Pros and Cons of Toyota Hybrid Vehicle

Toyota Hybrids are the most reliable cars in the vehicle industry. Toyota is the pioneer of the hybrid vehicle. They invented hybrid cars and first came out with the Prius in 1997. Since then, Toyota has refined this tech to a near-perfect level. 

Currently, Toyota makes 5 types of Hybrid vehicles. These vehicles are:

  • Prius Prime
  • Prius
  • Corolla Hybrid
  • Camry Hybrid
  • Avalon Hybrid
  • Highlander Hybrid
  • RAV4 Hybrid
  • RAV4 Prime (plug-in Hybrid)
  • Venza (no gasoline model)
  • Sienna Hybrid
  • Tundra Hybrid

Prius Prime, Prius, Corolla Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, and Avalon Hybrids are sedans. RAV4 Hybrid, Venza, RAV4 Prime are crossovers. Sienna Hybrid is the latest addition to the minivan segment. Furthermore, the Highlander Hybrid is an SUV, and Tundra Hybrid is a truck.

Pros of Toyota Hybrid Vehicle:

These are the pros of the Toyota Hybrid cars and trucks.

Savings on Fuel Cost:

No other vehicle except for Toyota Hybrid cars achieves high gas mileage. For example, the Camry Hybrid has a gas mileage of 51 in the city and 53 on the highway. This MPG is comparable to the Toyota Prius and Corolla Hybrid. On the contrary, the non-Hybrid Camry has an MPG of 28 on city streets and 39 on the highway.

[Table 1] The following table compares the mpg (miles per gallon) of different Toyota Hybrids vs non-Hybrids models.

Toyota Hybrid ModelsMPG Hybrid (city/highway) MPG Non-Hybrid (city/highway)
Prius Prime54
Corolla Hybrid53/5231/40
Camry Hybrid51/5328/39
Avalon Hybrid43/4422/32
Highlander Hybrid36/3521/29
RAV4 Hybrid41/3827/35
RAV4 Prime38
Sienna Hybrid36/3619/26

On a traditional gasoline vehicle, if the manufacturer says that their car has 30 mpg in the city, it will achieve less than 25 mpg on real-life tests. But in the case of the Toyota Hybrid, countless owners report that they reach or cross the rated MPG most of the time.  

Let’s compare the gasoline cost between a Camry Hybrid vs. a non-Hybrid Camry.

Numerous Camry Hybrid owners report that they regularly get more than 50 mpg combined on their daily commute. In comparison, even though Toyota claims the non-Hybrid Camry achieves 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, it reaches 26 mpg combined in the real-world test.

The Camry Hybrid has a 13 gallon or 49.3 Liter fuel tank capacity. Therefore, you can go more than 600 miles (965 km) on a single refill.

At 50 average mpg, $4/gallon gas, the total gasoline cost on a 10 year / 150,000 miles ownership is 150,000 miles / 50 mpg = 3,000 gallons x $4 = $12,000.

In comparison, to drive a non-Hybrid Camry that gets an average of 26 mpg in a real-world scenario, the total gasoline cost to go the exact 150,000 miles is 150,000 miles / 26 mpg = 5769 gallons x $4 = $23,076.

Therefore, on the Camry Hybrid, an owner will save more than $11,000 on 10-year vehicle ownership. Even if someone pays $1,000-$2,000 extra for the Hybrid model, still the savings is around $9,000. 

[Table 2] The following table shows the gasoline costs of different Toyota Hybrids compared to non-Hybrid models over 150,000 miles of driving at $4/gallon.

Toyota Hybrid ModelsHybrid Fuel Cost (max)Non-Hybrid Fuel Cost
Corolla Hybrid$11,538 (52mpg)$19,355 (31mpg)
Camry Hybrid$11,764 (51mpg)$21,428 (28mpg)
Avalon Hybrid$13,953 (43mpg)$27,273 (22mpg)
Highlander Hybrid$17,143 (35mpg)$28,571 (21mpg)
RAV4 Hybrid$15,789 (38mpg)$22,222 (27mpg)
Sienna Hybrid$16,667 (36mpg)$31,579 (19mpg)

Economical Pricing:

Toyota Hybrids are the most reliable cars on the market. These vehicles are even more reliable than their non-Hybrid counterparts. Every Toyota Hybrid uses a planetary gear-based eCVT transmission with fewer parts than automatic transmission.

[Table 3] The following table compares the msrp (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of different Toyota Hybrids vs. non-Hybrid models. The following MSRP excludes delivery, processing, handling, dealer and distributor fees.

Toyota Hybrid ModelsHybrid MSRPNon-Hybrid MSRP
Prius Prime$28,220No non-Hybrid version.
Prius$24,625No non-Hybrid version.
Corolla Hybrid$23,750$20,175
Camry Hybrid$27,480$25,395
Avalon Hybrid$37,350$36,375
Highlander Hybrid$39,055$35,405
RAV4 Hybrid$29,075$26,525
RAV4 Prime$39,800
Venza$32,890No non-Hybrid version.
Sienna Hybrid$34,710$32,700

We want to point out that these are introductory prices. Most dealers will add some addons to make their profit margin wider. Some dealers even add markup. Thus the actual price would be higher. On top of the vehicle cost, tax, title, registration, inspection, and tag fees would apply. 

Even though the Hybrid model generally costs $1,500 to $2,000 more than the non-Hybrid version, an owner can recoup this extra cost within the first 30,000-40,000 miles of driving. Here’s an example –

The Camry Hybrid costs $2,000 more than the non-hybrid Camry. But an owner can recoup this extra cost on 30,000 miles of driving. Here’s the cost breakdown –

For a Non-Hybrid Camry at 26 mpg, $4/gallon gas, total cost to drive 30,000 miles is 30,000 miles / 26 mpg = 1,154 gallons x $4 = $4,616.

For Hybrid Camry, at 50mpg, the total cost is 30,000 miles / 50 mpg = 600 gallons x $4 = $2,400.

[Table 4] The following table shows the gasoline cost savings of different Toyota Hybrids compared to non-Hybrid models over 150,000 miles of driving at $4/gallon at city mpg.

Toyota Hybrid ModelsFuel Savings
Corolla Hybrid$7,817
Camry Hybrid$9,664
Avalon Hybrid$13,320
Highlander Hybrid$11,428
RAV4 Hybrid$6,433
Sienna Hybrid$14,912

Unprecedented Toyota Hybrid Battery Warranty:

Since 2020, Toyota has given every Hybrid vehicle a 10 year 150,000 miles Hybrid battery warranty. Toyota also provides an 8 year 100,000 miles Hybrid system warranty. Therefore, if you purchase a new Toyota Hybrid, you don’t need to worry about the high voltage hybrid battery life. Toyota will service and replace this battery free of cost if any problem arises.

The notion that the Hybrid HV battery needs replacement after 12-15 years is overblown. With minimal maintenance, a Hybrid owner can expect more than 15 years of the HV hybrid battery life. 

Even if the Hybrid traction control battery fails, the cost to replace it is far lower than the total gas savings over the vehicle’s lifetime. 

For example, a new Camry Hybrid battery replacement costs around $4,000 without labor. But the labor cost isn’t that high because the battery is under the passenger seat, and replacing it is straightforward. But still, for 10 Years of Hybrid ownership, you don’t need to worry about it because it’s under warranty.

Long-Lasting Brake Pads and Rotors:

The Toyota Hybrid uses regenerative braking technology. Toyota is the first company to invent and use it on the Prius. Since then, Toyota has refined the technology. 

There are motors (called MG – Motor Generator) indirectly connected to the tires. These motors act as a generator during deceleration and convert the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electric energy. It recharges the high voltage (traction control) battery and slows down the Camry. 

The brake pads and rotors on Toyota Hybrids are less used due to this regenerative braking and last longer. Some Hybrid owners reported that their brake pad lasted more than 100,000 miles. For comparison, on a non-Hybrid Camry, the brake pad lasts a maximum of 20,000 miles. 

Longer Lasting Transmission:

The Toyota Hybrids’ have eCVT transmission. Even though the name has CVT in it, eCVT is an entirely different type of transmission that uses a planetary gear mechanism. There’s no v-belt, starter, alternator, drive chain, torque converter, etc. Thus this eCVT lasts a long time. 

As the eCVT transmission lasts longer than the Automatic transmission, the potential savings could be even higher for long-term owners.

The transmission oil change is easier compared to an Automatic transmission oil change. There’s no need to measure the fluid temperature. Only drain and refill are required. There’s no transmission oil filter because it’s not needed.


There’s a misconception that Toyota eCVT transmission oil doesn’t need to be changed. However, it’s not true. This false notion comes from the fact that the Toyota Owners manual says that no fluid change is necessary for the lifetime of eCVT transmission. But according to Toyota, the warranty thus the lifetime is 60,000 miles.

Every oil will degrade over time, and eventually, the transmission oil will break. Therefore, a periodic transmission oil change is crucial to keep the Toyota Hybrid for more than 200,000 miles. At 60,000 miles / 5 years interval is an optimal time to change the fluid. 

Maintenance: Camry Hybrid eCVT transmission and differential use Toyota ATF WS fluid. Never use CVT fluid. We highly recommend you buy genuine Toyota fluid from a Toyota dealer. 

No Manual Charging Required:

Toyota Hybrid is not a 100% electric vehicle. It has a gasoline engine that recharges the onboard hybrid battery while a driver drives the car. Therefore, an owner doesn’t need to recharge the Hybrid vehicle at home or anywhere. 

Long Term Savings:

In the Toyota Hybrid, there is no alternator, starter motor, drive chain, v-belt, mechanical differential, drum, cone, etc. The eCVT transmission design is robust, doesn’t break, and requires less long-term maintenance.

Furthermore, the MG (Motor Generator) and the Hybrid battery take off a lot of load from the engine. Thus, the Hybrid is even more reliable than the non-hybrid Toyotas’. Moreover, an owner would save thousands of dollars on gasoline.

Cons of Toyota Hybrid Vehicle:

These are the drawbacks of the Toyota Hybrid cars. 

Less Towing Capacity: 

First of all, Toyota sedans can’t tow. Moreover, Toyota Hybrids have less towing capacity than their respective non-Hybrid models. 

For example, in the RAV4 Hybrid, the maximum trailer weight rating (trailer weight + cargo weight) is 1750 lbs (795kg).

On the contrary, for non-Hybrid RAV4, the maximum trailer weight rating is 3500 lbs (1590 kg) with the towing package. 

Toyota does have a hybrid truck, the Tundra Hybrid. However, A large battery and powerful motor are required to make a powerful hybrid truck, causing the vehicle to be heavier. Consequently, the range and towing capacity suffer. It’s why Toyota hybrid trucks aren’t that powerful. If towing is critical, non-Hybrid is a better choice for trucks.

[Table 5] The following table compares the towing capacity of different Toyota Hybrids vs non-Hybrid models

Toyota Hybrid ModelsHybrids (lbs)Non-Hybrids (lbs)
Highlander Hybrid3,5005,000
RAV4 Hybrid1,7503,500
Sienna Hybrid3,5005,000

Unnatural Sound:

A hybrid system works differently than a gasoline engine. For example, during slow down or reverse, the Toyota Hybrid electric motor makes strange noises that are normal but takes some time to get used to for many owners.

Moreover, Toyota Hybrid uses start-stop technology. When your Hybrid is stopped, the engine will stop. The HV battery and electric motor will drive the car at low speed. When a driver presses the accelerator more, the engine comes on. When the driver stops the vehicle, the Hybrid engine stops again. For many, it feels unnatural and takes some time to get used to. We want to point out that this start-stop technology doesn’t harm the engine. 

No Long Term Storage:

One drawback of the Toyota Hybrid is that it can’t be left parked for 4-5 months, such as at an airport or vacation home. If it is parked for an extended period, the high voltage or the traction battery will slowly discharge. If it discharges 100%, it could be tough to restart the Hybrid. (Vehicle jump starts are necessary for this scenario.)

Toyota recommends driving their Hybrid vehicle at least once a month for 10 miles or 30 minutes. It will recharge the battery to 100%, and everything will work perfectly.

No Jump Start:

The Toyota Hybrid has a giant traction control battery. Thus, the 12V battery on the Hybrids is smaller than a typical gasoline vehicle. Therefore, one can’t use a Hybrid to jump-start another gasoline vehicle. If you use your Hybrid to jump-start another car, it will severely damage the hybrid systems.

However, one can use a gasoline vehicle to jump-start a Hybrid. Even though it’s reported that one Hybrid can jump-start another Hybrid, we highly discourage it. It’s better to stay safe than sorry.

No Recharge During “Neutral”:

The Hybrid vehicles don’t recharge the High Voltage Hybrid (traction control) battery when the shift lever is in the “Neutral (N)” position, even if the engine is running. 

If an owner unknowingly keeps their vehicle on the “N” for an extended period, the traction battery may discharge entirely and cause possible problems, such as the engine may not restart again if stopped.

Highway Gas Mileage:

On a non-Hybrid gasoline vehicle, highway mpg is better than city mpg. However, on a Hybrid car, the highway mpg is worse than the city mpg. Therefore, if your daily commute primarily consists of highway driving, the actual gasoline savings would be negligible.


Overall, Toyota Hybrids are an excellent choice for a reliable vehicle.