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Top Features of Base Model
- Fifth seat added for 2020
- Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa now
- No more white interior plastic
- Trim levels changed
Toyota Prius Prime: Everything You Need to Know
About the Toyota Prius Prime:
The 2020 Toyota Prius Prime is a variation of the standard Toyota Prius Hybrid. Its difference is that it offers 25 miles of pure electric range, then turns into a regular hybrid car after that. Users do their daily driving or commuting on electricity after plugging in overnight, but have gasoline as a backup for all longer trips. They may not switch on the gas engine all day. This kind of car is known as a “plug-in hybrid.”
The Prius Prime has (slightly) less extreme styling than the regular Prius, and a handful of new features—including the plug-in port under a door at the rear. It has the highest EPA-rated fuel efficiency of any plug-in hybrid on the market. Benefits over the regular Prius include the lower cost-per-mile of driving on grid electricity, and in some areas, access to the carpool lane with only one occupant.
What’s New in the Current 2020 Toyota Prius Prime?
Toyota has made a number of changes to the Prius Prime for the 2020 model year.
- Fifth seat added.
- Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa added (but still no Android Auto).
- Trim levels are now LE, XLE, and Limited.
- White interior plastic replaced by black.
- Two extra USB ports added.
- Combined 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and hybrid system rated at 121 horsepower.
- 8.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack under rear deck.
- EPA tests give a battery range of 25 miles, at a very high 133 MPGe efficiency.
- EPA fuel economy when operating in hybrid mode: 54 mpg combined.
- EPA total range on fully charged battery and full tank of gas: 640 miles.
What Does the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime Compete With?
Competitors for the 2020 Prius Prime are more varied than in previous years. When it launched, the Chevrolet Volt was its main competition and the only other dedicated plug-in hybrid model sold. In addition, plug-in hybrid variants of mid-size sedans from Ford, Hyundai, and Kia offered similar ranges in more conventional vehicles. For 2020, competitors include:
- Chevrolet Bolt EV (238-mile electric compact hatchback).
- Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (mid-size sedan with 48 miles of electric range).
- Hyundai Kona Electric (258-mile electric compact hatchback).
- Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid (mid-size sedan with 29 miles of electric range).
- Toyota Prius (conventional hybrid without a plug).
Sales of the Prius Prime are concentrated in California and a few other states. Buyers are likely seeking very high fuel economy and the ability to drive solo in that state’s carpool lanes.
Exterior Design of the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime
The Toyota Prius has always been a distinctive design, but the current generation is the most extreme to date. The Prius Prime is arguably less ugly than the conventional version. It has the same low-nose, high-tail five-door hatchback body, with extreme sculpting, and unusual styling choices.
Those include a rear hatch with a twin-domed rear glass window, and a massive spindle-shaped black panel in front that substitutes for a grille. LED headlights are standard. It looks like nothing else on the market except another Prius. The extreme looks of the current generation are thought to have been a sales drawback.
Interior Style in the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime
Replacing white interior trim with black for 2020 gives the Prius Prime a more “premium” look, Toyota says. It also makes the cabin slightly darker, though the steeply raked windshield and rear window let in a lot of light.
Cabin materials are a mix of hard- and soft-touch plastic. But the hard surfaces don’t look as cheap as they did in earlier generations. For 2020 there’s a fifth seating position rather than the hard-plastic cupholder and tray that kept anyone out of the center of the rear seat. Front seats are comfortable, though the driver and front passenger find themselves in a legs-out position in this low vehicle.
Rear seats are adequate, though we wouldn’t want to be the center passenger between two adults. At 19.8 cubic feet, cargo volume is only so-so for a hatchback this large, in part because the higher-capacity battery pack sits under the rear load bay. Cupholders, trays, and bins in the front compartment are about average.
What Technology Comes in the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime?
The main technology in a Toyota Prius Prime is its plug-in hybrid powertrain, allowing it to be an electric car and then a conventional hybrid. It has similar active-safety features to other Toyotas, along with features like keyless ignition on all models. Wireless phone charging, LED fog lights and accent lights, and a smart lock for a charging cable are part of higher trim levels.
All but the base Prius Prime Plus model have a vertical 11.6-inch touchscreen display that’s quite impressive. We’re still not fans of Toyota’s interface, which is far less intuitive than the best from other makers.
What Kind of Safety Features are in the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime?
The Toyota Prius Prime hasn’t been rated by the NHTSA, but the IIHS has dubbed it a Top Safety Pick. It gets that group’s top rating of ‘Good’ on all tests except for the passenger-side small-overlap front crash test and its headlights. Both of those are deemed ‘Adequate.’ The IIHS also calls its active-safety features ‘Exceptional.’
Toyota has been aggressive in adding active-safety features to all its models. The Prius Prime comes standard with:
- Adaptive cruise control.
- Forward-collision alert and automatic emergency braking.
- Lane-departure alert.
- Automatic high beams.
These are packaged under the name Toyota Safety Sense-P. A blind-spot alert system and parking monitors are available on higher trim levels.
What is the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime Like to Drive?
The 2020 Prius Prime is an electric car whenever the battery has been full charged, usually overnight at the driver’s home. After the battery is discharged, it simply converts into a regular, 54-mpg Prius hybrid. It will travel that way for another 600-plus miles.
Behind the wheel, the Prius Prime is smooth and quiet as an electric car. But not very fast. The instrument display still sits at the base of the windshield, so it’s clear you’re not in a regular vehicle. Running as a hybrid, engine noise is isolated. Only under full do you hear remote moaning from beyond the firewall.
Toyota has at last made a Prius that handles and holds the road. It’s never going to be a sport sedan, but it’s no longer a chore to drive and can be hustled around twisty roads. The rear view in the mirror is bisected by the division between the two pieces of tailgate glass, but it’s easy to get used to.
Should I Buy a Current 2020 Toyota Prius Prime?
Depending on your dealer, there may be incentives on 2019 Prius Primes as the updated 2020 models come out. All Prius models are selling at much lower rates than they did six years ago.
Still, the Prius Prime faces several challenges. First, buyers may prefer their plug-in hybrid powertrains in a more conventional looking mid-size sedan. A handful of those are still offered by other makers. Second, a conventional Prius with equal fuel economy is considerably cheaper. Finally, on the other hand, buyers can now get an all-electric car with more than 200 miles of battery range for roughly the same price after incentives as a Prius Prime.
Should I Buy a Used 2020 Toyota Prius Prime? Are There Any I Should Avoid?
There may be a few used Prius Prime models available now, but more should arrive when the first ones start coming off three-year leases toward the end of 2019. If 25 miles of electric range suits your daily driving needs, a used Prius Prime may be a good deal. Used plug-in cars often cost less because the first owner benefited from financial incentives. And if any plug-in vehicle should remain trouble-free, it may be a Toyota.
How Much Does the New 2020 Toyota Prius Prime Cost?
The 2020 Toyota Prius Prime starts at $28, 530, a price that includes a mandatory delivery fee. The top Limited trim level comes in at about $34,500. A fully optioned car is still well under $40,000.
The Prius Prime is a competent plug-in hybrid compact with unmatched fuel economy when running on gasoline. Buyers are eligible for a federal income-tax credit of $4,500, a California purchase rebate of $1,500, and various other state, local, and corporate incentives.
Pros and Cons of the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime
- Fully electric car for 25 miles
- Highest fuel efficiency of any plug-in hybrid
- Decent handling
- Legendary Toyota durability and reliability
- Prius styling far from everyone’s taste
- 25 miles of electric range only average
- Plug-in hybrid advantages hard to explain
- Caught between cheaper regular Prius and long-range electric cars
The History of the Toyota Prius Prime: Four Years of Prius Prime
The Toyota Prius Prime was introduced for 2017 as a variant of the fourth-generation Prius hybrid that debuted in 2016. It received some upgrades and trim changes for 2020. The Prime succeeded the earlier Prius Plug-In Hybrid model sold from 2012 through 2015, which had just 11 miles of electric range.
Specs & Key Features of the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime
- Body Style
- 1.8L 4-Cylinder DOHC 16V VVT-i
- 121 hp
- Continuously Variable Automatic
- Passenger Doors
- Passenger Seating
- Front Wheel Drive
- City MPG
- Hwy MPG
- Air Conditioning
- Back Up Camera
- Cruise Control
- LCD Monitor
- LED Lights
- Lane Departure Alert
- Lane Departure Warning
- Leather Steering Wheel
- Remote Keyless Entry
- Tinted Glass
- Engine: 1.8L 4-Cylinder DOHC 16V VVT-i
- Transmission: Continuously Variable Automatic -inc: Electronically Controlled (ECVT)
- Engine Auto Stop-Start Feature
- Front-Wheel Drive
- 4.11 Axle Ratio
- Battery w/Run Down Protection
- Hybrid Electric Motor
- Gas-Pressurized Shock Absorbers
- Front And Rear Anti-Roll Bars
- Electric Power-Assist Steering
- 11.3 Gal. Fuel Tank
- Single Stainless Steel Exhaust
- Strut Front Suspension w/Coil Springs
- Double Wishbone Rear Suspension w/Coil Springs
- Regenerative 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front Vented Discs, Brake Assist and Hill Hold Control
- Lithium Ion Traction Battery w/5.5 Hrs Charge Time @ 110/120V and 2.1 Hrs Charge Time @ 220/240V
- Wheels: 15" x 6.5" Aluminum
- Tires: P195/65R15 AS
- Spare Tire Mobility Kit
- Clearcoat Paint
- Body-Colored Front Bumper w/Colored Rub Strip/Fascia Accent
- Body-Colored Rear Bumper w/Colored Rub Strip/Fascia Accent
- Black Side Windows Trim
- Body-Colored Door Handles
- Body-Colored Power Heated Side Mirrors w/Manual Folding
- Fixed Rear Window w/Defroster
- Light Tinted Glass
- Variable Intermittent Wipers
- Galvanized Steel/Aluminum/Composite Panels
- Black Grille
- Liftgate Rear Cargo Access
- Tailgate/Rear Door Lock Included w/Power Door Locks
- Auto Off Projector Beam Led Low/High Beam Daytime Running Auto High-Beam Headlamps w/Delay-Off
- LED Brakelights
- Laminated Glass
- Radio: 7" Smartphone Audio -inc: 6 speakers
- Radio w/Seek-Scan, Clock, Speed Compensated Volume Control, Aux Audio Input Jack, Steering Wheel Controls, Voice Activation and Entune External Memory Control
- Streaming Audio
- Window Grid And Roof Mount Antenna
- Bluetooth Wireless Phone Connectivity
- 3 LCD Monitors In The Front
- Front Bucket Seats -inc: 6-way adjustable driver's seat and 4-way adjustable front passenger seat
- Driver Seat
- Passenger Seat
- 60-40 Folding Split-Bench Front Facing Fold Forward Seatback Rear Seat
- Manual Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
- Gauges -inc: Speedometer, Odometer, Traction Battery Level, Power/Regen, Trip Odometer and Trip Computer
- Power Rear Windows
- Entune Selective Service Internet Access
- SofTex Leatherette Steering Wheel
- Front Cupholder
- Rear Cupholder
- Proximity Key For Doors And Push Button Start
- Remote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter, 2 Door Curb/Courtesy, Illuminated Entry, Illuminated Ignition Switch and Panic Button
- Remote Releases -Inc: Mechanical Fuel and Mechanical Charge Port Door
- Cruise Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
- Distance Pacing
- Automatic Air Conditioning w/Steering Wheel Controls
- HVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts
- Illuminated Glove Box
- Driver Foot Rest
- Interior Trim -inc: Metal-Look/Piano Black Instrument Panel Insert, Piano Black Console Insert and Piano Black/Metal-Look Interior Accents
- Full Cloth Headliner
- Leatherette Door Trim Insert
- Metal-Look Gear Shift Knob
- Fabric Seat Trim
- Day-Night Rearview Mirror
- Driver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors w/Driver And Passenger Illumination, Driver And Passenger Auxiliary Mirror
- Full Floor Console w/Covered Storage, Mini Overhead Console w/Storage and 2 12V DC Power Outlets
- Front Map Lights
- Fade-To-Off Interior Lighting
- Full Carpet Floor Covering
- Carpet Floor Trim
- Cargo Area Concealed Storage
- Roll-Up Cargo Cover
- Cargo Features -inc: Spare Tire Mobility Kit
- Cargo Space Lights
- Integrated Navigation System w/Voice Activation
- Smart Device Integration
- Driver And Passenger Door Bins
- Power 1st Row Windows w/Front And Rear 1-Touch Up/Down
- Delayed Accessory Power
- Power Door Locks w/Autolock Feature
- Systems Monitor
- Trip Computer
- Outside Temp Gauge
- Digital Display
- Seats w/Cloth Back Material
- Driver And Passenger Heated-Cushion, Driver And Passenger Heated-Seatback
- Manual Anti-Whiplash Adjustable Front Head Restraints and Manual Adjustable Rear Head Restraints
- Front Center Armrest w/Storage and Rear Center Armrest
- 2 Seatback Storage Pockets
- Engine Immobilizer
- 2 12V DC Power Outlets
- Air Filtration
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
- ABS And Driveline Traction Control
- Side Impact Beams
- Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
- Toyota Safety Sense C
- Lane Departure Alert (LDA) Lane Keeping Assist
- Lane Departure Alert (LDA) Lane Departure Warning
- Low Tire Pressure Warning
- Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
- Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
- Airbag Occupancy Sensor
- Driver Knee Airbag and Passenger Cushion Front Airbag
- Rear Child Safety Locks
- Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners
- Back-Up Camera