The Prius Prime has been announced a while ago but only recently Toyota officially unveiled everything there is to know about it. Just a few days ago they invited journalists from around the World to test-drive the all-new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. Like the name suggests, this is the plug-in version of the Prius and it comes with quite a few upgrades, at least in terms of powertrain. Its price has yet to be revealed but it is expected to start in the around the mid-$30,000 which would put it right in line with competitors like the Volt. The car should be ready for sale quite soon and like before, it will only be offered in select markets.
PLATFORM AND RUNNING GEAR
The Prime is using exactly the same platform as the regular Prius. It is based on Toyota’s modular TNGA chassis which has been released with the latest Prius. This uses a fully independent suspension system and most of the weight is quite low, so the actual driving performance is considerably better than that of the older model. The largest change over the regular Prius is the larger battery pack and the improved powertrain, but more on that later.
2017 TOYOTA PRIUS PRIME ENGINE
This is probably where Toyota made the most progress over its predecessor. Here, the new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime offers an improved powertrain. It still has two electric motors/generators and it still offers an Atkinson cycle petrol engine to help with going for more than just the electric range. However, this time around both electric motors can be used simultaneously. This means that its total output, in all-electric mode, has been improved to 68 kW which is considerably better than the previous 37 kW. This allows the new Prime to drive at speeds of up to 84 MPH which is quite impressive. In order to achieve this type of performance, the Prime offers an 8.8 kWh battery-pack. This is double the capacity of the one before it and on top of that, it is also similarly heavy. Thanks to it the car will be able to drive up to 22 miles of all-electric range.
This is more than enough for up to 50% of the US customers. However, if 22 miles are not enough the Prime will drive nearly 600 miles. This is thanks to its large fuel tank and 1.8 liters in-line 4 engine. Even then, the car will return more than 50 MPG on average which is quite a bit better than the competition. Thanks to that, it is well worth it for those wanting a single car.
One of the least impressive parts of the normal Prius has to be its design. This has been finally reworked with the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime which looks distinctively better than before. In the front, the car features a larger grille, a new bumper with an integrated splitter and black-colored moldings which complete the general design. The back has been redesigned as well so it features a wide LED-strip which spans the entire width of the car. From the profile, on the other hand, the car is identical to the regular Prius but that’s to be expected.
We can say the same about the cabin of the new Prime. Here the driver will feel right at home if he ever drove the new Prius before. The dashboard is identical and it features the same large 11.6-inch high definition screen which controls most of the car’s functions. The change is in the two 4.2 inch LCD screens which now display all the information the driver needs to the hybrid system. The Prime also features a slightly larger trunk as the battery pack has been moved under the rear seats.