It’s early in our 2018 Toyota Prius Prime adventure, but three things are already apparent.
First, ride and handling are dramatically improved. Our original idea was, "Could this car take the place of a Tesla Model 3?" I haven’t driven the Model 3, but I’m guessing it’s a sportier, more performance-oriented car than the Prius Prime. But the recent redesign and double-wishbone suspension improves the Prius’s ride and handling immensely. Will it feel like BMW 3 Series? No. But it does offer a nicely buttoned-down driving experience that many other hybrids (including past Prius models) lack.
Second, techies will love this car. The 11.6-inch touchscreen is cool enough to get my 15-year-old son to ask "What kind of car is this?" Trust me, he NEVER asks about cars and has expressed little interest in driving. But this time, his comment was followed up with another car question. For me, this is like my birthday, the first day of summer and Christmas morning all rolled into one. The second question was "Do all these screens and stuff make this car complicated to drive?" I said, "No, you just push this ‘power’ button and move the lever." His response "Hmmm. I might want a car like this." In our house, this has never been said. Never a discussion of cars or driving — my kid is simply not interested. He likes technology and video games, so for him, the Prius Prime with the Advance package is like a giant communications device that also just happens to get you around town. I have to admit, I’m kind of on the kid’s side here — it’s pretty cool and not what I would expect from a Prius.
Tons of MPG
Finally, there’s the fuel economy. I’ve gassed the car up once — the first tank I added when we initially got the car — and haven’t had to visit a gas station since. The car’s in-car miles per gallon indicator says I’m getting 199 mpg. The EPA estimate (remember this is a plug-in hybrid, so it can run on just electricity for 25 miles at time for as long as you want to keep charging it up) is 133 mpge. I won’t be able to check the actual mpg until I can run through a whole tank of gas and then figure it out the old-fashioned way.
Here’s why I’m getting such high fuel mileage: The weather in Atlanta has been very mild lately — temps have been between 50 and 80. I live 13 miles from work. That’s close enough to get me all the way to work on electric power, and then I can usually get most of the way home and only the last few miles are gas/electric.
Also, my employer has free EV charging stations at the office, which, for me, means an entirely gas-free commute most days — the days when I get in early. I usually get to the office by 7:00 a.m. or earlier. When I do that, no problem, lots of chargers available. When I travel a lot and feel like sleeping in a little, the chargers are almost always taken. Still, it’s making the Prius Prime the kind of car that essentially functions like an EV but with the option of driving farther. Find a 2018 Toyota Prius Prime for sale
Check out our 2018 Toyota Prius Prime New Car Review