how do toyota prius handle driving in the mountains?

Asked by jcarlough Feb 25, 2013 at 04:58 PM about the Toyota Prius

Question type: General

i live in the mountains of north carolina & im interested in buying a used toyota prius.  i am wondering how they
handle curvy and sometimes steep mountain roads,  gravel driveways, & snow?  i am hoping to replace my AWD
subaru (23mpg) with a more gas efficent vehicle that can handle mountain driving.   i see people driving them
around here but havent been able to talk to a prius owner yet.

9 Answers


Since they are light, have less power and they are two wheel drive, I would guess that they are not as good as your Subaru.

2 people found this helpful.

The Prius REALLY is NOT the kind of vehicle that is ideal at all for mountainous driving. It's low in horsepower, low in torque. Handling is probably numb at best...Plus, as mentioned earlier, it's a very lightweight car. You'd be much better served on a curvy, snowy mountain road by an AWD/4WD car...I'd stick with the Subaru. There are a LOT of other AWD cars out there though...Not sure how big a concern the higher center of gravity is for an AWD SUV on these types of roads...if not a huge concern, CR-V, RAV4 or Mitsu Outlander Sport all have AWD as options.

6 people found this helpful.

Just FYI, Prius owner here with news for you Subaru fans. They are coming out with a Subaru XV hybrid :) Not as good gas mileage as a Prius, but more power and torque than one. Oh and to answer your question about Prius driving in mountains, I just got done with a trip from Provo, UT to Denver, CO on I-70 then back on I-80 and it sucked. I got about 50mpg going from Provo to Denver cause most was downhills, but going back I got like 27 mpg average and it whined going up the climbs and I'd be doing 55 or 60 mph while everyone else was passing me doing 75.

25 people found this helpful.

I love driving mine in the NC mtns.... does very good!

2 people found this helpful.

I have a news flash for the above people who haven't read the manual. I drive my 2013 Prius in the NC mountains quite frequently. When you change gears you have in a vertical position the letters R (reverse), N (neutral), and D (drive). To the right of D you see B (in my car, anyway). That's the gear to use in the mountains. To my mind it stands for "braking"--so you won't have to brake all the time. It's sort of like 2nd gear. Try it! Saves wear and tear on your car. I was real excited when I found out about it, and it does make a difference. Without it I think I would wear my brakes out.

7 people found this helpful.

My 2013 Prius gets 44 miles per gallon--not 50 but really great!

1 people found this helpful.

I have driven my 2010 prius back and forth from Denver to Vail on I-70 over 20 times a year during all seasons and use the fast lane as much as I can. You put it in power mode and it will do 75 mph up all the grades including vail pass, eisenhower tunnel, and up from Denver. I have always been amazed at how I can pass other vehicles on the mountain highways. This is why I kept the vehicle. The mileage reduces to about 47 mpg in the power mode in the mountains. Also in power mode you will beat many other cars from a stoplight. I know it's hard to believe but most prius drives drive in the ECO mode. I have never once driven in the ECO mode and only use the power mode. And yes I can beat Subarus off the line (except WRX) and certainly in the mountains. I use snow tires in the mountains during the winter time.

15 people found this helpful.

GuruVBT9C, how do you put it in power mode? Is that just not using ECO or is that putting the gear in B vs. D?

2 people found this helpful.

I drive in the NC mountains frequently (Cashiers). My 2013 Prius' low center of gravity makes it fabulous in hugging the road. I average 54 mpg in city and highway.

2 people found this helpful.

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