Both the Camry and Prius have been understood as “flagship” models for their own reasons. Within Toyota’s industry-leading hybrid selection, how do these two iconic models measure up against each other? The Camry marque goes all the way back to 1983, with the first hybrid model becoming available in the 2006 model year. The Prius, of course, was the spearhead of Toyota’s hybrid revolution arriving in Japan in 1997 and in 2000 for the 2001 model year in the US.
As two hybrid vehicles, how do these compare? Let’s take a closer look.
As a mid-sized sedan, the Toyota Camry is bigger than the Prius, which is a compact sized sedan. However, with its liftback design, the Prius does manage to offer more cargo capacity. In other areas, the two cars are fairly evenly matched.
If you’re on a budget, then the Toyota Prius starts at a more affordable price at $24,525 and ranges up to $32,820 as the starting price for the top-end Prius Limited trim. There are 8 Prius trims in total. For the Toyota Camry Hybrid, you will start at $27,380 for the LE Hybrid model, but what’s interesting is that the prices level out when you get to the high end. The top-end Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid starts at $32,820.
This makes the Prius great value for those buying at the base level, but the Camry Hybrid being a larger more executive-look sedan becomes exceptionally good value at the top end of the chain.
For those looking for a plug-in hybrid that can travel relatively short distances using the electric motor alone in ‘EV mode’, the Toyota Prius Prime, which starts at $28,220, is your only option. The Prius Prime is the only Toyota hybrid sedan to currently offer plug-in hybrid technology.
Exterior and Interior Styling
The Toyota Prius is characterized by its unique style. Its hatchback build makes for a more pronounced rear slope and the front end carries the same angular somewhat drooping hood and grille that the Prius is already known for. It’s a quirky exterior design that has divided opinion, especially among car reviewers and TV shows like Top Gear, but the Prius has never been short of admirers, most of whom either like or look past the unusual appearance to focus on its efficiency and practicality.
The Camry Hybrid loses none of the executive grandeur that the regular Camry has long been known for with its bold lines, commanding presence and impressive and contemporary front-end design. The exterior also features stylish 19-inch gloss alloy wheel options for the higher trims and an overall sportified look.
As for interiors, the Prius has an equally divisive and even extreme layout that divides opinion. The most noticeable difference is that in the Prius, the tachometer and other instrument displays are set in the center of the dash and not behind the wheel, thus taking them out of the close eyeline of the driver. Some argue that it makes no difference since any regard for the instrument panel takes one’s eyes off the road, wherever it is placed, but others remain unconvinced. The upper trims of the Prius do have impressive and modern infotainment systems that add the more cutting-edge feel. Still, there’s no shortage of the signature Toyota attention to craftsmanship and quality, including Softex seat trims,
The Camry strikes a better balance of contemporary and classic designs. The sweeping curved line from the instrument panel across the center stack is striking and bold but without being avant garde or seeming out of place. The central controls still rely more on physical buttons and dials rather than going full haptic touchscreen, which adds appeal for many who are used to these features. The Camry’s perforated leather seats come in three different colors, including a very bold and beautiful red.
The Camry Hybrid comes with a standard 4-cylinder engine but with an impressive 2.5L displacement. The 4-cylinder engine on the Prius is only a 1.8L outputting 121-hp and 105 lb-ft of torque. The Camry Hybrid manages a much more pleasing 208-hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. While that doesn’t put the Camry Hybrid anywhere near the class of a serious performance car, it is certainly a relatively top performer in the world of hybrid cars.
Despite neither being life-changing in the power department, there is some difference in on-road performance and drive quality. The Prius has long been criticized for its lack of agility, including problems with steering, handling and braking. Put simply, it doesn’t feel nimble or dynamic on the road despite its quite aerodynamic design.
The Camry does offer a better experience. It especially feels stable and secure when driving in bad weather. The main advantage is only really felt relative to the Prius. In and of itself, even the Camry Hybrid isn’t as fun to drive as some competitors like the Honda Accord Hybrid Touring model. It is more comfortable than the Prius on the road, however.
The Camry Hybrid offers decent trunk space for a sedan at 15.1 cubic feet before you put the rear seats down. It can’t beat the Prius and its hatchback design, however, which offers 24.6 cubic feet and up to 50.7 cubic feet when you lower the rear seats. In pure cargo terms, then, the Prius does have a distinct advantage.
On the other hand, the Camry offers far more interior space for passengers, especially in the rear seating area. Where the rear seats of the Prius only offer 33.4 inches of rear legroom, the Camry Hybrid offers a much more generous 38 inches. That makes the Camry Hybrid a more practical option for a family car in which comfort of potentially fussy kids is a very useful addition.
Technology & Features
The Prius is slightly limited in features compared to the Camry Hybrid, but there’s not a big difference. Both hybrid vehicles get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard now, something that wasn’t the case until only a couple of years ago.
The Advanced Technology Package in the Prius offers a color HUD, which is a very nice addition but seems mainly to exist to make up for a poorly placed instrument cluster. There’s also Toyota’s Adaptive Front-Lighting System with auto-leveling headlights.
The higher-level trims of the Prius do offer some very nice options, including an 11.6-inch touchscreen with split screen display and connected to a 10-speaker JBL sound system.
The best the Camry offers is a 9-inch display, but the JBL sound system also comes with it. The Camry Hybrid excels more in package offerings, however, including a blind spot monitor, cold weather package, wireless charging and more.
Overall, the Prius has the advantage in fuel economy, boasting a top gas mileage of 58-mpg in the city, 52-mpg on the highway and a combined rating of 56-mpg.
The Camry Hybrid is no slouch, with the base-level LE model offering 51-mpg in the city and 53-mpg on the highway. The fuel efficiency does start to sink below 50-mpg when you upgrade the trim level, however, to about 44-mpg in the city and 47-mpg on the highway.
The 2022 Camry Hybrid comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ installed, compared to the Prius which is still using the 2.0 system. Both feature Toyota’s Pre-Collision system with pedestrian detection tech, lane departure warning with steering assistance and automatic high beams. The 2.5+ system adds lane tracing and improved dynamic radar cruise control. Multiple airbags, the Star Safety System and other typical Toyota features are common to both.
The Prius has the edge when it comes to fuel consumption, affordable base-level price and rear cargo space. On the other hand, the Camry Hybrid has better value at the top-end of the trims, as well as a more spacious passenger cabin, a more pleasing interior and exterior design and upgraded safety features.
In the end, the Prius remains the more budget-friendly car overall for its cheaper-to-buy and cheaper-to-run features. The Camry Hybrid is the best choice for families who want and need a bit more comfort and a premium feel. The Camry Hybrid also retains the pleasing executive styling that many love compared to the more “controversial” Prius design.
Related: Toyota Prius vs Corolla Hybrid, Toyota Camry vs Avalon
|2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid||2022 Toyota Prius|
|Engine||2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid||1.8L Inline-4 Hybrid|
|Horsepower||208 hp @ 5700 rpm||121 hp @ 5200 rpm|
|Torque||163 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm||105 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm|
|Transmission||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)|
|Drivetrain||Front-Wheel Drive||Front-Wheel Drive|
|Rear Wheel Size||P205/65VR16||P195/65SR15|
|Front Wheel Size||P205/65VR16||P195/65SR15|
|Turning Diameter (ft.)||37.4||33.5|
|MPG/MPGe - Hwy||53||53|
|MPG/MPGe - City||51||58|
|MPG/MPGe - Combined||52||56|
|Gas Tank Size (gallons)||13.2||11.3|
|Cruising Range - Hwy (miles)||699.6||598.9|
|Size and Weight|
|Max Width (in.)||72.4||69.3|
|Trunk Volume (cu. ft.)||15.1||-|
|Front Seat Leg Room (in.)||42.1||42.3|
|Front Seat Head Room (in.)||38.3||39.4|
|Front Seat Hip Room (in.)||55.4||53.4|
|Front Seat Shoulder Room (in.)||57.7||55.0|
|Rear Seat Leg room (in.)||38.0||33.4|
|Rear Seat Head Room (in.)||37.6||37.4|
|Rear Seat Hip Room (in.)||54.6||51.9|
|Rear Seat Shoulder Room (in.)||55.7||53.0|
|HD Radio||Optional||Not Available|
|Entertainment System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Premium Sound System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Auxiliary Audio Input||Standard||Standard|
|Smart Device Integration||Standard||Standard|
|Hard Disk Drive Media Storage||Not Available||Not Available|
|Premium Synthetic Seats||Standard||Standard|
|Leather Steering Wheel||Not Available||Not Available|
|Woodgrain Interior Trim||Standard||Not Available|
|Rear A/C||Not Available||Not Available|
|Seat Memory||Not Available||Not Available|
|Seat-Massage||Not Available||Not Available|
|Multi-Zone A/C||Standard||Not Available|
|Power Liftgate||Not Available||Not Available|
|Head-Up Display||Not Available||Not Available|
|Automatic Parking||Not Available||Not Available|
|Navigation System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Power Driver Seat||Standard||Not Available|
|Cooled Rear Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Hands-Free Liftgate||Not Available||Not Available|
|Heated Rear Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Remote Engine Start||Not Available||Not Available|
|Cooled Front Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Heated Front Seat(s)||Optional||Not Available|
|Power Passenger Seat||Not Available||Not Available|
|Remote Trunk Release||Standard||Not Available|
|Heated Steering Wheel||Not Available||Not Available|
|Adaptive Cruise Control||Standard||Standard|
|Navigation from Telematics||Not Available||Not Available|
|Universal Garage Door Opener||Optional||Not Available|
|Steering Wheel Audio Controls||Standard||Standard|
|Night Vision||Not Available||Not Available|
|Rear Parking Aid||Not Available||Not Available|
|Blind Spot Monitor||Optional||Not Available|
|Cross-Traffic Alert||Optional||Not Available|
|Lane Keeping Assist||Standard||Standard|
|Tire Pressure Monitor||Standard||Standard|
|Lane Departure Warning||Standard||Standard|
|Knee Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Driver Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Seatbelt Air Bag||Not Available||Not Available|
|Passenger Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Rear Head Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Rear Side Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Front Head Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Front Side Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Basic||3 Years / 36,000 Miles||3 Years / 36,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||5 Years / Unlimited Miles||5 Years / Unlimited Miles|
|Drivetrain||5 Years / 60,000 Miles||5 Years / 60,000 Miles|
|Maintenance||2 Years / 25,000 Miles||2 Years / 25,000 Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||2 Years / Unlimited Miles||3 Years / Unlimited Miles|