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Toyota Prius NHW20R

Toyota Prius NHW20R

4.7 from 12 reviews

Love it

We have been Toyota Prius owners since 2010. Throughout that time it has been great. We have to fill the car up with petrol far less than with our previous car. Very fuel efficient.

Purchased in May 2010.


capable, efficient, smooth, quiet and surprisingly fun

Great car, fun to see how the regen and battery storage work as you're driving along. Always gets 5l/100 for us. Actually my favourite car to drive so far, and more powerful than you think once both the petrol and electric motors come on together. Smart efficient driving, what more could you want. And with regen braking, you get better stopping force and hardly ever have to change a brake pad.

Engine Size1.5
Date PurchasedJan 2018

Still going strong- 20 series Prius

Very few drawbacks owning this car. I can start with those, because afterwards the overall ownership has been really great.
Negative -if it doesn't get driven daily the main (hybrid) battery can fail. Ours did about a month out of warranty and Toyota wouldn't help. This said their price for replacement was more than twice what the independent service repairer was, an that's not including labour.
Negative - so quiet it takes some getting used to. Reversing in a carpark pedestrians ignore it.
Negative - no towing/ CVT Trans so give up on that concept. If you need to tow buy a utility.
That's about all the negatives I can give.
Positive- great fuel economy. Coming to a stop in traffic and watching consumption drop to zero- a good thing.
Positive - Extremely roomy, front and back. Spacious in the hatch. Practical, fold down seats accommodating.
Positive - Service costs are reasonable but - forget the dealer. Get a good independent mechanic, they're worth it.
Positive -easy driving in traffic.
Positive - surprising power
Positive - Engine brake - shift it to B going downhill and save your brakes.
Positive - Smart car. Unlocks without clicking remote if you open the door or hatch in proximity of the remote.
Positive - Night time, approach the car in a dark garage the interior light comes on automatically.
Positive - good sound system - JBL speakers sound good for a factory stereo. 6 disc stacker a plus.
Positive - Quiet interior on the road,
Positive -comfortable seating
Positive - Superior Reliability as with all Toyota products. Can't fault the brand.
Final opinion
There are probably 50 more positives - for an older car, 6 years old when bought and now 6 years owning one, I'd do it again. I would say that buying a low km car had one issue that was the Hybrid battery failure. Still, I've seen taxis with over 700.000 km and the original battery. Bad luck for me, but still worth it.
Great. Little. Car. Toyota does not disappoint.

Engine Size1.5
Date PurchasedNov 2012

Great car, low running costs, great technology

Bought car at auction in 2009, it was 1 year old. 8 years later i have spent nothing on repairs apart from the standard service, 2 sets of tyres and 1 $80 starter battery. Fantastic for city driving, goes great on the open road and excellent air conditioning when driving out west. Done 210,000 km and still getting 4.8 litres per 100 km. Still on the original hybrid battery and going strong. Will upgrade soon and buy another prius. Its the least trouble i have had with a car and i have been driving for 29 years.

Engine Size1.5
Date PurchasedSep 2009


I have had my Toyota Prius I Tech for seven years and I absolutely love it. I do not have to fill it up with petrol very often due to its effective use of fuel. It is also very spacious inside with a high roof. I couldn't live without my Prius.

Engine Size1.8
Date PurchasedMay 2010

Amazing! Reliable! Cheap to run!

These cars last forever, with regular servicing. There are cases of taxi's in the USA which have over 1 million miles and all they needed was regular servicing and one hose replaced. The reason is, that the electric/battery tech helps the mechanical/petrol engine, which means the petrol engine doesn't get anywhere near as much stress/work as a typical car engine. Less wear and tear = more reliable.

We've had ours since 2011 and it's been brilliant to drive and saves so much in fuel. A tank (say $60 for a full tank of 95RON nowadays) does between 900 - 1000 km's (depending on how/where you drive).

Nothing major has gone wrong. We had to replace the 12V battery once as it wasn't a Prius compatible one (any battery of the right size will fit, it's just that the Prius compatible one's hold their charge better).

The centre console fabric wore away in a couple of places and created a hole in one, so we paid less than $100 to have it recovered in a nice velour.

Priuschat.com is a brilliant resource.

We've installed a flip-down monitor for the rear passengers (went way too big, so something like a 12" screen would be best), connected to a Sony Head unit with USB. Don't buy Sony (or Pioneer) if you want to play video's via USB as they use Divx, so you have to try and re-encode all your video's into Divx, and at the correct bitrate and resolution.... which is all but impossible as the source video's are all different resolutions. I'm experienced at video conversion, and even I gave up and went back to burning DVD's. I'd suggest a half-decent Chinese head unit, as they play pretty much anything you throw at them, without having to have it converted first. Something from https://www.carjoying.com/au-warehouse.html for instance. I've not bought from them yet, but in correspondence with them they've been very honest and informative (even directing me to another site for a component)

Engine Size1.5
Date PurchasedJul 2011

We've driven it 'into the ground'

Bought our Prius new in 2004, now has 418,000 km on the clock. In all that time, it has given us very little trouble and generally been an excellent family car. I'm certainly no mechanic but I serviced it myself since 120,000 km, which is mainly just changing the oil. Had two recalls which cost nothing. Both our kids did their driving hours in it, so it's a bit battered these days but still going well.

THE MAIN BATTERY. Ours died at about 340,000 and 10 years of age - you get plenty of warning, ours died over a period of a week or so, red warning lights came on well before the car itself started to die a few days later. It never actually stopped, but it started to get very sluggish after a week. After ringing around I found a guy who exchanged our battery for a 'reconditioned' one, which just means he had replaced the weakest cells (ReVolt I think, in Queensland). Cost was $1000.00 for the battery - I think he charges a bit more to install it. We've had the replacement battery in for around 70,000 km without any further issues.

Other troubles? We've had very few. Rear tailight cluster ($180.00). Probably three 12 volt batteries. Front struts at 3000,000. One set of brake pads. One set of spark plugs. Headlight plastic has dulled, which seems common these days.

All in all, it's no oil painting and a bit quirky, but it really is a great car. I can't believe the thing is still going after all these km.

Engine Size1.5
Date PurchasedNov 2004

Prius Battery Life 2nd Time Around

On my Prius when the battery was finished the car did not stop, did not require a tow truck. Just the alarm came on the dash board, the battery charged full and discharge again totally within a few km. Most noticeable the battery cooling fan run permanently (non stop). I managed to drive to Prius Battery Exchange Australia in Rydalmere (Sydney) and they put a reconditioned battery in. They kept the old one.


Is the Prius really green and does Toyota care about its Prii customers?

I bought a used 2005 model Prius 2 years ago. I've loved it and it's had great fuel consumption after having driven an old Camry prior to this. However, recently my love affair with the Prius has come to an abrupt end. After 5 days in a smash repair shop where I had the bonnet resprayed, the dashboard showed me the notorious 'triangle of death' upon picking up the car. It seems very odd to me that the HV battery pack would fail after merely standing in a workshop for 5 days. The car has an excellent service history and everything was working fine when I put it in. One mechanic that I’ve since spoken to commented that there does not seem to be a viable explanation for this occurring. Of course, the smash repairer denied all responsibility, and the local Toyota dealer initially quoted me just under AU $ 5000 for a new HV battery pack (supply and fit).
According to Redbook the car is worth AU $ 8000, so I've got a big dilemma on my hands now, especially given that I'd just spent over AU $ 800 on the spray painting job. Of course the battery was just 9 months out of its 8 year warranty (but still under the 160 000 kms of the other warranty criterion - incidentally the warranty period in California compliant emission US states is 10 years), and the Toyota dealer's warranty claim with Toyota Motor Corporation was rejected twice on the basis that it had exceeded the 8 years.
I have spent the better part of my week ringing and googling around to get more information about this situation as I am extremely disappointed with Toyota Motor Corporation’s small minded and mean decision. In this exploration I found that given the limited long-term experience with Hybrids so far and the public’s widespread concern with the long-term reliability of this as yet untested new technology, Toyota seemed keen to let the market place know that they will be there if things go wrong with the HV battery (hence the extension of the HV battery warranty from 5 to 8 years, cf). Non-Toyota online claims vary from a life of 7-10 years to the lifetime of the car. In the US there are alternative options for reconditioned batteries that are much cheaper than replacing it with a new one. Unfortunately though, these options don't seem to exist in Australia.

Based on my research and experience, there are 2 main issues:
1. One Auto Electrician told me that Hybrids' claim to be 'green' is misleading as the savings in petrol and lower emissions over time is made up by the price of a new battery pack and the environmental impact of the disposal of the old battery packs.
2. What Toyota Motor Corporation does not seem to recognise is that their decision to reject my and the Toyota dealer’s warranty claim greatly impairs the resale value of the car. After 8 years you never know if you’re going to be hit with a massive HV battery pack replacement bill, which may well come close to if not exceed what you initially paid for the car. This is unlike conventional second hand cars, where you’d expect to pay a few hundred dollars worth of repairs, not a few thousand in one hit.
Due to my experience with Toyota's inflexibility and pettiness around their discretionary warranty decisions, I would caution anyone considering the purchase of a second hand Prius that's reaching the end of its HV battery warranty, ie approaching 8 years of age. Of course if you’re thinking of buying a new Prius and are planning on selling it sometime down the track you may want to think twice whether this is a good idea given the potential problems that second hand buyers may have with the car once this issue becomes more widely known, including Toyota’s stance towards it as I had to experience.

In summary, Toyota’s rejection of my warranty claim seems a very short sighted approach to a matter that is of importance to a company that tries to promote and instill confidence in the market place in a still relatively new technology. The way this situation has been handled by Toyota Motor Corporation has put me off buying another Toyota ever again, and you should think very hard before buying a Toyota Hybrid, new or second hand, as well.

1 comment
I've since had to replace the battery pack and pay for it myself as I had no other option. I was shocked to learn that the new Toyota battery pack only has a warranty period of 12 months (???!!!).

a great car

We're extremely happy with our 2004 prius that we've had for 4 years, which has done 153,000ks since we bought it. We estimate that we've saved $7500 in fuel compared with driving a similar car with a conventional engine. Maintenance costs have been low, and the existing big battery pack is still doing well. We're still able to get 4.8lt per 100ks, when we're easy on the acceleration, 5.1lt at other times, which is country driving. Efficiency is better in urban areas. Our bikes fit in the back. Quiet, reliable, roomy and pleasurable to drive.


Have had a prius for 5 years and have --- bought it as a used car at a government auction on a whim
i am utterly impressed with every aspect of this car even forgetting the fuel economy, it has been completly reliable and has not missed a beat, i currently use it as a workhorse carting building materials arround, i have put almost a tonne in the rear, this car has put up with my abuse and still comes up smiling ---- recommend to everyone
you dont look cool in it and its a bit ugly

A little ripper

We have had our prius since 2006 and it has been a brilliant car. Cheap to run (not to service) and very reliable. The drive is excellent as you have great visibility from the car and it handles very well. We have the iTech model with proximity sensors and keyless ignition. Recently the system went crazy - the car refused to start and the proximity sensors stopped working reliably. We were worried that the cost to fix it would be expensive so we did some research - turns out the car battery (little one in the front) was almost dead and was the cause of the electrical issue. We had a new battery put in and the car is back to its wonderful self.

We love the quality of finish in the interior of our Prius and it still looks fantastic after all these years - just wish the body and paint still looked as good as the interior does:-) We also love the dash set out and displays as there is absolutely no missing the speed reading. Very important for avoiding the unwanted costs of speeding fines:-(
Drive, styling and economy
Cost of servicing

How much did the battery cost to get replaced?I havn't replaced a battery in either car other than the 12 volt battery in the 2005 model only at 9 years old. It cost me $70. As for the HV Battery, it depends very much on what is wrong, where you go to have it rectified etc. Dealers will ALWAYS go down the path of wholesale replacement of the entire battery pack rather than replacing the failed cell within the pack. That is why there is mixed reports and large discrepensies between various cases of HV battery failure/fault. As an example, an uindividual cell is available on Ebay at around $50. Add in a few hours labour to fit it and in some cases the car is back in service. However this process is not always so simple. Sometimes the purchased cell differs in it's potential, rate of charge and discharge and it needs to be "balanced" to the pack prior to installation. This can be a drawn out procedure costing obviously more. But it is still far from the often $3-4k experienced at dealers. Some dealers insist on the simultaneous fitmint of a new HV Battery ECU at the time of Battery replacement in order to offer the fasctory backed warranty, further inflating the overall cost. It muast be said, these car's have proven to be incredibly reliable in service for over a decade now and the much discussed battery failures are rare indeed.

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Questions & Answers

Just purchased a used 2009 Prius but was told as I drove off to make sure i top up the oil really regularly, like every month as it uses heaps! Anyone able to elaborate what might be going on here, i will get it serviced asap but wonder if i've bought a very expensive lemon?
3 answers
All engines use some oil, even when new. We’ve got the same car, it will go from full on the didpstick to halfway down the dipstick between services, which is more than I’m used to but certainly not an issue on a car with some kilometres on it. Just make sure to check the oil level every weekIt is always good to check your oil level on every car. The Prius makes no difference. If you are not sure your nearest Toyota service department is only too happy to help you. If you have purchased your car from a private seller, that is always of a great risk as you do not have any guaranty on the car. It looks like the guaranty has just run out as there is a 10-year guaranty on the battery system of the Prius. Ask your Toyota service to get an extended guaranty agreement for a further 5 years as it is cheaper and gives you peace of mind. I have no association with Toyota or Lexus, but I am a devoted Toyota friend as to the quality and reliability of the cars. I drove a top of the range Lexus since 1992 and had three of them over the years and changed over to a Prius. This was a good decision as to the environmental and financial value of the car. Happy motoring. I do it for 68 years.Thank you for you advise, taken on board.

What should I choose between 2nd gen Prius iTech and 3rd gen base grade? The differences between 2nd and 3rd gen? Thanks
1 answer
I never drove a Gen 3. I hear they use sightly less fuel. My Gen 2 high tech is a dream and did not cost much. 80 percent of all Prii are Gen 2 except Taxis

Hi, I'm seriously think of buying 2006 Prius itech model with really low kms(90k). Owner said the battery pack was already replaced in the last recall back in March when it was still in 8 year warranty. How much is that worth and what should I be afraid of owning this hybrid vehicle? Thank you.
2 answers
Do own a Hybrid is the best yon can have if you are energy minded, I have 2 , a 2005 Prius and a 2014 Prius C. I am not aware that there was ever a recall on the HV battery, People would talk about it. From Toyota it costs $ 3888.-- for a new Battery installed with a 1 year warranty. You can get reconditioned Batteries for less than $ 2000.-- also with a warranty. Low milage is good and bad as the battery last longer if worked hard . 2006 Prius are quite inexpensive on the second hand market. I trust this assists with the decision to be made.Thank you, Hybrid. Could you also advise me what to look out and what to ask to owner when I make inspection to that car?


Prius NHW20R
Release dateJan 2003
Discontinuation dateDec 2009
Compare all Toyota Prius
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