2017 Toy­ota Prius Prime

The Washington Post Sunday - - CARS -

Bot­tom line: This column moves the Prius Prime to the top of the list for any­one shop­ping f ora gas-elec­tric car — that’s tra­di­tional gas­e­lec­tric hy­brid or plug-in gas-elec­tric hy­brid. Ride, ac­cel­er­a­tion and han­dling: Itisa com­fort­able com­muter—safe, ef­fi­cient and pleas­ant to drive in daily ur­ban and sub­ur­ban traf­fic, an easy fit in high-speed high­way traf­fic. Head-turn­ingquo­tient: The ex­te­rior is su­per­sporty, per­haps more than it ought or needs to be. I pre­fer the out­side looks of the Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq here. But Toy­ota needs to be con­grat­u­lated for work­ing with JBL for de­sign­ing and in­stalling that 11.6-inch touch screen in the cabin.

Body style/lay­out: The 2017 Toy­ota Prius Prime is a much-im­proved plug-in gas-elec­tric hy­brid that re­places its pre­de­ces­sor, the Prius Plug-in hy­brid. It is front-wheel drive with four side doors and a rear hatch. There are three trim lev­els — Prime Plus, Prime Ad­vanced and Prime Premium. This column rec­om­mends the all-in­clu­sive Premium trim for best value. Power-sys­tem: It com­bines a plug-in elec­tric mo­tor (good for 25 miles elec­tric-only) and a 1.8-liter, 16-valve, in­line four-cylin­der gaso­line engine/gen­er­a­tor with vari­able valve tim­ing to yield an es­ti­mated 121 horsepower and com­bined city/high­way 55 miles per gal­lon. It uses a con­tin­u­ously vari­able au­to­matic trans­mis­sion to send power to the front wheels.

Ca­pac­ity: The larger lithium-ion bat­tery will cost you one seat. The Prius Prime ac­com­mo­dates four peo­ple, as op­posed to five in the reg­u­lar Prius Hy­brid. Carg oca pac­ity with all seats in place is 19.8 cu­bic feet. The fuel tank holds 11.3 gal­lons of reg­u­lar-grade gaso­line. Mileage: I av­er­aged 56.7 miles per gal­lon in city/high­way driv­ing! Safety: Stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes a full suite of ad­vanced elec­tronic safety items such as lane-de­par­ture warn­ing and blind-side mon­i­tor­ing; four-wheel disc brakes, ven­ti­lated front/solid rear; four-wheel anti-lock brake pro­tec­tion; emer­gency brak­ing as­sis­tance; post- and pre-col­li­sion safety sys­tems; trac­tion and sta­bil­ity con­trol; LED head­lamps; and side and head air bags. Price: The 2017 Prius Prime at Premium trim level starts at $34,203, which in­cludes an $895 fac­tory-to-dealer ship­ping charge. Deal­ers in the area are of­fer­ing an av­erag e of $1,203 in dis­counts. You can bar­gain on this one.

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