Latest UK position on Prius braking system

Press speculation continues today regarding the 3rd Generation Prius braking system. On Friday, Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation, gave a press conference, and below is an extract from his statement:

“As Toyota revealed yesterday, new Prius now in showrooms include an improvement. For Prius in the hands of customers, I have instructed that consideration be made as soon as possible regarding the way to address such units. Once a decision is made we will inform the public.”

Toyota GB awaits the outcome of this investigation, and will make an announcement to its customers shortly.

NEW 11/2/10: Further information can be found at

Comments (35)

  1. I am awaiting delivery of my Gen III T Spirit and looking forward to the car. However reading reviews many people say these cars rattle is this true. Whats your experience.
    I have had RAV4’s for years until the withdrawl of the 3 door versions but generally rate Toyota as a quality product so I am concerned these new models are not the same quality.

        1. Andy nice to hear a positive for once 🙂 sometimes I guess the only people who write to these blogs are the minority with a problem, therefore the view is skewed in favour of negatives.
          Many thanks and I hope mine is rattle free also


          1. I have no rattle noise on my car. On the other hand it is very quiet than expected.

  2. I was so pleased with my last Prius that I ordered the new one for Sept last. I have had four Toyota and this one is the BEST. I am in my 70yr. And drive to Spain and in no way would I not feel happy to drive this car.I thank TOYOTA for the responsible way they have acted over this matter. And will continue to drive my car with pride

  3. I bought prius in november end 2009. It is running nicely. I before the problem I done emergency stop at 60mph.
    Everyting is alright I never felt the breakes giving up or any changes. You can not drive in London if your car is not fit to drive.
    This car is satisfying all my needs.

  4. I feel Toyota is an extremely reliable brand. I own Toyata yaris and am exyremely pleased no problems since 6 years not even starting trouble. I thus brought prius 3 rd gen in oct 09 and extremely pleased good car comfortable and good mileage abt 56 mpg.I feel Toyota is the most reliable brand and will get out this trouble

    1. I have always bought Toyota cars for the past 20 years and have also been more than pleased with the comfort, style and running costs. However I changed late 08 to a Yaris and it had a few teething problems to start with, which the garage tried to correct, one being the brakes – too sharp!! and they grind if applied gently, or go through the windrsceen if applied normally. As your Yaris appears to be ok, I think it is just the recent newer models that there are problems with – although the garage did not adjust anything on the brakes, as asked, when it went in for it’s first service.I was told it was because it was a new car and would soon ‘wear in’ I always had new Toyota cars – larger models loved them and I am not happy with this Yaris – sadly all Toyota’s will now depreciate in value – i’m furious!!

      1. As a loyal Toyota owner I have nothing but praise for these fantastic cars. I currently own a Previa (my 3rd) and a Prius for which I am a new convert. Both cars start every time no matter the weather, accelerate and brake when needed and reacted perfectly in the snow and ice.. Our local dealer did a 60,000 mile service this week and found no problems. I get approx 56-62mpg on the Prius and 35mpg on the Previa. Not bad for a car which regularly carries 3 adults, 3 children, 1 dog and an electric wheelchair. Only complaint is with the Previas road tax band which doesn’t reflect the fact it carries twice the load for half the emissions.

  5. My Wife & I had a car each but we decided that it was unecessary expense so she sold her Honda Civic & I sold my Mercedes CLK both were extremely low mileage cars. We bought a Toyota Prius 3rd Gen 3 weeks ago and we fight over who is going to drive it(not really fight) we both think it is a very pleasant car to drive. We haven’t had any problems yet but have spoken to our dealer and it appears that the ABS is over sensitive and they assure us that Toyota will sort it and face their responsibility.
    We are getting about 52mpg at present with very few miles on the clock it is winter time and the engine needs running in. Perhaps you guys who know a little more about these cars can tell me if we can expect more mpg. Its not a problem we are laughing all the way to the bank after selling the two cars. Also no road tax now. Thanks.

    1. Great to hear you are loving your Prius! As a Lexus Driver I have noticed a slight drop in Fuel consumtion during the winter months.

      This comes about becuase it is colder the engine naturally needs to be on more to stay warm. I would say once you get into the slightly warmer months (In the UK thats August :).) then your Fuel MPG will go up. Mine was around 33mpg in a Lexys GS450h during the summer, im currently on 30mpg. BTW thats hard driving as well!!! So very pleased with the output.

      Hope that helps

  6. I am happy with my new Prius bought in Sep09. But also pleased Toyota are going to fix this issue, even if it is not safety related. The media coverage is overdone somewhat, but the media are just doing their job in ensuring complacency doesn’t creep into our trusted companies.

    So far Toyota have responded well and I hope they will continue to do so. The way a company handles problems is often the best guide to their value proposition. So far I am still with Toyota and will continue to be a customer.

  7. Bought a Gen 3 version in January just gone. So a recall is expected – fingers crossed.

    We kept our Gen 2 version for my wife to drive. This motor is great – BUT for the screech the fronbt brakes produce about once a year. Remedy was/is to pack the ‘brakes’ asap with grease then the noise stops. Matter used to be dealt with by a local dealer until warranty expired, and now by our local garage (£20 a time). but no recall on that! Nearest Toyoata Dealers are a 60 mile round trip since Toyota’s decision to close a really great dealership here a few years back (Carmarthen).

  8. I have owned three Toyota’s two of which were the superb Avensis, Toyota is a very strong brand and will ride out this storm the media are making a meal out of Toyoa being honest about a few minor problems, Britain needs toyota if some workers at the toyota factories in the uk were laid off because of lack of sales I would be the first to blame the media
    other car manufacturers hide there broblems
    toyota still is renowned for quality and reliability

  9. I suspect ‘dirty tricks’ from other manufacturers in whipping up a totally unnecessary media frenzy about what is a relatively trivial aspect of this fantastic car’s characteristics.

  10. Here’s a thought. Cars are recalled more often than the public knows. I only became aware of a recall on my Mazda when it went in for its first service. Ceramic heat shields protecting the turbo were prone to cracks, fractures and disintegration posing a fire risk. Did they haul them all back in immediately, nooooo…..
    Toyota is taking a bashing in the press at the moment for the extent of its apparent problems but I’d prefer to buy a complex piece of machinery from a manufacturer that puts its hands up and fixes problems rather than hides them.
    I’m not likely to change my car for a while yet but a Toyota is an attractive proposition in my mind.

  11. I have a 3rd gen Pirus since November, 2009. I also experienced the brake problem a few times. Two happened when going over a pothole while slowing down and one on snow. I lost control momentarily (about a second), but regained control very quickly. I thought it was the ABS at work and ignored it. This seems to only happen while slowing down going over very deep but small potholes. But I have been avoiding potholes since, not realising this is a problem.
    This is my firt Toyota and all my previous cars have been BMWs. I find the Pirus handling very good so far, though slow off the pace, I haven’t regretted it. I still recommend a Pirus to anyone.


  12. I bought my 2010 Prius in December. I have found it very stable in the ice and snow since. I have been trying to initiate the braking effect over rough ground but have not been able to do this so far.

  13. I have a 2nd generation Prius with 116,000 miles on the clock – no problems what so ever. Yes my car behaves in the same way as others describe above, it’s not a fault it is part of the cars “personality.” It doesn’t affect braking performance – it is split second just like any ABS system. I am fed up of the press trying to scare everyone and put Toyota down. They are manufacture the most reliable cars around with second to none customer service. There are many “prestige” brands who would just put their heads in the sand if faced with the issues Toyota are now addressing!

  14. One concerned purchaser. I am taking delivery of a new co car – prius on 1/3/10. For the first time moving away from main stream models like BMW / Mondeo etc. This will be my first Toyota – Have i got anything to be worried about?

    1. Not at all Nigel, before buying my 2nd generation Prius I had owned 3 Mercedes cars (2 E-class, 1 C class). The Prius has saved me a fortune, its reliable and Toyota understand what “customer service” means. I bet you have never walked into a BMW dealer and been greeted on first name terms – you will at Toyota.

    2. To Nigel B.
      I am on my third Prius, the latest being a third generation T spirit I took delivery of in November 2009. I agree with all the positive comments about Toyota service, and although I have had none of the widely reported problems myself, advice given by other owners who have experienced the faults as described is very helpful, go ahead and enjoy the new car.

    3. I have a 2nd Gen Prius T5 Spirit and 48k miles on have been very pleased with it, having come down from larger cars and people wagons. A bit hairy-scary in the snow at first with it being my first auto, but otherwise great. Servicing has been the real surprise – my local dealership in St Ives Cambs can’t do enough, even when I called them at 4.30 pm to book the last service, they called me back and offered me a booking the next morning. Thats never happened to me before! The approach taken by the company has bee first class and knowing how my dealership works, they will be very efficient at rectifying the problem.

  15. I have driven a Prius 2nd generation for two years, and have noticed two things;

    1) In the wet, if you try to accelerate too fast and you lose traction, you lose power completely for a moment. This is a bit of a worry if you are turning out of a junction etc.

    2) When braking, if you hit a bump or wet patch, the brakes stop for a second and the ABS flashes, leaving the car coasting without control for a moment.

    If either of the above issues are related to the stories in the press, then the 2nd Generation suffers with this issue as well.

    I tend to leave more time in the wet and take care when braking as I know what the Prius will do.

    As stated in a previous comment, the Prius handles very well in the snow, and as long as you drive carefully in different weather conditions, and you havea good understanding of how your car handles, then I don’t see this as an issue.


    1. Gary’s description sums up my experience perfectly. I have driven the Gen 2 Prius for 2 years and noticed these two issues from the start. I soon adjusted my expectations and driving style accordingly for wet weather. Obviously there is less traction in the wet, but the difference between the Prius and my previous cars was very noticeable. I just assumed that the Traction Control is over cautious due to the torque of the motors. I still plan on getting the Gen 3 when this car is up for renewal, but I will definitely have to test drive it first.

  16. I have to agree with the comments above. My 3rd gen Prius behaves in exactly the same way as my previous 2nd gen one. To illustrate: when crossing a wide metal expansion joint near my home, if wet, the ABS momentarily releases the brakes before the wheels lock – as I would expect and hope. The 2nd gen one did the same. My previous 3 cars – all Mercedes estates – did exactly the same. This seems to me to be the correct behaviour.

    I remain very satisfied and confident in my car. If Toyota feel it necessary to make a software change, then I am likely to be as satisfied with that.

    If only the media would cease this scaremongering!

  17. I have a 3rd generation Prius that was purchased September 09. We experience the brake feel that is explained in the majority of the press as brake failure. In my opinion it is the ABS doing it’s job & helping to control the car & actually like the feedback of what the ABS is doing.

    Like Peter G if a fix is offered I would also probably go for it, but I am in no rush!

    Until my first Prius (a second gen one) 3 years ago I swapped cars every 8-12 months. I kept my last Prius for 3 years and only swapped it because the new model came out.

    I am very happy with the New Prius & have every confidence in the car & toyota.


  18. Forgive me for being a bit vague … I am unsure whether my Prius is 3rd generation. I bought it last year (09 registration) but it is not the newest model currently in showrooms, so I assume it’s second generation?

    1. I believe the 3rd gen Prius came out in August 09. The new model has 3 driving modes, Eco, Power & EV. The gear lever is now in a central console which also has storage space under the gear lever. The 2ng gen had no storage under the lever and the gear lever was mounted in the front console next to the steering wheel.


  19. Daniel, it seems to me that the problem was known to Toyota – judging from Mr Toyoda’s statement. How else would the “Prius in showrooms now include an improvement”? Things don’t happen overnight.

  20. Throughout the history of automotive development, it has been possible for mechanics and engineers to analyze and scrutinize all parts of a car, including critical systems such as the brakes.

    However, with software now becoming such an integral part of a car, it is currently impossible for the relevant experts to analyze and scrutinize the software, in the way that mechanical engineers always have.

    Simon, do you think this problem may have been discovered sooner if the software was available for public scrutiny?

  21. I received my prius during the snow in January. I must say that the car was very assured in the ice and snow even while braking.

    I’m enjoying driving the car and I can assure you that my confidence in Toyota remains as strong as ever.


  22. Simon, I have to say, the particular “trait” in brake pedal feel doesn’t bother me, but if offered a fix I would probably go for it, with one proviso: does the fix involve the hydraulic brakes cutting in earlier, thus reducing the amount of electricity generated during a given stop? If so I’ll keep my Prius as it is, thanks very much


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