Toyota has announced that the starting price for its new Prius Prime plug-in hybrid is $27,100. That’s $2,415 more than the base price of a standard Prius, but the Prime qualifies for a federal tax credit of $4,500, making its actual cost less than its more ordinary sibling. The final specs on the Prius Prime are 25 miles of all electric range and an EPA certified 124 MPGe rating.
The up-market Premium model costs $28,800 and includes an 11.6-inch touchscreen (the base car makes do with a 7″ touchscreen). It also adds Qi-based wireless charging for compatible phones, remote illuminated entry, and upgraded seats. Step all the way up to the range topping Advanced ($33,100) and you add a heads-up display, remote control mobile apps, a heated steering wheel, blind spot warnings and rear cross traffic alerts. Every Prius Prime models feature pre-collision, lane departure, and driver fatigue warnings.
For those drivers who want to drive electric but need a gasoline engine to banish any hint of range anxiety, the Prius Prime now joins a host of pretty good plug-in cars from Ford, Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Audi, and Chevrolet. It’s principal competition may be the Chevy Volt, which costs more but also has more than double the electric only range.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but the Volt is svelte and stylish whereas the Prius Prime is a conglomeration of slashes and gashes that some find jarring to the eye. That being said, it features a new rear suspension for better handling and a smoother ride. Early road testers report the car offers a better driving experience than its predecessors.
The Prius Prime is vitally important to Toyota. Shoichi Kaneko, assistant chief engineer for the Prius Prime, says if the car is successful, plug-in technology may become the standard for every car in the Prius lineup. It is getting harder and harder to boost the efficiency of the conventional Prius. Its once ground breaking hybrid Synergy Drive is now yesterday’s news. On the way to all electric cars, plug-in hybrids may be a temporary but necessary part of the journey.
Source and photo credit: Endgadget