Toyota Prius Prime vs. Toyota Prius

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - July 17, 2017

In years past, the Prius Plug-In had a tough time making a case for its extra cost relative to the standard Prius, as it offered little more than just 11 miles of electric range. With the Prius Prime (the Prius Plug-In's replacement) more than doubling that figure, buyers now face the struggle of choosing between two comparable fuel-sippers in the Prius family.

Which do we think is the better buy? Keep reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Prius & Prius Prime »

What the Prius Prime Gets Right

The most obvious advantage to buying the Prius Prime is its all-electric range. While the Prius can travel on battery power alone for short distances at low speeds, the Prius Prime has a 25-mile electric-only range. In addition to that, once the Prime runs out of charge, its hybrid drive gets up to 54 miles per gallon combined, besting the standard Prius by 2 mpg.

While the Prius Prime has the same platform and general shape as its hybrid sibling, its unique front and rear fascias give it a slightly more palatable look than the polarizing Prius.

The base Prius Prime’s list of standard features is a bit longer than the standard Prius. Its extra goodies include a seven-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, navigation, and satellite radio.

What the Prius Gets Right

The Toyota Prius starts from $25,575 ($890 destination fee included), giving buyers an extra $2,410 to add options or just keep in their bank.

While the base Prius’ fuel economy comes in a little shy of the Prius Prime, the new-for-2017 Prius Eco makes up for it with a 36 mpg combined rating, beating the Prime by 2 mpg.

Inside, the Prius offers a roomier interior, including a middle rear seat – the Prime lacks a middle seat, likely in order to accommodate its larger battery. The Prius also has 24.6 cubic feet of cargo room, which is 4.8 cubic feet more than the Prius Prime.

Finally, buyers don’t have to worry about remembering to plug in their Prius every night to assure they are getting their money’s worth. They just hop in and drive.

Families May Have to Buy the Prius

While the Prius Prime has too much going for it to lose to its sibling, the Prius has a lock on one demographic: families of five. With its fifth seat, the Prius can haul up to five people, though the kiddo stuck in the middle seat may not be overly comfortable. Additionally, the extra cargo room may be just what a family needs to haul a few more bags of groceries.

Verdict: Toyota Prius Prime

With a price that’s not dramatically higher than the base Prius and some extra standard features to help make the higher MSRP easier to swallow, the Prius Prime and its 25-mile electric range is simply the better buy.

Take a closer look at the Toyota Prius »

Take a closer look at the Toyota Prius Prime »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website