The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is a considerable electric car for 20 to 25 miles, and a extremely powerful Prius there after, and it’s really aggressively priced to boot.
The new plug-in version in the fourth-generation Toyota Prius hybrid launched 1 year after that car, but it got a different name too. The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime succeeds the prior and discontinued Prius Plug-In Hybrid model, sold from 2012 through 2015, but it is just a much-improved and quite different vehicle. The Prius Prime is on the market in three trim levels: Plus is the base, the mid-level Premium might be the degree seller, and Advanced will be the high-end, all-bells-and-whistles model.
We’ve rated the Prius Prime at 5.8 from 10, with good scores on our green scale as well as features, but lower scores for design and performance. It’s almost important to note so it has only four seats, unlike the totally normal Prius, with the middle of a corner seat occupied by a tough plastic cupholder. We haven’t yet rated it for safety, though we expect it to undertake well in line with the high ratings given to the totally normal Prius as well as its generous complement of standard electronic safety systems, with just a few more optional as well.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime
The normal 2016 Prius hybrid had the remarkable distinction of styling so bizarre the reason is predecessor looked staid in comparison. The new plug-in Prime retains the usual shape and wheelbase in the 2016 Prius, but heavily revised front and rear styling that moderates the planning you might say that, to many people eyes, look better. Top end is a lot more conventional, though Toyota says it’s “more aggressive,” with four small rectangular projector headlamps on either side. At a corner, a subtly twin-domed rear liftgate window sits above rear lights that follow its curved shape over the horizontal, eliminating the outboard vertical lights of the totally normal Prius.
The greatest surprise of the production Prius Prime mightn’t have been its EPA-rated electric choice of 25 miles, though that’s beyond the 22 miles Toyota attributed to barefoot jogging the 2009 year. Nor was it the 54 miles per gallon combined when operating as the standard hybrid once its battery range is depleted.
Instead, the statistic that stood out was its energy efficiency, with a rating of an impressive 124 MPGe. That equal the top version in the BMW i3, which consists of advanced carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic structure, a considerably pricier car. And yes it shows just how parsimonious the Prime has both gasoline and electrons. (MPGe, or Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, is a stride of how far a car can travel electrically on a single level of energy as is from 1 gallon of gasoline.)
As in the a normal Prius, a high-efficiency 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with a pair of electric motors powers the Prius Prime. Their combined output is rated at 121 horsepower, Toyota says, which makes it far at a speed demon. But one key decision distinguishes the Prime from the traditional Prius: its engineers have defaulted the car into electric-only mode unless the car battery may be out of charge (beyond that needed to perform as a conventional hybrid, which it does following the battery is depleted).
That makes all the Prius Prime an electric car over its first 20 or 25 miles, not the blended gasoline-and-electric vehicle its predecessor was. And it separates the Prime from other plug-in hybrids except the Chevy Volt, workout routines runs in electric mode only until its battery capacity is depleted. Another mass-priced plug-in hybrid competitors—including two from Ford, one from Hyundai, and shortly one from Kia—switch on their own engines whenever the motive force demands maximum power. Prius Prime drivers need to take a certain action once they don’t want electric-only operation, turned around of these other cars.
The Prius Prime is not as strong in electric mode since the more powerful Volt, nevertheless it can get caught up with most traffic when driven on the limits of the electric power. Our test cars delivered at the least 25 electric miles on various test loops, though admittedly clearly there was little highway travel and the weather was temperate. Driven gently at lower speeds, the Prime could well offer ranges potentially as high as 30 miles.
The Chevy Volt still leads that measure, having a rated 53 miles from a battery bank doubly large, but it’s a far cry with the anemic 2012-2015 Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s 11-mile electric range. That car’s 60-kilowatt (80-horsepower) electric motor was so weak, as well as tendency to kick on the engine so strong, who’s felt to hapless drivers attempting to remain in electric mode that a good deep breath slowly could trigger the engine.
The Prius Prime essentially receives a heavier version of the hybrid sibling once the engine does finally switch on following the 20 to 30 miles of battery-only travel. Under most circumstances, its engine and electric motors combine seamlessly. Still, when maximum power is needed, the engine spins approximately high speeds and moans noticeably from up front within the hood. Otherwise, the Prime shares the improved roadholding, handling, and comfy ride of the traditional Prius.
Comfort and quality
Inside, the Prime is comfortable for four people, but it’s missing even your fifth “seating position” that lets the Chevy Volt accommodate a lithe, uncomplaining teen for a padded battery hump for short trips. Toyota’s engineers say cautious eliminate that fifth seat was in the interests of maximizing range and efficiency.
The trunk seats will accommodate two adults, though the body weight bay is shallower than that of the traditional Prius as a consequence of battery pack along with electronic gear underneath it. Interior materials are a variety of hard plastics and soft-touch surfaces, though they don’t convey an especially premium impression. Still, build quality on the early cars that we drove was impeccable, then there is that legendary Toyota reliability to factor in as well.
Almost the base version from the Prius Prime share the 11-inch vertical touchscreen display that differentiates it from a frequent Prius. It’s similar in design on the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell sedan, underscoring its maker’s two strategies to zero-emission vehicles—although it’s clear that Toyota will sell a lot more Primes than Mirais over your next five years.
No safety ratings have yet been released for the Prius Prime, although last year’s conventional Prius hybrid received the coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation with the IIHS because of its crash performance, with the most notable rating of Good on every test. You’ll find it received a generally five-star rating with the NHTSA. A rearview camera is standard.
Toyota is including a wide suite of electronic active-safety features in just about every Prius Prime. Those include forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and automatic high beams. Furthermore, Toyota adds blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic aware of the Prime Advanced, the biggest of three trim levels.
Of a few trim levels available, the base Prius Plus is included with cloth-covered heated front seats, steering-wheel audio controls, heated mirrors, as well as a built-in navigation system as standard.
The mid-level Premium trim may very well be the most popular version, and Toyota has carefully specced against eachother to feature a suite of features that will appeal on the core of the market. The Premium trim gets an uplifting 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen display in the center display, reminiscent of the huge screen in Teslas but closer in general on the Volvo Sensus system in the newest luxury cars. The Premium version also has a 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat that also includes power lumbar adjustment, as well as a Qi wireless charging pad, among other features.
Presents itself the heap, the Prime Advanced trim adds one head-up display for speed, vehicle information, and navigation instructions, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, LED fog lights, as well as a mobile-phone app allowing remote activation of climate control and supplies various operating data and services.
Sales from the Prius Prime entered late 2016. Unlike its predecessor, the Toyota Prius Prime might be available in all 50 states. All prime versions be eligible for a federal income-tax credit of $4,500. In California, they meet the requirements for a $1,500 purchase rebate and the coveted single-occupant access to carpool lanes on freeways.