Danielle Villeneuve

Electric: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Hybrids, specifically plug-in hybrids, are not something we drive very often. For 2017, Toyota redesigned the Prius and added a new model with some dramatic styling enhancements. The Prime is Toyota’s all new plug-in hybrid which boasts better efficiency, increased range in EV mode and new technology. We wanted to know more, so we stepped back up to the plug-in plate and spent a week with the all-new Prius Prime Premium.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime 2

The Prius Prime is  the best looking Prius ever made by far – four generations and counting. While developing the new Prius Prime, there was a focus on ways to make the vehicle lighter. So, interestingly enough, the entire rear hatch is made out of carbon fiber. This is something you come to expect from sports car, not a Prius!

2017 Toyota Prius Prime 4

You’ll find the interior of the Prime to be quite airy and specious with its light interior color and simplistic design. The minimalist design pairs well with the futuristic technology and design. The Prius’ cockpit is quite unique with everything centered in the middle of the dashboard. This has been a staple for the Prius since the beginning. Toyota has equipped the Prime with a massive 11.6″ vertical touchscreen. It’s information overload at first. But once you start navigating through different screens, you’ll find helpful apps like the one that locates nearby charging stations.

Over the course of my week with the Prius Prime, I had to train my brain to drive more economically – how you accelerate, coast, and stop all have a huge impact on efficiency. You’re rated on all of these factors by the Prime’s onboard computer, as well as the internal climate settings. This might be the first time a test car has graded us! For me, and anyone with a competitive spirit, this became a game. How well could I do? The best I ever did was 98/100. I’m convinced that the computer won’t give you a perfect score. Nevertheless, it was entertaining.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime 1

Beyond the ratings, the Prius Prime drove very well. It was fairly quiet with the exception of some tire noise. Over the course of the week we barely used any gas, returning 138 mpg – which included both city and highway driving. Its EV range isn’t the best. It claims a 25-mile EV range and most days I got just about 22 miles. Some of its competitors, like the Chevy Volt estimate 53 miles, but with that jump in range comes a jump in price. Unless you’re in EV mode, don’t expect to get out of anyone’s way in a hurry; it’s meager gasoline engine only makes 121hp.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime 3

After a week of re-calibrating your brain with the Prius Prime, you come to realize the case for the car. The phenomenal fuel economy, space age looks, and high quality interior all add up to make an interesting choice. If you’re in the market for a plug-in hybrid, or any hybrid for that matter, the Prius Prime might be the car for you. It might just not be the car for us.

Danielle Assenheimer

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium
Special Color $395
Destination Charges $865
As Tested MSRP $30,060

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