Her + His Car Reviews

2018 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced

There are two sides to everything, right? To keep our car reviews innovative and interesting, we provide an animated, insightful, detailed and sometimes uncouth two points of view on the same car from - Her + His perspectives.

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate, women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

$34,189 $34,189
The 2018 Prius Prime seamlessly transitions from gas to electric power. The handing was responsive, the car had a decent ride overall, but the acceleration was not so quick, to be expected. All told, with the Hybrid Synergy Drive System - with 1.8L Aluminum DOHC 16-Valve Variable with 8.8 kWh Lithium-Ion Battery - and the 2 permanent synchronous AC motors, the vehicle produces 121 horses. Braking smooth and effortless. Can drive in EV mode up to 84 MPH. Power comes from Toyota's well-known Hybrid Synergy Drive System. That system includes a DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter inline-4, that produces 95 hip, and also includes 2 permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors. Taken together, the system puts out 121 horsepower. It also uses a lithium ion battery pack and an active grille shutter system helps out mightily with aerodynamics and thus, fuel economy. We should point out right now that you should not be fooled by the 121 horsepower figure. The Prius Prime really moves, and there is never any concern with acceleration on the highway, going up hills or any other challenge that can be thrown before it in the country's u8rban areas. Nor did we have any problems with handling. We were frankly astonished by how well the Prius Prime takes corners and handles quickly and sharply. Clearly not what people expect when driving a hybrid.
Fuel Economy
EPA projected at 55 city, 53 highway and 54 combined hybrid making this year's Prius Prime is one of the class leaders in efficiency. A top performer when it comes to fuel economy--and you get the added bonus of electric plug in functions. If you only do travel around your neighborhood--or within the city or downtown, it's quite conceivable that you can cut your gasoline dependency down to a minimum--or none at all.

The economy ratings for this car, as you might expect, are astonishing. Considering that the electricity and gasoline rating is 133 MPGe, and gasoline rating is 54 miles per gallon. It takes only 1.9 gallons of gasoline to drive 100 miles, and the annual fuel cost is $600 annually. You save about $4,000 in fuel costs over five years, compared to the average new vehicle.
The Car
We very much enjoyed the comfort, drive, and technology of the Prius Prime - a top ranked plug in hybrid. It is the most technologically advanced in the Prius lineup. Sturdy on four 15" alloy wheels, this hatchback gets extraordinary gas mileage and has a lot of standard features. Four seat configuration does create a more specious layout for each person, and the rear cargo area has been updated to accommodate a now larger battery pack. Even so, there are other competitors that outmuscle the Prius Prime in terms of space.

But here is the thing, in the Prime Advanced the intelligence of this vehicle is set apart as it can Park Assist - with no driver input. The Intelligent Sonar and parking Assist uses UV wave sensors to determine space required to parallel park. This is s thing of beautify. The Sonar allows driver to get in/out of tight sports and audible are there to tell you about obstacles or when clearance is not there. Really terrific feature by Toyota.

Tire Repair Kit is included, but no extra tire.
The Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid, which means that you can recharge at home or at a public charging station, which is becoming a lot more common nowadays. While it is indeed the top of the heap Prius, it doesn't look like the other Prius models that are not plug-in hybrids. It has its own look--and given the potential of this car, Toyota has wisely given the Prius Prime its own identity.

A Toyota news release says, "Prius drivers have long cherished the unique design of their vehicles, so Toyota took the concept even further with the Prius Prime. This new hybrid shares the same silhouette as the standard Prius lift back models but gets a unique look with exclusive front and rear fascias, bumpers and lighting systems. Ultra-low profile LED headlights and the large acrylic grille that compliments the presence of the air intakes evoke a more advanced EV image. The design also draws a connection to the revolutionary Toyota Mirai hydrogen vehicle."

It should be noted that there are several ways to drive this car in terms of its operating modes.

"The Prius Prime also offers other drive modes to give the driver options depending on their needs: EV Auto Mode and Hybrid Mode: EV Auto Mode will automatically rely more on its electric capability, especially in urban and suburban driving during shorter trips. But in situations where it is more efficient to run the gasoline engine, up steep hills for example, the extremely efficient engine will engage. In Hybrid Mode, the Prius Prime runs primarily on the gasoline engine with support of the electric motor. It efficiently combines the engine drive force and the electric power from the hybrid battery," a news release said.
Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Full Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Auto High Beams - a favorite. Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist. Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. Back up Camera.

Power Assisted Brakes. Solid Disc-Rear Brakes. Electric Power Steering.
The safety tech roster grows with Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Safety Connect®, which includes Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification. (Includes complimentary three-year trial subscription).

And the Prime Advanced model has another cool feature: It can park itself!
Its standard Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) with Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) uses ultrasonic wave sensors to size up a parallel parking space and then, when activated by the driver, can steer the car into it. The system can also reverse the vehicle into a perpendicular space and automatically steer it out of a parallel space. If you drive into a tight spot, such as a narrow alley or driveway, Intelligent Clearance Sonar provides visible and audible warnings if you get too close to obstacles on the vehicle's sides.
This car is defined by technology - to move. Plus, there are a lot more ways. 11.6" HD Multimedia Display [note: the air vents and center dash have been modified to seamlessly integrate the Multimedia Display] Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Parking Assist. Head-Up Display with speedometer, navigation and Hybrid System Indicator. The Prime Apps include: Climate Control, Charge Management, ECO Dashboard, Charging Station Map and Vehicle Finder. Drive Modes include: EV, HV and EV Auto. Bat try Warning System.

6 Speakers, USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity, advanced voice recognition, hands free phone capability music streaming via BLUETOOTH, Siri Eyes Free, HD Radio, Predictive Traffic & Doppler Weather overlay. AM/FM Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.

Loved the heated steering wheel and heated front seats. Smart flow climate control system with air pollen filtration. Toyota uses the Smart Key System with Push Button Start. The one negative thing is that upgraded infotainment system's lack of physical buttons can make it frustrating to engage with!

Back up camera, Heated Power Outdoor Mirrors. Of course, auxiliary power outlet and USB power outlet. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers for lightweight body structure.
Here's how Toyota described the differences between the models:

Toyota's grade strategy for Prius Prime includes grades, Prime Plus, Prime Premium and Prime Advanced, each with successively more amenities and technology. Prius Prime Plus starts with a long roster of standard features, including fabric-trimmed heated front seats with armrests and seatback pockets; power windows with auto up/down; smart-flow climate control system with pollen filtration; integrated navigation and backup camera; dual sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors and heated power outside mirrors.

The standard Soften-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel integrates controls for audio, climate, the Multi-Information Display and Bluetooth® hands-free phone. Additional user tech includes the Smart Key System (on driver side) with Push Button Start. To power devices, there's a 12V auxiliary power outlet up front, and another in the rear, plus one front USB power outlet.

Stepping up to the Prius Prime Premium nets more technology, comfort and convenience.

Entune™ technology goes big-screen with the 11.6-inch vertical HD multimedia display. The Smart Key System with Push Button Start is expanded to three doors and includes remote illuminated entry.

Comfort moves up a few notches with Softex-trimmed heated front seats with armrests and seatback pockets. The driver gets an 8-way power adjustable seat with power lumbar support.
Aesthetics & Styling
We love the look of the Prime, especially from the rear. There are aspects of the lighting and the window angle that feel inspired like a smaller Cadillac. Very trendy and sans the boxy feel of the classic Prius. Unorthodox dashboard styling for starters. But it grows on user. Four seat configuration with the Prime. The somewhat futuristic "grille shutter is adopted on the exterior; this patterned design combined with an acrylic overlay gives the grille a 3-D feel." New LED tail-light and spotlight design has been developed to "seamlessly flow with the dial wave near the rear glass design realizing a unique presence."

Trimmed Leather throughout and a satin-chrome accent. 60/40 folding seats in back and rear center console.
The sharp edges, unusual rear end, and odd-looking profile and other design elements on the Prius Prime are not my cup of tea, to be honest. But Prius owners treasure the unique styling of the brand, so... more power to them. I just think if the styling was a bit more conventional, there would be way larger numbers of folks who might buy one. Inside, the futuristic styling theme continues, with an unusual horizontal theme for the dashboard and an absolutely huge touch screen that is more than 11 inches.

And therein lies the problem, it is so large and complex, with so many details, touch points and other odds or ends, you really have to pay close attention to what you are doing. Instead I often found myself searching for what I needed. That's not good. You need to focus your attention on the road, not the dashboard every time you have to do something. I think some more built-in intuitiveness would be useful for this car.
3 year/36,000 mile Basic Warranty, 5 year/60,000 mile Powertrain Warranty, 8 year/100,000 mile Hybrid Component Warranty. Some states cover the hybrid battery pack for 10 years/150,000 miles - ask your Dealer. 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty, 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and an 8 year/100,000 mile hybrid component warranty.