Prius Prime Plug-In "It's PrimeTime"

AUTO REVIEW: For 2018 the Prius Prime Plug-in can be a commuter that doesn't use gasoline Tap for original link for story

Toyota Prius Prime
Toyota Prius Prime PHoto Courtesy of Toyota
Toyota Prius Prime
Toyota Prius Prime PHoto Courtesy of Toyota

Driving Toyota’s Prius goes a long way towards convincing people that you are a serious, thrifty person committed to using technology which treads lightly.

And if you are going to consider a hybrid vehicle, perhaps you should plan to get the plug-in kind, like Toyota’s Prius Prime.

Why the plug-in? Because the extra cost of buying it might let you drive, for instance, to work and back every day without using any gasoline. That being the case, there’s a pretty good case for it. In the case of the Prius, this may be a car made and sold by Toyota, but culturally, it is a brand all by itself.

The Prius Prime is, according to Toyota the most technologically advanced model of the car. It is also the top various versions of the Prius. The Prime is new for 2017 and is the most technologically advanced Prius. More than that, it’s bigger and looks much more aggressive than other Prius models. 6.5-in. longer, 0.6-in. wider and 0.8-in. lower than the model it replaced.

That lowers the gasoline engine, electric motor and seating positions increasing headroom while improving the car’s aerodynamic stance. Thanks to these design changes the car has a 0.25 coefficient of drag among the lowest for current production sedans. It also gets additional features which help reduce drag, including automatic grille shutters and 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels with aerodynamic covers painted in a two-tone scheme and using low-rolling resistance tires.

Inside the cabin the differences show that Toyota no longer wants the Prius to be a statement of the environmentally concerned. They want it to appeal to mainstream drivers who simply want the fuel efficiency, no matter what the reason. But more importantly they want the features and touches available on most any other car. So that’s what Toyota’s giving them.

The car still has the central instrument panel, which Prius has had since the beginning. The base model gets dual 4.2-in. full-color multi-information displays, and the driver can change their content by using steering wheel controls.

Move up to the Prime Plus and that changes to a 11.6-in. multimedia touchscreen, which operates much like a tablet. If you go to the Prime Advanced, you get the premium 10-speaker JBL audio system. and Prime Apps. The Prime Apps gives you three years to try their smartphone “trial’. With it you can use your smartphone for remote charge management, a charging station map, your own eco dashboard, remote climate and vehicle finder.

The mechanicals of the car work to make the Prius even more useful, thanks to being a plug-in hybrid. Charging using a standard household outlet takes less than five-and-a-half hours, or approximately two hours when using a public charger or other 240V source.

But there is a gasoline engine, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, shared by all Prius liftback models,

The combined with the electric motor and the planetary-type continuously variable transmission, the net output for the Prime’s hybrid system is 121 hp. The numbers from the EPA are also good.

With a range of 640 miles, the EPA fuel rating is 55 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway. The electrically appropriate rating, the miles-per-gallon equivalent is 124 MPGe 124. In pure EV Mode Toyota says you can drive — carefully — for 25mi. The maximum speed in EV mode is 84 mph.

Perhaps more importantly, the Prius can actually be fun to drive. It has more pep than previous versions, and handles at least as well as any other small sedan. With enough power to play with, it is actually fun to cruise through the twisties on a Saturday morning. That’s something you wouldn’t ever expect to consider.

But in the bigger picture, what is perhaps more important is that this car isn’t a niche product anymore, so it gets the same capabilities and features of mainstream models. So, Prius Prime comes standard with more active safety features of any hybrid in its class. These include Toyota Safety Sense, a multi-feature active safety suite. In it are the pre-collision system, lane departure alert with steering assist; adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. The Prius Prime Advanced model also comes with standard blind-spot monitor and a rear cross-traffic alert.

There are three models, starting with the Prime Plus. This is the base-level equipped version. Its MSRP begins at $27,100. Next up is the Prime Premium, which gets some additional features in the interior, including the huge 11.4-in touchscreen. Its price begins at $28,800.

At the top is the Prime Advanced with even more features as well as special cues that it’s tops, and creature comforts not normally found in hybrids that don’t come from the luxury segments. Opening price for it is $33,100

But you get more that fluff for your money. The Prius Prime plug-in can be used by many as an EV with a gasoline insurance policy. With an all-electric range of 29 miles, many people can drive to and from work in it without using any gasoline most days. But should plans change your EV turns into a hybrid and gets you wherever you’re going. Take that mister Tesla.

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Categories: Green

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