The Prius’ interior doesn’t just look modern, it’s reasonably practical and comes with a spacious boot. Sadly, hard plastics and a low-res infotainment system let the side down
The Toyota Prius’ interior certainly looks more eye-catching than most family cars. From the digital dials mounted up by the windscreen to the odd tulip-shaped gear lever, it’s a lot more interesting to look at than the cabins in the Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro.
Unfortunately, the Prius has to make do with some hard trims on the dashboard and centre console where both the Hyundai and Kia come with plenty of soft-touch plastics. Sure, the armrests on the doors are soft and squidgy and most surfaces feel like they’ll stand up to a good few years of abuse, but the centre console armrest feels flimsy and even bends slightly when you lean on it.
Thankfully, all the Prius’ buttons are sensibly laid out and the standard seven-inch infotainment screen’s mounted reasonably high up on the dashboard so it’s easy to glance at on the move. Pick a Business Edition model and you’ll get a wireless phone charger under the dashboard and a bright head-up display, while Business Edition Plus models get satellite navigation as standard.
Leather seats are reserved for top-spec Excel cars but you can get an optional taxi pack across the range that comes with vinyl seat coverings and rubber floor mats. They’re a doddle to clean and perfect if you regularly carry a few messy kids in the back seats.
Thankfully, the Prius’ cabin won’t divide opinion quite as much as its bodywork. It looks very futuristic but everything’s still logically laid out and relatively easy to use
Even entry-level Prius Active models come with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity for your phone. Its menus are reasonably bright but the graphics look a bit dated and the screen can sometimes be slow to respond to your inputs.
There are some touch-sensitive keys beside the screen to help you switch between its main functions on the move but they aren’t quite as easy to use as the physical shortcut buttons you get in a Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq.
Unfortunately, only Business Edition Plus and Excel cars come with satellite navigation. It’s fairly easy to use and the large on-screen keyboard makes it a breeze to punch in a postcode, but you’ll have to wade through plenty of confusing menus if you want to add a waypoint to your route.
Unlike in the Ioniq and Niro you can’t get the Prius with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring. As a result, you can’t use your phone’s navigation and media-streaming apps through the Toyota’s built-in screen. Thankfully, the Bluetooth connection lets you make calls and play music from your phone through the Prius’ stereo.
Speaking of stereos, the Prius’ standard-fit unit isn’t particularly loud or clear but top-spec Excel models come with a beefier 10-speaker JBL system as standard. Unfortunately, you can’t get this louder stereo on any other Prius models.