Toyota Prius Prime
Toyota Prius Prime
Base MSRP: From $27,600
- Plus – From $27,350
- Premium – From $29,050
- Advanced – From $33,350
Destination Charge: $930
Tax Credit: up to $4,502
EPA Range: 25 electric miles, 640 total
Battery: 8.8 kWh
Charging Acceptance Rate: 3.3 kW
Reviews of the Toyota Prius Prime
Performance: Electric motor, 1.8-liter, four cylinder engine, combine for 121 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 133 MPGe, Equivalent of 53-55 mpg overall
Price estimate: $27,500 to $33,500
Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
Drivetrain warranty: 5 years / 60,000 miles
Roadside assistance: 2 years/ unlimited miles
Corrosion warranty: 5 years / unlimited miles
Battery warranty: lifetime/original owner
2019 Prius Prime
The worst thing that’s happened to the Toyota Prius? The emergence of the Tesla Model 3, which has many people with a propensity for buying green choosing the flashy Tesla over any Prius vehicle.
The Prius brand was indeed king of the hill for many years. Prius sales reached a high of 236,655 in 2012 and even though it dipped to 108,661 last year, that figure was still impressive. Introduced in 2017, the Prius Prime took the popular Toyota green machine to another level, gaining considerable acclaim as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with sales of 27,595 a year ago.
But the superiority of the Tesla Model 3 has certainly pushed aside all electric vehicles and PHEVs. Heading into October 2019, the affordable and performance-laden Model 3 had sales of 114,500, while the Prius Prime had 14,630. The Model 3 has gone over the 20,000 mark twice already and its overall sales represented nearly 46 percent of the EVs sold thus far in 2019.
Obviously, the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla brand belong in their own category.
The Prius Prime sets itself apart because it utilizes the same basic mechanical setup as the Prius, but uses a larger battery. In EV mode only, the Prime will go 25 miles before it switches to the gas engine and drives like a typical Prius hybrid.
Note that because of the larger battery, the Prime only carries four people, not five like the normal Prius.
Although 25 miles isn’t a sizable distance, it can be ideal for many people’s work commute, making it to work and back home without a charge. Recharging the Prime’s 8.8-kilo-watt lithium-ion battery pack takes a little more than two hours from a 240-volt Level 2 AC source. From home on a standard 120-volt wall outlet, the charging time is 5.5 hours, so it can easily be done overnight.
The Prius Update 2018
Concerned about the environment and the rise of CO2 emissions in the early 1990s, the folks at Toyota went to work, exploring ways to devise a vehicle that utilized a combustion engine and electric motor hybrid system.
In 1997, the Japanese automaker proudly launched the Toyota Prius, the first official mass-produced hybrid. It’s certainly no stretch to say the Prius revolutionized the auto market in the U.S. and worldwide. By 2016, one year short of its 20th anniversary, Prius sales in the U.S. had reached the 4-million mark.
Despite its overwhelming success, Toyota hasn’t rested on its laurels. It continued to pursue fuel-efficient vehicles and it was no surprise when it began producing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in 2012. The Toyota Prius Plug-In lasted four years before being replaced by the Toyota Prius Prime, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that bridges the gap between the standard Prius and all-electric vehicles like the popular Nissan Leaf.
Introduced in 2017, the Prius Prime utilizes the same basic mechanical setup as the Prius yet adds a larger battery. In EV mode only, the Prime will go 25 miles before it switches to the gas engine and drives like the average Prius hybrid. So, if you’re work commute is relatively short, one can make it there and back home without a charge or utilizing the gas engine.
Offered in three trim models (Plus, Premium, Advanced), the Prius Prime is a dream for those who are gas-conscious yet don’t want to risk range anxiety, getting 53-55 mpg overall. With an 11.4 gas tank, the Prime can go more than 600 miles before needing a stop at a gas station or to recharge.
Recharging the Prime’s 8.8-kilo-watt lithium-ion battery pack can be very quick. If only the standard 120-volt wall outlet is available, charge time takes about 5.5 hours, easily done overnight. A 240-volt Level 2 EV charger takes just two hours to charge the battery from empty to full.
Contrary to some beliefs, not all Prius vehicles look alike. The Prius Prime features a unique front end that is similar to Toyota’s Mirai, one of the first hydrogen-powered vehicles sold commercially. The Prime’s large grille extends from the hood to the pavement. Due to less trunk space, Toyota designed the Prime 6.5 inches longer and it has a double-bubble rear window.
The 2018 Prius Prime utilizes an electric motor and a 1.8-liter, inline four cylinder to combine for 121 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque. If you’re looking for great performance, the Prime will fall short, going 0-60 in approximately 10 seconds, which is pretty darn slow. The Prius Prime labors up steep hills and freeway passing power is modest.
Because the battery is large (180 pounds) and resides in the back of the car, the Prime doesn’t drive as smooth as the normal Prius. The Prime bounces over bumps and at times provides an uneven ride. On the positive side, in EV mode its super quiet and efficient.
While performance and handling aren’t strengths of the Prime, there’s better news regarding the interior. It’s fairly roomy for even for taller people and the seating is comfortable. The base model has only a 7-inch screen, but the upgraded Primes feature a large 11.6-inch touchscreen that certainly grabs one’s attention. There are complaints that the icons are too large and data is split between the screen and dash.
Due to the battery size, the Prius Prime has a smaller cargo area (19.8 cubic-feet) than the regular Prius. Yet the storage area is nearly double the size of the Chevrolet Bolt. Toyota stubbornly continues to not support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces, continuing to use its generally unpopular Entune system.
Not everything is perfect with the 2018 Prius Prime. Performance and handling can be frustrating for drivers who desire both qualities. The Prius Prime is known for its economical ways, and this plug-in hybrid delivers big time in that department.