“2017 Toyota Prius Prime”
Technology and Style to the Max
Toyota’s fourth generation Prius for 2016 was better in nearly every way imaginable, moving from pioneer status to that of Hybrid icon. It qualified as a genuine “Hyper-miler”. The claimed EPA mileage estimates were 58 mpg City, 53 mpg Highway, and 53 mpg combined for the Prius II Eco, which could be topped with only a minimal amount of effort and focus. But given the way most Prius owners really drive their cars, the actual mileage will probably fall considerably short of the Prius’ potential for economy. The latest iteration Prius is the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime.
The Prius Prime becomes the ultimate Prius with Toyota’s most efficient hybrid powertrain. Prime is a term reserved to describe the best or top rating or level pertaining to a specific entity. Toyota felt that is was natural move to assign the “Prime” label to the most technologically advanced, best-equipped Toyota Prius in the nearly two-decade global history of this latest iteration. The 2017 Prius Prime represents the pinnacle of efficiency and technology for the new generation Prius, with a new dual-motor hybrid powertrain, claiming an impressive 2017 Manufacturer’sprojected EPA-estimated 124 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent), the highest MPGe rating of any Hybrid with a plug. The Prius Prime also delivers a class-leading list of standard safety systems including Toyota Safety Sense P.
This represents a substantial 26-percent enhancement over its predecessor model, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, resulting from a greater battery capacity and an improved hybrid system. In its hybrid mode, the Prius Prime once again stands out, exceeding all competitors’ fuel economy ratings with a manufacturer’s projected EPA-estimated 55 city/53 highway/54 combined MPG.
The 2017 Prius Prime combines a dramatic design with an even more capable electric powertrain than the previous-generation model. In fact, it will have a class-leading total drive range with an estimated 640 miles. Additionally, Prius Prime will deliver an EPA-estimated range of up to 25 miles at a speed up to 84 mph in EV mode, focused on a goal of meeting the average daily commuter distance of more than half of U.S. drivers. Despite it’s fuel efficiency, the Prius Prime delivers an exhilarating, fun-to-drive quality. Exclusive enhanced suspension tuning gives the Prime a planted stance through challenging curves.
The Prius Prime is available in three grades or trim levels: Priuis Prime Plus; Prius Prime Premium; and the flagship model Prius Prime Advanced. Each progressive grade adds significant features and equipment above the model that precedes it.
The well-equipped entry level Prius Prime Plus is for budget –minded hybrid buyers. The Prius Prime Premium provides an added dose of technology., and the benchmark Prius Prime Advanced model adds even more convenience and technology features, while also appealing to buyers looking for a more dynamic driving experience. The Prius Prime Advanced adds a heated steering wheel, remote climate control system, rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers and auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink® universal transceiver. LED fog lights, a color head-up display (HUD) helping the driver stay focused on the road by projecting vital information such as the speedometer reading, hybrid battery charge Hybrid System Indicator, navigation and the various systems within TSS-P.
The safety tech inventory increases with Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Safety Connect®, which includes Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification (includes a complimentary three-year trial subscription), a Prime Parking feature with standard Intelligent Clearance Sonar and Intelligent Parking Assist
utilizing ultrasonic wave sensors to size up a parallel parking space and then, when activated by the driver, can steer the car into it. The system can also reverse the vehicle into a perpendicular space as well as automatically steer it out of a parallel space. When into a tight spot, such as a narrow alley or driveway, Intelligent Clearance Sonar provides visible and audible warnings should you come too close to obstacles on the vehicle’s sides. There are optionally available packages to further outfit vehicles to the consumer’s liking.
All new Prius models feature the same basic powertrain based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture. The powertrain consists of a 2ZR-FXE 1.8-liter Atkinson Cycle, DOHC, 16-valve VVT-I four-cylinder gas engine, with a Motor Generator Two – Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electric Motor – Max Voltage – DC600V with 71 hp/53 kW and 120 pound feet of torque. The Hybrid Battery Pack – Lithium-Ion – DC207.2V (56 cells) delivering 95 horsepower at 5,200 rpm along with 105 pound feet of torque at 3,600 rpm. The Hybrid System’s Net horsepower is 121. Engines and motors are mounted up front In a transverse orientation, driving the front wheels through an Electronically Controlled Variable Transmission.
In terms of its exterior appearance, the new Toyota Prius Prime still presents a familiar form, but now displays a strikingly dramatic and more emotional design that is considerably more refined, with improved aerodynamics, (0.25 coefficient of drag). In other words, the 2017 Prius Prime is now an attractive and visually appealing vehicle, with a slippery profile in all of its trim levels.
The 2017 Prius Prime also serves up a premium interior debuting advanced technology complemented by functional features that are fun and visually satisfying. The wrap-around dash design, form-hugging seats, ease of controls and enhanced visibility combine to make this latest iteration Prius a highly engaging automobile. The interior is now also quieter than the previous model, with improved NVH.
Safety is still a high priority, and the Prius Prime will continue to offer Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS (P)), a multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automatic pre-collision braking. TSS bundles safety technologies including a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams.
During the national press preview, my driving partner and I piloted a 2017 Toyota Prius Prime in Advanced trim. It wore an exterior finish of Titanium Glow metallic with a Black fabric interior. The base price was set at $33,100. Adding the processing, and handling fee elevated the final tally to $33,965. The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota and Gulf States Toyota may vary. Costs do not reflect available Federal tax credits or state and regional rebates that can vary by locale.
SUMMARY: Toyota continues its quest for optimum fuel economy with the Prius Prime, and by 2020, the goal is to have a hybrid option for each and every Toyota model. Prius is destined to sell in 80 countries globally..
This latest example of Prius development continues to manage the intelligent evolvement to an ever better and more ecologically friendly vehicle, with increased sustainable mobility. The new Prius models perform well on the highway or in the inner city, while delivering a comfortable ride with admirable handling characteristics from the perspective of both genders.
Connectivity and infotainment features abound in the Prius Prime as standard fare, with optional features and equipment available for personalization.
Toyota offers a 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty that applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation. The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles. In applicable states hybrid-related component coverage is 15 years/150,000 miles with the exception of the hybrid battery, which is covered for 10 years/150,000 miles. Battery replacement cost averages $2,300 but many existing earlier Prius models have logged 250 to 350 thousand miles.
The Prius Prime also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Prius models also include three years of 24-hour roadside assistance from date of purchase.
In the final analysis, the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime in its various grades is an attractive and practical Hybrid that exhibits Prius DNA, but in a much more appealing package. It also delivers sportier handling traits, while providing a comfortable and stable ride. The new Prius Prime is also a functional and versatile hybrid vehicle that’s suitable for hauling groceries or for long haul outings.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime
Base Price: $33,100.
Price as Tested: $33,965.
Engine Type and Size: 2ZR-FXE (Atkinson cycle) (DOHC) 16-valve VVT-i 1.8-Liter 4-cylinder with Motor Generator Two–Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor – Max Voltage – DC600V with 71 hp/53 kW and 120 pound
feet of torque.
Hybrid Battery Pack: Lithium-Ion – DC207.2V (56 cells). 265 lbs. 8.8 kWh capacity.
Horsepower (bhp): 95 @ 5,200 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 105 @ 3,600 rpm
Hybrid System Net HP=121 (90kW)
Transmission: Electronically Controlled Variable Transmission (ECVT).
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine and motor / Front-Wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson strut suspension with stabilizer bar.
Rear – Double wishbone with stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Hydraulic power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS and integrated regenerative braking system and Star Safety System™.
Tires: Dunlop Enasave P195/65 R15 89S all season mounted on 5-stylized-inverted “U” silver spoke alloy wheels with Black painted inners.
Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length Overall: 182.9 inches
Width: 69.3 inches
Height: 57.9 inches
Curb Weight: 3,010 lbs.
Turning Circle: 33.4 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 11.3 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 55 mpg city / 53 mpg highway – 133 MPGe EV Mode.
Drag Coefficient: 0.25
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.