Efficiency on the plug, on the gas, safety and features will make new owners smile. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Oct. 3, 2016 First look at the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime from the floor of the NYIAS was eye opening. And oh how things have changed for the better. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime PHEV-25 - $27,965 to start including the $865 D&H charge while offering 25 miles of all-electric range, a 55/53 mpgUS city/highway rating as a standard hybrid and a world beating 133 MPGe rating in blended Electric and Hybrid Electric mode. A $4,500 Fed Tax Credit and numerous state incentives including $1,500 state tax rebate in California, Massachusetts and Rhode Island make it a steal. This 2017 Prius Prime has been a hard target on my radar since we completed the static detail overview in April. Why? Content for one. The 11.6” Hi-Def screen brought some of Tesla’s Thunder to the masses. The previously announced doubling of its all-electric range over the first gen Prius PHEV made it very competitive and that result has been increased yet again by the addition of 3 miles over the original release spec. The new front grille inlay and fascia, rear dual wave rear glass with race track rear lighting, and new rear fascia changes the way some feel about Prius Primes design vs. the polarizing 4th gen Prius front and rear end. What we did not know and I have been concerned about over the past 5-months was pricing. In my head I was thinking Toyota was going to announce that a base Prius PHEV would run $32k with a fully loaded trim reaching close to the $40k mark. This is the type of pricing that creates “Dead on Arrival” offerings no matter how efficient or feature ladened. With the intro and my concerns laid out above, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard about the three trims content and especially pricing. No, make that exuberant to hear about the trims and pricing. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Prius Prime Plus, Premium, and Advanced Family Exterior. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Trims and Pricing Prius Prime Plus for $27,100 A more upscale Prius Prime Premium for $28,800 Fully loaded Prius Prime Advanced for $33,100 There are no option packages meaning what you see is what you get. Add $865 D&H to the above for an MSRP you can expect to see at a Toyota dealership Nationwide. And what do you receive with the base Prius Prime Plus? A ton!!! Prius Prime Plus Interior. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Plus Drivetrain - On the propulsion front, 121 net system hp is available from the heavily atkinsonized and 40+ percent thermodynamically efficient 1.8L I4 combined with a newly redesigned two motor hybrid system. The smaller MG1 is now clutched away from the engine to provide propulsion along with MG2 (larger traction motor) under certain circumstances allowing up to 84 mph EV driving. It also provides similar 0 to 60 mph performance as the lighter 4th gen Prius, and highway efficiency that matches the most efficient hybrid in the world, the Prius Two Eco’s world class 53 mpg! Prius Prime’s Super-Efficient 1.8L I4 and Prime PHEV-25. EV, ECO and POWER modes are also standard. When it comes to electric only driving, the 265 lb. 8.8 kWh Li-Ion traction battery provides an EPA rated 25 miles of all-electric range (AER). It also has a warming system so when plugged in, it keeps the battery temperature closer to optimal so you can drive away under in EV mode in temps below freezing. To charge the large 8.8 kWh pack, expect 5.5 hours on a std. 120V Level1 circuit available from any outlet in your home or just over 2 hours on a Level2 as the charger itself has been upsized from the previous gens 2 kW unit to 3.3 kW now. Like the Prius PHEV before it, the Prius Prime allows the driver to choose EV (run the pack down to near flat) and Hybrid (save whatever charge is in the pack for later use). There is also a Charge mode allowing drivers to run the engine harder to recharge the battery for later city use for example. Given the fall off in efficiency and lack of a substantial charge increase during said period of higher fuel consumption, it is not recommended in my short testing of the systems. Chassis - The platform uses the Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) with hot-stamped and high strength steels that are both lightweight and strong providing a solid connection for the double-wishbone independent rear end which provides improved road holding and lower body roll while keeping ride harshness to a minimum. It also has a very useful 33.4 ft. turning diameter which is tighter than both the 15” wheel (33.5’) and 17” wheel (35.4’) gen 4 Prius. Considering curb weight(s), the Prius Prime Plus/Premium and Advanced with their aluminum hood and brake calipers, and carbon fiber rear hatch structure come in at 3,365/3,375 lbs. vs. the standard Gen 4 Prius Two Eco/ Three, Four/ Three and Four Touring at 3,010/3,050/3,080 lbs. respectively. Quad LED headlamp detail. Exterior - Up front you can see the all-new ultra-thin quad LED headlamps with standard Automatic High Beams plus an all-new gloss black acrylic grille overlay that adds a completely new look compared to the std. 4th gen Prius. With that new grille, the Cd is up 0.01 to 0.25 from the 4th gen Prius. The automatic grille shutters from the Gen 4 are still there and reduce drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not needed. From the profile, 15” 5-spoke alloys are hidden behind special two-tone painted aero covers. The Prime is 4.2” longer than the standard Gen 4 due mostly to an extended rear overhang to accommodate the larger Li-Ion battery. Larger alloys are not available and it is too bad as they would have added better wheel, opening, metal, and glass proportions imho. Out back the Prius Prime stands out from anything on the road with its Dual Wave rear glass creating not only a unique and very noticeable design feature but also helps reduce drag added by the new more robust front grille. There is no rear wiper however. Prius Prime Dual Wave Rear Window detail. The rear horizontal racetrack lighting vs the vertical design of the std. 4th gen Prius is also a welcome upgrade. The aforementioned super light and strong Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) hatch lifts and closes like it weighs practically nothing. Interior - Moving inside, the Prius Prime only seats 4. I think this design compromise to limit weight was not a good one as most will perceive lesser utility when in reality, three in the back of its only real competitor is both impractical and totally unusable. Although it does not feel smaller than the standard Gen 4 Prius, the rear seat’s center console cup holders do bring about a small passenger volume penalty at 91.5 cu. ft. vs 93.1 cu. ft. from the standard Gen 4 Prius. I wish the lower seat cushions were another two inches longer adding thigh support to accommodate taller drivers. Cargo volume has been degraded although it still offers an excellent 19.8 cu. ft. vs. 27.4 cu. ft. (Prius Two Eco, Four, Four Touring) and 24.6 cu. ft. (Prius Two, Three, Three Touring) respectively. You will see it with a raised rear hatch floor. 60/40 folding rear seatbacks are standard as well. A sound-insulating laminated windscreen and front door glass keep things quiet while a more comprehensive sound insulation strategy has reduced external wind and engine noise to levels you can converse with passengers without raising your voice during all driving modes other than heavy acceleration. A soft “SofTex” trimmed tilt and telescopic steering wheel with integrated audio, climate, MID and Bluetooth controls and a “SofTex” shift knob are welcome additions over the poly wheel standard in the base Gen 4 Prius Two’s. The Plus’ Smart Key System is only capable of opening the drivers side door unfortunately. (2) 12V aux power outlets and a single USB outlet will help keep everything charged. Auto climate and pollen filtration with “smart-flow” directs clean conditioned air only to the driver or passenger(s) as selected. The HVAC system can operate without the engine running in hot or cold temperatures down to just 14 degrees F thanks to an all-new heat pump. Standard heated front seats will warm you up on cold days as well. Like all the Prius’ before it, the Prime incorporates a center dash with dual 4.2” full-color displays. Available information includes an Energy Monitor, Hybrid System and Climate Control Indicator, Eco Score, Eco Savings Record, Drive Monitor, and Eco Diary. Other std. features include Auto up/down windows, an integrated Navi and backup camera within a 7” central dash display, a decent sounding AM/FM system with six speakers, SiriusXM, HD Radio, aux jack, and non-telescoping dual sun visors that do not reach far enough along with illuminated vanity mirrors. Safety – Besides 8-std airbags – front, side, side curtains, drivers side knee and front passenger seat cushion airbag, all Prius Prime trims arrive with standard Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). The system incorporates a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology and the Auto High Beams mentioned previously. All of this is standard on the base Prius Prime Plus trim! This standard advanced safety technology is what separates the Prius Prime from its competitors which charge a lot more $s in higher trim levels to receive the same accident avoidance tech. A huge win win here although I do wish RCTA was standard on the Plus and Premium vs. just the Advanced. Prius Prime Premium Exterior and Interior. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium For an additional $1,700, owners receive an exterior Smart charging cable lock, SofTex-trimmed heated fronts with 8-way power driver's seat and power lumbar support, Smart Key on the two front doors and rear hatch, wireless Qi smartphone charger, the 11.6-in. display, USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and Siri Eyes Free, Entune App Suite, HD Radio with predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, AM/FM cache radio, and Gracenote album cover art. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced Adding $4,300 to the cost of the Premium is the fully loaded Advanced trim with all of the Premium features plus LED fog lights, Rain-sensing intermittent wipers, remote A/C, heated wheel, Color Head-Up Display (HUD) with speedometer, navigation and Hybrid System Indicator, Auto-dimming rearview w/ Homelink transceiver, Blind spot monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA), Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) with Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA). Infotainment wise, the Advanced adds the Premium JBL Audio and Navi, App Suite and Prime Apps, ten JBL GreenEdge speakers, Prime Apps (Remote Charge Management, Charging Station Map, ECO Dashboard, Remote Climate and Vehicle Finder). Prius Prime Advanced Exterior and Interior. 2017 Prius Prime Plus vs. 2017 Prius Three and 2017 Volt California Pricing Study With all of the tech detail laid out above, consider the price study between the 2017 Prius Prime Plus and a 2017 Prius Three. The Prius Prime includes all of the Plug-ins attributes, more hybrid mode efficiency, and much nicer exterior design. The standard Prius Three does include the Qi charger and has more cargo volume. The following is where it gets really interesting. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Plus: $27,965 MSRP + $2,237 in California State Tax (8%) - $4,500 Federal Tax Credit (if you qualify) - $1,500 State Tax Credit = $24,202 out the door + title, license and any doc fees. 2017 Toyota Prius Three: $27,600 MSRP + $2,208 in California State Tax (8%) = $29,808 out the door + title, license and any doc fees. Would you like a less efficient, less capable, and not as good looking 2017 Prius Three for $5,606 more dollars than the 2017 Prius Prime? Imagine what a few grand on the hood does for the prices above similar to how we can pick up 2016 Prius Eco Twos for just over $4k off retail today. I am stretching discounts out into an uncertain future but the plug adds insurance against future sky high fuel costs while the Prime offers more efficiency even on gasoline. 2017 Chevrolet Volt Comparison The base $34,095 incl. $895 D&H Volt LT cannot be equipped with the advanced safety features even as an option package, lacks heated outside mirrors w/out an upcharge pkg., lacks an illuminated charge port w/out an upcharge pkg., the rear 2 or 3 passenger rear seat is much tighter and all but unusable, only low beam LEDs, heated front seats is an option package, efficiency is much worse on electricity or gasoline, and the depreciation is far worse. The Volt has 53 miles of AER and a better looking exterior, 17” alloys, 8” vs. the Prius Prime Plus’ 7” display, remote start, telescopic sun visors, and rear outboard side airbags. And the purchase price comparison? 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Plus: $27,965 MSRP + $2,237 in California State Tax (8%) - $4,500 Federal Tax Credit (if you qualify) - $1,500 State Tax Credit = $24,202 out the door + title, license and any doc fees. 2017 Chevrolet Volt LT: $34,095 MSRP + $2,727 in California State Tax (8%) - $7,500 Federal Tax Credit (if you qualify) - $1,500 State Tax Credit = $27,822 out the door + title, license and any doc fees. Some will consider a less efficient and less capable 2017 Chevrolet Volt LT for $3,620 more dollars than the 2017 Prius Prime Plus. The Prius Prime can be purchased in six color choices: Classic Silver Metallic Magnetic Gray Metallic Titanium Glow Blue Magnetism Blizzard Pearl (add $395) Hypersonic Red (add $395) 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Warranty 3 years/36k mile basic new-vehicle warranty 5 years/60k mile powertrain and corrosion 8 years/100k miles hybrid-related components including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and transverter 15 years/150k miles hybrid-related component coverage and 10 years/150k miles on the hybrid battery in the clean states. The Prius Prime also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first plus three years of 24-hour roadside assistance from date of purchase. The hero shot… Not bad from an LG G4. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Drive Impressions When I heard what the price was, my jaw dropped. Moving beyond that, the standard advanced accident avoidance was expected but not for these prices. Why the pricing comparison with just the Prius Plus and not the Premium or Advanced? Because I would forgo the two higher trims. While I would like to have the Qi charger, the three door proximity key and in particular, the RCTA, the 11.6” screen has no power or tuning knobs. Why are no knobs a big deal? Because I can reach a knob and spin to the next or much higher up on the dial channels or push it to shut down or mute it instantly. Some wheel controls can perform some of these functions but most drivers will look down to turn to a non-preset new station, turn down the volume quickly or even shut the system off. Other OEMs have received pushback by the consumer and the 11.6” screen in the Premium and Advanced is a non-starter due to the lack of knobs after I had a few minutes behind the wheel. In addition, Toyota’s Navi supplier is not one of the best. A std. Garmin is simply better NAVI in most regards other than integration. For voice direction, Android Auto buries the Toyota OEM system and Toyota appears not to be moving towards Android Auto and Apple CarPlay anytime soon. If Android Auto was included in the Prime Plus, Premium and Advanced trims, Toyota would have received another WOW! Efficiency? The Prius Prime just like the 4th Gen Prius Two Eco sets an entirely new bar. Although none of the following are calibrated display results, an 18+ mile drive loop with lower 35 to 45 mph speeds but heavy elevation deltas showed the Prius Prime to be very accommodating for efficient operation. I made a few wrong turns on the first two runs so the miles traveled are slightly different for each. Under EV mode – 18.9 miles from 48 percent of the available SoC (99% to 51%) w/ two in the car and A/C running at a very high fan setting and 70 to 75 degrees F auto climate temps. EV Mode 18.9 miles with 48% SoC consumed start to finish. Range and mi/kWh are based on EPA for the leftover SoC. Hybrid Mode Similar speeds, acceleration and deceleration with two onboard and A/C working even harder. Charging Mode 37 to 60 percent (up 23 percent) SoC build at 41.5 mpg indicated over 18.5 miles. Max effort with max A/C With the pack locked out, SoC swing ran from 10% on the bottom to 15% on the top. I called it when I ran through 12% where I started the run. Suburban/Highway drives with Toyota Prius Prime’s Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist Back in 2011, I was behind the wheel of a Toyota Avalon Hybrid with some of Toyota’s most advanced safety systems including the two above from that era. It was not only jerky when accelerating and braking with traffic ahead, the lane keep assist would pinball two or three times between the lane markers before shooting into the oncoming or next lane over. It was pretty bad. My last drive in a 2017 Audi Q7 revealed to me that it has (had) the best LDW/LKA and Radar CC system I have driven to date. With the poor Avalon hybrid advanced safety system actions from years gone by and the excellent Audi system still fresh on my mind, I was not expecting much from the latest Prius Prime system(s). Regarding the Prius Prime’s LDW/LKA system, it was soft, caught about 75 percent of the poorly marked roads lines and was in the upper half of all the systems I have driven over the past two years. An unexpected plus. Regarding the RCC system, a new sheriff has arrived and it is called Prime. With a one and two-bar distance setting, the Prius Prime in Eco mode, and CC set at 62 mph on 45 to 55 mph roadways, it maintained approximately .6 and 1-second distance setback from the heavy and fast accelerating and decelerating traffic ahead on CA-33. What was not expected was how smoothly it maintained the timed distance from the traffic ahead. Accelerations were completed without the throttle being hammered and deceleration via regen and even harder into the mechanicals when traffic was really on the binders was well controlled and far less jerky than many competitors. A real surprise here given my experience from a few years back. Another efficiency metric that made me shake my head because this is just nuts I drove a NB and SB segment on the 101 between Ventura, CA and Santa Barbara, Calif. with RCC set at 62 mph, 1-bar distance, A/C set to 75 degrees in A/C Eco Mode, Fan at 2, Driver Priority given I was the only one in the car, and the pack was depleted so it was in Hybrid mode only. See the -- indicating Charge Sustaining Hybrid only mode at the top of each screenshot. There was moderate afternoon traffic and a lot of trucks merging onto and off of the 101 in the right hand lanes keeping my speed ranges mostly in the 52 to 59 mph range. There was also a slight 30 degree off the hood headwind on the northbound leg and slight 30 degree off the trunk tailwind on the southbound leg. The Prius Prime is highway rated at 53 mpg. Below are the NB and SB results after approximately 20 miles. I also tried to leave a little of what was in the windscreen so you can see the distances between the Prius Prime and traffic directly ahead. Sorry for the quality but I was taking these snaps blind while watching the road ahead. Northbound on the 101 over 20.3 miles at 80.4 mpg indicated. Southbound on the 101 over 19.8 miles at 81.9 mpg indicated. All of the above fuel consumption and distance traveled display screenshots are uncalibrated and could be off by as much as 10 percent. When we get a week behind the wheel, we will work that out as well. All in, there is simply no better way to insure yourself against future fuel cost price spikes than the Prius Prime due to the incredible 4th gen Prius Two Eco like highway efficiency, better than 4th gen Prius Three city efficiency, and quite a distance on the plug. Adding on is the incredible value, excellent RCC, the standard advanced safety suite, the much better ride and handling quality thanks to the stiff chassis and independent rear end, and quieter ride. This is the PHEV to beat.