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Is the Original Toyota Prius a Future Classic?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2019

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

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Used 2002 Toyota Prius
Used 2002 Toyota Prius
$3,995
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Is the Original Toyota Prius a Future Classic? - Autotrader