2017 Toyota Prius Prime PHV Makes World Debut in New York

2017 Toyota Prius Prime 8 photos
Photo: Toyota
2017 Toyota Prius Prime2017 Toyota Prius Prime2017 Toyota Prius Prime2017 Toyota Prius Prime2017 Toyota Prius Prime2017 Toyota Prius Prime2017 Toyota Prius Prime
Toyota told us it'd be launching something new and important in New York, but it didn't make it very clear what exactly that was going to be. A teaser image of the taillights gave us pleasant dreams for a short while, but a few days ago there were some leaked images that proved it was "just" the plug-in hybrid version of the Prius.
No sexy, sporty, hybrid coupe for us, then. Well, that being said, the new Toyota Prius Prime does look a lot more conventional than the standard HSD version, and that's a good thing. If we were to file a complaint about its exterior design, it would have to do with the sometimes striking Honda resemblance - if this were to be rebadged with an "H" logo, nobody would find it out of place.

Still, the designers managed to keep the standard model's overall shape and yet come up with a car that looks almost completely different. It's still weird, but for most of us, it's a more acceptable kind of weird. But the Prius has always been the kind of car you buy to make a statement, and the best way to do that is by standing out of the crowd. The new Prius does that, and the Prime PHV version doesn't fall far from the tree.

Besides, the Prius Prime has other things to entice its potential buyers with. How does a 120 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) fuel consumption (roughly 1.95 l/100 km) sound? Or a maximum electric range that's double that of the previous model - 22 miles (35 km)? Or a maximum EV-mode speed of 84 mpg (135 km/h)? Toyota says that's enough to cover the daily commute of half the North American drivers.

The new Prius plug-in hybrid has grown by 2.5 inches in length, 0.6 inches in width and is almost one inch shorter than the model it replaces. These modifications in dimensions give the new Prius Prime more cargo space, but also better dynamic characteristics. Those are also helped by the aluminum hood, carbon fiber rear hatch, the low position of the batteries, and the double-wishbone independent rear suspension.

The powertrain is absolutely identical to the one found in the standard Prius, the only difference being the larger, 8.8 kWh battery pack in the Prime that can be charged. A complete recharge takes 5.5 hours from a conventional household outlet, with the time dropping to less than half that with a 240 V source.

The inside of the Prime might be its best selling point, featuring an 11.6-inch central LCD much like the new Volvo XC90 or the Tesla Model S. Satellite navigation comes as standard, as do a host of airbags including multi-stage driver and front passenger front airbags; driver and front passenger side airbags; full-length curtain airbags; a driver knee airbag, and a front passenger seat cushion airbag.

The instrument cluster is located where you'd expect it to be in a Prius - on top of the dashboard in a central position - and consists of a 4.2-inch full-color TFT display that can be controlled via the steering wheel controls. Optionally, there's also a color head-up display available that further enhances the futuristic ambiance inside the Prius Prime. Toyota promises the ride is going to be a quiet one thanks to insulating materials and the aerodynamic shape that cuts through the air.

The new Toyota Prius Prime will be available in showrooms toward the end of this fall.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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