The Toyota Prius is perhaps the most popular hybrid vehicle on the market. With it’s eco-friendly design and unparalleled dependability, it has consistently come out on top of other available hybrid vehicles. Because there is so much attention given to its drivetrain and green features, tires for it can often be overlooked. To help with this, we have compiled a list of the best tires for a Prius.
Figure 1: Just because the Prius is a practical car, that doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice performance. Source: DiscountTire.com.
Finding the right set of tires for your Prius can be a challenge. Because of this, many people just keep the stock tires that came with the car and call it a day. However, there are many varieties of tires that can work to enhance your Prius’ built-in, money saving features. Depending on how much you drive, finding the best tires for a Prius could end up being a great investment.
Since there isn’t usually much thought put into it, it can be difficult to find the best tires for a Prius. Fortunately, we have put together a shortlist of the best options available on the market to help keep you informed and hopefully make the search a little bit easier.
What Makes a Great Tire for a Prius?
One of the defining features of the Prius is its outstanding gas mileage. This feature is often the main selling point when someone makes the decision to buy one. Because of its hybrid engine, the Prius is capable of getting up to 58 miles per gallon in the city and 53 on the highway. In order to fully take advantage of this stellar mileage, you are going to want to get a set of tires that will enhance it and not bring it down.
In order to take full advantage of the Prius’ gas mileage, you are going to want to find a set of tires with a low rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is the amount of energy that your car needs to put out to keep the tires moving at a consistent speed. Tires with low rolling resistance will be the best tires for a Prius because they will require less expendable energy and therefore use less fuel. This can result in better gas mileage and less money spent at the pump, which is more than likely the whole reason to buy a Prius in the first place.
Figure 2: The right set of tires can work wonders to improve your Prius’s gas mileage. Source: TalkCarsWell.com.
There are a few different factors that lead to a lower rolling resistance. The most impactful factor is how hard the rubber compound is and how much it grips the road. The more grip that the treads have on the road, the higher the resistance will be. By using a harder compound, these tires require less energy to roll along the asphalt. However, lower rolling resistance can also lead to less control when braking and cornering, which many drivers do not want to compromise on.
Luckily, with a Prius, these drops in performance are negligible. We spoke to a sales specialist at Freeman Toyota who told us that “the Prius is not going to see much of a difference in handling with a lower resistance tire. The cornering and handling is already pretty tight, and it won’t be a big deal to lose a little bit of grip. If you want to get the most out of the gas mileage, a harder tire compound is a pretty good way to do that without sacrificing too much in the way of performance.”
Sources: Toyota.com; BridgestoneTire.com; TalkCarsWell.com; Interview with Freeman Toyota sales specialist conducted 11/14/2020.
How Did We Pick the Best Tire for a Toyota Prius?
In our shortlist, we have collected some of the best tires for a Prius based on a few deciding factors. All of them have a low rolling resistance that can be fantastic for getting the most mileage out of a tank of gas. They will also be easier on the electric motor element of the car and ultimately lead to a longer life for the vehicle.
Figure 3: Durability is a deciding factor for any set of tires for a Prius. Source: TwelfthRoundAuto.com.
All of the tires on our shortlist also have a high durability. Many people look to the Prius for its reliability and utilitarian performance. In order to fully benefit from this, the best tires for a Prius will have a long tread life and be resistant to uneven tread wear. Uneven tread wear can lead to more tire rotations and ultimately a shorter lifespan for the tire itself. By purchasing a set of tires that is designed to wear evenly, you can avoid having issues with them in the first place.
All of the below tires are also designed to allow for superior handling even with the lower rolling resistance. With various technologies and tread designs, they are able to give you the best of both worlds with regards to their energy consumption as well as their handling. The best tires for a Prius will have some combination of these two factors in order to deliver the best possible performance.
Sources: AutoWeek.com; ContinentalTire.com.
1. Michelin Energy Saver A/S
Figure 4: The Energy Saver A/S uses a proprietary blend to react to the road’s temperature. Source: TireRack.com.
The Energy Saver A/S by Michelin is one of the best tires for a Prius based on its dedication to a lower rolling resistance. Specifically designed for hybrids and other energy-saving vehicles, this tire is made for people who want to save as much fuel and cash as they possibly can. Because of this, these could be a great option if you want to stretch the already impressive mileage put out by the Prius.
The Energy Saver A/S gets its lower rolling resistance by using a silica-infused rubber that is designed to stay cool even in hot conditions. This allows the rubber to keep its grip on the road without sinking into it and raising the resistance on the asphalt. Michelin’s EnergySaver Construction is made up of a proprietary blend of silica and rubber that reacts to temperatures in real time.
Even though this tire has a low rolling resistance, it uses a symmetrical tread design to keep as much grip on the road as possible. It utilizes lateral and circumferential grooves to push water out from under the vehicle and prevent hydroplaning while still keeping traction on wet surfaces. This best of both worlds design is what makes it one of the best tires for a Prius.
Sources: TireRack.com; DiscountTire.com.
2. Continental PureContact LS
Figure 5: +Silane additives give these tires a consistent grip on the road. Source: TireRack.com.
The PureContact LS by Continental is a tire that was specifically developed with superior gas mileage in mind. It combines a stable rubber compound with a special tread design for cornering and grip in all kinds of weather that won’t put a strain on your hybrid’s motor. Since it is a touring tire, it also has a comfortable feel that will give you the best possible driving experience in the Prius.
Using their own blend of polymers in the tread, the PureContact LS binds the compounds to react to temperatures on the road. This keeps the rolling resistance low and gives the tire a long tread life that won’t start to fall apart when the weather changes. This gives you the durability that you have come to expect from the Prius on top of its eco-friendly fuel efficiency.
Continental uses +Silane additives in their compound to increase grip on the road as well. You do not have to sacrifice handling in order to get the most out of a gallon of gas. The independent tread blocks are enough to push water out from under the tire and give you a solid grip on the road without adding too much rolling resistance in the process.
Sources: TireRack.com; MaterialsPerformance.com.
3. Yokohama AVID TOURING-S
Figure 6: A unique tread pattern adds to the AVID TOURING-S’s traction on all kinds of surfaces. Source: TireRack.com.
The durability and smooth handling that the Prius is known for can either be helped or hurt by the tires you use. Yokohama’s AVID TOURING-S tire was developed to enhance these features rather than detract from them. Since it is an all-season tire, it is able to deliver high gas mileage along with a focus on safety in all kinds of weather.
Their Tri-plex Tread Compound reacts to the road conditions to give you a long tread life no matter what kind of driving you usually do. The symmetric tread design gives you solid handling and superior traction. However, unlike many symmetric designs, the AVID TOURING-S uses variable tread blocks to reduce road noise. Uniform tread blocks tend to give out a lot of noise at higher speeds, and Yokohama has found a way around this with a central rib that helps cancel out these frequencies.
The Cross Traction sipes give these tires a biting edge that will help keep a stable steering feel even in wet weather and even light snow. If you are a daily driver or commuter no matter what the season is or what the road conditions are like, this versatility makes the AVID TOURING-S one of the best tires for a Prius.