Toyota’s first and, so far, only plug-in hybrid (PHEV) car returns unchanged for 2019. An extension of the Prius range, the Prius Prime adds plug-in charging capability for about 40 km of all-electric driving.
We’re curious why Toyota, as one of the automakers that helped bring hybrids into the mainstream, only has one plug-in model. Either they’re waiting until PHEV technology is more advanced before they dive in, or the company has something really interesting up its sleeve.
For now, the Prius Prime is it for a Toyota you can plug in. It has a 1.8L gas engine and a dual-motor hybrid drive system that work together to make a total of 121 hp, which is fed to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. Unlike the standard Prius, the Prime can’t be optioned with all-wheel drive.
The Prius may be one of the best-known hybrid models, but the Prime has a lot of competition. Hyundai, Kia and Honda all plug-in hybrids, and luxury brands like BMW, Audi and Mercedes have embraced the technology as well. What Toyota lacks at this point is a pure electric model to go up against cars like the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Kona Electric.
Prius Prime’s standard features include all-LED exterior lighting, driver’s door passive keyless entry, automatic climate control, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Toyota also makes its Safety Sense P active safety suite standard here. That kit comprises forward collision and pedestrian detection with automatic braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control.
An upgrade package bundles an 11.6-inch touchscreen to replace the base model’s 7.0-incher, along with passive keyless for the front passenger door and trunk lid, wireless phone charging, LED fog lights, automatic wipers and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.
A tech package brings an upgraded stereo, head-up display, auto-dimming inside mirror and blind spot monitoring with cross traffic warning.
Toyota’s energy consumption estimates are 1.8 Le/100 km when running on electricity alone, and 4.3/4.4 L/100 km (city/highway) in gas-electric hybrid mode.