23 August 2021

Used Car Review: Toyota Prius (2014)

The Toyota Prius is the third bestselling used vehicle in New Zealand so far in 2021, with an impressive 3,045 sales.

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Toyota Prius (2014)
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Toyota Prius (2014)
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Toyota Prius (2014)
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Toyota Prius (2014)
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Toyota Prius (2014)
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Toyota Prius (2014)

Back in 2009, we attended the launch of the third-generation Prius down in Palmerston North, and Toyota New Zealand Chairman Bob Field kicked off the event with a light-hearted comment with a serious twist. He said that he’d normally give a ‘State of the Nation’ speech, but in the current environment at the time, it was more appropriate to deliver a ‘State of the World’ speech instead. 

He was referring to the two global issues at the time with both the economic recovery from the global financial crisis, as well as climate change.

Jump forward to 2021 and it feels like this model is once again in the right place at the right time, albeit in the used market. However, Kiwis are facing issues from a different type of global recovery, as well as increases in fuel costs and the new Clean Car Standard, which will incentivise the uptake of more efficient vehicles from 1 January 2022.

The Prius we had the opportunity to review was from 2014 and was the first to offer the new-gen ZR series 1.8L 2ZR-FXE engine. This model was introduced to the line-up in order to offer a variant that had improved fuel efficiency and improved performance.

Other tweaks to improve fuel efficiency included the first electric water pump for coolant in Toyota vehicles. The transaxle, power control unit and hybrid battery were all made smaller and lighter, which resulted in world-class fuel efficiency of just 3.9L/100km and a CO2 efficiency rating of 89g/km.

Other forward-thinking features are included in this model like the use of organic matter to form its interior plastics, which are also in keeping with Toyota’s environmentally friendly ethos.

Iconic shape

The appearance of the third-gen Prius maintained the triangular silhouette from the second generation, but also shared the Toyota MC platform with other Toyota models like the Auris.

The overall size of this model offers more room for occupants, with an increase in length of 15mm and width of 20mm over the previous generation. The height remained the same at 1,490mm, although the highest point of the roof was shifted backwards to offer more headroom for rear seat passengers.

A great deal of effort was put into reducing the air resistance coefficient to just 0.25 by changing the layout of the underfloor covers and sharpening the corners of the exterior slightly.

The 2014 Prius features some distinctively different specifications like high intensity discharge headlights and 15-inch glossy black alloy wheels. It also boasted some neatly integrated side skirts that really did improve the overall aesthetic. 

A sleek, minimalist interior

The interior of the model we tested was finished in a light cream fabric, which did a good job of making the inside of the car feel light and airy. The trim around the stubby gear selector was plastic but had the appearance of brushed stainless steel, which helped the Prius feel more modern.

For storage, there were two gloveboxes and the centre console contained a large cup holder within easy reach of the driver’s seat. The front door had more than enough capacity for a large water bottle, too. In the rear, a pull-down armrest reveals another two cup holders.

The passenger space in the back seats is great, which probably comes as no surprise due to the popularity of the Prius among Uber drivers.

The space in the boot is also generous, with 446 litres at your disposal with all the seats up. This is ideal if you plan to use the car for a road trip. You can also drop the 60:40 rear seats down to create more space -  a total of 1,120 litres of capacity - which is substantial considering the size and class of the vehicle. 


The conventional petrol engine produces 73kW of power and 142Nm of torque, which may sound a little underwhelming, but don’t forget that there’s also an additional 60kW of power through the electric motor. The power is directed through a CVT Transmission which offers a smooth, seamless driving experience.

There are three additional driving modes outside of your ‘normal’ drive to adapt the car’s performance. ‘PWR mode’ makes the Prius more reactive, while ‘ECO mode’ dulls the performance slightly, but improves economy. ‘EV mode’ allows you to drive the vehicle emission-free, albeit only between 1km and 2km of range.

The driver’s seat position is comfortable, and the car was simple to drive - on the motorway it was still quiet and the power delivery was very fluid.


It’s hard to deny the lasting impression that the Toyota Prius has had - month after month, the top five new hybrid models are invariably all Toyotas, and it all started with the humble Prius. Despite this, after nearly two decades, Toyota New Zealand has recently confirmed that the Prius Hybrid has been removed from its range. Only the Prius Prime – the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) variant - is available to buy from new.

The third-gen Prius marked a series of improvements which made it appeal to a broad range of buyers. We still believe the Prius has been one of the best hybrid models built to date.

At a glance

Model and year

Toyota Prius (2014)



Date Tested



$11,995 (+ORC)


1.8-litre petrol hybrid



Fuel economy, CO2

3.9L/100km, 89g/km

Towing capacity



2WD (Front)

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

446 litres

Safety features include:

  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Airbags
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Keyless start

For more information on safety ratings visit rightcar.govt.nz

Choosing your next used car?

An AA Preferred Dealer is a Motor Vehicle Trader that has been certified to meet our standards of quality. We recommend that anyone looking to buy a used car visits an AA Preferred Dealer. Our series of checks on used cars gives drivers peace of mind that the used car they’re interested in buying isn’t hiding any secrets.

Click here to find out more about our AA Preferred Dealer network.

If you don’t have an AA Preferred Dealer near you, find a used vehicle that has had an AA Appraisal. Cars that have had an AA Appraisal have received a 43-point mechanical check by the AA, which focuses on the mechanical and safety aspects of the car and gives an overall evaluation of the vehicle.

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Get total peace of mind with an AA Pre Purchase Inspection

When you buy a used car, you may have a number of questions about its condition and safety. An independent AA Pre Purchase Vehicle Inspection will give you complete peace of mind with a comprehensive 100+ point vehicle check by an experienced mechanic.

Click here for more information on AA Pre Purchase Inspections.

Thank you to AA Preferred Dealer Portage Cars for supplying us with the 2014 Toyota Prius for review. For similar listings, click here.

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