Toyota Prius Prime Test Drive Review From UK Finds Other Competitors Closing In

4 months ago by Mark Kane 21

The New Toyota Prius Plug-in aka Prius Prime

The Toyota Prius Plug-in (Prius Prime), which is entering UK market on March 1st, was recently evaluated by Autocar.

The New Toyota Prius Plug-in aka Prius Prime

The latest generation of the Japanese flagship is much appreciated for its higher battery capacity, longer range and also extra electric motor power – which extends its capabilities while under EV mode.

According to Toyota, the fuel economy (one of the most important factors for Prius buyers) is rated at 22g/km of CO2 emissions … and given the craziness in the way plug-in hybrids are still measured in Europe (think US in 2009), the official combined fuel economy is listed at 283 mpg.

A note on the 283 mpg figure:  Given the new Prius Plug-In has about 25 miles worth of real world (EPA) range, to actually get 283 mpg, one would not only have to continue drive less than 25 miles between charging stations almost exclusively, but would also need to plug in about 9 times for every gallon of gas burned.  None too practical.

But what was the verdict?  Did Autocar like the car?  Did it perform well?

The outfit notes that the plug-in hybrid Prius remind them of the conventional hybrid Prius – and the larger battery not only steals one of the seat spaces in the back (only two seats available), but part of the trunk capacity too.

According to the test drive review, Toyota made the Prius Plug-In a little more comfortable and refined compared to current standard version, with better noise and vibration insulation as well as re-tuned suspension. However there is still room for improvements.

“The rewards are just about noticeable, though you still wouldn’t call the Prius Plug-in a refined car to drive in outright terms. It rides with more suppleness than the regular Prius, but its chassis still thumps and rumbles away a bit over poorer surfaces. And while the powertrain’s predictably quiet under electrical power, the petrol engine’s tendency to rev away noisily to its redline when you use anything more than about 50% of the accelerator travel remains a discouraging, nannyish bugbear.”

The New Toyota Prius Plug-in aka Prius Prime

All-electric acceleration up to 50 mph (80 km/h) is noted as being smooth and strong enough. As noted earlier, Autocar finds the real world electric range to be around 25 miles (40 km) – on par with US/EPA estimation (let’s not even talk about the 39 mile/63km NEDC/European rating at all).

After discharging the 8.8 kWh battery, the Prius Plug-In drives as regular hybrid Prius, but with an additional 130 kg (287 lbs) of thanks to the larger battery.

“On A-roads and dual carriageways it’s slow and somewhat alienating under acceleration. Along twistier stretches it handles competently but with familiar remoteness. Its standard 15in wheels and 65-profile economy tyres running out of grip quite frequently – and quite suddenly – if you try to keep up a head of steam.”

Overall, Autocar laments that Toyota could have done better with the offering overall (driving experience, better material quality and practicality) and that the earlier Prius first mover advantage has been exhausted.

 “…compared to the hybrid state of the art – the latest-generation petrol-electric offerings from the European car-makers who’ve spent two decades trailing in Toyota’s wake but are now in a position to go toe-to-toe with it – it’s weedy and one-dimensional“.

Quick spec:

  • 8.8 kWh li-ion battery for 25 miles (40 km) of EPA all-electric range and 640 miles total range
  • top speed of 84 mph (135 km/h)
  • 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 11.1 seconds
  • 3.3 kW on-board charger enables full charge in just over 2 hours

source: Autocar

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21 responses to "Toyota Prius Prime Test Drive Review From UK Finds Other Competitors Closing In"

  1. Jason says:

    I think I’ll wait for the CHR hybrid

    1. Mikael says:

      Will it even come with a plug? Of not then it is totally useless.

      1. Pdd says:

        Majority of cars on the road today are useless I guess then. People seem much too happy to drop thousands and thousands of dollars on useless cars and are actually happy!

      2. mx says:

        No. No it won’t.
        Suckers wait for Toyota.

  2. Anderlan says:

    “The outfit notes that the plug-in hybrid Prius remind them of the conventional hybrid Prius – and the larger battery not only steals one of the seat spaces in the back (only two seats available), but part of the trunk capacity too.”

    Well, f#$% the Prius Prime I guess. I was intensely excited about it and thought it was their flagship Prius or something until I realized they would not just alter, that would be enough, but brutally alter the standard non-plugin interior.

    1. Anderlan says:

      I mean, ffs, the Volt fixed itself already, and here’s Toyota trying to go backward.

      1. BenG says:

        Well, the good news is that the Prime’s battery doesn’t actually impinge on the space needed for a 5th seat the way the Volt’s does, rather it seems to be a weight limit issue that caused them to remove the 5th seat.

        I’m hopeful that Toyota will tweak the suspension to allow them to add the 5th seat back in.

        Storage space for the Prime is way better than in the Volt: 19.8 cuft vs 10.6 cuft.

        1. philip d says:

          I have no idea how they calculate cargo volume but I’ve been unable to arrive at 10.6 cu.ft. in my Volt.

          The only way I can get that small of a number is if I take the smallest number only for the height which is the height from the floor to the frame below the glass back toward the bumper and the hooks for the cargo cover. If I add the triangle of volume above that to the back of the headrests it is much more.

          I think the Volt cargo volume is calculated this way and it’s number suffers because everything under the long hatch isn’t calculated.

          The opposite is true for our i3 which is listed as having 15.1 cu.ft. and that cargo space is much smaller and less useful than our Volt because it is shallow and tall.

          For example our medium size dog crate fits in our Volt’s cargo area with seats up but in the i3 we have to drop one of the seats to get it in.

          I have even fit in 6 nested 10′ long 2×4 light guage metal studs in my Volt from the front corner above the dash back to the opposite corner of the cargo area and was able to close the hatch.

          1. BenG says:

            Interesting. Thanks for the feedback.

            You’d think with a very similar design that the Prius and Volt would have the same measurement calculation, but maybe there’s some detail throwing it off for the Volt.

            I’d have to see them side by side to say.

            I do know my 2012 Volt has a significantly smaller cargo space than my 2008 Prius.

      2. Seth says:

        Still beter then a Ford Focus electric I suppose.

    2. Yogurt says:

      Dont be too harsh they are at least selling and will probably sell tons of them due to the emblem on the front…
      They are also a better price and range than Fords offerings which also take up trunk space…

      1. Assaf says:

        Haha, “Better than a Ford plug-in” has got to be the world’s winningest sales slogan. Not really 🙂

        Plus, the Ford PHEVs are 1st-generation (with some very minor recent tweaks). This is Toyota’s effort for Gen 2? They are behind the curve. Sad!

        OTOH, as people said, it’s a Toyota and it’s a Prius. That’s good for quite a few sales, and if Toyota really pushes it worldwide and nationwide in the US, it will have made a difference.

  3. Just_Chris says:

    The biggest problem with the Prime in the UK is the price. It is 10k pounds more expensive than the regular Prius – that is a problem. Other than that this isn’t a bad offering.

    I just can’t imagine someone paying about the same or more for a Prime when they could get almost the same MPG for less money with an Outlander.

    1. mx says:

      There’s no government incentive to offset that price? Hard to believe.

  4. Samwise says:

    “A note on the 283 mpg figure: Given the new Prius Plug-In has about 25 miles worth of real world (EPA) range, to actually get 283 mpg, one would not only have to continue drive less than 25 miles between charging stations almost exclusively, but would also need to plug in about 9 times for every gallon of gas burned. None too practical.”

    The average daily commute in the UK is about 30 miles round, so 15 miles each way for those with at work charging, the scenario described above is completely feasible for a fairly decent hunk of the population…

  5. Bloggin says:

    I saw my first new Prius on the road today. It looked worse than in the pictures.

    Ugly and lack of power will be too much of a sacrifice for better mpg, when you can get instant torque and loads of power from an EV.

  6. Peter Wilkins says:

    The Prius Plug-in in the UK can have a solar roof. Doesn’t that make it the first mass produced solar-powered car? It takes 3 fuels: plug, gas and sun. It is so efficient as a gas car that you don’t have to plug it in to save. Top-notch safety, stellar reliability and lots of technology. It may be more expensive in the UK than it is in the US, but it is still a lot of car for the money.

    1. BenG says:

      Yeah, I think the second generation Prius Plug-in is the first mass produced car that generates ‘fuel’ from the sun.

      Very cool.

    2. Nobody who actually understands could in all seriousness suggest they run on on-board solar generated power…stored or otherwise. Any gains are miniscule and irrelevant.

  7. Sorry Toyota…you’ve gone backwards. So many better choices now from several competitors. I own a Prius and Outlander PHEV and this offering just doesn’t stack up. And 4 seats? Someone needs sacking over that. To think the mob that kicked it all off are hardly making the league now is disappointing. Full EV without compromise represents far better value IMO. Leaf, i3, Ionic EV are all more desirable products now. Got caught napping perhaps.

  8. peter says:

    can someone explain the 283mpg . i dont get what they mean?

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