Watch Toyota Prius Prime Get Straight Piped: No, Not Literally

NOV 2 2018 BY DOMENICK YONEY 35

They don’t hold back on the upgraded infotainment screen.

The Toyota Prius Prime doesn’t get much love. At least, not from the general public. It does, however, end up in enough driveways to rank it high on our Sales Scorecard, outsold in the U.S. only by the Tesla Model 3 this year. If you’re curious about what those 22,524 Americans saw in the car that convinced them to pull out their wallets, then this video review from The Straight Pipes (above) might be for you.

In it, Yuri and Jakub go over the car’s vital statistics — 121 horsepower; 105 pound-feet of torque; 40 km (25 miles) of electric range; 1035 km (643 miles) of combined range — before delving into its features and their lists of likes and dislikes. Of course, when it comes to cars in the Prius family, with its long history of polarizing styling, appearances are one of the first things people tend to talk about, and that rings true here. To underline that divisive appearance issue, one of our reviewers here likes the way it looks, while the other, decidedly less so.

When it comes to other aspects of the car, the two find a lot to agree on. The ride, they feel, is plenty comfortable, its handling is nothing to write home about, and the big 11.6-inch screen that comes with the upgrade package is pretty. Pretty useless. Just to touch on some of their qualms, they do like the size of the screen, it’s just that the info found thereon is not especially helpful. It doesn’t have Apple Carplay or Android Auto. The navigation doesn’t feature Google maps or work especially well. It also, despite having a matte finish, can catch a lot of glare, making it difficult to use. Did we mention the general UI (user interface) experience is sorely lacking? Well, we just did.

Despite those drawbacks, The Straight Pipes crew finds the Prime has some things to recommend it. The price makes it one of the more affordable plug-in cars out there and, with it eco-heritage, consumers are comfortable putting their trust in it. Certainly, with those sales figures, Toyota must be doing something right with this plug-in Prius.

PRIUS PRIME

Toyota Prius Plug-In (Prius Prime)
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Source: YouTube

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35 Comments on "Watch Toyota Prius Prime Get Straight Piped: No, Not Literally"

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john1701a

Useless maps? No. Perhaps it was due to their location, in Quebec where they filmed. Here in Minnesota, I get a live feed of traffic flow. That’s quite informative and surprisingly accurate. I have found that very, very useful.

Also, charge-mode was overlooked, something they could have mentioned in their “full customization” comment.

john1701a

One more note… lumbar is available on the models here. Mine has it.

Viking79

I wish Toyota would get over themselves and put Android Auto and Apple Car Play. I have AA on my Clarity, and glad I do as the built in infotainment is useless for most things unless you want offline GPS or something (it is Garmin and looks like it is straight from the early 2000’s, and works like it too).

AP

The Prius has always been and continues to be one of the ugliest cars on the road. They could have redeemed themselves by giving it a decent battery range, but Toyota continues to fight the transition to ev’s with everything they got, too bad.

Threader

if “Toyota continues to fight the transition to ev’s with everything they got” they could of just the left same battery pack as the the 1st gen plug-in alone and called it a day with 11 mile range if they really wanted to fight the future.

john1701a

Toyota’s emphasis on AFFORDABILITY doesn’t count as a fight? Base MSRP for the 2018 model was $27,100.

They have no dependency on tax-credit help and it is technology easily adaptable for other hybrids. Think about how easily a RAV4 hybrid could be upgraded to include a plug.

Toyota’s effort to reach mainstream consumers shouldn’t be dismissed solely on the supposed small size of the battery, especially with so many owners going months between fill ups.

Viking79

I like Toyota fine, but they insisted on going for the wrong market with their hybrids early on and stuck to that path. The only reason they got as mainstream as they did was expensive gas. Their hybrid fleet has been declining since 2015 and continues to do so this year.

Tesla has a lot better plan for clean vehicles and already has more “conquest” buyers this year than Toyota has had in ages, and even Tesla’s US sales are going to far exceed Toyota hybrid sales (at 131,104 year to date, was at 156,843 in 2015 at same time of year).

Again, they are reliable cars, and owners’ really like them, but they will have a really hard time winning new buyers. Most Prime buyers seem to be coming from regular Prius.

john1701a

RAV4 hybrid had been a popular choice and an obvious step to a plug-in. How is that a wrong path?

Dan F.

I like the 600 mile range with 5 min. fill up and 50 mpg at 75. Seriously, this has more practical utility than any electric car (though it carries only four but with no crowding) and costs a modest fraction of the EV’s price. Only negatives are the battery hump in the trunk and the looks. Plus its very reliable, durable, has good resale value and includes the passive safety stuff as standard on the base model.

Counterpoint

*disclaimer: I own a Prius*

You’re right that Tesla has a better plan for clean vehicles, but there’s a big difference between $44,900 (current lowest-price Model 3) and $27,300 (current lowest-price Prius Prime). There are still no electric cars in the sub-$30,000 market that get 200 miles of range or more. Until there are, the Prius Prime fills a gap there as a comparatively inexpensive plugin hybrid until full electric cars with 200+ mile range can be sold in the same price bracket.

Dan F.

This car gets an approx. $4500 tax credit and $1500 rebate in CA plus any dealer/Toyota USA discount, rebate or financing deal. It’s a screaming bargain if it doesn’t make you scream too much when you look at it!

Prsnep

I like the look of the Prime. Am I the only one?

Kimmo57

I think it’s just fine, too. The non-plug Prius on the other hand is the most hidious thing ever made.

dimitrij

I wish it could be a little un-crumpled and de-creased.

CarGuy

Toyota bases designer pay on how many creases they put into their cars. Gives them the pre-wrecked looked. Kind of like jeans with cuts in them.

Prsnep

Those creases are functional.

Tm21

You missed theaders point.

TM21

Scan Gauge II will allow you to fix the reverse beep.

I own one of these and agree with most of what they say. I would happily trade a few inches of screen real estate for some physical buttons for the A/C and maybe a radio volume control. Or, if they just did a better job on laying out the user-interface, that would be fine too. Especially when looking at the two smaller screens at the top, I feel they really just tacked on some PHEV stuff to the regular Prius software and didn’t do a really good job of it.

However, I must admit, that of all the cars I’ve ever owned, this one absolutely wins when it comes to being comfortable and having amazing visibility from all directions. I would hope that some day Toyota will double the range on this car and maybe give it a slight performance boost. But as far as PHEVs go, it is definitely the most affordable.

Bob

Hybrids should not be on the list

CCIE

I didn’t actually watch the video. Do they mention that it’s slower than a 3-legged tortoise and has less electric range than your grandfather’s golf cart? Any objective buyer would run for the hills…. Leaf, Volt, Bolt, Model 3, Pacifica PHEV, Outlander PHEV are all better options.

Any objective buyer? I only see one person not being objective here. First of all, car buying is a very subjective thing to begin with. What pleases one person doesn’t please everyone. All of the vehicles you listed are more expensive than the Prius Prime.

CCIE

After getting the full tax credit and dealer discounts, the Volt is about the same price as a PP. And it’s a much better car. Ioniq PHEV and Clarity PHEV also deserve consideration. My point it that there are so many options out there are so many better options out there now. Only someone with blind loyalty to Toyota would buy the PP.

It makes me sad to see people buy the PP and think that driving electric means tolerating a slow car with low range. Plus we all know Toyota wants EVs to die in favor of fool cells, so spending money on their products makes no sense.

john1701a

GM exploited tax-credits for conquest sales. They didn’t focus on delivering something for their own customers. Like you, they focused entirely on “out there now” and didn’t consider the consequences of not focusing on profitable high-volume sales instead.

Quite the opposite of that is Toyota, who has focused intensely on designing a system to appeal to their own shoppers on their own showroom floors. Someone with an interest in Prius will be drawn to Prime. It’s an affordable solution, without dependency on tax-credits.

This is why the next-gen RAV4 hybrid is so important. It’s path to a plug is a simple one, something those with interest in RAV4 will take into serious consideration. This is the same reason why Toyota is rolling out a plug-in model of Corolla hybrid in other markets next year.

You aren’t a Toyota shopper. So, what you think doesn’t matter anyway. Know your audience.

CCIE

I’m an EV shopper/owner, so my opinion matters as much as anyone here.

Toyota is fighting EVs tooth and nail, as evidenced by regular posts here quoting Toyota/Lexus execs saying the world is not ready for EVs.

If not for GM, Tesla, and Nissan we would still be living in a world where HEVs were the closest thing to an EV available. Toyota wanted us to stay in that world because they dominated it. And, now that they’ve missed the boat on EVs, they’re trying to make Fool Cells look like a viable automotive technology.

john1701a

That’s a narrative being spread to avoid facing the reality of EVs not being cost-effective enough to compete directly with traditional vehicles. Turning a blind-eye to the mainstream market is why what you think doesn’t matter. As for most everyone else here, they are early-adopters. Know your audience.

Toyota is striving to deliver affordable choices that will actually be embraced by their dealers to stock & sell.

How effective has that been for the other legacy automakers?

john1701a

As for that claim of missing the boat, there’s no substance to such a statement. We are still very much in the early-adopter stage, which is clearly defined as the time when sales are not directly subsidized. Mainstream sales don’t include tax-credits. They are just ordinary transactions from dealer to vehicle owner, purchased at a nearby location without any government incentive.

None of the EV sales here have been in that manner yet. So, there’s no merit to “ahead” or “behind” assessments of status. That stage… which represents actual change to the status quo… has not begun.

CCIE

Tesla will be done with the federal tax credit soon and it seems like they will be able to adjust pricing to keep the Model 3 selling well.

Toyota tried to keep the EV boat from sailing, missed the boat, and now they’re trying to sink the boat.

john1701a

Know your audience.

Null

Concur!
Cars that sluggish are dangerous in traffic.

Rodger

I replaced my 08 Prius with the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV due to the better ground clearance and storage space. Very pleased with it so far…my fingers are crossed for the reliability component which the Prius reputation has established.

David Schwartz

I have a 2017 PP Premium (the mid model). I hate the fact that there are no knobs or buttons for adjusting A/C, the audio, etc. The touch screen is so sensitive that brushing it slightly with a fingernail can change some setting, and if you weren’t looking, you have no idea what happened.

The nav won’t let you adjust it while you’re in motion; thankfully it lets you adjust everything else while you’re driving or you wouldn’t make it out of the garage. Unfortunately, the lack of knobs and buttons forces you to actually LOOK AT that big screen whenever you want to make an adjustment, which I find dangerous. Give me things I can touch without looking at them!

Also it DOES have a lumbar adjustment, and you CAN charge the battery while you’re driving, but it only makes sense while on long freeway drives. It charges at a rate about 1/2 mile for every mile driven.

I have 6500 miles on my PP and aside from a recent 1800 mile trip, only about 800 miles were using the gas engine. I don’t find the 30-mile battery range to be much of a problem.

vdiv

Thanks David! Do you have any impressions of the rear seats and trunk space?

john1701a

Trunk space has never been an issue for either my wife or I. (We both have Primes.) Stuff fits in there just fine. It’s deceptive how much the thing can actually swallow up. On long trips… we’ve had 2 from Minnesota to Wyoming and several up north… we just drop the seats. There has never been any issue about space.

As for the rear seats, they are comfortable. Never having a fifth passenger means never having to squish. It’s just like Toyota stated, they are targeting former Prius owners who’s family has now grown up.