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2018 Toyota Prius Prime Ownership: That's a Prius?!

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author photo by Ally Sabath July 2018

As a recent addition to the Autotrader editorial team, I'm slowly making my way through our long-term press car test fleet. Two weeks ago, I was handed the keys to the 2018 Toyota Prius Prime, which is a plug-in hybrid version of the well-known Toyota Prius.

Now, when I first told my friends that I was driving a Prius, they all laughed -- most of them have this notion in their heads that the Prius is an ugly hatchback and couldn't picture me driving one. But as I rolled up to dinner one night, all my friends' jaws dropped. "That's a Prius? That's not at all what I pictured the car would look like!" exclaimed one friend.

The 2018 Prius Prime is a sleek, futuristic-looking hatch without the frumpiness of most hatchbacks. The only flaws of the design, in my opinion, are the limited cargo space and the random teal accents on the air conditioning vents. As a millennial, I grew up with the mindset that it's up to my generation to be environmentally conscious. The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime allows me to be conscious without having to give up good looks.

Being in my early twenties, I'm tempted to do it all: baseball games, comedy shows, concerts, new restaurants, road trips -- I can't sit still! Unfortunately, I have to remind myself that I'm a broke millennial, and I have to ask myself a few things before taking action:

How much gas do I have in my tank at the moment?

Can I afford dinner and gas?

If I offer to drive, will everyone ACTUALLY chip in for gas?

I wonder how far I can make it with the gas light on?

Do you see the underlying problem in these questions? With a combined fuel economy of 58 miles per gallon, the Prius Prime has allowed me to enjoy my social life with more ease. Those questions no longer run through my head every time I'm invited to go somewhere.

About a month ago, I drove our long-term 2018 Nissan Leaf for a few weeks and decided that electric vehicles (EVs) aren't for me due to a lack of convenience. Not only is it difficult to find public charging stations, charging the car at home was also problematic, because there are five cars in my driveway most of the time. Maneuvering cars to get to the garage outlet became the worst part of my day.

While many of the same issues apply when I try to charge the Prius, I feel at peace knowing the car has a gasoline engine in addition to the battery, so range anxiety isn't an issue. With that being said, it's important to remember that the more often you keep the 2018 Prius Prime fully charged, the greater your fuel savings will be. The car has a short EV-only range of about 25 miles, so it would be in my best interest to charge the car as often as I can, but the EV mode of the car is pretty irrelevant to me. I mostly rely on the hybrid mode of the car and never feel a sense of urgency to charge it. The fuel economy of the car is still outstanding, regardless of whether or not you're frequently plugging it in. A plug-in hybrid just may be the perfect combination for a millennial like me.

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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: That's a Prius?! - Autotrader