2016 Toyota Prius Is The Most Fuel Efficient Vehicle Consumer Reports Has Ever Tested With 52MPG Average

Few things will force a smile the way a throaty V8 engine will when revving it even just in neutral, but the downside to muscle cars and sporty vehicles such as the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is gas mileage. Best case scenario is twenty-something miles per gallon. Compare that to Toyota's 2016 model Prius, which goes farther on a gallon of gas than any vehicle Consumer Reports has ever tested.

The new model Prius averaged 52 MPG during testing, besting the record held by Honda Insight's 51 MPG set all the way back in 2000 when a gallon of gas ran in the neighborhood of $1.50. A year prior, gas prices averaged $1.14 per gallon, according to AAA. Given that gas prices continued to rise steadily through the years, it's a little surprising that the record held for so long.

Toyota Prius

Nevertheless, the newest Prius is the current champ. It's also significantly more gas efficient than last year's model, which tested at 44 MPG. Part of the reason for the dramatic improvement is a redesigned body that's more aerodynamic, though changes to the engine and transmission also played a role.

So did the battery pack. Toyota is using a different compound for its 2016 Prius. Instead of nickel-metal-hydride found in most other Prius models, the new version switched to a lithium polymer. It's a lighter and more efficient battery, traits that come at the cost of a price premium over the old battery type.

Toyota Prius Interior

All of the changes led to a big improvement in gas mileage, particularly in city driving—the new Prius averaged 43 MPG in Consumer Reports' city course. That's a staggering 11 MPG improvement over last year's model. And at 65 miles per hour highway driving, the Prius ran 59 MPG.

Beyond gains in fuel efficiency, the Prius was also praised for having sharper handling, a more cushioned ride, better braking, and an improved interior compared to the previous model year Prius.

As tested, the mid-trim Prius Three costs $27,323.