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2017 Toyota Prius Prime - Review and Road Test

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ever since the late 1990s the name toyota prius has become synonymous with hybrid vehicle technology thanks to its range of hybrid vehicles. but while toyota has been able to get the prius

2017 Toyota Prius Prime - Review and Road Test
2017 Toyota Prius Prime - Review and Road Test, hybrid right for decades there's one thing that toyota hasn't been able to get right: the plug-in hybrid. the first generation toyota prius plug-in hybrid
as we know it launched a couple of years ago and it was.... okay. it was a compliance car and it did a few miles in all-electric range. this is the new 2017 toyota prius plug-in hybrid... except it's not called the toyota prius plug-in hybrid any more. the name now is " toyota prius prime like the fourth generation toyota prius on which this vehicle is based there's an
evolutionary rather than revolutionary change in design language. there's still the centrally-mounted instrument cluster that you'll be familiar with if you've ever driven the third-generation toyota prius or indeed the third-generation toyota prius plug-in hybrid. it's just been given some added color and updated a little to make it look a little less
old-fashioned. but where the toyota prius prime differs from the regular fourth-generation toyota prius is this massive 11.6 -inch touchscreen display in the center of the car. opt for the two higher-level trim packages for the toyota prius prime and you'll get it as standard. it's clear that toyota wants to appeal to young, app-savvy buyers with this large touchscreen display.
it's kind of a poor man's model s or tesla model x if you will. as anyone who drove the previous generation toyota prius plug-in hybrid will tell, you while the car did indeed plug in it was a bit... anemic when it came to electric performance. it could only really manage between six and ten miles of all-electric range before its onboard petrol engine kicked in.
and that made you feel a little, well... like you were cheating. for this car however, toyota has worked really hard to provide a real-world, tangible all-electric range. admittedly it's only twenty-five miles according to the epa test cycle -- but it's a real twenty-five miles of all-electric range that, (if you tell the car you want to drive in ev-only mode) means that you can
drive up to and beyond freeway speeds without once turning the petrol engine on. now in order to get better range and performance toyota has made some significant changes to its plug-in hybrid drivetrain system. toyota has shoved a 53-kilowatt and a 23-kilowatt electric motor under the front of the car as part of the electronically
continuously variable transmission (ecvt). while that adds up to more than 70 kilowatts toyota electronically limits maximum power output from these two electric motors to 68 kilowatts. thanks to the car's design and construction however, that's more than enough to accelerate you round town without feeling that you're lagging behind. sure it's not tesla model s or
bmw i3 fast but it will do. despite putting the 8.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that gives this car its all-electric range directly behind the rear seats (below the load bay floor), something which is not great for center of gravity, this car handles extremely well and feels very grown-up like the fourth generation of any car i've driven.
this time it feels like toyota has got it right at least when it comes to road holding, interior cabin noise, build quality and the like. in terms of driving the prius prime behaves very much like the rest of the toyota prius family. there's no real regenerative braking on accelerator liftoff, and there's no option to select more regeneration, other than enabling the "b" fucntion,
which is designed not to be used with the electric mode but to be used with the gasoline engine to provide engine braking functionality. this means if you're going down a fairly steep grade like i am right now you're going to be using the brake pedal a lot. one pedal driving? never heard of it in this car. it's just not possible.
i'm driving along one of my favorite roads in all of the greater portland area. this is germantown road on the west side of town and this toyota prius prime is handling the road admirably. yes you have to be a little bit busy with the steering wheel at lower speeds, but it's sticking within the lines and it's not causing me any reason to panic. ...which is good.
one interesting thing to to point out here is that in japan, the prius prime comes with a chademo dc quick charging port. this u.s. version of the same car has a little blanking plate where chademo dc quick charging inlet could theoretically go. but much like the mitsubishi outlander plug-in hybrid, which still has yet to launch in the u.s., it seems that toyota decided that
americans didn't want or need quick charging with their prius prime. but don't be fooled: this doesn't mean that if you buy one in the u.s. you're going to be using petrol more than maybe your japanese counterparts. sure, if you're going to drive more than 25 miles between stops you're gonna burn dead dinosaurs or dead sea creatures at least,
but considering most people commute less than 25 miles round trip, this is a car that could admirably handle the daily commute and never operate in petrol mode until the weekend. there are some really cool other features about this car that make driving it in all-electric mode far easier than the previous generation plug-in prius.
for example, there's an electrically-heated front windscreen meaning you can clear the windshield without needing to turn on the air conditioning or the car's engine. then there is a very smart, driver-only air conditioning mode. how that works is it turns off all the other vents in the vehicle and focuses all of its cooling or heating power on you.
mercifully there's also a pretty decent smartphone app that you can use with your prius prime to set charging schedules and precondition the cabin. when it comes to charging, this car does only have a 3-kilowatt onboard charger. however, since the battery is only 8.8 kilowatt-hours in total capacity, you can charge the onboard battery pack from
empty to full in two hours and ten minutes from a compatible level 2 charging station. if you only have access to 110-volts however, charging that battery pack is going to take you five hours and thirty minutes from a standard household u.s. outlet. that might affect how efficient your car is and indeed how many miles you're able to drive per day in
all-electric mode. although the chevrolet volt might have this car beaten when it comes to all-electric range the prius prime wins when it comes to total range per fill of its battery pack and its onboard petrol tank. that tank, which is 11.3 u.s. gallons, when combined with the 8.8 kilowatt hour battery pack will give you a total range
between fill-ups of 640 miles. that's pretty impressive. according to the u.s. epa, when the onboard battery pack is depleted, this car will get an impressive 54 miles per gallon on petrol alone (that's per u.s. gallon i should note, not uk gallon: the figures will be different for our european viewers). that's a far better than the chevrolet
volt can achieve when its onboard battery pack is depleted and it needs to use the onboard engine as a range extender. so what do i think of the toyota prius prime? this is how the prius should have been from the get-go: an efficient hybrid with enough grunt in all-electric mode to allow you to drive round town without burning a drop of fossil fuel.
but at the same point, this car dissapoints me --- because it reminds me just how good toyota could be if it only wanted to be when it comes to making an electric vehicle. i own a 2002 toyota rav4 ev, and for its age and for its time it was an incredible vehicle. this car could be that modern equivalent of my 2002 toyota rav4 ev.
there are some things about this car that just irk me, that make me think that perhaps toyota intentionally made this vehicle not as perfect as it could have been. for example, the battery pack placement. the 2017 toyota prius prime (just like the 2017 and 2016 toyota prius) was designed from the ground up on a brand-new joint platform developed by toyota.
had toyota wanted to, it could have planned for an under the cabin battery pack placement just as so many other electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids today. but no, toyota decided it would be okay to wedge the battery pack behind the rear seats and above the rear axle like an afterthought. and it's meant that the load carrying capabilities of this car
are not as great as the conventional fourth-generation toyota prius. for example the official cargo capacity of the prius prime is just 19.8 cubic feet. that's not very good toyota, not for a prius and not for a vehicle of this size. and then there's a deletion of that fifth seat. the standard prius -- the fourth-generation prius on which this vehicle is based -- has
three seats in the rear that allows you to have five people in the car or four plus the driver. the prius prime only has four. if you like the toyota prius, and there are plenty of people out there who are avid toyota prius fans, and you have a daily commute of less than 25 miles or less than 50-miles round trip with access to charging, you could use the prius prime as an ev
monday thru friday. should you buy one? well twenty seven thousand one hundred u.s. dollars before incentives will get you the entry-level model, while thirty three thousand one hundred u.s. dollars will get you this model, but this model is going to be harder to convince someone to buy -- because for just a few thousand dollars more you could walk away with a
chevrolet bolt ev, with an all-electric range of 238 miles per charge. admittedly this car is available nationwide, and this has a whole host of extra bells and whistles that the chevrolet bolt ev doesn't have (and it's a bigger car) but the chevrolet bolt ev i think for most people would be slightly more practical. that is unless
you absolutely need to drive 640 miles without stopping, or charging, or peeing. i don't know...maybe you're a robot...? all jokes aside, if you want to make the transition to a fully electric vehicle and you're a hybrid vehicle fan, or you are considering a hybrid vehicle, this could be a great transitional vehicle for you. it will give you the benefit of driving
all-electric most of the week and still have the capability to go longer distance on the weekends. this is also a great car for anyone who lives a long way from public charging infrastructure. if your nearest town is a long way away, and you just can't make it in a regular electric car then this is also a car that you should consider. it's comfortable. it's quiet. it does what it says on the tin.
what do you think? do you like the look and sound of the 2017 toyota prius prime? let me know in the comments below. don't forget to like, comment, and subscribe -- and i'll be back soon with more greener cleaner safer smarter car reviews. thanks for watching, my name's nikki gordon-bloomfield, and until next time, keep evolving!