2019 Prius Prime Advanced: Adding Extra Miles with a Plug

Published: Friday, August 30, 2019 | 10:10 PM

2019toyotapriusprime475Hybrids are great, adding gas mileage with a battery and electrical boost. EVs are also great if you have a place to plug them in at home and you have another car for longer trips. Melding the two is even better, giving the driver extra mileage with electric only driving and extended range with a gasoline engine.

The 2019 Toyota Prius Prime takes the best of both worlds, electric driving and gasoline range and combines them into one car. With a full battery the Prime can travel 25 miles on the battery only. Once the battery is depleted the Prime morphs into a hybrid adding extra miles with regenerative breaking and an assist to the gas engine from the electric motor.

The Prime comes in three trim levels: Plus, Premium and Advanced. This review will focus on the top-of-the-line Advanced trim.

2019toyotapriusprimeintWith a premium audio system, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a heated steering wheel, an auto-dimming mirror, a head-up display, a smartphone app with a charge management system and remote-control climate operation, automatic wipers, and a semi-automated parking function, the Advanced trim level is loaded. It also benefits from the Premium trim level’s extras of a power driver’s seat, an 11.6-inch central touchscreen and upgraded infotainment system, simulated leather upholstery, keyless entry on the other three doors, and wireless smartphone charging.

If you’re expecting the Prime to be a speed-demon then you are looking at the wrong car. The Prime is tuned for comfortable, competent city and highway driving. A 1.8-liter engine assisted by an electric motor give the Prime 121 horses. A continuously variable transmission delivers power to the front wheels. Mileage estimates for the Prime are 54/combined mpg on gasoline alone and 133/combined MPGe with a charged electric motor. It takes the Prime about 5.5 hours to charge the battery on a regular 120-volt power source, increasing to 240 volts cuts the time down to two hours.

On the inside, the Prius Prime has a high-tech vibe with a large central touchscreen that controls most of the vehicle’s functions. Although this reduces the needs for buttons and knobs it can cause a bit of annoyance when trying to access certain everyday routines.

Because of the larger battery, the Prius Prime will only seat for but it does so comfortably with plenty of legroom for both front and backseat passengers. Bits and bobs will also have plenty of room as there are many cubbies and pockets for smaller stuff. The trunk space is somewhat restricted due to the raised floor for the additional battery.

The Prius Prime is not a sports car so don’t expect it to react like one. It’s great for tooling around town since that is what it was built for. Highway driving is fine as long as you don’t expect a quick burst of speed. It’s all up to the gasoline motor for that and acceleration will lag a bit. Steering feels good, but tight cornering can be a bit squishy. All in all it’s a great car to commute to work and running your errands.

Want the economy of a plug in with the flexibility of a hybrid? Give the 2019 Toyota Prius Prime a test drive.