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2021 Prius vs. Crosstrek Comparison

The Toyota Prius redefined the meaning of fuel economy. Japan introduced this vehicle innovation in 1997 and it was later released in the U.S. market in 2001. This vehicle was the first mass-produced hybrid even though the concept of a hybrid combustion engine + electric motor had been around since 1898. The Subaru Crosstrek debuted 12 years later in 2013 as the XV Crosstrek.

Both of these vehicles come from reliable brands, but no two cars are the same. One difference between these two is in terms of safety. All Toyota Prius sedans come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0), a suite of active safety features. Subaru has its own suite of safety features called Subaru EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, but it's not standard on the base trim Crosstrek or Crosstrek Premium.

Another difference is in performance. All Prius trims are hybrids with impressive fuel economy. The Prius L Eco has an EPA-estimated 58/53/56 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating, while the base model Crosstrek has an EPA-estimated 28/33/30 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating.

So which one is for you? Take a look at the performance, safety, and interior features to see which car has what you need.

Publish Date: 12/09/2020

2021 Prius splashing through a mud puddle

Safety

  • All grades of the 2021 Prius come with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0).
  • Subaru also has its own active safety features called Subaru EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, but it's not standard on the base model Crosstrek or Premium Crosstrek.
  • The 2021 Prius LE trim comes standard with Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA). The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek does have this feature available as an option on their Premium trim. It comes standard on the more expensive Limited trim.

Safety is key no matter what vehicle you drive. That's why you'll be happy to hear about all the safety features these vehicles have to offer.

Standard Safety Features

All trims of the 2021 Prius come with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0). This suite of active safety features includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and Road Sign Assist (RSA).

Subaru also has its own active safety feature bundle called Subaru EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology. This suite includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-collision Braking, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, and Lane Keep Assist. However, it is not standard on the base trim model Crosstrek or the Crosstrek Premium. Subaru EyeSight® is available as an option when you purchase a trim with CVT. To get EyeSight® standard, drivers would need to get the Crosstrek Sport or Limited.

The 2021 Prius LE trim with a starting MSRP of $25,735 comes standard with Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA). The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek does have this feature available on their Premium trim as an option when you purchase the CVT. To get this feature standard, you'll need to purchase the Limited which starts at $27,995.

Person unloading skis from 2021 Prius roof rack

Performance

  • With an EPA-estimated 58/53/56 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating, the Prius L Eco can make less stops at the pump.
  • You only have an EPA-estimated mileage rating of 28/33/30 (city/highway/combined) with the Crosstrek.
  • Both the Prius and Crosstrek offer AWD, but the Prius AWD trims have better fuel economy ratings.

Subaru is well known for All-Wheel Drive capability across their models. However, the legendary hybrid Prius now has available AWD-e.

Fuel Economy and AWD

The 2021 Prius is one hybrid known for having impressive fuel economy ratings. The base model Prius has an EPA-estimated 58/53/56 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating. The 2021 Crosstrek has an EPA-estimated mileage rating of 28/33/30 (city/highway/combined).

While both vehicles offer the better traction and handling capabilities of AWD, the Prius LE AWD-e and XLE AWD-e maintain better fuel economy ratings. With an EPA-estimated 51/47/49 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating, the Prius AWD still beats the 28/33/30 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating of the Crosstrek. The Subaru Crosstrek boasts Subaru’s standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system across all models. The Prius' available AWD-e system is operational up to 43 mph.

The Crosstrek only offers a plug-in hybrid variant that directly competes with the Prius Prime PHV.

2021 Prius driving in the rain

Interior

  • The Prius L Eco has a 7-in touchscreen, which is larger than the Crosstrek base trim's 6.5-inch high-resolution LCD touch-screen display.
  • In addition to a slightly smaller screen, the base trim Crosstrek also has fewer speakers than the base Prius model. The Crosstrek has four speakers. Most Prius trims have six speakers.
  • Also, while navigation is standard on the Prius Limited, navigation is only available as an option on the Crosstrek Limited.

Your favorite tunes can make any ride a real trip. See which of these vehicles has the connectivity options you're looking for.

Media Options

To keep the music flowing while you're driving, the Prius L Eco has a 7-in touchscreen along with six speakers, Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Drivers also get SiriusXM® with a 3-month All Access trial. The Crosstrek base trim has some comparable audio features with SUBARU STARLINK®. It includes a 6.5-inch high-resolution LCD touch-screen display, a Multimedia system with Apple CarPlay®, Android™ Auto, and an AM/FM stereo.

For added convenience the Prius also comes with a USB media port, two USB charge ports, and hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology. The Subaru Crosstrek has a USB port/iPod® control, a 3.5-mm auxiliary jack, Bluetooth® audio streaming, and hands-free phone connectivity.

In addition to a slightly smaller screen, the Crosstrek also has fewer speakers than the base Prius model. The Crosstrek has four speakers. Most Prius trims have six speakers. To get six speakers, Subaru drivers would need the Premium or higher. For a more advanced sound system, the Prius Limited has ten JBL® speakers standard. Harman Kardon® speakers are available as an option on the Crosstrek Limited.

The Toyota Prius Limited not only has more speakers, it also has an 11.6-in touchscreen with integrated navigation. To get an 8-in touchscreen, Subaru drivers would need to get the Crosstrek Limited trim. Also, navigation is only available as an option on the Crosstrek Limited.

The only clear advantage of the Crosstrek is the passenger volume. It has a 100.9 cu. ft. passenger volume compared to the Prius's 93.1 cu. ft.. However, all Subaru Crosstrek trims have just 20.8 cu. ft. of cargo space which doesn't compare to the 27.4 cu. ft. of cargo space the Prius L Eco has to offer, giving the Prius far greater versatility.

On top of all the great features mentioned above, the Prius also has a standard Smart Key System on the driver's door with Push Button Start. The comparable Keyless Access with Push-Button Start for the Crosstrek is only standard on the Crosstrek Sport or higher. Enjoy all of the amenities the 2021 Prius offers.

Two 2021 Prius sedans parked near a body of water

Conclusion: Prius vs. Crosstrek

  • With an EPA-estimated 58/53/56 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating, the Prius L Eco outdoes the Crosstrek which has an EPA-estimated 28/33/30 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating.
  • While each car has great safety features, the Toyota Prius offers Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) which offers more standard active safety features on all trims.
  • The Crosstrek has a smaller touchscreen and less speakers, even on their higher trims.

Not only has the Prius been around longer than the Crosstrek, its hybrid technology and standard features put it a step above the competition at all trim levels.

Both of these cars offer a lot, especially when it comes to fuel economy ratings. With an EPA-estimated 58/53/56 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating, the Prius L Eco outdoes the Crosstrek which has an EPA-estimated 28/33/30 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating. Plus, even the Prius AWD-e models have better EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings than Crosstrek.

While each car has great safety features, the Toyota Prius offers Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) which accounts for more standard active safety features on all trims. To get the comparable Subaru EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology standard, you'd need to get the Crosstrek Sport or Limited. However, you can get it as an option for the base and mid-grade model when you get CVT.

The Subaru Crosstrek also comes up a little short in standard media offerings. Not only does it have a smaller touchscreen, but it also has fewer speakers.

With all this in mind, the winner of this comparison is clear: the 2021 Prius.