2017 Toyota Prius Prime

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Review

Improved fuel economy and more all-electric range elevate the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid's game.
by Jason Kavanagh
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

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.

What's new for 2017

The Prius Prime, the plug-in version of the current, recently revised Prius, replaces the Prius Plug-in. A larger battery gives more electric-only range than the outgoing Prius Plug-in, while its fuel efficiency in hybrid mode edges higher than that of the base Prius.

We recommend

Though the range-topping Advanced trim level is packed with a long list of tech features, it commands a large premium over the others. Going with the mid-grade Premium trim level is the approach we recommend because the Premium better aligns with the Prius Prime's value proposition. It's also the cheapest way to get the significantly larger (11.6-inch) central touchscreen, which is a big improvement over the base 7-inch screen. In the bargain, the Premium adds upgraded cabin materials and a power driver seat, plus keyless entry/start and wireless smartphone charging.

Trim levels & features

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is available in three trim levels: Plus, Premium and Advanced.

The Plus trim level isn’t quite bare-bones, but you know you’re in the base model. It has a 7-inch multimedia screen, cloth seats with manual adjustments, Bluetooth, a USB port and keyless entry for the driver only.

Stepping up one rung to the Premium trim level puts you into the Prius Prime’s sweet spot. It includes a power driver seat, an 11.6-inch central touchscreen and upgraded multimedia system, premium synthetic leather (SofTex) seats, automatic headlights, keyless entry on three doors, satellite radio and wireless smartphone charging.

The Advanced trim level adds a raft of technology features: premium audio, blind-spot monitoring, 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 climate control operation, rain-sensing wipers and a semi-automated parking function.


The suspension struggles to manage the extra weight of the Prime's larger battery pack. One result is exaggerated motions over rises and crests.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.