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2018 Toyota Prius Prime: Long-Term Introduction

We’re adding a Toyota Prius Prime to our long-term fleet. With all the talk of the new Tesla Model 3 and some reporting the price can be as high as $55,000, we thought it might be good to check out a few cars that can do a similar job for much less money. Plus, we’re curious to see how the plug-in Prius Prime is to live with every day.

What Is It?

The car we opted for isn’t your everyday Toyota Prius; it’s the Toyota Prius Prime. That means it’s a plug-in hybrid similar to the Chevrolet Volt or Ford Fusion Energi.

Here’s how it works: With a fully charged battery, the Prius Prime can go roughly 25 miles as an electric vehicle (EV). Outside temperature and driving habits can impact this, but we expect the EV range to be no better than 35 miles in perfect conditions and as little as 15 miles in extreme cold or with an aggressive driver. Once the EV charge is depleted, it becomes a more traditional hybrid using a combination of electricity and a small gasoline-powered engine (1.8 liters).

In hybrid mode, the car is estimated to get 54 miles per gallon. When combined with the EV range, the estimate jumps up to 133 MPGe. MPGe stands for miles per gallon equivalent. Since the car has both an EV-only mode and a gas/electric mode, strict mpg numbers aren’t appropriate, as the efficiency of electric cars isn’t measured, nor is electricity consumed in gallons.

Our Prius

The Toyota Prius Prime starts at about $27,100 versus a non-Prime (or non-plug-in), which has a base price of $23,500. Essentially, you’re paying a little more than $3,000 for the privilege of having a car that both plugs into a wall and runs only on electricity and works like a traditional hybrid. If you’re really on a budget, check out the Prius c — it’s the cheapest way to get into a hybrid.

The Prius Prime doesn’t really have typical options like with some cars. Instead, there are three different versions of the Prius Prime — Plus, Premium and Advanced. The Plus is the base car, and it is exactly like a normal Prius with just a few exceptions and, of course, the plug-in feature. Premium adds a few more comfort and convenience features, and Advanced is the top-of-the-line version with a slightly nicer interior, safety features and a huge center-mounted touch screen (11.6 inches), which is very similar to what you might see in a Tesla. In the end, the extra stuff adds up to a grand total of about $35,000.

For that price, the Toyota Prius Prime includes LED fog lights and LED accent lights, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, color head-up display, Entune JBL audio with navigation and remote control apps that let you control and/or monitor your car from your smart phone.

We’re expecting to have this Prius Prime for about a year to see how it holds up to everyday life, including daily commuting, road trips, baby seats and the occasional "mommy and daddy need a break" semi-fancy dinner sans kids. Look for updates every two weeks. Find a 2018 Toyota Prius Prime for sale

Check out our 2018 Toyota Prius Prime New Car Review

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Actually, the efficiency of pure electric cars (or pure electric drive, as the Prime provides for about 25 miles) is measured. The units are miles/kWh (kilowatt hour). As you can guess, the Tesla Model S is less efficient than a Chevy Bolt for all the reasons that would be true if they had internal combustion engines. The leading reason is weight.

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Brian Moody
Brian Moody is an author specializing in transportation, automotive, electric cars, future vehicles as well as new, used, and certified pre-owned advice. He also specializes in liking ridiculous cars like the Buick Reatta, Studebaker Lark, and the GM A-Body wagons from the late 80s and mid-90s. Why? You'd have to ask him. Brian graduated from Cal State Long Beach and has been creating written... Read More

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