Green Vehicles

2024 Best PHEV: Toyota Prius Prime

The fact that there are enough plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) that we can dedicate a trophy to them in the 2024 AutoTrader Awards is a testament to how Canadians are embracing alternative-fuel vehicles. Our winner for 2024 is the Toyota Prius Prime.

Across all our awards, our jury of more than 20 automotive experts from across Canada looked at every vehicle available for the model year and voted on the best ones in 28 categories. The Prius Prime took this trophy over our finalists of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Mazda CX-90 PHEV, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Toyota RAV4 Prime. In addition to its PHEV award, the Prius/Prius Prime is also our Overall Green Car for 2024.

Our jury considered performance, features, comfort, practicality, fuel efficiency, electric range, and value. That last one is important because it isn’t just how much a vehicle costs, but what you get for what you pay. The 2024 Prius Prime comes in three trim levels ranging from $40,910 to $49,410. That includes a non-negotiable delivery fee of $1,860, but before any applicable provincial or federal rebates.

The Prius Prime was completely overhauled for 2023 and carries forward mostly unchanged into 2024 – as does its Prius hybrid sibling. This new Prime receives a larger engine that makes 150 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque on its own and 220 horsepower when working in conjunction with its hybrid system. That’s a considerable jump from the combined 121 horsepower it made before. It’s also now rated for 72 km of electric-only driving in the SE trim after it’s charged up, or 64 km in the XSE and XSE Premium trims with their larger wheels. Previously, it was 40 km, and that improvement impressed our jury. In hybrid operation, the Prius Prime rates as low as 4.5 L/100 km in combined driving.

The big deal with any PHEV is its electric-only range when charged, but when that depletes, it automatically reverts to conventional hybrid operation and will drive for as long as there’s gas in the tank. If charged regularly, which can be done on a Level 2 charger or regular household outlet, many commuters may drive almost exclusively on electricity without any range anxiety.

Our jury members were impressed with the Prius Prime’s list of convenience and safety features, along with its easy-to-use controls. In his review, AutoTrader expert Jeff Wilson wrote, “The first thing most observers will notice about the Prius’s interior is the instrument screen lifted up by an angular structure in front of the driver. Having first experienced this layout in the bZ4X electric vehicle (EV) and now the Prius lineup, we can assure you it’s a great design that works as it’s supposed to. Key driver information is presented much closer to the driver’s sightline without the need for a head-up display (HUD).”

How it performs is also a crucial factor, and in his review, AutoTrader Road Test Editor Dan Ilika said that, “While the previous Prius Prime was just fine to drive, this new one has been dialled up to premium levels. It’s smooth and serene, with excellent suspension damping, while it feels firmly planted in a way its predecessor simply didn’t. There’s poise here – from the way it absorbs imperfect surfaces, to the extra sound-deadening that’s been used, to the just-right steering feel.” He added that, “This efficient and upscale plug-in makes fewer sacrifices than ever before, and therein lies its true value proposition.”

All of the finalists are very good, but the Toyota Prius Prime was so compelling that our jury felt it earned their votes for AutoTrader’s Best Green Vehicle and PHEV for 2024.