It’s time for 2022 Toyota Prius Prime and Gold

Plug-in hybrids have become increasingly popular in recent years, with offerings as diverse as the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan and the Ferrari SF90 Stradale supercar. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the most well-known brand of hybrid cars, Toyota, pioneered the space, first with the Prius plug-in in 2012, followed by the Prius Prime.

The Prius Prime was launched as a 2017 model, and in the five years since then it hasn’t changed much. The Prime is marketed as a separate model from the regular Prius, and in addition to the revised powertrain, it has a slightly different exterior—but just as exotic. When Toyota was designing the Prime, it clearly took to the idea that the key element behind the Prius’ popularity was its exterior appearance. So, this version ventured even further, adding new wrinkles to the Prius’ peak profile, introducing a double-bubble roofline, and installing the lower air intake with massive vertical fog lights.

Michael Cimaricar and driver

The anomaly persists inside. The digital instrumentation in the center of the instrument panel is shifted outside the driver’s natural line of sight, and the shallow screen doesn’t offer much in the way of customization. A head-up display directly in front of the driver compensates for the odd placement of the instrument cluster, but it is exclusive to the Limited Paint. The transmission resembles a regular Prius transmission, a small, short lever that moves through an unusual double J pattern. Physical knobs and buttons are mostly moved away. Instead, almost all controls are non-intuitive capacitive touch points, even for volume and temperature adjustment.

High: 54 mpg combined EPA, rechargeable via a standard outlet, and well-equipped for the price.

Michael Cimaricar and driver

The base LE has a 7.0-inch center touchscreen, while the XLE and Limited models (like our test car) get an 11.6-inch vertical screen. Either way, navigation is included, as is smartphone mirroring and Amazon Alexa integration. Despite the huge amount of real estate available for a larger screen, most of its touch points are small, making it difficult to hit your target on the first try — certainly not without taking your eyes out of the way. Performing a few simple tasks, such as adjusting the fan speed, takes several taps on the screen.

All Prime models feature an animal-free interior, with faux leather on the Limited model. The seating position is low, and the driver’s left leg dead pedal is rather close. The outside view over a tall dash is framed by A-pillars, and a strip between two panes of glass on the hatchback blocks the view to the rear. The rear seat now has seat belts for three, but is realistically roomy enough for two passengers, and they should mind the sloping roofline when entering. Behind the rear seats is a modest 20 cubic feet of luggage space, and the loading floor is high. The regular Prius has more cargo space (27 cubic feet), as does the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV (23 cubic feet).

Michael Cimaricar and driver

Like a regular Prius, the Prius Prime is all about fuel economy. It boasts EPA estimates of 53 mpg city, 55 mpg highway, and 54 mpg combined. This tops all the plug-in hybrids, although the regular Prius does as well, with combined EPA ratings of 52 or 56 mpg, depending on the trim level. (Unlike the Prime, the regular Prius also offers a four-wheel-drive variant that does well for 49 mpg.) We saw 45 mpg in the fuel economy test on the 200-mile highway (starts with a full battery) and an average of 48 mpg. gallons in general. When the vehicle is off, the dashboard display gives you an eco-friendly driving score on a scale of 1-100, usually accompanied by a single Attaboy message (“Good Steady Driving”) and a message explaining how you can do better (“Ease Accelerator Use”), delivered With some piano notes as background music.

LOWS: Non-stop acceleration, noisy touch controls, short EV range.

A plug-in hybrid powertrain combines a 1.8-liter Atkinson four-cylinder engine and two 121-horsepower alternators, and the car’s acceleration is unpredictable. On our test track, the Prime pulled itself to 60 mph in 10.3 seconds, making it slower than any car we tested last year or in 2020. It’s also slower than the Ioniq PHEV. The quarter mile passed in 17.7 seconds as equally as at 78 mph. This is using the motor and electric motors. Set to EV mode, those times were longer.

Michael Cimaricar and driver

On the road, the planetary gear train behaves like a continuously variable automatic transmission, cranking the rev, with the attendant wake-up whenever you demand acceleration. The Eco, Normal, and Power driving modes often determine how far you must depress the accelerator pedal before the powertrain responds.

If the battery is sufficiently charged, the car starts to drive as an EV, which is actually more fun because the accelerator response is linear and the engine remains silent. Unfortunately, the Prius Prime cannot be driven as an electric car for long. With an estimated 6.2 kWh of power for a lithium-ion battery pack, the Prime delivers a modest 25-mile EV range, according to the Environmental Protection Agency; We got 21 miles in the highway test. Most of the newer PHEVs run better, including the Ioniq (29 miles), Hyundai Tucson (33 miles), and Ford Escape (37 miles).

Michael Cimaricar and driver

To get a sense of how far PHEV engines have come since the debut of the Prius Prime, one only needs to take a look through the Toyota showroom. Introduced last year, the RAV4 Prime features a 2.5-liter engine, three electric motors, all-wheel drive, and a much larger battery. The RAV4 Prime’s 302-horsepower puts a waste on the Prius Prime in acceleration, hitting 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Its official fuel economy of 38 mpg can’t match that of the Prius, but the RAV4 will likely use no gas at all for city driving, as it can travel an estimated 42 miles on battery power.

There is one advantage of the Prius Prime’s small battery – it is easily recharged at home. The Prime can be plugged into a conventional 120-volt wall outlet, which refills the battery in about five and a half hours. A 240V socket can also be used and that cuts that time to 2 hours.

Combined with a poor powertrain, the Prime’s careless driving behavior extends to its steering, which is light and numb. The low-rolling resistance tires don’t shine, as expected, on the skateboard, where we measured 0.80g for lateral grip and clocked a stopping distance of 184ft from 70mph. However, adjusting the brake pedal isn’t bad for a hybrid. The Prius Prime also subtly hides the lesser bumps in the road, although the big potholes send turbulence through the bodywork.

Michael Cimaricar and driver

Prius Prime starts at $29,245 in EGP, rising to $31,025 for the XLE and $35,025 for the Limited model. Those numbers are more than you’d pay for a regular Prius. Currently, the PM is eligible for a $4502 federal tax credit, but the phase-out is expected to begin later this year. (Phasing out varies with each automaker, depending on the total number of plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles sold.)

Car companies are rapidly adding PHEVs as they work to electrify their groups. As they do, the focus of additional hybrids shifts, as they move from fuel economy to performance—only in terms of acceleration and electric range. The Prius Prime lags behind on both metrics. And while it outperforms other PHEVs in fuel economy, it isn’t materially better than the regular Prius. Which does not leave much reason to escalate to the Prime Minister.

to specify

to specify

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Limited
Vehicle type: front-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

Basic / As tested: $35,025 / $35,284
Options: Floor rug and shipping mats, $259

DOHC 16-valve 1.8-liter Atkinson Cycle 4, 95 hp, 105 lb-ft + two AC motors (combined output: 121 hp; 6.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (C/D est); 3.3 kW onboard charger )
Transmission: direct drive

Suspension, F / R: strut / multi-link
Brakes, F/R: 10.0 inch ventilated disc / 10.2 inch ventilated disc
Tires: Dunlop Enasave 01 A/S
195/65R-15 91S M+S

Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length: 182.9 inches
Width: 69.3 inches
Height: 57.9 inches
Passenger size: 91 feet3
Payload size: 20ft3
Curb Weight: 3440 lbs

grandfather Test results
60 mph: 10.3 seconds
1/4 mile: 17.7 seconds @ 78 mph
100 mph: 32.7 seconds
The results above delete 1 feet subtract 0.4 seconds.
Rolling start, 5 to 60 mph: 10.5 seconds
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 4.6 seconds
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 7.0 seconds
Top Speed ​​(Government Limited): 102 mph
Braking, 70 – 0 mph: 184 ft
Road, 300 feet Skidpad: 0.80g

grandfather fuel economy
Monitored: 48 miles per gallon
75 MPH highway driving, EV / Hybrid Mode: 112 MP / 45 MP
Highway range, EV/Hybrid mode: 21/510 miles

Fuel economy by the Environmental Protection Agency
Pool/city/highway: 54/53/55 mpg
Gasoline + Electric: 133 mpg
EV range: 25 miles

grandfather Explanation of the test

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