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.

2017 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!