After fuel prices went down by a really big margin in the United States, many people moved from the fuel efficient hybrid cars to crossovers or trucks which offer more space and usually much better towing capacities while also being cheaper. In order to get some of these people back to hybrids, Toyota released at the New York Auto Show a new model for the Prius which is aimed completely at the younger generation of buyers that like technology. The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is quite a bit more different than the usual model and the biggest difference yet is the fact that the car is actually a plug-in hybrid, so it might be perfect for those with short commutes.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime Release Date
The official release date for the production model is still unknown for now and there are still plenty of details to reveal about the car. However, from the showcased model we can see a pretty obvious direction Toyota is going. The price will likely be around $5,000 more than that of the usual Prius in order to remain competitive which would mean that it will still be around $5,000 less than any other car in its class.
The most impressive fact about the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is that it is not much heavier than the regular car which is mighty impressive considering it boasts an 8,8 kWh battery-pack, two times as large as that on the base model. Toyota said that this should be enough for up to 23 miles of all electric range and the best part about it is that the car will charge itself from a regular outlet without any issues.
2017 Prius Prime Specs
Under its hood there is the exact same engine that can be found under the hood of the regular Prius, a 1.8 liter naturally aspirated inline 4 coupled to a compact electric motor. The petrol engine will offer up to 98 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque while the electric unit up to 71 horsepower and 120 lb-ft of torque. In electric mode only, the car will be able to get up to around 82 MPH which is more than enough for short commutes while the total range will be more than 600 miles which is very impressive for any car. The actual fuel consumption is still unknown but thanks to its really low drag coefficient, efficient tires, active grille shutters and improved aerodynamics, we expect around 100 eMPG in electric mode and up to 50 MPG on average in combined driving which would be more than enough to make the plug-in version a great alternative for those looking at more expensive hybrids.
Now let’s move to the more unusual parts of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. The exterior of the regular model has been regarded as ugly by many people and the new one is not that much different. However, Toyota worked tremendously to its front end where there are all new LED headlights, a new bumper and grille, a more aggressive look as well as a nicer stance. The back on the other hand only gets new wraparound tail lights as well as a new lower bumper but the general look is still less to be desired.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime Interior
The interior has been revamped in a similar way so while the instrument cluster, steering wheel, seats or the dull materials are the same as before, most of the buttons of the infotainment unit and climate control have been completely replaced by a large 11,6 tablet-like touch-screen that can control everything on the car. This is way too similar to the one found in the Tesla Model S not to raise any questions and despite that, we do hope that it works smooth as it is the only way to adjust some of the car’s functions.