of 1: Buy a Toyota Prius

Step 1: Assess your budget. Whether you plan to purchase a used or new Prius, make sure you can afford the investment, so you don’t find yourself in a financial bind later.

If you plan to buy a pre-owned Prius outright without financing, it is a good idea to subtract twice the the amount of your monthly bills from your bank balance and use the remainder as the top limit for your hybrid purchase. That way, there is still a little financial cushion in reserve for emergencies.

If you're planning to finance a used or new Prius, use this same method of deducting two months worth of bills to come up with a top amount for the down payment and be honest with yourself about how much you can pay monthly without causing too much financial strain for comfort.

toyota prius KBB
Image: Kelley Blue Book

Step 2: Research the different Prius models. There are several Prius models you can choose, including the Prius C, Prius V, and the Plug-In Hybrid.

You can compare the various Prius models easily on a website like Kelley Blue Book, which has a Compare Cars feature that allows you review the various features of several vehicles at a glance. Take note of which models best fit your needs and budget.

Here is a table to help you make an informed comparison:

prius chart of differences

Step 3: Shop around for the Prius you want to buy. While you may fall head over heels with the first Prius you see at a dealership, it doesn’t hurt to look around for a better deal.

In addition to visiting car dealerships, you can check print and online classifieds for these hybrids up for sale. Before making any commitments, be sure to test drive your potential purchase.

There are some attributes unique to this model, and you should be sure the Prius is a comfortable fit for you. Bear in mind that these hybrid cars don’t go extremely fast and make a bit of noise as they switch between drawing power from the battery pack and the engine.

Step 4: Obtain financing for the Prius, if necessary. Unless you have the funds to pay for a Prius in full, you will need to finance your purchase.

As with shopping around for the car you want, you should explore your financing options for the best interest rate and loan length you can get.

If you have a good relationship with a local bank, that is probably where you will find your best deal, although there may be other lenders offering prime rates. In general, your worst interest rate will come from the car dealership itself (provided they offer in-house financing), but it is often the easiest place to get credit.

Regardless of which lender you choose, you will have to fill out a credit application with information about your employment and finances. You will likely need to provide references as well. Once the lender has time to review your application and verify the information you provided, you will soon be informed of whether you have been approved for a loan on a Prius.

Step 5: Complete the sale. The individual or dealership will provide you with the paperwork you require to get insurance and register the car in your name.

Once you take the plunge and buy a Prius, you join an elite group of hybrid car owners. Driving one of these cars sends the message you are more concerned about the future of the environment and being sensible than having something flashy and fast on the road. Be sure to have one of YourMechanic’s certified professionals perform a pre-purchase inspection to ensure the Prius you are considering buying is in prime working order.


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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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