Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

Green Car Reports (GCR) drove the new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime and seemed impressed. It exceeded their initial expectations made during a previous, brief test drive in California. This time was more of a trek that covered 279 miles of mixed highway and local driving, over multiple days, with three consecutive overnight charge-ups, in cooler weather.

Inside the Toyota Prius Prime

Inside the Toyota Prius Prime

Overall, Green Car calls the Prime a "viable competitor" to the Chevrolet Volt, despite the fact that the Volt boasts more than double the Prime's 25 miles of electric-only range. Further elaborating on the comparison, the review notes that the Prime is "by far the closest competitor to Chevy's Volt."  Prices are somewhat similar, especially when considering that the more expensive Volt gets a larger incentive. The Prime comes out about $3,000 cheaper with all considered.

The folks at GCR are obviously not the only ones enamored with the Prime, as we have witnessed 781 sold in November.

Notable Takeaways:

  • 48.7 real-world miles per gallon (the Prime is EPA rated at 55 combined)
  • Of the 279 miles, over 30% were covered by the battery
  • Engine "never" switches on if the battery is charged
  • Engine kicked in prematurely one time at startup in cold temps (however it didn't stay on, and despite the cold it never came back on while charged)
  • Toyota has substantially increased heat conservation
  • 72 mph was no problem in electric-only mode
  • 0-20 mph is always electric-only, even in hybrid mode
  • Gas engine is noisy
  • Cabin noise reduction is impressive
  • Strong acceleration for stop-and-go traffic (but nothing like the Volt)
Wrapping up the review, GCR pointed out some other valuable information, although it is not specific to the EV factor of the vehicle.
  • Parking brake will provide noticeable damage to your left leg
  • Seat heaters are hard to find and operate
  • Interior is white and sparkly and glossy (maybe some people like that sort of thing?)
  • Automatic high-beams were slow to respond, but impressive
  • Adaptive cruise control follows very far, despite closest setting
  • "Garbage-truck-like" beeping in reverse (that may have a shut-off ... somewhere hidden ... or not at all)
With all of this being said, it's another plug-in with exceedingly positive potential to appeal to many, and to attract consumers toward the segment. Bravo!

Source: Green Car Reports