Search Cars for Sale

Is the Original Toyota Prius a Future Classic?

Here’s something interesting to consider: maybe the original Toyota Prius will be a collectible vehicle someday. I know, I know, it’s almost hard to imagine — but, really, I think it’s possible. Allow me to explain why.

The original Prius came out for the 2001 model year and most buyers had no idea what to make of it at first. Originally, it sold only to tech-savvy buyers and ardent environmentalists — but as fuel prices went up, so did Prius sales.

Generally speaking, though, that only happened with the arrival of the second-generation Prius, which debuted for the 2004 model year — that’s when the Prius really gained national recognition and big sales. Before then, however, it was very much an unusual, under-the-radar car — and it was not a big seller. In addition, it was sold for just three model years, 2001 through 2003, before its redesign.

To me, the fact that the original Prius is so rare — and the fact that it touched off the arrival of one of the most popular, best-known cars ever — means that original Prius models might someday be valuable. It’s already getting hard to find them in nice shape, and well-kept examples may be worth something as a relic of the old days, before everyone knew the Prius, and before it ever became popular.

Of course, this may not turn out to be true. Japanese cars don’t tend to shoot up in value, and unexciting cars — and the first-generation Prius was very much an unexciting car — especially don’t tend to shoot up in value. But you never know: it just might happen, as an unusual reminder of the beginning of popular, mainstream hybrid vehicles. Find a Toyota Prius for sale

Video | The Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser Is an Old-School Family Wagon
Video | Here’s Why the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Is the Best Midsize Truck
Autotrader Find: 1994 Jaguar XJS V12 With 18,000 Miles

Sign up for Autotrader newsletters

The best cars and best deals delivered to your inbox

Email Address 

Where You Can Buy

Loading dealers...


Leave a Comment

Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

Most Popular Articles

Best New Cars for 2022

Here is our list of the best new cars for 2022 (presented in alphabetical order by manufacturer).

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: First Look

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid jumps to the head of the hybrid class.

Best Car Deals: December 2022

This month's best new car deals include several attractive offers for qualified shoppers.

Search By Style

More Articles Like This