Toyota first released their Prius model in 1997. It was the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle and was as a trailblazer for eco-friendly driving. Then in 2003, the Prius was newly released with a complete redesign. Then, the Prius acquired its recognizable big trunk and straight hood and windshield, perfected for minimal air resistence. The Prius’ exterior and it being a hybrid gained name among the public very quickly. Although the Prius was often criticized for its lack of aesthetics, the car was still very popular. The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is an attempt to surge the Prius popularity again. Toyota wants to achieve this by staying ahead of eco-friendly technology.
The aerodynamic design of the Prius hasn’t lost its relevance to Toyota yet. Although the windshield and hood don’t form a perfectly straight line anymore, they are still somewhat diagonal. The high, block-like rear is also still present.
The front of the car looks very slick. The headlights are two thin slightly diagonal lines, powered by LED-lights. Underneath the headlights, in the far corners of the front fascia are two vertical LED Daytime Running Lights. Next to those are the mist lamps. Lastly, triangular pieces of body metal point towards the dark air vent.
Looking at the side of the car, you clearly see the aerodynamic styling. The nose of the car points downwards, while the rear of the car is quite high. The side of the car also clearly shows that the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime mostly has angular outlines. The Prime is also 2.4 inches (6 cm) longer than its predecessor.
On the back of the car you can find wing-shaped LED taillights. They form a line that runs over the trunk lid’s edge and meet in the middle. Underneath those lights, just like on the front of the car, vertical lights are positioned.
Something that is unseen on any other recent mass-production vehicle is the TFT-screen. The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime has a gigantic 11.6 inch infotainment screen. For ratio, the size of a mini-laptop screen is only 10.1 inches. Above the infotainment screen is another TFT-screen. This one is 4.2 inches in size and displays information like current speed. In addition, a gauge display above the steering wheel was left out. Below the infotainment screen the gear shifting console is found.
Standard interior features are heated front seats and intelligent climate control. There’s also a USB 2.0 port and a wireless charging dock for compatible devices.
Optional are leather seats and an EnTune sound system with 10 JBL GreenEdge speakers positioned throughout the cabin.
Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology is present in the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. This technology links a gasoline engine and electric motor by an intelligent transmission system.
The Prime is a plug-in hybrid, which means it can be plugged in a socket for charging. A regular household socket charges a fully depleted battery in six hours. However, a 240-volt socket takes only 2,5 hours.
Regular hybrids produce electricity when braking. This electricity is either immediately used or stored in a battery. So, a regular hybrid basically charges itself. Toyota offers this option too, in their SUV crossover the 2017 Toyota C-HR.
The battery has a higher capacity than the battery of the last Prius. The all-electric driving range accounts to 22 miles (35 km). The gasoline engine is a 1.8 liter Atkinson-cycle four cylinder, which is the same as the last Prius’. This engine combines features like exhaust gas recirculation and a smaller hybrid system water pump. As a result, the engine is 80% more efficient than the previous Prius’.
There is enough software in this funny looking car to suit any techie out there. Many features can be controlled with a smartphone. Turning on the air conditioning and checking the charging status are some of those things. You can also change the charge schedule and find charging stations.
The car has voice recognition, Bluetooth music streaming and Handsfree calling. Optional is a premium pack called “Entune Media bundle”. Features are HD Radio, traffic information and weather information. On top of that come a three month subscription to SiriusXM and the option to pause the radio.
The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime can be extended with Toyota Safety Sense technology package. This offers things like adaptive headlights, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning with steering assist and rear cross-traffic warning. Also, the combination of pre-collision detection with pedestrian recognition and automatic braking keeps pedestrians safe. If an object is in the way the car brakes and if necessary, also steers to avoid collision.
Another available option is Parking Assist. This feature uses sensors located around the car to help you guide your car into a parking space.
Price and sale date
The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime will be available in showrooms in November. Prices haven’t been made known yet, but a starting price of $30,000 is expected.
In Europe the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime will be sold as the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The car will be available in showrooms in January or February of 2017. Prices are expected to start at €40,000, depending on in which country the car will be bought.