Fourth-generation Prius includes a new plug-in Prius Prime model.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced edition.
How many Prius models are there? Four, including the all-new Prius Prime — a plug-in electric vehicle based on the standard Prius theme. The Prius Prime isn’t the first Prius plug-in hybrid, but it does reflect the presence of Toyota’s latest technologies, evident with its expanded battery capacity and revised hybrid system. Thus, the new naming convention underscores that this particular version is the top model in hybrid efficiency sporting the Prius name.
Toyota introduced the Prius Prime last fall. My first opportunity to get behind the wheel of one occurred in September at a Toyota-sponsored Prius Prime event in Ojai, California. That meet up allowed journalists to test the Prius Prime and four other updated Toyota products, driving each on winding, climbing, and falling roads found in the western extension of the Topa Topa mountains. Serene country, but very dry at the time — just one spark could set the entire range on fire. Months later, the area received a soaking, causing landslides and briefly closing area schools.
Enough about the background of my earlier trip. As for how it usually happens, a 2017 Toyota Prius Prime did eventually find its way to my home, giving me the opportunity to drive it for a week and to plug it in. Four times I charged the Prius Prime — three at public charging stations and once at my home’s 110-volt outlet. The at-home charge was a first for me, thanks to a 30-foot extension cord that could actually reach the outlet in my cluttered garage. I’m happy to report that following approximately 220 miles of driving, I managed 57.5 mpg with the 2017 Prius Prime. Thus, my electric charges enabled me to beat the 54 mpg average for this vehicle, something I wouldn’t have been able to do without getting connected.
The current-generation Prius is based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), what will yield many other models. Notably, the new model is outfitted with a double-wishbone independent suspension. This arrangement is found in sports cars and performance sedans as it provides superior control versus MacPhersons.
A Matter of Style
The current Prius is now its fourth generation for a vehicle line introduced two decades ago. The US market didn’t see the first models until late 1999, a four-door sedan with a tear-drop shape and a fairly nondescript style. Later models assumed a five-door hatchback design, offering a more practical layout, especially when increased storage space is needed. Subcompact and wagon-like versions followed, known today as the Prius c and Prius v, respectively.
Early on, the style seemed to be an afterthought for the Prius family and it wasn’t something that endeared this model to fans. Achieving high fuel efficiency was the draw and that’s why averaging somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 mpg has appealed to owners since. No other vehicle comes close the Prius in efficiency and that’s always given this small hybrid an …read more
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