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2021 Toyota Prius Prime

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Make
Toyota
Model
Prius Prime
Year
2021
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Used Car Price Range
$21,488 - $29,700
$21,488 $29,700
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2021 LE 5dr Hatchback
most popular
Price:   -  From $28,220
2021 XLE 5dr Hatchback Price:   -  From $30,000
2021 Limited 5dr Hatchback Price:   -  From $34,000
Expert Rating
2.8 (Fair)

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

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Overview

What's New

The 2021 Toyota Prius Prime gains standard lane keeping assist and road sign assist, helping to improve on its already impressive safety bundle. The plug-in hybrid Prius Prime debuted in 2017 has received regular equipment updates since then.

Choosing Your Toyota Prius Prime

The Prius Prime is available in three trim levels: LE, XLE, and Limited. Pricing starts at $29,215 including destination and reaches $34,995 for the Limited.

Engine Choices

The Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor. Total output is 121 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission sends power to the front wheels.

On a full charge, the Prius Prime can travel up to 25 miles on electricity only. After that, it runs on a combination of gas and electricity, just like a conventional hybrid. According to Toyota, recharging takes up to 5.5 hours on a standard household outlet, and two hours and 10 minutes on a 240-volt (Level 2) charger.

The EPA rates fuel economy at 54 miles per gallon combined, or 133 MPGe combined (miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent) The Prius Prime's top-notch efficiency and electric-only capability give it a total driving range of 640 miles.

Passenger and Cargo Capacity

The Prius Prime does an admirable job of seating five passengers for its size. The hatchback body permits 19.8 cubic feet of cargo space in back, which would be more if not for the intrusive battery pack. The rear seats fold for additional space.

Toyota Prius Prime

Safety Features

The Prius Prime LE and XLE come thoroughly equipped with driver assistance safety technology, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, road departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, road sign assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

The Limited also gets a blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors.

Connectivity

The standard infotainment setup on the Prius Prime features a 7-inch touchscreen, six audio speakers, satellite radio, two front and two rear USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Stepping up to the XLE brings an 11.6-inch touchscreen, navigation, HD radio, and wireless phone charging. The Limited additionally gets a head-up display and a 10-speaker JBL audio system.

Toyota Prius Prime

LE - From $29,215

The LE carries a healthy bundle of equipment, including automatic climate control, power-folding side mirrors, full LED exterior lighting, proximity key access (driver door only), push button start, a 120-volt charging cable, and a cargo area cover. The interior offers cloth seats and leatherette trim. The LE rolls on 15-inch alloy wheels.

XLE - From $30,995

The Prius Prime XLE adds leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat, proximity key access for three doors, and a charging cable lock.

Limited - From $34,995

The Limited builds on the the XLE with automatic wipers, a heated steering wheel, LED fog lights, LED exterior accent lighting, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal home remote, and remote air conditioning activation.

Compare Prius Prime Trims Side-By-Side

CarsDirect Tip

The 2021 Toyota Prius Prime XLE is priced close enough to the entry-level LE for us to recommend it without reservation. The Limited offers some nice conveniences, but it could supply a little more luxury for the price.

author image
Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

Pros
  • 133 MPGe combined
  • 55 MPG city
  • Affordable price
  • Spacious cargo area
Cons
  • Painful looks
  • Tight back seat
  • Cheap interior
  • Like driving an appliance
Expert Rating
2.8 (Fair)

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

author image
Automotive Editor

Half-electric Frankenstein. After years of niche obscurity, hybridization is finally in the limelight. The technology has been proven, government tax credits incentive them, and – most critically for commercial success – they have finally been accepted as cool by consumers.

Was the Toyota Prius Prime one of those trendsetters that finally changed the attitude of the buying public? That's an emphatic no. The 2021 Toyota Prius Prime remains a, ah, prime example of unpretentious eco-conscious motoring. It has no handling or performance chops and its styling is to be tolerated rather than enjoyed. But the Prius Prime has the Toyota reputation and the Prius heritage to undergird it, and, for many buyers in this segment, that's merit enough.

Slow but miserly. The Prius Prime's biggest attraction is, of course, its gas-electric powertrain. The conventional bit is a 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder; the fancy stuff consists of dual electric motors and an 8.8-kWh battery pack.

All told, total power output is a rather meager 121 horsepower. But the only race the Prius is out to win is the sprint to 60 mpg. It doesn't quite make it there but gets closer than most vehicles, netting an EPA-rated 55 miles per gallon city and 53 mpg highway when the gas engine is in play, and 133 MPGe combined is possible while exploiting the 25 miles of all-electric range.

The Prius Prime drives like it looks: unpleasant. Slow and uninspired, the pokey plug-in feels quick enough around town but loses all pretense of power at speed. Passing on the highway is an endeavor best avoided. On-ramps and steep grades are likewise a challenge. Heaven help any hypermiler who looks at the efficiency gauge during one of these maneuvers, all of which require drivers to hammer the accelerator.

A continuously variable transmissions does the shifting, and the worst tendencies of this transmission type have largely been ironed out here. On the gearshift, drivers will find a "B" button; pressing it increased the regenerative braking action. The additional regen action is noticeable, and when engaged drivers will feel the car readily slow down as soon as they lift off the throttle. It's a nice way to recoup a bit of energy and save the brake pads from some wear.

Plugged into an ordinary 120-volt outlet, the Prius Prime's lithium-ion battery takes about 5.5 hours to fully recharge. A 240-volt outlet cuts that time down to around 2 hours. Once the battery is fully depleted, the electric motors go on hiatus and the gas engine takes over running the car. Not that you'd notice – the transition between gas and electric propulsion is always seamless.


Toyota Prius Prime

Austere, well-equipped. Like all Prius models, the Prius Prime's cabin feels austere. The acres of black plastic and a basic and uninspired design don't make it a very enjoyable place to spend time in.

The most disconcerting factor initially is the lack of a traditional gauge cluster. In proper Prius tradition, the Prius Prime relocates all pertinent travel and vehicle information information to a digital readout mounted atop the center stack, leaving only an expanse of black plastic ahead of the steering wheel. The placement isn't as odd as it looks, and after a few trips it becomes as second-nature as looking at the radio.

As for the radio, it's embedded in an 11.6-inch touchscreen. That's some generous screen size, but the software that powers it could use some help. It takes a second for inputs to register, resulting in an annoying lag when trying to tap menu icons. It isn't the most intuitive system, either. The good news is that Android Auto compatibility is finally part of the deal. Along with Apple CarPlay, it comes standard on all models.

Keeping with the rest of the interior, the seating isn't luxurious. Cloth upholstery is standard on all trims. Base models get manual seat adjustment; higher trims get eight-way power adjustment. The fronts are comfy enough, though they wouldn't be our first choice of thrones for a road trip. The back seat only has 33.6 inches of leg room, which is too little for our liking. Luckily the big windows and a bubble roof imbue the cabin with an airy, expansive feeling.

Encroaching competition. For a few years, the Prius Prime occupied a niche that was really only rivaled by the Chevrolet Volt; other alt-energy options were all-in on electric power or, if they were hybrid, could only muster a handful of miles on a charge. As with the Volt, the Prius Prime's useful range of gas-free motoring made it an ideal in-town runabout, while the engine remained for the inevitable moments when a road trip was on the calendar.

That then-unoccupied middle ground gave the Prius a unique advantage among consumers still leery of making the leap to all-electric cars. But electric cars and plug-in hybrids have only become more prevalent and more accepted among buyers. With a raft of alternative options on the market, the Prius Prime – along with the rest of the Prius family – doesn't dominate the sales charts like it once did. In a sign of the times, the Prius lost its title as best-selling hybrid to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid in 2019.

Compared to the Prius Prime, the RAV4 Prime carries more cargo – 50 total cubic feet versus 63 cubic feet – and is significantly faster with 302 total horsepower. Not to mention the RAV4 Prime looks like a typical contemporary crossover, not a creature of the deep. The RAV4's only drawback over the Prius is price: the cheapest RAV4 Prime costs nearly $10,000 more than a base Prius Prime.

A more apt comparison is the Hyundai Ioniq. Since its introduction in 2017, the Ioniq has aimed its sights on the Prius family. Like the Prius, it's a hybridized hatchback that costs around $34,000 fully loaded. Its plug-in hybrid model can go 29 miles to a charge, four miles further than the Prius Prime. The Ioniq's 119 MPGe combined rating in electric mode can't match the Prius Prime's 133 MPGe, however. It remains one of the most efficient cars on the market.

Other competitors that have the Prius Prime pulling at its collar are the Honda Clarity, Ford Escape PHEV, Honda CR-V Hybrid, and Kia Niro PHEV. Many of these didn't exist just a couple of years ago, and more are coming still. Though each of these are unique in their own way, all are affordable plug-ins that marry practicality, usability, and conventional design with Prius-like efficiency.

Final thoughts. The 2021 Toyota Prius Prime, if it wants to remain competitive, will need to up its game. The Toyota reputation won't carry it much farther if the vehicle is objectively inferior to its competition.

Right now, it remains one of the most energy-efficient vehicles you can buy, but many of the aforementioned competitors are nipping at its heels. The odd looks and staid interior don't help matters, either. As miserly as the Prius Prime is, we would give close consideration to some of the other similarly-priced plug-in options now on the market.

Check prices for the 2021 Toyota Prius Prime »

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Specs & Features

Highlights
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Not Available
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
1.8L I-4 / 95 HP / 105 ft.lbs.
Transmission
CVTi-S 2-spd CVT w/OD
Drive Type
Front-wheel
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
Not Available
Passenger Capacity
5
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
1.8L I-4 / 95 HP / 105 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Front-wheel
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
Not Available
Brakes
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Strut
Rear Suspension
Independent Multi-link
Spare Tire And Wheel
Fuel Tank
11.4 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Regular Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
$43
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
Passenger Volume
91 Cu.ft.
Exterior Length
182.9 "
Exterior Width
69.3 "
Exterior Height
57.9 "
Front Headroom
39.4 "
Rear Headroom
37.2 "
Front Legroom
43.2 "
Rear Legroom
33.4 "
Front Shoulder Room
54.2 "
Rear Shoulder Room
53.0 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
3,365 Lbs.
Wheel Base
106 "
Turning Radius
16.7 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
Wheels
15.0 " Aluminum / 15.0 " Silver Aluminum
Paint
Clearcoat Monotone / Pearlcoat Monotone / Metallic Monotone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Power Remote Heated
Bumpers
Body-colored
Grille Moldings
Black
Rear Spoiler
Exhaust
Stainless Steel
Interior Features
Seating
Passenger Capacity
5
Seat Trim
Cloth
Front Seat Type
Bucket
Heated Front Seats
Driver And Front Passenger Heated-cushion, Heated-seatback
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
6-way
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
4-way
Front Armrests
6-way
Rear Armrests
Center
Rear Seats
60-40 Bench
Radio & Infotainment
Radio
Siriusxm Am/fm/satellite, Seek-scan
Speakers
6
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Telescopic Tilt
Climate Control
Automatic Air Conditioning
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
Day-night
One Touch Open Window
Front And Rear
Tinted Windows
Light
Vanity Mirrors
Dual Illuminated
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
1
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Driver
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Rear Side-impact Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Front
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Pre-collision System (pcs) Forward Collision Mitigation
Blind Spot Sensor
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Departure Alert (lda) W/steering Assist Lane Departure
Autonomous Cruise Control
Lane Tracing Assist (lta) Hands-on Steering Assist
Pedestrian Detection
Pre-collision System With Low-light Pedestrian Detection Front Pedestrian Detection Prevention
Driver Attention Alert
Vehicle Sway Warning Driver Attention
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
Automatic High Beams (ahb) Auto High-beam
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Immobilizer
Warranty
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
36 Months / 36,000 Miles
Major Components Months
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
24 Months / 25,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance Months
36 Months / Unlimited Miles
Corrosion Perforation
60 Months / Unlimited Miles
Accessories Months
36 Months / 36,000 Miles

Used 2021 Toyota Prius Prime for Sale

12 vehicles found within 50 miles of your area
Toyota
LE
Color: Gray
Price

$21,488

Mileage

105,865 mi

Map location icon

Claremont Toyota (40 mi)

Phone: (909) 542-1828
Toyota
XLE
Color: Gray
Price

$22,314

Mileage

58,176 mi

Map location icon

STG Auto Group of Montclair (42 mi)

Phone: (855) 404-2728
Toyota
XLE
Color: Gray
Price

$22,899

Mileage

44,585 mi

Map location icon

California Motors Direct (34 mi)

Phone: (714) 515-6100
Toyota
LE
Color: White
Price

$23,997

Mileage

42,579 mi

Map location icon

Carson Honda (11 mi)

Phone: (800) 717-6845
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