A Plug Above

Published on Apr 9, 2021


If you are looking for a vehicle that zips through traffic and cruises the highway with exhilaration, the 2021 Prius Prime is not what you are looking for. However, if you want an extended-range, get around town, great mileage car, then the Prius Prime may fit the bill.

Equipped with a plug-in, the Prius Prime will add an additional 25 electric-only miles to the gas engine range. This brings the mileage up to a combined electric/gas estimate of 133 MPGe. The electric engine charges on a regular 120-volt outlet in about 5.5 hours and two hours on a 240-volt outlet. This means if your home is not equipped with 240, the electric engine can still be charged overnight and you’ll always have those 25 electric miles to extend your mileage numbers.

A new suite of driver aids come standard, including including lane-departure warning with steering assist, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control. An 11.6-inch infotainment touch screen is equipped on the top-of-the-line Limited, plus a color head-up display, blind-spot monitoring, rain-sensing wipes and park assist.

A 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline engine works with an electric motor, battery pack and a continuously variable automatic transmission for gas efficiency. The mileage estimates of 133 miles on combined electricity and gasoline, and 54/combined mpg for gas only show this works. But it comes at a price and that is lackluster performance and a ho-hum drive.

The tablet-sized 11.6-inch touchscreen sits in the middle of the dash. It includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. One problem I had with it was that when the sun was coming through the back window there was a terrible glare on the screen that rendered it unreadable and shined in my eyes at certain times of the day. The shift knob is located dead center below the touchscreen, it’s kind of weird, but once you get used to the location it’s not so bad.

Passenger seating is roomy front and back and comfortable enough for around-town trips. Trunk space is diminished though because of the room taken by the larger battery.

Switching easily between electric and gasoline power, the Prius Prime is a great little car for around town jaunts. It has three driving modes: Power, Normal and Eco. When set to regen breaking there is a noticeable slowing when acceleration is stopped. The ride is pretty smooth unless the car goes over egregious road imperfections and it’s pretty quiet on the inside. The acceleration is so-so but remember, this is not a sports car.

For great gas mileage or extended-range, you can’t beat the 2021 Toyota Prius Prime Limited.

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