The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is the plug-in variant of the fourth-generation hybrid. It is capable of operating as an electric vehicle for up to 25 miles on a full charge using its 91 horsepower. Once the juice runs out, the 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle inline-four, which is good for 95 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque, kicks on and the Prius Prime becomes a regular hybrid Prius — except this one is eligible for a California HOV lane sticker.
Fitting of its badge, the Prius Prime is frugal at the pump, achieving 55/53 mpg city/highway when in hybrid mode. But since All-Stars is not a fuel economy competition, the Prius Prime needed to show competence in many other areas to be named a winner.
One such area is value. The $30,060 Prius Prime Premium that joined our competition came standard with key features that cost thousands on some of the other contenders, including adaptive cruise control, pre-collision assist, and a navigation system with an 11.6-inch screen.
Did our judges find any others? Well, yes.
Design editor Robert Cumberford found the car “quiet, smooth, and well able to stay with traffic. Detroit bureau chief Todd Lassa said it “transitions seamlessly between full EV and gas engine,” while contributor Marc Noordeloos felt this was “a Prius where it feels like Toyota actually tried in regards to the chassis.”
Will a good standard equipment package, good fuel economy, and few positive attributes get the Prime over the line? Come back on March 11 to find out.
2017 Toyot5a Prius Prime Premium Specifications
|PRICE||$29,665/$30,060 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||1.8L DOHC 16-valve Atkinson cycle I-4/95 hp @ 5,200 rpm, 105 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm;
permanent magnet AC synchronous motor/91 hp; total system output 121 hp
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD hatchback|
|EPA MILEAGE||55/53 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||182.9 x 69.3 x 57.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||11.0 sec (est)|