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2018 Toyota Prius Prime: How Does It Compare to the Chevy Volt?

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author photo by Autotrader January 2018

Sliding into our long-term 2018 Toyota Prius Prime always makes us wonder just how it stacks up against the 2018 Chevrolet Volt. There are lots of reasons to compare them, not the least of which is that they're both plug-in hybrids. Beyond that, they only differ an inch here or there when stretching the tape measure across them. On the other hand, whether it's the entry-level version or the top-of-the-grade range, you can get into the Toyota for significantly less money than the Chevrolet.

When talking plug-in hybrids, however, there are a number of areas that demand comparison. We wanted to see exactly how the 2018 Toyota Prius Prime stacks up against the Volt in the areas that matter most for a hybrid. Here are the results.

Price

The Volt comes in two trim levels ranging in price from $34,095 for the LT to $38,445 for the Premier. Available in three grades, the 2018 Toyota starts at around $27,100 for the entry-level model and tops out at $33,100 for the Advanced. In between is the $28,800 Premium.

Both cars are well equipped, but you have to add an option package to the Volt to have drive-assist/safety technology like lane-departure warning that comes standard with the base Prius.

EV Range

Motoring under electric power only is why most consumers buy a plug-in hybrid. The idea is to travel as much as possible without calling on the gasoline engine. Here, the Volt has the edge, delivering as much as 53 miles on a full charge. The Prius will take you up to 25 miles on a full charge. Once the battery is out of juice, both cars fall back to their gasoline engines. Total battery and gasoline range is up to 420 miles for Volt and 640 miles for the Prius.

One of our staff noted of the Prius: "...driving 70 on the interstate would deplete the battery considerably faster, especially if the A/C was running."

MPGe is government speak for a measurement of miles per gallon equivalent for the electric-only operation. For the Volt that number 106 MPGe, and for the Prius it's 133 MPGe.

Charging

Charging stations are becoming more commonplace. Owners with a plug-in can not only charge up at home, but often at work, in parking garages while shopping and even at the airport. Using a household-type outlet, the Prius can recharge in about 5.5 hours. The Volt requires roughly 13 hours. Using a 240V outlet like your clothes dryer requires, the Prius can recharge in just over two hours, while the Volt needs about 4.5 hours.

Behind the Wheel

We have driven both cars extensively. Of course, we have a long-term 2018 Toyota Prius Prime in our fleet, but we've seen a lot of the Volt, as well. We've found that neither car is particularly exciting to drive. Both offer a fairly comfy cabin with all the popular features, but the interiors are more utilitarian rather than luxurious or upscale.

Staffers have universally praised both cars for their whisper-quiet operation, as well as their drivability. When it comes to urban driving, both do exactly what we expect them to do -- neither disappoint.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Toyota Prius Prime: How Does It Compare to the Chevy Volt? - Autotrader