First Drive: Toyota Prius Prime – Better Than The Original In Every Way

JUL 11 2016 BY JAY COLE 109

Toyota Prius Prime - not unexpectedly better than the outgoing Prius PHV in almost every way

Toyota Prius Prime – not unexpectedly better than the outgoing Prius PHV in almost every way

One of the most anticipated plug-in vehicle debuts of 2016 is the upcoming Toyota Prius Prime (don’t call it the Prius PHV…although it is still called that in Japan).

Toyota Prius Prime debuted in the US in March (InsideEVs/Tom M)

Toyota Prius Prime debuted in the US in March (InsideEVs/Tom M)

The second generation of Prius plug-in gets twice the battery capacity of the older model, now with 8.8 kWh – which gives the Toyota a 22 mile/35 km real world (EPA) range – up from just 11*miles/18km, along with blended efficiency mark of 120 MPGe – up from 95 MPGe.

Full model details/specs can be found here.

Even more important to sales than the extra range will be the pricing, and while that is not yet know, we know via the new/larger battery pack, it will get an incentive boost from the US federal government – up to $4,168.

To start the media blitz rolling this month, Toyota has flown out ‘Prius personalities’ and journalists to Japan for a first drive.  Naturally, Danny from Priuschat was one of those to make the trip (why not? it is “the source” for all things Prius after all).

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Arrives In The Is In ~ November/December

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Arrives In The Is In ~ November/December


  • striking new look, as if the current generation Prius was getting a product refresh after less than a year on the market
  • Prius Prime Chief Engineer Toyoshima-san tells PriusChat many features in the Prius Prime would have been on the standard version, had the company had the extra development time
  • redesigned tail lights helps the rear of the Prime look less bulbous than the hybrid Prius
  • as we highlighted a few months ago, the solar option on the Prime will not be available outside of Japan, as it was a marketing decision to not offer the $3,000 option, ditto for CHAdeMO outlet
Toyota Prius Prime Interior

Toyota Prius Prime Interior

Only thing we aren't a fan of in the new Prius Prime, more trunk filled up with the larger 8.8 kWh battery

Only thing we aren’t a fan of in the new Prius Prime, more trunk filled up with the larger 8.8 kWh battery


  • mostly unchanged from the standard Prius
  • that is except for a 11.6″ touch screen option in the higher trim levels and,
  • only 2 seats in the back instead of 3 – which PriusChat calls “regrettable”, the Prime weights in 300lbs heavier than the petrol version (at 3,362), so the seat apparently had to go
  • on the plus side of the seat deletion, the 2 remaining seats are far more livable, and now have dedicated cup holders and a padded armrest in lieu of the pedestrian finish for the 3 standard rear seats
And A Good Look At That Rear 4 Seat Configuration (L2 charging equipment tucked nicely away)

And A Good Look At That Rear 4 Seat Configuration (L2 charging equipment tucked nicely away)

Toyota Prius Prime 11.6 optional center infotainment center - some concerns are raised whether Toyota can meet the user interface expectations of today's EV buyer familiar with the likes of the Tesla Model S and BMW i3

Toyota Prius Prime 11.6 optional center infotainment center – some concerns are raised whether Toyota can meet the user interface expectations of today’s EV buyer familiar with the likes of the Tesla Model S and BMW i3

2017 Prius Prime LED Headlamps

2017 Prius Prime LED Headlamps


  • the Prius Prime isn’t a Tesla, so there is no drag race showdown, but PriusChat finds the Prime “superior in every measurable way to the PiP”, which to be honest was…not so good
  • 8.8 kWh vs 4.4 kWh translates to 22 .2 miles AER vs 11 in the outgoing model
  • 11.3 gallon gas tank capacity (identical to the standard) vs 10.6 gallon in 1st gen PiP
  • 120 MPGe vs 95 MPGe
  • more importantly however is the maximum all-electric speed is now 84 mph/135 km/h, the old version which (if you were lucky) could stay in electric mode up to 62 mph/100 km/h
  • new heat pump system, which is 30% more efficient than the first model (at 14 F) and “more importantly, keeps you from having to engage the ICE to get heat in the winter”
2017 Toyota Prius Prime $3,000 solar option - not available anywhere but in Japan

2017 Toyota Prius Prime $3,000 solar option – not available anywhere but in Japan

A note on the frequency of the combustion engine turning on during “in demand” situations.  The original Prius PHV would turn the petrol engine on if you looked directly at it the accelerator was pressed too hard at launch, or ever past the halfway point to the floor.  Once on, the car did an extended warm-up dance, ensuring you would continue to burn gas for the foreseeable future.

Not so this time apparently, “While the first Prius Plug-in wanted to be a hybrid first, and begrudgingly an EV second, the Prius Prime WANTS to be an EV.”

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

Danny describes his limited interaction with the Prius Prime on the track in all its modes:

“My driving opportunity consisted of 4 laps around a test track, the first lap in EV, the second in hybrid mode, third in EV, and final lap in hybrid.

In hybrid mode, the Prime performs exactly as you’d expect the standard Prius to perform. In EV mode, it performs better. The 0-40 acceleration is quicker in EV mode than in the standard Prius’ HV mode. The Chief didn’t offer any exact numbers yet, but he did show us an acceleration curve illustrating the difference. Now we’re not talking Tesla Model S or BMW i3 0-40 acceleration, but there’s an appreciable amount of torque available and better yet, 100% throttle is available in EV mode.”

The important takeaway in our opinion?  In EV mode, 100% throttle is on tap…no more ICE circling over your head like Spiderman waiting for criminals to step out of line and rustle them up.

PriusChat says the drive reminded them of other plug-in vehicles on the market today (which is a good thing), and the car had confident acceleration, and a redesigned regenerative braking system, which is slightly more aggressive – but not to the extent of Model S “single-pedal” driving.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime From Above

2017 Toyota Prius Prime From Above


Even PriusChat will say that they didn’t have enough time to draw out a full conclusion on the Toyota Prius Prime, but having owned and being so closely associated with the 1st generation Prius plug-in, the improvements are very significant and a move forward.

“For all of the many people in the forums who have been holding off on buying a new Prius until the Prime launch, I think you’ve made the right choice and you’ll be happy you waited.

Given the other choices available out in the market today, Toyota’s eco crown has seemingly lost some of its luster. Not only does the Prime put the shine back on that crown, it’s the best Prius they’ve ever built.”

Full review at PriusChat, Hat tip to offib!

Categories: Toyota

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109 Comments on "First Drive: Toyota Prius Prime – Better Than The Original In Every Way"

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Certainly better looking than the current Prius.

Just a little less lousy than the original. Come on ICE car makers. Ditch the ICE! There is an unprecedented environmental catastrophe coming fast and all you care about is the profit of a handful of shareholders.
ICE car makers and Hydrocarbon corporations are criminals.

I notice how you always complain about ICE car makers and not ICE car buyers. Interesting, that.

However, I’m surprised to see that you say the Prius Prime is “just a little less lousy than the original.” Given that you’ve chosen a regular (non-plugin) Prius as your vehicle of choice, I would think you would hold the original in higher regard.

To be fair, I guess there would be more EVs sold, if there were more different EVs to be had.

Want a midsize saloon and an EV?
Want a compact SUV and an EV?
Station wagon EV?
Small sports car EV?
Minivan EV?
Anything but a large luxury sedan/SUV, a compact, or a subcompact hatchback?

No chance, getting that combination.

Other than that, you are right, its also the consumers. But I can’t see a lot of effort to enter new segments within the EV market.

I guess the situation will improve, with Nissan and VW going for a wider EV portfolio, in different segments. And of course Tesla edging its way down the luxury ladder. Until then, lots of want-to-be EV buyers, will be stuck with the option of getting the wrong car, or the wrong powertrain.

It is true that the choice is limited .
But the consumer we see everyday driving alone in the multiple platforms available in ICE is not 19 times out of 20 choosing the right product for his need.
The right vehicle for the right person does not seem to be the primary concern of consumers.
We can blame the manufacturers , authorities, government and all those in position of power with reason , nothing prevents each individual to make better choices.
For better or worse, this situation seems to suit too many.

I wasn’t talking about the best car for the daily purpose, but the car, or at least the segment the person wanted to shop in.

I have heard it too often, people don’t just buy the wrong car. They might not buy the ideal car, but most of the times they buy the car they think they need.

If you see a parent of 5 children driving an empty minivan, that person didn’t buy the wrong car, just because its empty at the time you see it.

Some might buy a car thats unnecessary most of the time, but there is always a reason, even if it exists only in the head of the consumer.

So if there is no EV option, the consumer will face the choice of buying the supposedly wrong car, or the wrong powertrain. (if the consumer wanted an EV in the first place)

EV disinformer Spider-Dan said : “vehicle of choice” Well it was in 2007, and it will be wisely used until :
Tesla Model 3 reservation number : 10840xxxx

Well, people vote with their dollars.

When a hardcore EV advocate like yourself screams for more-and-better-EVs but – 6 years and 2 generations into the modern EV era – still prefers to drive an ICE… well, you are indistinguishable from the other 99% of drivers who choose not to drive an EV.

But yeah, maybe in 2018 you’ll finally decide to put your money where your mouth is. Until then, I guess it’s a lot easier to bash the companies that are actually providing affordable EVs today, and bash the “filthy gas guzzling” PHEV drivers… as you merrily continue to drive your ICE.

Personal attack again. The car I drive is very efficient for my use and my budget, and this is none of your business.

I don’t think it’s a personal attack at all; I am simply holding you accountable for the positions you advocate.

See, you regularly deride PHEVs as “filthy gas guzzlers” and insist on total BEV purity, while dismissing the fact that current BEVs are either wildly expensive or have significant usage limitations that greatly impact their practicality.

I submit that despite your aggressive rhetoric, in reality you fully understand the limitations (either logistical or financial) of today’s BEVs. You are unwilling to accept these limitations, which is precisely why you choose to drive an ICE.

What I don’t understand is why you continue to demonize PHEVs that are far, far better for the environment than the ICE that you choose to drive. PHEV drivers have already put over a billion grid-or-solar-sourced EV miles to the road.

You deny making a personal attack, then you do just that, again. You contradict yourself, making a distinction between car makers and car buyers(the buyer’s fault), then you imply that we, as buyers, do not have any reasonable choice “current BEVs are either wildly expensive or have significant usage limitations that greatly impact their practicality.” You willingly ignore that the limitations of today’s BEVs are built in on purpose to NOT sell them. PHEVs are not much better than a Prius, if your yearly mileage is high, and a Prius is still much better than the average ICE car. I chose it in 2006 as the best choice, and I usually keep my cars as long as they work well. I repeat, PHEVs are an unnecessary step, a way to delay affordable long ranged BEVs, as the industry began to roll out by the turn of the millenium. Then, instead of improving the 1999 GM EV1 Ni-MH (105 miles EPA2015), the 1999 RAV4-EV Ni-MH(90 miles EPA2015)and the 1998 Nissan Altra-EV Li-ion(85 Miles EPA2015) they removed them and crushed many. Hybrids are not a bridge toward pure electrics, WE WERE ALREADY ON THE OTHER SIDE 15 years ago! If you wish… Read more »

“PHEVs are not much better than a Prius, if your yearly mileage is high, and a Prius is still much better than the average ICE car. I chose it in 2006 as the best choice, and I usually keep my cars as long as they work well.”

Classic case of someone is making excuses…

Again, you can blame automakers for not giving a 300 mile BEV that cost $15K (yes that is your unrealistic request).

But we can also blame people who insist on driving 100% gasoline cars such as your Prius while ignoring the choice of PEVs that will save people gas.

Also, your claim of “yearly driving” high is just plain idiotic. Is that your case? If so, then how does a 200 miles BEV such as Model 3 solves your problem in Canada where there is very few charging stations?

Within 200 miles, a Volt still burns less gas than your Prius when fully charged.

Stop making excuses. That is why we found you annoying.

It is not a “personal attack” to point out when an individual advocates for solutions that they themselves find intolerable.

That, in essence, is my rebuttal: your positions are so unrealistic that even you won’t follow them.

I like my hybrid, but I know that ICE car makers can do 10 times better for this climate of ours.
But what can you expect from ICE car makers sitting on their cartel with Big Oil?
I don’t think Elon Musk (really) started Tesla just for the fun of it. ICE car makers had begun to offer good EVs 20 years ago, but killed them in order to make more profits.

A century of broad poisoning of life on this planet is enough! Internal combustion engines are archaic inefficient technology. Putting them in cars and naming the “hybrids” is only a way to perpetuate the ICE era and protect their business.

Pure EVS are the way of the future for their efficiency and ease to “fuel” with multiple clean and often free sources.

The battle disinformers are fighting is protecting the poisonous expensive and mandatory vs the free clean and independent.

Once again: customers like you (exactly like you, in fact) are voting with their dollars and telling GM, Toyota, Ford, etc. that they aren’t interested in EVs and that they’d rather drive ICEs.

The automakers are simply responding to market demand.

What do you drive? (Forget that, I won’t believe you anyway…)

And what would you have voted for with your dollars in 2006 ?

It is 2016. Time to vote again.

Since you asked:

I currently drive a 2017 Volt that I purchased in March. Since I purchased it, I have driven electric over 94% of the time, resulting in a net of 670+ MPG.

This 2017 Volt replaced a 2013 Volt that I leased 3 years ago. Over the 3 years I had that car, I drove electric over 90% of the time, logging over 31,000 EV miles.

So when you say “PHEVs are not much better than a Prius” and that PHEVs are “a way to delay affordable long ranged BEVs,” my counter is that I have put over 35,000 EV miles to the ground since 2013, saving nearly a thousand gallons of gasoline from being burned. But according to you, saving a thousand gallons of gas is meaningless because I did end up burning 100 gallons on the rare occasions when I had to use gas.

Your position is essentially that if your gas usage is not 0, then using 100 gallons of gas is “not much better” than using 1000. Suffice it to say that I do not subscribe to this absurd position.

“…can do 10 times better”. No offense, but non-engineering people always seem to think things are easy. I’m not particularly picking on you Rexxsee, I’m just making a very general observation that applies to many. The new Plug-in-Prius Prime is a very, very impressive vehicle, and its not my concern that many turn their nose up at it. The original Plug-in-Prius was the second most popular plug-in in my area of the country, possibly because people desire luxury, but people in general are more poor here and have to especially value-conscious in their purchases, electric cars included. The 40% thermodynamic efficiency of the engine is fantastic – there are only a few very large (5000 hp) General Electric stationary engines (mostly used for central station powerplants), where this efficiency has exceeded 50% – but then these are continuous duty ICE’s that run at a higher temperature, and the first-cost is of almost no object. To have 40% in a vehicle is unheard-of. For comparison – a State-of-the-Art vehicle in the early 1900’s, the Titanic for instance, only achieved 6 1/2% efficiency (out of a possible theoretical 8%). And before the jokes start, this was such a technological marvel at the… Read more »

I noticed how ALL paid disinformers on any site NEVER feed a conversation on the ecological topic… NEVER! They will prefer attacking the person personally or change subject.
(But maybe a few will a little only to contradict my remark)

So says Spider-dan it is no use blaming others not to do what it takes or do poorly when your own actions are even more questionable.
When you are severe for others, you first need being for yourself, otherwise it is lamentable.
Your Prius was the best choice for you at the time of purchase, why criticize the choice of another person for a vehicle capable of traveling 35 kilometers on electric power while it will never be possible with your car.
But you know all this, is not it?
When you buy a pure EV, let us know.

On dirait que tu m’en veut personnellement Djoni à te voir à toujours redire sur mes commentaires. Relis ce que j’ai écrit et sache que si j’avais le choix économique, j’aurais une Leaf en plus de la Prius. En réalité j’ai été très malade pendant des années, et sans assurances, les finances tombent.

Ou bien c’est toi qui tombe dans le piège des désinformateurs qui attaquent ma crédibilité à toute occasion sur la fragile base que je conduis une Prius. Doit-on obligatoirement jouer au hockey pour être un fan coudonc? Parlent-t-ils de leur VUS?!?

Comme toi, mes écrits sur le sujet compensent largement pour le peu de CO² de plus que j’émets et sur lequel je sacre à chaque plein de gaz. grâce à un maigre héritage de ma défunte mère, j’aurai les moyens de m’endetter pour un Model 3. On vote avec notre fric n’est-ce pas?
J’espère que ça clos le débat et que tu commences à comprendre ma situation?

Au contraire Rex,
Je t’aime bien et qui aime bien châtie bien.
Mais tu pointes trop souvent les autres du doigt, c’est tout.
C’est du moins ainsi que la plupart perçoivent tes remarques.
Tiens tu crois que je tombe dans un panneau par ma naïveté, ce qui très drôle pour moi.
Mais cela agace plusieurs, car tout comme toi, ceux qui font des choix sous optimaux ont des raisons valables de le faire, selon eux.
Bien sûr les manufacturiers en font trop peu, mais cela a toujours été ainsi.
Peu importe, les restrictions environnementales les y obligeront.
C’est tout simple ça.
Fais attention à ta santé ET celle des autres!

Well said.

It’s easy to point the finger and say that everyone else should drive fully electric but it’s not practical for me. PHEVs increase the practicality of EV driving for many people, and that’s the point: to reduce petroleum consumption.


It makes me feel sad, that you need to disclose so much of your personal situation just to defend yourself.

I hope at least some people now feel ashamed…

People please don’t forget that all(most) all of us are ev advocates. Stop fighting.

I myself drive a stinking old diesel. (mostly I’m not moving at all but that’s another story…)

The people who claim that we vote with our dollars are right, but they might fail to understand that some of us have less choices than they do have.

Again. We all have different opinions, we all live in different situations, we all know not enough about each other to have any right to judge. Nonetheless we all still do that.

If we want to help ev revolution, we need to stop. Stop fighting each other.

“If we want to help ev revolution, we need to stop. Stop fighting each other.”

I agree.

But does the BEV purist like RexxSee ever stop attacking PHEV like the Volt?

I would have celebrated any forms of PEVs, even the Prius Plugin if it fits their need an they are trying to do more to save gasoline.

But some people will somehow always change the PHEV into “just another hybrid” to confuse the topic and group something that can be driven on electricity with something like a “non-plugin” Prius.

That repeated attack is what bothers me while we are all trying to support the EV movement in our own ways.

“I noticed how ALL paid disinformers on any site NEVER feed a conversation on the ecological topic… NEVER! They will prefer attacking the person personally or change subject.”

So, when others point out your fallacy, they are all paid disinformers? LOL.

So, it is okay for you to buy a Prius back in 2006, but it is okay for others to buy a PHEV today since both you and others did that for the best solution that they can afford?

That is the problem with you.

You make me say things I never said again.
And tell me about the Toyota fanboyism BullSh*t you accused me of yesterday, kindly erased by the moderators?

I never complain about what PEOPLE are buying, I hold CAR MAKERS accountable for not offering good ranged BEVs that they can ALL build right now at a good price, that’s all.

I know too well how easily marketing can twist the average Joe’s judgment and condition him to want a pickup truck he don’t need and can’t afford, to unconsciously get the chicks and the big male voice this propaganda sells him.

“You make me say things I never said again. And tell me about the Toyota fanboyism BullSh*t you accused me of yesterday, kindly erased by the moderators?” Made you? Luckily those statements in “” are directly your comments. You often criticize of others as being shills for Oil company when they disagree with your position or often called them Tesla stock shorting interest, did you not? That it the problem. You feel it is okay to be openly critical of other solutions when you and yourself are driving something that are 100% gas burners. “I never complain about what PEOPLE are buying, I hold CAR MAKERS accountable for not offering good ranged BEVs that they can ALL build right now at a good price, that’s all.” BS. You complain about the product that people purchased with their money in hoping to help the same clause that you are preaching. You are complaining about those products as shills for oil company which implies that people who buy them are doing exactly that. That is why we point out your choice of buying a Prius. “I know too well how easily marketing can twist the average Joe’s judgment and condition him to… Read more »
“I hold CAR MAKERS accountable for not offering good ranged BEVs that they can ALL build right now at a good price, that’s all.” Time after time, you repeat this crap without a shred of evidence that is true. All you ever bring up is how much EV1 cost in leasing and if they continue, how much it would have cost based on how fast computer cost reduction has been. That is a load of crap estimation without any facts backing them up. Until today, even Tesla who has the lowest battery cost in the industry still can’t produce a low cost affordable BEV. Up until recently, the biggest li-ion battery usage has been personal electronics which has steadily driven the battery cost down. Ni-MH battery used in EV1 was NEVER good enough for longer range EVs due to the far poorer energy density required. So, your complains are based on a bunch of estimate that has zero evidence. They are nothing more than a bunch of conspiracy theory which are repeated tirelessly over and over again here for no value whatsoever. Maybe if you bring something more interesting to discuss, I wouldn’t have been as irritated with you. As… Read more »

You know what? If I was only “annoying” like you said below, you would not read me or care to respond. But on the contrary, you and other industry shills go to great length trying to discredit me, attacking me personaly with thin facts such as I drive a Prius. Else you lie and distort what I say.

Its a good sign that what I have to say is disrupting your agendas and that I’m right on target.

ICE car companies can do much much better and all those rare, lame and over expensive BEVs on the market are only for the show, the anti-marketing plans to kill or delay good EVs as long as they can.

I find it amusing that you complain of “industry shills”… as you tell everyone that the current (affordable) BEVs are a terrible, intentional attempt at failure, and that PHEVs are an unnecessary step that don’t make any real difference over driving an ICE.

Gee, if I can’t afford a BEV with a monthly payment more than my mortgage, the rest of the BEVs are all crap, and PHEVs are a waste of time, I wonder what category of car I should be buying instead? And I wonder what kind of fuel it takes?

I suppose from a certain perspective, you ARE practicing what you preach.

“Better in every way”, except only 4 seats…..

Glad to see Toyota re-enter the plug-in market. I hope they sell tons of them.

Yes, 4 seats definitely pulled the plug for families.
With no regrets except perhaps the photovoltaic roof that I would have liked on the Model 3. But who knows, we haven’t seen unveiling 2 yet.

What’s the rear seat head room. Four ADULT seats?
Can anyone 6 foot sit back there?

Sounds like the Energi’s just got left in somebody’s dust, assuming Toyota prices it correctly (which they usually do).

I think that is the right way to look at the Prius Prime, which is to compare it to vehicles with a similar range.

As an Energi owner, I would say since it’s a 2009-2011 era design I would certainly hope the Prime surpasses it.


Although I heard that Ford is doing some updates?

My memory is failing me.

Ford’s 2017 ‘update’ is now 21-22 miles AER, but nowhere near the 120 MPGe. So the only remaining benefit of the Energi is the 5th seat (visual preferences aside).

Gas mode performance?


Non-Hatch trunk (small but can be useful, it is good/bad depending on what you need).

Just be glad that we now have more choices. Choices is what will push the EV market forward.


price is everything, much like the Outlander PHEV if the prime is cheap and plentiful it is a very exciting development. If it is made in small numbers and sold as a “Halo” car, with a halo price tag it is a bad joke at best.

How so? They have five seats, the same AER, and the C-Max has more cargo space…

…and you can buy a lightly used Energi for under $15,000.

I don’t know where you live, but only a handful can be had around here (CA) for under $20K. Most are $21-22K, even a 2013.

My mistake, you were talking about C-Max, not Fusion. Yes, C-Max’s are cheaper, but also get worse mileage. Prime is 25% better at both MPG and MPGe.

Interesting that they would opt out of the 5th seat after the Volt got so skewered for that in Gen1 that they added it in Gen2.

Doesn’t matter. Toyota fans (which there are awefully lots of them) will hand over their money willingly.

As #1 automaker in the world, Toyota shares the most blame for NOT willing to build BEVs.

They have the biggest loyal customer base!

A lot of their fanbase have moved on to buy BEVs and other plug-in’s, since Toyota’s offerings are weak in those categories.

Still plenty of them left with huge Prius owner base…

Yes, some buyers have defected to LEAF, Volt and Tesla, but those are still minorities compared with the solid Prius base.

Toyota still got the best reputation in the auto industry and when it moves, people pay attention.

Therefore, Toyota still have the biggest pull and thus the biggest blame for not moving to electric faster.

I’m a big Toyota fan with a BEV as well.
The good news is that this car can work exclusively as an EV, so Toyota could (fairly easily) make it a BEV in the future.

Glenn Garry said:

“…this car can work exclusively as an EV…”

Well, I suppose it can for those whose commute never involves travel more than about 22 miles… or maybe 15 miles in winter, if you live where it gets cold.

But there is a reason why the Volt 2.0 has an increase in EV range, from the original Volt 1.0 having a 35 mile range, to now 53 miles. The longer the range, the more people can drive it while hardly ever burning gas.

22 miles of AER while hardly ever burning gas isn’t going to work for many people.

You’re forgetting that the Prius Prime has an energy conserving vapor-injection heat pump, as opposed to the crude electricity-sucking resistance heater in the Chevy Volt. The gas infection function allows the Prius Prime’s to work more in colder temperatures and more efficiently in cold temperatures than an ordinary heat pump.

We’ll see this winter if the Prius Prime’s vapor injected heat pump significantly reduces AER loss in cold weather.

OK. For arguments sake let’s say the Prius Prime with vapor injection heat pump gives the owner 18-20 miles in winter to the electric heat hog Volt’s 40 miles.

That’s still over double the EV range even in winter.

I would bet the main benefit of ‘vapor-injection’ is to reduce the horsepower requirement in the summertime. In the winter time you want all the heat you can get.

Well, GM is the #2 car company (after recently swapping the lead between GM and Toyota yet again). So I’m not sure just size is the key factor.

“Well, GM is the #2 car company (after recently swapping the lead between GM and Toyota yet again). So I’m not sure just size is the key factor.”

GM is still #3 on the list at global level for all vehicles sold for 2015.

I don’t know how that “car” count is determined. Is that US sales only?

MMF I disagree a bit; perhaps its because its where I live.

Volts are the most popular plug in here, followed by PIPS, SmartEd’s, and Leafs, and for a while you’d see an occassional IMEV and Tesla – very surprising how extremely rare they are around here.

Ralph Nader used to criticize the old GM since 1948, that “electric cars were ‘just around the corner’ “, while never actually intending to build them in any quantity. The old GM single-handedly killed electric transportation by sabbotaging the electric streetcar and train infrastructure, by buying up the private companies through front companies and then arranging bankruptcy.

What got GM off the dime was TOYOTA Mistakenly thinking the GM was actually going to produce a hybrid. Toyota was so successful that it forced GM to invest in the technology.

The new PIP Prime, depending on pricing, will do very well around here and make plenty of converts to plugin cars.

Yes, but the #1 automaker in the world doesn’t have a BEV at all?

Does that help the EV movement?

Yeah, it does help the EV movement any time the largest car maker in the world comes out with a plug-in that has double the battery size.

Of course, the jokes about 3 penlight batteries now being upgraded to 6 penlight batteries and hogging all the public charging stations at the superfast charging rate of 2.3 kw (or whatever blinding rate prius’ charge at), is also true.

Oh, I don’t know. The people who will buy a Prius probably don’t care that much about how the car looks, and the people who will buy a Fusion Energy probably do care (or at least, care a lot more).

Fusion Energi buyers probably also want 5th seat.

Fifth seat makes an essential difference but even without that, the Fusion Energi is indeed more attractive.

Ford also decided to increase the ev range to 22 miles which put it at the same level as the Prius Prime.

“Now we’re not talking Tesla Model S or BMW i3 0-40 acceleration”

Or the acceleration of the car that it should be compared directly with, the Volt. The Volt has a faster 0-30 than the i3 even.

LOL, good one. I’ve owned both, and the BMW i3 should soundly spank the Volt at all speeds. Evidence?

The 2016-2017 Volt is faster 0-30 mph than the i3 in EV driving but the i3 is faster at higher speeds. This is according to BMW and GM specification data but independent tests have found similar results.

As someone that’s driven both, this would only be possible if you are careful when applying throttle in the Volt and don’t just spin the front wheels.

Since the i3 is RWD, accelerating hard from a stop with no wheel spin is dead easy.

I often accelerate as hard as I can from a stop and I’ve never spun the wheels in my Volt.

Is that Gen 1 or Gen 2 Volt?

Gen 1 Volt almost never spins the front tires (except for low traction surfaces).

Gen 2 Volt can spins the tires.

I currently own both. Jeff N is correct. The Volt is faster 0-30. The i3 is much faster on up to 60. When launched correctly without wheel spin the Volt is very quick to 30.

When driving the i3 I can clearly tell that the i3 is slower off the line with its 184 lb.-ft. of torque compared to the Volt’s 294 lb.-ft. But when you stomp the i3 at around 10-20 mph it really moves.

Strangely the Volt is only .6 seconds slower in the 1/4 mile.

Not interested, I want model 3.


And keep waiting for 2018 (201-2020 if you want anything close to $35,000 MSRP)

This is long overdue. I recently traded in my Prius for a Volt, but I would have considered the Prius Prime if it had come out a year earlier.

Would it have changed your decision?

Do you prefer the longer EV range of the Volt over the better mpg in the Prime’s gas model? Do you prefer the better performance of the Volt over the roominess of the Prime?

It’s hard to say if it would have changed my opinion. As soon as I experienced the torque of the Voltec I was hooked. It is far superior to the electric motor in the plug-in-Prius I had driven. However, if the Prime is as improved as this review suggests, it definitely would have made my short list, especially if it has more interior room than the Volt.

Of course if upon seating five and good look, there was a 50 ev miles fusion energi that would have been the winner take it all.
But since there isn’t and Tesla got serious about an affordable 200 miles ev with supercharger access, 400000 decided to take that road instead.

At a fifth of the range? My 2016 Volt gets 53-56 mi battery range. I was shocked at the 22 mi range of the Prime. They can’t even match the Volt. The Prime rebate is much less than the $7,500 Fed and the $1,500 State (CA)!

Happy to see the EV range and performance improvements!

But sad to see that Toyota pulled a “first generation Volt” and removed the middle rear seat. For many of us, that is a significant hit to the usability of the car.

2016 Prius has a GVWR of 3,915 pounds.

At 3,362 pounds curb weight, the Prius Prime GVWR (if unchanged) would give it only 553 pounds of actual cargo capacity.

That’s not much for 5 people; children are lighter but also tend to bring a bunch of additional gear with them.

2016 Volt is 3543 curb weight. I can’t find its GVWR anywhere (including the official owners manual!), but the pre-2016 Volt had an 800 pound cargo capacity for four passengers. I imagine the 2016+ is at least that high for 4.5.

I think we will see some good sales.

I’ve said before that toyota gets an unwarranted negative rap in the comment section here.

Tesla’s little Prius has taken more carbon off the street than all the tesla’s combined.

Don’t believe it?

Go calculate the numbers and report back.

This will sadly outsell the ’17 Volt, despite being an inferior plug-in product. Toyota marketing runs circles around GM’s.

That, combined with the fact that all of the Toyota dealers nationwide will probably be happy to sell it.

I’m not surprised that the Prime is faster than the regular Prius. But what does surprise me is that it is faster in EV mode. I figured the larger battery would allow them to use more amps to get better performance along with the gas engine. But with a battery not much bigger than a Ford energi, I figured it didn’t have a discharge rate good enough to perform that well in EV mode. It’s possible they used a battery pack that emphasizes performance over range (much like the regular hybrid’s battery pack does). If that’s the case, I’m sort of disappointed. I think most people would have preferred to have more range at the expense of performance (thus using the ICE to compensate for power)

Personally, I’d rather not have the gas engine come on twice every single day just because I have to punch it up a busy interstate on-ramp just so I can merge into traffic without getting killed.

Having it do that on electricity is a great advantage.

Also, more powerful electric motors can sometimes actually be more efficient than smaller motors at the same load. I’m not going to say that is what is happening here without actually having some data to back it up. But it is a possibility.

So it is possible that drivers can have the best of both worlds. If you don’t punch it, it is very efficient. But if you do have to punch it, it has power. The driver decides based on their own choices.

It is also possible to keep the battery for long range and to use capacitors for the few seconds of higher energy burst. These have improved as well and they could be what Toyota used in the Prime to give that extra power.

I’m happy to see Toyota finally going the correct direction regarding plug-ins. Next step, add more battery and put in more models (example Camry).

Look for these blocking chargers everywhere. Lets charge my 6 AA batteries for 3 hours while I watch a movie!

I’ve had a 2nd look at the pictures and I have to wonder why you would cool or warm one arm of the rear seat passengers? surely 2 more central vent locations would be beneficial?

Back when styrofoam (and McDonald’s) was a good thing.

Rick (no, not that Rick)

Wow! Jason Alexander could dance! (sort of)

Contrary to popular belief, Jason Alexander is a very good dancer. He’s very light on his feet!

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I don’t recall the McDLT’s being that big in real life. Must have suffered from “shrinkage”;)

@ Just_Chris

I pretty sure that is the air intake for the air-cooled lithium-ion batteries. Below is a pic of the air intake for the NiMH batteries in the 3rd generation Prius.

Twice as much range as the very embarrassing 11-12 mile range of the older Prius Plug-in isn’t exactly going to give the Volt a run for its money, and compared to the coming 200+ mile BEVs, the range is positively laughable.

I, for one, am not impressed with this baby step of progress.

“Twice nothing is still nothing.” — Cyrano Jones, (classic) Star Trek: “The Trouble with Tribbles”

Toyota’s got to try the infinite almost zero ev range drive. That would work.

Emo Philips: “I asked my girlfriend how much she loved me when she met me. She said zero. Then I asked her how much she loves me now. She said a million times that.”

Considering that the ice probably won’t fire up but maybe every third day or more … and we already know the regular Prius is a good 200,000+ mile car…… then the Prime ought to las a looooong time if Toyota stays true to form.

…. And the rear seat looks hi-tech,.. Like some place you’d want to sit and play the latest 3D video games… Or at least flick paper footballs into the “bedpan”

Congrats Toyota on producing a very fine PHEV!
… what I would be saying if it was the year 2010.

Instead, I’ll say “Congrats Toyota on releasing a vehicle that still doesn’t even match the performance specs of the 5+ year old Gen 1 Volt.” *slow clap*

Wow, no comments yet on how cringe-inducing the styling is. The Prime does appear slightly less gauche than the Prius, but Toyota as a whole has entered a very ugly phase. It’s like they reacted to the Mirai critics by saying “Well if you didn’t like that; get a load of THIS”.

I agree fully, but beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, so I consider it not worth arguing over. If someone likes this look, more power to them. I, however, do not.

Damning with faint praise.

I am always surprised when I hear ecological arguments against plug-in hybrids and in favor of the EV’s. I expect more and better from people on the site because I expect them to be better educated on this topic. First of all it depends on how clean the grid source of energy is. But for the sake of argument let’s assume 100% clean renewable energy. If we spent decades and trillions of dollars to convert every single light duty passenger car in the US to 100% electric along with the supporting infrastructure and clean grid, where would that get us? A 3% reduction in greenhouse gases. Look it up yourself…US producers 20% of annual greenhouse gases and 30% of those come for the transportation sector and half of this sector is light duty passenger cars…20% x 30% x 50% = 3%. Clearly we will get more bang for the buck by attacking the main sources of greenhouse gases: deforestation, coal lectricity and heavy industry. Someone mentioned conspiracy theories about oil companies trying to suppress electric cars… I disagree, I think oil company actually enjoy promoting electric cars as a green symbol (and people on the site and elsewhere are actually… Read more »

While I agree with your stance that PHEVs are just as good if not better for their environmental impact than BEVs… I’m never seen this 3% math before. In fact, I’ve always seen quite the opposite.

Actually, my point was that neither PHEVs nor EVs have much environmental impact (3% for GHG). As far as local air quality, it all depends on the grid mix and how far away the power plants are.
What I was trying to say is that we should NOT be promoting these cars as some sort of solution to climate change, but we SHOULD be promoting plug in cars as a way to get off of oil and all the problems with petroleum – wars, trade deficits, etc.
As far as the numbers you’ve heard, I’d be curious what they are and where they came from?
It is simply fact that US produces 20% of global GHG and passenger cars in USA comprise 15% of this 20%, or 3% of the global total.

Kudos! That’s a very good metric: gallons saved per kWh. Most people judge the how green an EV is by the size of its battery, but this metric shows how much bang you get for your buck by measuring per kWh. 😀

I agree that gallons saved per kWh is a very clear and easy to visualize metric; thank you Scorpion.

Given the initial hit of green house gases to produce each kWh of battery (as documented by the Ford Labs article recently published on this site) its a good bet that the best environmental strategy is to purchase a PHEV with as many kWh as you need on most days. There are many variables such as how “dirty” your electricity is, but buying only as much battery as you need seems like a good rule of thumb. So far this has been easier on the wallet too.

Coooool – very modern car – it has even a toilet right to the driver and the passenger 🙂

There is nothing said about the price for the new Prius, but I think that is going to cost over $30K. With only 22 electric miles per charge, I dont think that will represent a competition for the 2017 volt with 53 electric miles. It is a beautiful car though, but I think that it needs more battery power.