Car & Driver Compares Chevrolet Volt To Toyota Prius Prime – Concludes Volt Is Worth The Extra Money

Chevrolet Volt


Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

Car and Driver pit the Chevrolet Volt against the Toyota Prius Prime. Although the vehicles share the moniker of “plug-in hybrid,” the two are vastly different on many levels. Let’s look at some key takeaways from the reviews.

The newest second-gen Chevy Volt can travel 53 miles on battery only. Once the battery is depleted, the ICE engine kicks in, however the battery saves some power so that it can still assist the gas engine to achieve a consistent 149 horsepower.

Similarly, the Prius Prime’s PHEV configuration works on electricity only, until a certain point, and then the gas engine joins in. However, the Prime only gets about 25 all-electric miles and produces 91 horsepower. Unlike the Volt, once the 95-horsepower ICE engine kicks in, the Prime gets a power boost to 121 horsepower.

Toyota Prius Prime Interior

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Interior

Car and Driver tested the two plug-ins in city traffic, on the highway, and in hilly areas. The winner was abundantly clear.

Toyota Prius Prime (according to C/D):

  • Unattractive
  • Ugly
  • It’s a tortoise (zero to 60 mph in 12.2 seconds)
  • Merging is reminiscent of driving a golf cart
  • Roomy, airy, “well wrought” grained plastic interior
  • 11.6-inch Tesla-like touch screen
  • Comfortable vinyl seats
  • Panoramic feel
  • Easy to park
  • Roomy back seat (only 2 seatbelts)
  • Impressive cargo space (on paper)
  • 5 hours to charge (standard household outlet)
  • Quiet cabin
  • Minivan-like handling
  • Light and creamy steering
  • Suspension stuffed with goose down
  • Rough ride on rough roads
  • Weak regen
  • Decent brakes
Chevrolet Volt Interior - shown here in LTZ trim w/Jet Black-Brandy Leather

Chevrolet Volt Interior – shown here in LTZ trim w/Jet Black-Brandy Leather

Chevrolet Volt (according to C/D):

  • Accurate and consistent steering and braking
  • Minimal body roll
  • Excellent ride quality
  • Structural integrity on rough roads
  • Low center of gravity – car feels glued to the road
  • Minimal wind noise
  • Stable on the highway
  • 10 hours to charge (standard household outlet)
  • Easy paddle regen
  • Aggressive single-pedal driving
  • Quick and powerful (zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds)
  • Tried-and-true GM interior
  • Conventional, attractive exterior and interior
  • Intuitive 8-inch touch screen
  • Firm seats
  • Three seatbelts (however, good luck getting three adults back there)
  • Small rear door opening

Overall, the Volt gives you the feel and look of a normal car. There are no inherent “sacrifices” for its great efficiency. C/D calls it a “mature” plug-in hybrid. You will pay a bit more for the Volt, but since it gets the full $7,500 federal rebate, whereas the Prime gets $4,502, the price difference isn’t significant. According to C/D , “It’s worth it.”

Source: Car and Driver, hat tip to sven!

Categories: Chevrolet, Toyota

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127 Comments on "Car & Driver Compares Chevrolet Volt To Toyota Prius Prime – Concludes Volt Is Worth The Extra Money"

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Congrats to GM on this coup. Here’s hoping they keep the bean counters subservient to the engineers on the next few models too.

Hmm… This feels like they have some bias toward GM cars.

You might even suspect that “Car and Driver” is Michigan based…oh wait, it is. 😉

My thoughts exactly. They took great effort to use descriptors for the Volt that don’t tell you anything. “Structural Integrity on rough roads” doesn’t tell you if the ride is rough or smooth. “Tried and true interior” – is that comfortable?
Efficiency? both gas and electric Prius beats handily (no mention of this, only range)

Maybe you should read the C&D article and not just IEVs summary of it.

Great Idea! And – to make that more plain, and easier – here is the long version of that link:

I have some ‘Toyota Side’ thoughts to consider:
The Smaller Battery – means – for the same resource – (18.4 kWh Worth of Batteries) – 2X as many cars can be build, which means – 2X as many drivers can experience the feel of EV Driving, at least some of the time, leading more people to want more complete PHEV’s with MORE EV Range, or Full BEV’s at their next purchase!

(It also means – Toyota Gets to sell 2X as Many cars, for maybe 2X as Many CARB Credits! – So – that means they can sell 2X as many Tundra Trucks, etc!)

Toyota may sell more than 2X Primes than Volts, there are a lot of folks very loyal to the brand, but it won’t get 2X the ZEV credits. Not sure exactly how the numbers work, but the Volt has more than 50 miles of range AND can use the battery for the US06 drive cycle. Consequently it gets way more credits.

But Toyota I’m sure has a boatload of credits from the success of the Prius.

This is Car and Driver. Given that there is no comparison between the Volt and the Prime it’s hardly a surprise which one they’d prefer. All you have to ask is whether Car and Driver would think 12.2 seconds is better or worse than 7.6 seconds 0-60 MPH.

That said, the new Volt is a nice riding and handling car. A couple of friends who currently own Volts but have owned various MBs in the past have opined that the Volt reminds them of a MB C class. Not shabby. You can tell GM worked on the ride because, while the new Volt is faster than the original, it feels slower.

“Tried and true GM interior” means it looks like plastic and feels like plastic and smells like plastic.

I’ve had a few over the years, even the best of them, plastic.

Car & Driver is owned by a French publishing company if I remember correctly. As for bias, they have been fairly down on all hybrids or gas stingy cars for many years. I’m optimistic when seeing such good report coming from traditional hotshoes and gearheads of a car that through technical excellence and made from American ingenuity in America, can drive most of it’s time on electricity. Volt has the unique capability to kiss public charging complications and range anxieties goodbye. Prius lovers should feel great that Toyota offers them a great hybrid model that seats 5 in relative comfort and a plug in option that seats 4. The assessment here is one affirmation from a well respected car publication that Chevrolet’s Volt has surpassed Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy drive in pure electric capability and superior performance and feel in parameters all cars are judged by. Appearance is subjective, naturally, but I concur with Car & Driver that the Prius works hard at looking techie while the Volt is just a sporty looking, handsome car. This isn’t to say Toyota products will not work better for some people in certain situations, with folks who regularly drive long distances being the most… Read more »

Per – “Recent statements by GM brass state that the Bolt EV is the platform on which future electrified products will be based upon. While Volt componentry will surely be part of future hybrid offerings as in Malibu Hybrid and CT-6 PHEV, I hope we also will see a gen 3 Volt and beyond, as well as a Buick version in the USA too.”

Well – I would hope, that GM actually takes some of the Best of the Bolt EV, and combines it with some of the Best of the Volt, for larger vehicles, to create an All Wheel Drive, Long Range EREV, in Full Size Cars, Pickups, and SUV’s, all within 5 years!

I also hope that they will consider making 2 battery choices in the Bolt EV, with a smaller one for those who prefer the Hatchback style, but would be just fine with 160-175 Miles Combined City/Highway Range, or so, and sell it at a dropped down price of 29,995 (without Rebates or Credits).

They might also consider a Volt with a Bigger Body to create more back seat headroom, be it called a Malibu EREV, or Whatever!

Nope, they definitely don’t have a bias toward GM. Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, you would have claimed they were biased toward cars from Japan, and slowly warming up to GM thanks to the C3 Corvette. And they’ve always favored cars from Europe.

What they do have a bias toward are cars that are performance oriented, or in this case, the one that has a sportier personality. For those of us that are familiar with the publication, their choice is obvious.


As an avid C&D reader for over 40 years, I can attest that vin’s comment is spot on.


There is no doubt that a better car is worth more money.

But it is good that folks who can’t afford the additional dollars and might not qualify for the full federal tax incentive for the Volt, now have yet another choice.

We don’t have the vast variety of ICE cars that we currently have around the world by accident. Variety is about choices, not about deciding for people what is “best”, and how much money they must spend to get it. The more variety of EV’s/PHEV’s the better.


As far as a strategic long term decision, the Prime is actually better positioned for surviving the sunset (or repeal) of the $7,500 dollar federal tax credit. I would not be surprised if after the federal tax credit ends, if GM were forced to put out a low dollar version of the Volt that might have similar range as the Prime.

It all depends upon whether the federal tax incentive is allowed to continue long enough to do it’s job, which is to bridge the gap until battery prices come down enough through mass production to be affordable. We aren’t quite there yet.

Yeah, the Prime will do just fine for itself. We might see a lot of former Prius owners start showing up here as first time PHEV owners. They are definitely welcome!

Like you, I also expect that Chevy will drop the price on the Volt and Bolt within two or three years – for a combination of different reasons. More competition, and the end of tax credits will certainly contribute.

Not to mention increased requirements for ZEV sales and higher consumer demand as EVs become more mainstream. Which should mean increased production which should hopefully mean lower costs per vehicle.

I look forward to seeing how the next few years go. 🙂

I already read that a California Dealer is already Selling Bolt EV’s at $1,000 Off MSRP!
And…(Drum roll) …here is a link for that reference –

And here –

And – the actual search gets me right to the meat of it – here:

Rydell Best Price $36,495
MSRP $37,495
Savings $1,000

However – here is another new player:
MSRP $28,659

However – I see a TrueCar Average @ $26,596 with Estimated Savings off MSRP: $1,369 –

Going to be interesting, for sure!

REVERSE INFLATION CALCULATOR says the current TrueCar Average = $10,957.20 from 30 years ago, about the time I bought a New Chevy Sprint for a bit more than that – something over $11,000, if I remember right, on a $10.00 an hour job! So – the Prime = the New Sprint: Cheap to buy, cheap on Gas (with an EV Bonus) and also seats 4!

We know GM is making a profit on the Volt, and as C/D said, is a mature PHEV (they’ve continue to spread the tech to lower costs), so I expect there’s room to lower the price if/when necessary.

I will respectfully posit that it isn’t a $10,000+ dollar profit per unit.

That is how much their profit would need to be to would allow GM to cut the price by $7,500 dollars to make up for the Fed tax incentive, and still have a $2,500+ dollar profit per unit.

You have to factor in that, at least currently in CARB states, it’s worth $7000 in ZEV credits and those credits can travel.

But the tax credit doesn’t go from $7,500 to 0. It’s phased out.

“But the tax credit doesn’t go from $7,500 to 0. It’s phased out.”

Once the quantity limit is triggered, the phaseout starts a timer. The credit value is then reduced and the limit switches to a measure based on months.

Success of Bolt will bring about that $0 problem well before the product-cycle for gen-2 Volt is complete. How will GM sell Volt profitably then? There is currently a heavy dependence on the tax-credit money and battery-cost reduction is not enough to compensate.

Toyota is already positioned to deal with that. (They have far more tax-credits still available too.) The Prime base-model MSRP is just $27,100.

Mock & Belittle all you want about battery-size. Prime is designed to deal with the lack of subsidies. Volt is not. That’s a harsh business reality we will watch playout in the next few years.

The phase out is 1 year, if we make it to phase out before it is killed by the current party in power. That isn’t enough time to have a significant impact on the math I posted.

The sunset should have been a more traditional 4 year phase out.

54 MPG combined rating for Prime verses 42 MPG combined rating for Volt should be obvious. Why was such obvious efficiency information excluded?

133 MPGe for Prime verses 106 MPGe for Volt won’t be understand by ordinary consumers. Shouldn’t the job of journalists be to explain what that means, rather than avoid mention of those ratings?

26 kWh/100 miles rating for Prime verses 31 kWh/100 miles rating for Volt tells us the true story. Yet, that wasn’t included in the article either. It reveals to us how much less efficient of an electric vehicle Volt really is. Prime shines in this regard. Why only a 6 then for efficiency? It simply makes no sense giving Volt a 10 once you discover that detail. Volt is a guzzler of electricity in comparison.

john1701a – You forgot to mention all of the extra miles saved by the Prius driver because they don’t enjoy driving their vehicle as much as the Volt driver. I’m only at 107,000 miles on my 05 Prius and I’m sure that plays a big part of my car only now passing the 6 figure mark.

The efficiency ratings you cite are severely outweighed by the fact that the Volt’s AER is twice that of the Prime’s.

Pay no attention to those pesky Volt AER miles being Only Double the Plugin Prius AER miles!

Prime. oops “my bad”!

And – for sure – some will need those extra EV Range Miles to avoid using a plug twice in one day, but not everyone will have that challenge; and 18.4 kWh might take the same amount of time (or longer) charging it up in one shot, as it might in 2 shots, overnight, daily, in the Prime, for example! However – if your daily drive is short, but your Road Trips are Long, and head room is more important – it sure sounds like the Prime will be a valued player in this arena! As for me – even the shorter range of the prime, would last all week on my daily commute, and an extra charge would get me typically through the Weekend! Summer (or winter) Road Trips of 800-1000 miles, and More, are going to appear to favour the Prime, for sure! Like – on road trips from Toronto to Orlando – which I have done in both Summer and Winter, are good examples where the Lower Head Room of the Volt, and the lower ICE Running Fuel Economy, will greatly dilute the benefit of driving a whole week and the weekend, on 1 charge instead of… Read more »

This is a trade off between efficiency and power.

The Prius has always sought the highest efficiency by using a relatively anemic power train. In EV mode the Prius only makes 91 HP, while Volt makes 149. The 1/4 mile times tell the story: 12.2 vs. 7.6 seconds. That’s a huge difference.

We should also compare the weight of the two.

Prius has always been the focused Efficiency Leader, but maybe they could come out with some Volt Fighter – under the Lexus Brand? Lexus are more performance oriented, so that is a better play for them, anyway!

If they could get a comparably priced 50 Mile AER Lexus PHEV, with 42+ Mpg, and 85 MPH in Electric, with 160+ EV HP, they could have a head on shot at the Volt!

On Lexus plugins: Recently as part of a wide-ranging interview at the New York Auto Show, we caught up with Mark Templin, executive vice president, Lexus International, and the managing officer for Toyota Motor Corporation, about why the brand hasn’t been bullish on plug-ins—either globally or here in the U.S. Plug-in hybrids: gateway tech or ‘regulatory loophole?’ “There are too many hurdles, and we’re not sold yet on plug-in hybrids,” said Templin. “There’s a case to be made for them as a sales tool, but not as a way to save the environment.” “Unfortunately when you build a plug-in hybrid you add weight to the vehicle, and you make it less fuel-efficient,” explained Templin. “Unless you plug it in and then use the electricity, that itself may come from a coal-fire plant.” “The reality is that in most places, people only buy plug-in hybrids for the tax benefit or carpool lane benefit—and then they never plug them in,” Templin continued. “So the government creates a regulation that’s supposed to create better emissions, less pollution, better MPG, and the reality is you add weight to the car and it gets poorer emissions.” “You’re not really doing what the regulation was… Read more »

So lame. If you build an electric dominant car like the Volt, most people will want to plug it in.

Sure there are some people who bought them for the HOV lane or tax benefits, especially if it’s low range, low electric power, and relatively low cost upgrade option.

I think Lexus will have to respond to Tesla sooner than later. The Model 3 will eat into their sales in a big way.

” If you build an electric dominant car like the Volt, most people will want to plug it in.”

Certainly, most Volt buyers would plug it in. After all, they paid hefty premium and/or sacrificed proper back seats for this privilege. But you would have hard time finding many of them to make mass production economical beyond government incentive milking. Both ELR and Tesla cases prove it so far.

How sad. And to repeat the long tailpipe myth.. ugh.

They can repeat the long tailpipe stuff as long as they like. I like long coal tailpipes. But unfortunately, there are soon to be none in my state at all.

But I lived basically ‘next door’ to a coal plant all my life, which kept the taxes low in my town. But now the taxes are skyrocketing because my spendthrift municipality never understands the concept of making due with less.

Of course, toward the end petitioners came by all the time saying I’m DIRECTLY breathing all those DANGEROUS SMELLY GREENHOUSE GASES? I said I don’t smell anything.

“Aren’t you concerned about your health?”

ME: “All the deaths in the town are in the other neighborhood where they dumped all the “Manhattan Project” Nuke Waste.”

It is not myth but cold hard fact confirmed by EPA/DOE, like it or not.
Tesla Model X AWD – 60D: 220 g/mile CO2 equivalent on US grid
Kia Niro FE, somewhat bigger crossover at $23k MSRP: 177 g/mile tailpipe and 36 g/mile upstream:

You may talk all day long about world electric grid changing any time soon (“soon” in terms of power plant life cycle is like 2-3 decades from now), but for the lifetime of vehicles sold now you have what you have.
This doesn’t remove big benefit for zero TAILPIPE emissions, so why you are not talking about it, instead of inventing some stretched talking point that can’t be confirmed by facts?

Hehe you guys arguing about this point are rather like two guys from 200 years ago arguing the benefits of “blood letting” one way or the other.

Since CO2 is a building block of LIFE, and since I’m a carbon-based organism, as they used to say on Star Trek for instance, I’m in favor of more of it.

Pretty soon the only source of CO2 will be the gasbags spouting how much they hate it.

If you limited the Volt’s EV performance with software to output only 91 hp then the Volt’s MPGe would go way up.

The whole point of driving a PHEV like the Volt is that you are driving it as close as you can to 100% of the time in EV mode. If you are doing the same in the Prime that means you’re stuck with a 91 hp car most of the time.

No thanks.

Not sure why you think de-powering the Volt’s electric motors would improve MPGe. I can’t think of why it would have more than de minimis effect.

That’s easy: like nearly every other car, the Volt is less energy-efficient at max power output than it is at a specific lower output.

So if GM wanted to increase the efficiency of the Volt, they could simply limit the max power output to the top end of the efficiency range.

“The whole point of driving a PHEV like the Volt is that you are driving it as close as you can to 100% of the time in EV mode. If you are doing the same in the Prime that means you’re stuck with a 91 hp car most of the time. No thanks.” 91 horsepower may not be to your liking, but it is clearly enough. With the 51 horsepower available in the Prius PHV (which I have been driving for nearly 5 years), local errand running and cruising along at 60 mph works just fine. Heck, I even routinely accelerate onto the highway without the gas-engine firing up. Adding another 40 horsepower raises the electric-only speed threshold to 84 mph and allows you to mash the pedal to the floor. I test-drove a Prime (while trying to patiently await the delivery of mine). Even with the electric-heater running, acceleration onto the nearby 70 mph highway was no big deal. That 91 horsepower of EV is up to the chore. The desire for more horsepower is easy to acknowledge. Though, that begs the question of who will be willing to pay for it? Who does Volt & Prime appeal to?… Read more »

“I test-drove a Prime (while trying to patiently await the delivery of mine). Even with the electric-heater running, acceleration onto the nearby 70 mph highway was no big deal. That 91 horsepower of EV is up to the chore.”

Yes, for a Prius lover.

Performance isn’t free.

If you test Prime at 91HP mode (max) and test the Volt at its 91HP mode (12s acceleration), the Volt would have gotten WAY BETTER efficiency rating!

Because the 42MPG of the Volt is irrelevant when it’s only used 10% of the time due to the Volt’s large electric range.

GM – Making American made cars great again! After so many years of the Prius dominating the green car scene it amazes me how far Toyota has fallen and how the American auto industry has stepped up their game. I’m still driving my 05 Prius for now and never owned a GM car but if I were going to buy a new car there would be no question. Since my family has grown by 4 small people since 2005 my next vehicle will probably be the Pacifica plug in which is also better than the PIP in most categories.

I agree. I never thought I’d buy American, but bought the 2017 Chevy Volt. I’m very happy with the car overall. If I had one wish, it’d be that they couple the Voltec system to a small SUV with AWD and nice tires. I’d buy it in a heartbeat to replace our 2nd car.

second that. Never pictured myself in any big 3 car, let alone a Chevy, but the 2017 Volt is a really great car. Ten months in and this is easily the best car i have ever owned.

I triple that. Chevy needs to add the Voltec system to other models: Malibu and Equinox would be a good place to start.

They sell more VOLTECS in the Malibu than the VOLT. Unfortunately, there’s no plug.


Purchased a new 2017 Volt Premier three months ago. It’s the first and only Chevy that I have owned in my 45 years of driving.

So far, it’s the best car I’ve owned.

Hope that sentiment lasts for a long time…

Traded my ’05 Prius in on my ’17 Volt Premier, too. First and only GM car I’ve owned on over 56 years of driving! So far (6 months in) I am completely satisfied.

@Bobby, @Fool Cells, @bukweet

Welcome to the club! If your Volts are even close to as reliable and pleasant to drive as our 2013 Volt, then you are going to be happy drivers.

Add me to the list. My Spark EV is my first GM vehicle, and it has been flawlessly reliable and a hoot to drive.

No real surprise here. The Prime will find an audience and I wish it the best. But the Volt has much more going for it in every category.

I actually find it rather encouraging to read the Car and Driver comments. I remember when the gen I Volt first came out, people on the internet were still very angry at GM and suspicious of the Volt as a green energy science project that would never succeed.

But on this article, readers seem to view the Volt quite positively overall.

Would it be safe to bet that the dreaded 2017 Prius Plug in, has a better resale value than a comparable 2017 GM Volt, after coming off Lease in the next 36 months, with under 36K mi.? Should be intersesting to see, which of these two takes a harder hit in % of depreciation at the end of 2019.

If the Volts fit and finish holds up by then, I would opt for the comparable Volt, especially if it takes a bigger hit in % of depreciation. An even better value, down the road, if the Gen 2 Volt follows Gen 1, in build quality. We shall see, won’t we!

I wo

Prius Prime! Oops “still catching up with the Prius line up”!

They mention the “roomy and airy interior” of the Prime, but fail to point out the tight and claustrophobic (to some) feel of the Volt. My wife sat in one, then got out and refused to even drive it.
The Prime is slower, more efficient, and the Prius brand is “familiar” to the public. It will outsell the Volt at least 2:1 if Toyota will make/ship that many.

The “roomy” back only has 2 seats though. Deal-breaker for a lot of people.

The “more efficient” PP is meaningless when it has less than 1/2 the EV miles. So while the PP is “efficiently” burning gas, the Volt just keeps whizzing by on electricity.

I think Toyota needs to go back to the drawing board. Their 2nd iteration was trying to catch the Gen1 Volt, while GM already moved on to Gen2. Toyota needs to think about what the Gen3 Volt will be (or at least try to match Gen2).

Better looks/performance wouldn’t hurt either.

We’ll really only know when the tax credits and other incentives are gone. If the prices paid were actually $28k+ v $34k+, then Prime v Volt would be a lot closer. (Doubly so if Chevrolet keeps trying to force people to load up on options if they want emergency braking and adaptive cruise.)

The Volt is 3 seats in back in name only. No adult (or most children) would actually sit there.

And as to efficiency as it relates to battery size – The Bolt is by far a better choice than the Volt. When the Volt is running it’s gas engine, the Bolt will be “whizzing by on electricity”

The Bolt won’t work for everyone. 3 seats in the back works for a middle child seat or in a pinch if you have to put 3 in their for a short run. Can’t do that in the PP.

The seats aren’t that wide. That’s why the lack of headroom is fine. Adults simply don’t fit in that middle position. Small child only, unless there’s a carseat too… which isn’t narrow enough for the squeeze.

The talk about seats reminds me of how badly the US market needs a PHEV CUV or SUV.

Both companies have CUV’s/SUV’s that would put an end to the backseat drama.

We need more PHEV and EV choices to match the vast number of choices ICE car buyers currently have.

US PHEV SUV? Ummm, howzabout the BMW xDrive40e, like mine? Also American made (Spartanburg, SC) and from the largest net exporter of cars in the US? It could use a little more AER and a bit smaller gas tank, true, but it’s roomy as hell. It’s also a real 4×4 with hill descent control, traction control, 6k lbs. towing, etc.

Bought mine after not finding a Toyota product to my taste (for the first time in a decade).

Okay, haters, go ahead: “That’s not a real EV blah, blah, blah, compliance, blah, blah…” Go ahead.

There’s no need, you’re doing fine!

$62K for 14 EV miles?


Good point. Yes, I did forget about your BMW when I posted. My mistake.

I won’t be the guy saying the range is too short, or that the price is too high, so it shouldn’t count. It counts. It works for you, so it definitely counts. The more options to replace equivalent ICE vehicles the better.

So let me make some adjustments to make my original post better.


The answer to the backseat drama for cars in the price point of the Prime and Volt, is for more car makers to sell moderately priced PHEV SUV and CUV vehicles for the mass market. That’s what ICE vehicle buyers who need back seat space are buying. If we want to pull over these ICE buyers to PHEV’s, more car makers need PHEV SUV’s/CUV’s in these fast growing market sectors.

Middle back seat is the best place to attach child seat. You need seat belt and/or anchors for it though.

Yep, it’s a real problem. The Prime’s 4 seat limit will rule it out for many young families.

“My wife sat in one, then got out and refused to even drive it.”

That’s a fair criticism if that’s your main priority. My wife and I both would refuse to spend 90% of our driving time in a car with only 91 hp.

I’m 6’2″ and have no problem fitting in the Volt with the seat adjusted to sit lower. Plenty of leg room in the front. I drive it pretty much every day.

In fact the Volt even though it has less headroom in the back it has more leg room at 34.7″ to the Prime’s 33.4″.

The Prime is not yet in Toronto, at Montreal Auto Show now for first Canadian Reveal, but will test it out when I see it in Toronto! The Volt – for my 6’3″ – definitely needs to drop the front seat down, and – still leaves me no room in back, without cranking my head way over sideways to jam me in! time will tell on the Prime! I buy cars, if they are 4 doors, all the same way: I sit in and adjust the front seat for me, then check the back seat for fit, comfort, and view, mostly in that order. The Volt is designed for people who buy cars differently than I do! It is a great drivetrain, in a too small car, for my liking! 5’10” to maybe 6′ Tall for Front Seats, and 5′ to 5’6″ in the back, tops! Above that – people start to notice the cramped space! And – as to performance – let’s see what Volt versus Prime looks like at the 1/4 mile track Video’s! And then – just ask me – has a Regular Prius, or Even the Prius PHV from before, been run over because it could… Read more »

I doubt run over but honked at and despised at the least.

12.2 seconds is slow enough to obstruct traffic.

“12.2 seconds is slow enough to obstruct traffic.”

What traffic?

You’re implying maximum acceleration is needed, without any context or example whatsoever. You’ve been greenwashed to believe faster is necessary.

Driving a Prius PHV for 88K miles, I know quite well that is definitely not the case. I don’t have to drop the pedal to the floor when merging onto highways. I have already test-driven a Prius Prime (while enduring the long delivery wait for mine) too. It effortlessly merged onto the 70 mph highway into to traffic in EV mode just fine, even with the electric-heater running.

The claim of obstruction is without merit. Wanting more power to be a leader, rather than just going along with the flow of traffic, is fine. There is plenty of real-world experience proving there is not a need for it though.

I don’t think “greenwashed” is really the word you want here?

Otherwise, I agree.

Note I’m 6’1″ with a 32″ inseam and I’m north of 300lbs. I fit in my 2017 Volt with no issues and have a couple of inches of headroom to spare. I don’t even have my seat all the way back (though I 1 or two notches from having it all the way back).

Rear seating is the issue. Headroom back there in Volt is clearly less than that of Prime. There’s only glass above your head in Volt too, rather than it being protected by the vehicle roof as with Prime.

300lbs? I’m 6’1 and 175 lbs. do you even lift bro?

Glad to see a mainstream magazine like Car & Driver giving a “shout out” to the Volt.

And I’m glad to see that they are highlighting the very important difference between a PHEV with minimal range, like the Prius Prime, and a PHEV with a range big enough to replace ~70% of the fleet’s gas-powered miles with electric-powered miles, like the Volt.

Well actually, with the Volt 2.0’s even longer range, that will be more than the fleet average of ~70% reported at (Well, I see currently it’s at 67.2%. I think someone said the percentage drops during winter?)

Car & Driver is an enthusiast publication. People don’t read it for mainstream vehicle information.

Toyota has something for the masses, capable of high-volume profitable sales even without tax-credit subsidies.

We’ll find out in a few years when the tax credits run out.

Well – which will run out first – the GM Products or the Toyota Products? Already Shipped – based on this websites numbers: GM 122,819; Toyota 47,209! (OK – I did not add in the Mirai for Toyota: 1,034 for the year.)

Remaining to the 200,000 Sunset Clock begins: GM = 77,181; Toyota = 152,791 (or 151,757 after this years Mirai Counted!)! Looks like Toyota has more calendar years to go than GM!

As to the start up – the Bolt EV should (if proportionately continuing) hit about 2,500 to 3,000 deliveries in January, and the Prime should be also able to make it to that level.

For the gen2 2017’s we’re seeing about 80% EV on Voltstat’s, and for the gen2 2016’s we’re seeing 82% EV on Voltstat’s; so gen2 is a measurable improvement over gen1.

“Well actually, with the Volt 2.0’s even longer range, that will be more than the fleet average of ~70% reported at (Well, I see currently it’s at 67.2%. I think someone said the percentage drops during winter?)”


“For the gen2 2017’s we’re seeing about 80% EV on Voltstat’s, and for the gen2 2016’s we’re seeing 82% EV on Voltstat’s; so gen2 is a measurable improvement over gen1.”

So – do these numbers suggest that about 53 miles = about 80% of the needed Range overall, to remove Gasoline, and about 38 miles = about 67% of the needed range to remove Gasoline?

Or – would an EREV with about 85 Miles EV Range, remove all but about 1-2% of the Gas Miles Driven? (Maybe except for the longest of Road Trip Drivers!)

I was going by the Median (middle) not by the mean. That’s because its easy to get the Median from Voltstat’s but we can only get the Mean for all of the cars. The Median for gen1 2013 is 72%: gen1 2014: 76%. So 74% => 81% or maybe 7% improvement on EV percentage driving going from gen1 to gen2. The long road Hwy trips are very hard to cover. But gen2 42mpg highway is reasonable. Gen3 Prius highway is 46mpg, 2017 gen4 Prius Hwy is 50mpg. But the Prius Prime is an amazing 53mpg on the highway. But it drives like a Tortoise.

I’ve seen things written that, based on the US Household Travel Surveys, that say something like 15% of household miles are on one-way trips of 100 miles of more.

I’m never quite sure why in these reviews they bring up the ugliness factor. Sure i guess the prime isn’t the prettiest car although i don’t think its bad. But really thats all subjective and each to their own. I doubt many people buying prius prime are that worried about looks. I’d be more worried about the poor reliability ratings of the gen2 volt in consumer reports. I doubt thats going to be a problem with the prime but time will tell I guess.

The gen2 Volt is almost sort of like a green sports car, than for many runs exclusively on battery except for road trips where it gets 42mpg. I haven’t driven a Prius, but I really like the gen2 Volt

The difference between 106 mpge and 133 mpge is also huge. I wonder why it is so big if curb weight difference is less than 200 lb. Electric motor is not ICE and should not loose efficiency at reduced power. Just air drag should no make that much difference.
Not everybody can exploit some regulatory loophole to get cheap electricity or sell it at retail price to grid, mpge also makes difference.

No, it is garbage statistic. If you step on the accelerator hard at all, the gas engine kicks in. So they only way you will get that higher MPGe is if you drive like there is an egg under your foot.

And besides . . . driving on electricity is so much cheaper that such a difference isn’t that much.

That is absolutely false. Like the Volt, the ICE does NOT come in the Prime when you floor the accelerator in EV mode and battery is not depleted.

Like the Energi twins, the Prime has a fully electric mode and an “EV Auto” mode in which it would run the engine.

choice is good. The Prius is a great addition to the EV marketplace. Perhaps someone will analyze how that got 133 mpge; the Leaf is only 112 mpge and its pure electric. However, the gen2 Volt is in a class of its own as an affordable green almost sports car. It is just a pure pleasure to drive. Both EV and ICE drive identical. GM deserves a lot of credit, and I hope the public rewards them too by buying lots of Volts & Bolts.

I don’t think it should be minimized what a technological tour de force it is that the EV and ICE performance of the Volt is basically indistinguishable! I can only tell the switch has been made if I happen to hear the ICE running.

It’s a substantial difference, but not gaping. In the USA, people are not going to care much about a 2/3 to 1 1/4 cent difference in cost per mile. That should be obvious given that sales of their hybrids have fallen away.

Nevertheless, the Prime offers much more electric driving at a much more affordable headline price, and attracts a better tax credit, so it should be one of the best-selling plug-ins for now. But the greater tax credit and better EV experience of the Volt, combined with deals in the key California market should mean that the Prime will lose some sales from the increased plug-in consideration to the Volt. In particular, while the Safety Sense-P as standard offers some great value in the base version, they might struggle to move the highly-optioned versions.

“The difference between 106 mpge and 133 mpge is also huge. I wonder why…”

There are many, many factors of influence beyond weight & aerodynamics. Pointing out why Prime has a more efficient EV drive than Volt will result in much retaliation though. So, be prepared for spin.

The first reason should be obvious, the electric-motor. The type of wires and how tightly they are coiled are easy to understand differences. You can think of the efficiencies gained from just comparing to CPU design. The material & size make a big difference with electricity consumption too.

The next thing that should easily come to mind is battery chemistry. Tolerances of electrical operation (discharge, temperature, responsiveness, etc) will have a major influence on the output.

Then there’s the not-so-obvious, the controllers & software. So many hardware components and lines of coding could have an impact about how the system operates. Heck, there’s even the connections & wiring to take into consideration.

GM’s emphasis on simply providing more battery capacity reduced the priority of squeezing out greater efficiency from everything else. Toyota didn’t take KWH for granted like that… hence the resulting higher MPGE value.

The PP weighs 200lbs less, has skinny tires, and no acceleration. You know MPGe is a stupid statistic when hybrids get higher numbers that pure electrics.

If the PP is so efficient why does it only get 25 miles with an 8.8kWh battery? That’s 2.84 miles/kWh. The Volt gets 53 miles with 18.4 kWH, or 2.88 miles/kWh. So in EV mode (which most driving will occur in) the Volt is more efficient.

It’s a shame the PRIME’s electric motors are so small. Buyers will need to learn how to put it in hybrid mode before entering highways, but 0-60 in 10 seconds should be sufficient to merge onto a highway.

Or, you’re doing it wrong.

Secondly, how is the fully independent rear suspension of the PRIME worse then the torsion beam suspension of the Volt??? That’s not really possible.

But, yes, if the Volt had more rear seat head and leg room it would kill the PRIME.

And someone needs to tell Mary ( CEO of GM )to start checking build quality of the Volt. CU is reporting it’s dropped, a lot.

Mary T. Barra – GM CEO.

“It’s a shame the PRIME’s electric motors are so small. Buyers will need to learn how to put it in hybrid mode before entering highways…” The assumptions many make online never cease to dumbfound me. You’d think they wouldn’t knee-jerk react to numbers. Yet, we see it all the time. Thankfully, the test-drive experience reveals the true situation. That’s the audience Toyota is targeting, those who give it a try, not those who just read enthusiast publications. The current Prius PHV offers 38 kW (51 hp) in EV mode. I’ve merged onto the highway quite a number of times without the engine starting with mine.  Prius Prime bumps up the EV power to 68 kW (91 hp). So, it’s very clear ordinary driving is easily covered. Spreading of a misconception about a “learn how” owner necessity ends here & now. EV-AUTO MODE is what those reading this need to learn about. That’s a feature Prime offers in between EV and HV modes, when you want to favor EV as much as possible but need extra power in rare circumstances. In other words, that shame above is without merit. Please don’t make assumptions. Upgrades offer improvements. Learn about them.

The main reason Volt is the better is because the Volt has an EPA-rated 53 miles of electric range to the Prime’s 25 miles.

I would like to see an article on the dropping quality ratings of the Volt 2.0. What are the problems? Are there fixes on the way etc?

I agree. Very interested in this. An ‘average’ or better reliability rating from Consumer Reports is a minimum bar for me to consider a used car, and Chevy making that rating for the Volt is one reason I bought a 2012 this past year.

The ‘much worse than average’ they’ve rated so far for the 2016 Volt is a real problem.

According to true delta the 2016 Volt is faring better than the Gen I Volt on average. And the 2017 Volt is doing even better yet. And the Gen I had fairly industry average quality. Gen II seems to be doing much better than average. Only a few minor issues at the start that seem to have been ironed out. My 2017 Volt is now 9 months old and so far has bee flawless.

Yeah, they are biased but I still fully 100% agree. Most people do far more days of short drives than LONG trips. Thus, the larger battery & electric range is more important than the Prius’ better MPG.

(And I also thing the Volt looks much better but aesthetics are subjective.)

Agree with you on the Looks for the Prime, but the EV Range different, for me, is the difference mostly between 1 or 2 charges a week! Both cover my daily drive by a very wide margin, and the Prime would do pretty well covering most of my extended weekend drives with 1 charge just for the Weekend!

I don’t do the commute thing much, but I do like to do long Road Trips, when I am not caching a flight! If I was not awaiting on a Model 3, the Prime could get my attention!

If I had the extra Money – I could use the Prime for a Commuter and the Model 3 just for Road Trips! Gas Usage – Solved! Impatience – (to go Electric Sooner) Solved! (by Getting the Prime Shortly)

Loyalty breeds bad consumer decisions, practically every single day.

And yet if loyalty is what puts a current ICE driver into a PHEV instead of buying another ICE, I’m perfectly fine with that. I count that as a win.

Toyota lost me on this one with the absurdly low power of the electric drivetrain. I’ve wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I’ve decided it’s ridiculous. 12.2 minutes 0-60? Horrible. Worse than a standard Prius.

I can live with 4 seats, but that decision will cost them consideration from tens of thousands of young families over the next couple years.

Of course they did make it very affordable, the cheapest Prius if you can use the full tax credit, so it will sell a fair lot despite it’s handicaps.

I do appreciate it’s benefits, especially Toyota Prius reliability, but I won’t be buying a used Prime.

BenG said:
“12.2 minutes 0-60? Horrible.”

I agree 12.2 minutes 0-60 time is horrible! But the Prius Prime does it in 12.2 seconds. 😉

To look on the bright side, 12.2 seconds is a lot better than the 15 second time in EV mode that was previously reported. Also, the Prius Prime matches the regular Prius’ 0-60 time when it is driven in hybrid mode with a 10.2 second time.

Minutes, seconds, you know what I mean, lol.

I do think it was a mistake not to make the electric motor more powerful. If they’d made it 110-120 hp it would’ve made a big difference in the every-day peppiness of the car around town on electric power.

On the other hand there are a ton of people out there driving Corollas or similar that have ~12 second 0-60, so it’s clearly no deal-breaker for a lot of people.

Actually C&D is dead against Electric, Plugin and Hybrid vehicles. And in this article, they criticized Volt as well.

They mentioned that Volt has only 11 cu. ft. of trunk space while it has 19 cu. ft.

Certainly Volt is much better since it has 53 mile range, can seat 5.

They don’t still make vinyl seats, do they?

Toyota makes cheap ugly cars that are not appealing. They will never be a consideration

Not having driven the Prius as it wasn’t available, I think a lot depends on your use case. I purchased a 2017 Volt in November 2016. It gets me to work and back on a single charge, prime would not. So for me, the efficiency is much better on the Volt. I am still on the first tank of gas the dealer gave me when I bought the car! Going on the months! I live in Canada and there is almost 13K rebate at time of purchase for the Volt – the highest. It also gives you access to high occupancy / green highway lanes so I now spend 5 hours less in traffic per week. The Volt is quick, responsive and fun to drive. Of course not for everyone, all depends on what the majority of your driving is.

Left a lot out. Namely Toyotas rarely have reliability issues. I’ve owned around 10 GM sedans. They are in the shop a lot. My 2011 Prius at 90K has never needed a repair. Nor my 2012 Prius V with 54K. The Prius also gets better MPG. 42 vs 52+. The engineering of the drivetrain is superior. Get the Volt and before you know it some doodad in the cockpit will fail and off to a $900 trip you go.

People who have never owned both like to make unrealistic comparisons of mpg. Mpg only matters when the ICE must be used and the far better electric mileage of the Volt means that for most daily driving many owners don’t need to buy gas for weeks. The Prime just can’t match that usefulness and efficiency factor. If all your driving is over 200 mile trips the Prime is a better choice. If your average drive to work and back is not over 53 miles and you occasionally need to drive hundreds of miles the Volt tops anything on the road. When you average in that first 50-55 miles of all electric into any drive under 100 miles there is just no fair comparison.

Again, are you not aware of the 25 miles of EV that Prime offers?

For those with shorter commutes or the ability to recharge at work, what’s the difference?

Why pay for more than what you actually need? Or put another way, why offer a vehicle with an MSRP so high it won’t be able to compete with traditional vehicles?

Hear is bottom line the designers from Toyota all must be on bath salt their Prius line and hydrogen vehicle are flat out ugly. I had a Prius v you know all you Toyota Prius drivers where you play with gas paddle to stay in battery, if you go over 25 mph your now in gas engine, Ford you can go up to 65 mph in hybrid on battery you dont have to play with gas paddle so who has the better engineering. I have a Volt the Prius is not in the same class as the Volt. You Toyota Lovers their are better Engineered vehicles, more power better riding, better interior, and same reliability.I have had two Volts, Ford C-MAX ENERGI, Ford Focus Electric never a repair. Their are other companys that make better Engineered vehicles then Toyota Toyota has their head in a hole with their hydrogen junk, that will be going no where! Electric is and will be the future. HELLO!

Misleading about the other choices is a terrible approach to promoting electric propulsion. That 25 mph limitation is only prior to the system warming up and only applies to the models without a plug. So, it makes no sense whatsoever even mentioning it.

What do you think the competition is anyway? If you believe it is other plug-in vehicles, you’ve lost your mind. They represent only a teeny tiny fraction of the market. Sales of traditional vehicles are absolutely crushing the choices offering a plug.

Grow up and stop with the rhetoric! There’s no place for that. We need to find ways together to offer affordable plug choices for mainstream buyers that automakers & dealers will gladly supply. That doesn’t come about from misleading.

This only matters for trips between 35-70 miles. If that’s your typical commute go for Volt. Otherwise, Prime will give you better mileage for less. That is, assuming you don’t care about performance, utility, reliability, looks etc.

Sorry, replied to a wrong post.

We owned a 2010 Prius for 4 years until a 600 lb elk decided to jump in front of it. It saved our loves so we have always been prejudiced toward them and looked to buy the Prime version for the plug in. After test driving the new Prius we couldn’t get past the ugly white plastic interior so we took a look at the new Volt. After a test drive we traded in our Highlander hybrid for the Volt. We loved the Prius but the Volt is simply a better looking, better driving, and more efficient car. The full electric miles with no charging anxiety gives it an advantage that Toyota’s technology just can’t match. Car and Driver was right on with their honest review.

Huh? Your comments were about the regular Prius, not Prime. This further confuses what you posted: “The full electric miles with no charging anxiety gives it an advantage that Toyota’s technology just can’t match. Car and Driver was right on with their honest review.”

Are you unaware that Prime provides 25 miles of full electric driving, at speeds up to 84 mph?

With the new electric gas-injected heat-pump, it’s even more efficient than what is offered for Volt. What is the “can’t match” claim about technology based upon?

Are you unaware that Toyota builds other hybrids with more powerful electric motors? Take a look at the RAV4 hybrid. Think about how little it would take to add a plug. Being a SUV with AWD makes it an especially appealing candidate for battery augmentation.

Chevy Volt… always a good decision.

Other than AER and power, which I have no use for myself (but could have in different circumstances), Prime is better in every other category. It even looks better, which usually isn’t its selling point.

I think it’s really a matter of preference, and reliability….having put 300k plus miles on 2006 Prius and having it have no major problems nor having to replace brakes makes a difference….nevertheless I bought a prime, not because it is better or worse, but because I liked how it actually feels on the road when I drive it, and yes I tested the volt too, but Toyota has chevy beat in two areas, a better hybrid system for one, and two reliability but the feature set for the price is also better….I drive less than 10 miles each way to work so range isn’t a factor, and for those who compare speed or horsepower who the f…k buys a phev for speed if if you do buy a tesla