It’s the Prius we’ve all been waiting for! Plug in, charge up, then go, girl, go!
By Tara Weingarten
Ten Things to Know About the 2017 Prius Prime
A VroomGirls shout out to Toyota! Prius Prime is a vehicle for our time. If you’re like us Vroomies, you want to drive an electric car but have anxiety about running out of power with no electrical outlet in sight.
Say hi to the 2017 Prius Prime. It combines an electric motor with a gas engine that can take you about 25 miles (at freeway speeds) on electric power alone, or about 640 miles when combined with its gasoline engine.
For most of us, that means we can drive to work, run errands, and pick up the kids at school without ever using a drop of gasoline. But should the electric motor run dry, no worries; the full-size gas engine automatically kicks in and gives power where the electric motor leaves off. The 2017 Prius Prime has all the eco-friendliness of an electric car without producing anxiety for fear of running out of power.
No need for a special charging station, just plug in the 2017 Prius Prime into any household outlet and get about 25 miles or more on a single charge. Full charging takes about five hours with a standard household plug, so overnight charging might be best. For those with access to a Level 2 charging outlet (those found at shopping malls, office buildings, airports and at civic centers) will get full power in a little over two hours.
Buyers of a 2017 Toyota Prius Prime get a free $100 gift card to use at any ChargePoint charging station, so for a while, at least, your quick power will come gratis.
Unlike most hybrid cars whose electric motors only allow for cruising at parking lot speeds on electric power alone, the Prius Prime can zip up to 84 mph using just the electric motor. Gotta love that quiet vroom vroom.
The 2017 Prius Prime is competitively priced. It’s $6,000 less than the Chevy Volt, which unlike the Prime, doesn’t come standard with navigation and Toyota Safety Sense (a fantastic suite of high-tech and state-of-the-art safety features.) And those who are among the first to buy a 2017 Prius Prime, you can qualify for a $4,500 federal tax credit, as well as a $2,000 tax credit in some states.
A gorgeous 11.6″ HD display screen is not only touch-responsive but it swipes up and down, just like your smartphone. It can split screens to simultaneously show maps, turn-by-turn directions, apps like those on your phone, and even display texts from your phone. The screen is also sensitive to zoom in-out features like pinching. It comes standard on every trim level except the Prius Prim Plus grade. All grades of the 2017 Prius Prime get navigation as standard equipment.
Let’s talk style. To differentiate the Prius Prime from its other hybrid sisters (the cute and compact Prius C, the hatchback Prius, and the longer wagon-like Prius V, which stands for Versatile), design elements are flashier and more pronounced. We love the bolder styling and more aggressive and updated angles of the exterior sheet metal. With just a glance, you’ll be able to differentiate the Prius Prime from its hybrid brethren.
Prius Prime comes in three grades, with varying levels of options. Prius Prime Plus has Toyota Safety Sense (a suite of state-of-the-art crash prevention and safety technology), a 7-inch Toyota Entune Premium Audio multimedia display with Bluetooth connectivity, Siri Eyes Free and Integrated Navigation. Heated front seats and a smart-flow climate control system are also standard.
Prius Prime Premium gets the 11.6″ touchscreen as standard equipment, as well as Toyota Smart Key with pushbutton start, and a Qi wireless charging mat for your handheld electronics. The Premium level also tarts up with posher new Toyota SofTex seat material.
And for top-of-the-line luxury, check out the Prius Prime Advanced, which includes everything on the other two grades, plus heads-up display (where your speed and other pertinent info is displayed on the lower edge of your windshield, keeping your eyes firmly fixed on the road), an HD JBL audio system, and heated steering wheel with a remote climate control system.
Prime Apps, available on the Advanced grade allow you to take advantage of off-peak charging rates by activating the remote charge management system. It’s as simple as programming the car to charge at off-peak times and to automatically shut itself off when fully charged.
Though the Prius Prime seats only four people, instead of five (yielding that space to a necessarily larger battery unit), it is four inches longer than the Prius Liftback, giving a bit more legroom to driver and passengers. Also, thanks to a lightweight carbon-fiber hatchback frame, the lift gate is eight pounds lighter than on a regular Prius, making it effortless to open and close.
The 2017 Prius Prime is built to take advantage of its electric motor first. It will default to its EV mode and drive only on electric power as long as there is battery power available. Then, if the electric motor is out of battery power, it will automatically switch to the gas engine which, together with the electric motor, has an outstanding range of 640 miles on the tank load.
Also, there are three driving modes from which to choose beyond the EV setting. Normal, Eco and Power settings allow you to choose the fuel efficiency of this Prius Prime. The Eco setting reduces the force of the A/C, and the Power setting allows you to gun the engine when, say, you’re merging onto highway traffic.
We Vroomies think the 2017 Prius Prime satisfies all of our vehicle demands: comfort, safety, supreme fuel economy, reduced vehicle emissions, eco-greatness, style, telematic connectivity, and value.
Enough electric range to get to work and run errands without using any gas
Pretty styling and great handling
Only seats four people, thanks to space needed for electric motor's battery pack