Long-Term Review

2018 Toyota Prius Prime Ownership: Long-Term Wrap-Up

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author photo by AutoTrader September 2018

In the year that we've had our 2018 Toyota Prius Prime tester, this plug-in hybrid has been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of popularity with our staff. Some liked it for its futuristic styling, some were unimpressed with its electric range, but everyone can seem to agree that it's a big improvement over the old Prius Plug-In that it replaced. As we prepare to say farewell to the Prius Prime, we decided to look back on our year with it to sum up our thoughts.

Our Prius

The Toyota Prius Prime starts at around $27,100, whereas the regular hybrid Prius has a base price of $23,500. This means you're paying a $3,000 premium to be able to plug your car in so that it runs entirely on electricity, while still having the capability of working like a traditional hybrid. There are three versions of the Prius Prime -- Plus, Premium and Advanced. Our tester was the top-of-the-line Advanced model -- coming in around $35,000 -- which gave us a more premium interior, additional safety tech and an 11.6-inch center-mounted touchscreen, similar to what you’d find in a Tesla.

Over our year with the Prius Prime, we found out exactly what it would be like to own one, from service visits (which could not have gone more smoothly) to morning commutes and cargo loads.

Made for Millennials

Our intern, Ally, was probably the Prius Prime's biggest fan on our staff. She really liked the styling, and as an environmentally conscious millennial whose lifestyle isn't ideal for EV ownership, she loved its functionality as a plug-in hybrid. Ally was amazed that she could drive a Prius without getting made fun of by her friends.

Like just about every electrified car, the styling on the Prius Prime was a bit polarizing. Most agree, however, that it's an aesthetic improvement over the regular Prius hybrid. Another thing everyone seems to agree on is that its cargo space is disappointingly limited due to the extra equipment the Prius Prime needs to carry as a PHEV.

Range & MPG

It's no surprise that the Prius Prime makes a great, economical commuter, but our editor, Rob, discovered that it's also great for long-distance road trips. He made a 500-mile round trip from Atlanta to Charlotte and enjoyed not only the astounding total range of the car when it's battery and gas tank are both full, but the handy features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. He was also plenty comfortable in the Prius Prime's white leather seats.

While the Prius Prime has an excellent total range of about 600 miles, it can't be ignored that its electric range is only about 25 miles. That's less than half of the electric range of the Chevy Volt, which is 53 miles. However, the Prius Prime is so good on gas when it does run out of electric juice that it takes some of the sting out of running out of electricity. And, if you’re really diligent about plugging it in like we were, you can see fuel economy numbers like 235.1 miles per gallon, which is pretty unbelievable.

In Conclusion

Overall, the Toyota Prius Prime is a solid plug-in hybrid option for someone looking to go green without the hassle of range anxiety. It has a couple of the downfalls of many cars in this category, such as limited cargo space, and it may be behind its top competitor in terms of electric range, but impressive MPG, futuristic styling and tons of premium features will surely appeal to lots of buyers out there. All things considered, the 2018 Prius Prime is definitely a step forward for Toyota in electrified cars for the masses, and we’ll be sad to see it go.

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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 Ownership: Long-Term Wrap-Up - Autotrader