Until now, the Toyota Prius started at the Two trim level for $25,570. That begged the question, "Why not start with One?" Now with the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro coming on the scene, it seems the case for a cheaper Prius just gained some strength. As CarsDirect reports, Toyota is adding a Prius One trim level for $1,210 less than the previous entry price.

With a base MSRP of $24,360, it still fetches more than the Ioniq Hybrid's $23,035, or the Niro's $23,785, but it's slightly more competitive. At that price, the Prius loses its spare tire, rear wiper, and seatback pockets that come standard with the Two trim. On the other hand, the Prius retains the Toyota Safety Sense P system, which includes adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision system, lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams. For drivers who value safety as much as economy, the Prius remains an attractive hybrid to live with, even in its simplest form.

Additionally, the Prius Two and higher trim levels will begin to offer Toyota's Safety Plus Package as standard, which includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking assist. This extra set of sonar eyes in the car's hard-to-see spots won't increase the price, either.

Still, the new offerings from Hyundai and Kia stand to give Toyota a run for its money. The Korean hybrids both offer different levels of fun and freshness, as well as lower starting prices. The Prius' reputation is solid, though, and the extra peace of mind from its safety system ought to help justify its (now narrower) price gap.

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