Inexperienced Automobile Experiences Greatest Automobile To Purchase 2024 finalist


Odds are whenever you first noticed the most recent 2024 Toyota Prius hybrid that began arriving earlier within the yr, you not solely noticed a great-looking automobile however felt a little bit little bit of nostalgia. 

That’s as a result of the most recent Toyota Prius appears prefer it’s a descendant of the Prius that made the most important waves in automotive historical past—the second-generation, 2004-2009 mannequin. Sure, we’re nodding to the one which Hollywood wished to be seen in, and the one which set the liftback look that hit a candy spot for aerodynamics and performance. 

Prius design misplaced its means after that, but it surely’s again. And whereas Toyota has innovated by vastly bettering the driving expertise in addition to the look of this newest Prius, it’s not fully the return to kind in all of the methods you would possibly count on of a Prius.

This Prius primarily carries over its effectivity numbers as a hybrid with as much as 57 mpg, whereas providing an incremental enchancment in electric-only vary (as much as 45 miles) as a 2024 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid

The Prius Prime has gone from merely 11 miles of EPA vary in its first technology for 2012-2015 to 25 miles within the 2017-2023 model, and now to 40-45 miles, relying on the model, with a 13.6-kwh battery as a substitute of the outgoing model’s 8.8-kwh one.

That mentioned, expectations of what plug-in hybrids ought to be are evolving, and the Prius Prime doesn’t precisely elevate the bar. It barely meets the usual set by the second-generation Chevy Volt, which arrived in 2015 as a 2016 mannequin, with a 53-mile electrical vary and 42-mpg after that as a hybrid. California is asking for the brand new technology of 50-mile plug-in hybrids, and even Toyota has mentioned that 120-mile PHEVs are in sight. So the vanguard, this isn’t.

Any plug-in hybrid edge, the corporate seems to be leaving to its SUVs. It actually upped its plug-in-hybrid recreation with the present Toyota RAV4 Prime, which acted as a proof level to indicate that PHEVs may serve up prime efficiency, all-wheel drive, and even longer electrical vary, collectively in a single automobile. 

In driving enjoyable, the brand new Prius household delivers. This technology of the Prius Prime will get a extra highly effective electrical motor system, at 161 hp, which permits it to simply sustain with speedy site visitors—regardless that it does speed up faster as soon as the engine begins. Altogether, the 150-hp, 2.0-liter inline-4 combines with that electrical motor system to make a mixed 220 hp—which means that the Prime is now as fast as some sport sedans. However you want the engine on to expertise its quickness. 

The Prime doesn’t seem to do something to make the cabin expertise really feel extra refined—and, simply as in hybrid Prius fashions, the entrance seats may use some consideration and rear-seat entry will be tight. The Prime’s all-electric operation additionally merely underscores the freeway highway noise difficulty we’ve already identified for the hybrid Prius. And whereas the Prime has about 25 hp extra, its roughly 250 additional kilos get in the best way of any elevated driving expertise or higher trip. 

The Prius Prime does loads of issues proper. It prioritizes all-electric operation so long as there’s a cost (and its Hybrid mode hasn’t been chosen), and it received’t hearth up the gasoline engine whenever you ask for extra acceleration. Prime variations flaunt a photo voltaic roof that does trickle a small quantity again to the pack. 

In moist climate within the 40s in Portland we struggled to succeed in 40 miles all-electric. However in delicate climate at our November Greatest Automobile To Purchase testing, we went 43 miles earlier than the system converted to gasoline. 

Additional, the Prime’s 3.3-kw onboard charger tells us that even when Prime drivers wished to maximise their all-electric driving with a mid-day cost, Toyota doesn’t see that toolset as being worthwhile in its personal cost-benefit evaluation. Toyota says the Prius Prime can totally cost in about 4 hours on 240 volts, or 11 hours on family 120-volt AC. 

Lastly, Toyota seems to be slotting the Prius Prime towards a distinct segment existence. It opted to import the Prius from Japan on this technology somewhat than purpose for U.S. meeting and an EV tax credit score for the Prime. 

Does the Toyota Prius do sufficient to shift the dialog towards autos that will probably be pushed with out tailpipe emissions the overwhelming majority of the time? It’s a query that, firstly of our Greatest Automobile To Purchase dialog this yr, we had been nonetheless entertaining.


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