This is Toyota’s premier plug-in hybrid vehicle for 2020, but it is very soon going to be joined by a 2020 RAV4 plug-in hybrid.
Although we don’t know all the details of the RAV4 plug-in hybrid, yet we do know that the mission of the RAV4 is going to be different than this Prius, prime, as is evidenced by comparing a regular Prius to a regular RAV4. The RAV4 is going to focus on utility, while giving us a plug-in hybrid range, and this vehicle is all about efficiency, gasoline efficiency and EV efficiency as well. The exterior style of the Prius Prime doesn’t really change for 2020, so we still have these multi module headlamps up front. These are full LEDs.
We then have fog lamps down below turn signals going on there as well, that our LEDs and then we have up front a radar sensor right behind that total logo, because Toyota safety cents is standard on all prius prime models that gives us radar adaptive cruise control. Autonomous braking lane, keeping and pedestrian detection like the regular prius, the prime is a compact hybrid vehicle. So this is about the same size overall as a toda corolla, but it is a lift back. So this entire section right back here.
What would normally be the trunk lid and the rear window that opens as one piece and, as you can see, we have a very strong wedge like profile going on that helps, improve the overall aerodynamic efficiency, thanks to the lift back design and a relatively high roofline Back here we do find more Headroom than we find in most compact sedans in America, so, in addition to saving on gas, you’ll also find a slightly more accommodating back seat in this Outback. The styling is definitely differentiated between the Prius Prime and the regular Prius, but a lot of the elements are still here. We have full LED tail lamps and then, when you’re looking through, the rearview mirror you’re seeing out of this window up top and this window right here. That is tinted below this wraparound light.
Module turn is a company that likes using common building block elements in their vehicles. So under this hood we find essentially the same hybrid system that we see under the hood of the regular Prius and the Toyota Corolla hybrid. On this side, we have a 1.8 liter atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine. On the other side, we have the total hybrid synergy, drive transmission, combining everything together we get 121 horsepower total.
That’s the combination of the power delivered by the engine right here and power pulled from the battery pack and powering the electric motor on the other side. Now, unlike other hybrid technologies out there, like the hyundai ioniq, we don’t have just one motor generator unit. On the other side, we have two different motor generator units inside the hybrid synergy drive transmission case. Some folks have called this a CVT or continuously variable transmission, and yes, it can sort of act like that, but I think that dismisses the real innovation behind Hybrid Synergy Drive, unlike a traditional belt and pulley style CVT, which is what we do see in other hybrid Systems out there, most notably some of Nissan’s hybrid systems, this vehicle can operate more like an electric vehicle and a wider range of vehicle speeds, thanks to the very beefy mg2 motor that we find inside that case.
Since the mg2 motor is already pretty big in every Toyota hybrid vehicle out there, it’s not a big deal to put a bigger battery pack in the back and allow you to drive electric only and that’s exactly what we see in the Prius Prime. The combination of everything gives you 25 miles of electric, only range after which this will operate just like a regular gasoline hybrid. So you don’t ever have to plug this in, if you don’t want to, and if you never plug it in you’ll, be getting 54 mpg. If you do plug it in that bumps up to 133 mpge according to the EPA on their silly mpge scale, these numbers are really the key to understanding the Prius prime 54 miles per gallon, operating as a hybrid 133 miles per gallon when operating as an electric Vehicle toda is very, very focused on overall efficiency with this vehicle, not easy range, and that’s something that a lot of folks don’t really understand.
When you take a look at something like a Chevy Volt, which is by the way, no longer manufactured for the 2020 model year, it was focused on evey range and it gave up an awful lot in terms of overall efficiency, both when operating as a hybrid vehicle Or an electric vehicle to give you that longer, evie range total wet after this a little bit differently and a lot like the hyundai ioniq, because the ioniq is really the only direct competitor to this vehicle in u.s.. Both of these vehicles have very similar themes. High efficiency, not too much horsepower going on under the hood, but very very high mpg and mpg e-numbers. The smaller battery pack really is the key to this vehicles, high fuel efficiency, because when you think about it, when this vehicle is operating as an electric vehicle, the gasoline engine under the hood is just a boat anchor that you’re dragging around with you.
And similarly, when you’re operating this as a hybrid vehicle, the big battery pack in the rear is not really giving you much benefit. So, by downsizing both of these components, giving you a relatively smaller battery pack in the rear than you find in a battery electric vehicle, or something like that, Chevy Volt, and by giving us a smaller engine under the hood than we find in something like a Honda. Clarity we’ve been given better fuel economy both for electric mode and for hybrid mode, a common question or concern with hybrids and plug-in hybrid vehicles has been. How long will the battery last?
How long will the hybrid system components last well towed has really been able to answer this because of their long history with the Prius, and the answer seems to be a really long time there. Our Prius is out there with 200-300 thousand miles out there and yes, the battery has degraded to some point where they’re not getting the same fuel economy that they did when they’re new but they’re still fully functional, still driving down the road every day. To help alleviate some of those concerns for 2020 they’ve, really bumped up the warranty on their new hybrid vehicles, giving the battery a 10 year 150,000 mile transferable warranty. That’s going to be a little bit different than some of the warranties we see in the competition which are not transferable.
In addition to the upgraded battery warranty, the rest of the hybrid system itself in the vehicle is now going to be warranted for eight years and 100,000 miles. Nationally. Changes on the inside are relatively minor. We still have height, adjustable shoulder belts up front and two-way adjustable.
Headrests, the color scheme is still very black on black in this model and we have some more black accent trim on the inside, which they’re calling more premium for 2020. The dashboard design is still basically the same as before, where we have this dual LCD setup right here at the top of the instrument cluster I’ll go ahead and close the driver door, so you can see that other display. We have the instrument cluster over here and then the sort of trip computer display right there in the middle some lights over there on the other side and then moving down from there. We have the large LCD that we first saw when the Prius prime was launched.
The big change here for 2020 is that, as you can see, we now have smartphone integration in this screen and it’s displayed in this upper section of the screen, like we see in other vehicles that have a tablet orientation. Large LCD like this now, unlike the large tablet screen that we see in the latest Subaru models this bottom portion. The screen is a little bit more useful when apple carplay is in operation, because, as you can see, I can either get media free doubts here. So if I were to change the source and be listening to, for instance, FM, I could still have apple carplay above that, while I have the infotainment down there below or the climate controls below, so we do have the choices of those.
But that’s really all we can get at the bottom, so there is still a little bit of a limitation over here. We have another button, the home button, which takes us to, for instance, this map interface, where we can get also the info screens red out there. Like the energy screen, for instance, if that loads, there we go, the menu button pulls up. This particular screen, where we have direct access to carplay, the app suite phone entering a destination or those info screens again very similar info screens, to what we see in the rest of the Prius lineup, where the energy is going right there.
We can also get some different views on that large screen. Depending on what you want. We have information on the battery engine and climate control right there. We then have the controls for the single zone, automatic climate control system temperature over here volume and power for the infotainment system over there on the right again, very much like we had in the last model, but the trim has been slightly changed for 2020 below that We have the same joystick style shifter that we’ve had before Park is over here drive mode buttons over here we can switch between hybrid and Evi mode with this button or choose easy, auto right over there for that, if you want to charge the hybrid battery, then You can press and hold this button and the vehicle will engage the charge mode.
Just keep in mind. That’s going to give you lower overall efficiency than just letting the car do its own thing. There’s a qi. Wireless charging mat right there between the foot wells, the controls for the heated seats and then two very large cup holders right there in the center console behind that we have an armrest that opens to the side.
There’s a USB interface and auxilary input. There 12 volt power port just before that, and then this is a pretty deep storage area. You could put a large smartphone in there with absolutely no problem. The steering wheel is the same basic design that was seen before with three spokes.
We find the infotainment controls over here on the left side of the steering wheel, volume up/down track forward backward there’s, also a trip button for the trip computer up there in that instrument, cluster dedicated phone and voice buttons over here and then on the right side of The steering wheel, we have some of the controls for the radar adaptive cruise control system. This is where we find the distance and the lane keeping assistance, but, like other total vehicles, the cruise control is mainly down here on this stock. That’s a little bit different than today’s latest steering wheel, design that we do see in the RAV4, Camry, etc. Then this button right here controls that multifunction LCD.
That was to the right of the instrument cluster. That’s where we find things like the drive monitor there. The digital clock turned by turn: navigation directions, infotainment, climate control, readout status of the active safety systems, certain vehicle settings, etc. There’s the typical Toyota eco diary, the energy monitor.
Of course, the hybrid system indicator fuel consumption records. All that sort of stuff is going on right. There just to the right of where we find the miles per hour. The big practicality change for 2020 is that we now get a fifth seat belt in the Prius prime, if you recall 2019 and prior had four seats to across the back.
Nothing right here in the middle, but we now have this little seat belt right here. That could be a big differentiator for some folks that were trying to debate between a Prius and a Prius prime, but really needed that extra seat belt. The rear seats fold in a 60/40 fashion, but, as you can see, it’s not completely flat with the cargo area in the back. That’s because the cargo air is about four or five inches taller than in the regular Prius.
You’ll, also notice that height difference. When you open up the rear hatch, the cargo area is a little bit shallower than we find in the regular Prius again because of that bigger battery pack. There’s a small storage compartment right up front where you could put the charge cable for the vehicle. You can also put the roller cargo cover in that area if you want to, but as you can see, you can fit a 22 inch roller bag that way right there under the roller cover quite easily.
So this is still cargo practical, just not quite as cargo. Practical as the regular Prius, but on the other hand you can fit far more cargo back here than you can, in the average plug-in hybrid midsize sedan. Unfortunately, I’ve had a very limited amount of time with this 2020 Prius Prime. Instead, I’m just going to post the last scores from the last time we have this in for a full review right above my head.
Nothing has changed for the Prius Prime in the way that it drives, so this still handles much better than previous generations of the Prius, but still handles quite similarly to the current generation Prius. This is not going to out handle some of the competition. That is a little bit more performance oriented. So, for instance, if you were to take a look at something like a clarity, plug-in hybrid or an Optima, plug-in hybrid they’re, going to be more expensive than this they’re going to have wider grippier tires.
They definitely have a better feel out on the road in terms of overall handling ability, but they’re not going to give you the same kind of fuel economy that we find in the Prius. They may give you more range, but they’re not going to be as efficient and again remember that tow does mission when designing the Prius prime was to focus on efficiency. Give you a usable real-world range that most Americans will find very good, but not really focus on that range target. Like we see in some of the competitive vehicles out, there, toda tells us that most plug-in hybrid owners in America, not just Prius prime owners, but most plug-in Hybrid owners period, spend less than $ 50 a month in gas.
That means that most plug-in hybrid vehicle owners out there are really not driving beyond the capacity of that battery. According to independent studies, the average Americans commute is about 10 miles or so a day, so most of those American consumers will be perfectly suited by this plug-in. Hybrid but again this will operate at 54 mpg beyond that battery. So if your commute is say 30 miles round-trip every day, the first 25 miles could be easy only and then after that, you’ll be getting 54 mpg and your gas tank will last you months if you’re in that window.
If you live in a mountainous area, then it may be worthwhile to get the Prius Prime over the regular Prius. I go up and over a twenty two hundred foot mountain pass every day, and even though this vehicle is lugging around that bigger battery pack in the rear, we got better fuel economy in this than we did in the regular Prius. Now, how is that possible? Well, the big reason is that when you go down that 2,200 foot mountain pass, the regular Prius S battery pack fills up about a quarter of the way down the hill, and this was able to keep regenerating electricity back into the battery pack and giving us that Better overall fuel economy, now, obviously, you couldn’t go back up the hill with the energy that is recuperating going down the hill, but it does help improve the overall fuel economy to the point where this got slightly better fuel economy than the regular Prius.
In my daily commute, so if you’re regularly traveling on mountain passes, that would be a good reason to get this over something like the regular Prius for 2020 todas pricing continues to be pretty aggressive. 27,000 $ 600 is where the base Prius prime, will start and remember that this will still qualify for its maximum federal tax credit. That’s one of the big reasons that we no longer see the Chevy Volt on sale in America. It’s federal tax credit has started to sunset and that made the Volt significantly more expensive than competitors like the Prius prime or the ionic plug-in. Now, because the federal tax credit is based on battery capacity, this does not get the same large $ 7,500 tax credit.
We found on the Chevy Volt. This gets about forty five hundred dollars off from the feds, but that still will drop your effective price on the Prius prime down to about where the Prius is depending on your tax situation. So if you’re, looking at a Prius and you’re thinking, you might be able to plug it in, you will be able to lower your operating costs by selecting a Prius prime over the regular Prius. Now, if you want the fully loaded model, which is what we’ve been looking at today, this will end up just over $ 33,000, before tax title license and, of course, destination.
That puts the Prius Prime in a slightly different category than something like the upcoming RAV4 plug-in hybrid again. We don’t have very many details on that just yet, but you can expect that that will be more expensive than the Prius. The regular RAV4 hybrid is definitely more expensive than the regular hybrid Prius, so you can apply that same logic over there to the RAV4 plug-in. This is also going to be a little bit less expensive than some of the other competitive plug-in hybrids out there.
Something like an Optima plug-in, hybrid or the Sonata plug-in hybrid, because they’re in a different category, but this is very very similarly priced to the hyundai ioniq hybrid and, of course, the ionic hybrid and plug-in hybrid are both liftback vehicles. Just like the Prius lineup. Some might say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Hyundai, certainly copied the successful design of the Toyota Prius, but they’ve also done an excellent job at making that ionic very, very fuel-efficient. Now, in real-world driving situations, the ionic may not get the same numbers that we see here in the Prius prime, but it is going to be awfully close.
The big differentiator prior to 2020 was that the ionic offered some features that we didn’t find in this vehicle. Like the fifth seatbelt in the back apple carplay, integration in the head unit, but for 2020 toda has really fixed those problems in the Prius prime and made this a more solid competitor to that Hyundai so which one is right for you well you’ll have to. We will have one of these in for a full and complete review where we can make that analysis at that time.