Compared to the base Prius, the Prius Prime packs a larger battery that supports approximately 25 miles of electric-only range and, crucially, can be recharged by plugging into an electrical port. Replenishing the battery via a regular wall 120-volt socket takes about 5.5 hours, while a Level 2 (240-volt) charger shortens this time to a little more than two hours. Of course, you could also choose to never plug it in and simply refuel with gasoline, and it will operate simply as a more efficient Prius.
Accommodating the larger lithium-ion battery meant turning the Prius Prime it into a four-seater (the regular Prius seats five) and raising the loading height of its cargo area. To recoup some of the lost cargo space, the Prime is 6.5 inches longer than the base Prius; most of that extra length extends aft of the rear wheels. The bigger battery adds weight, too, a change that the suspension struggles to deal with at times.
- Outstanding fuel economy
- Longer all-electric driving range than previous generation
- As hybrids go, the brake action is pretty natural
- Revised styling is better than base Prius
- Excessive road noise
- High trunk liftover
- The extra weight is noticeable from behind the wheel
- Seats four people; the regular Prius (and Volt) seat five