2017 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced Review

Thursday February 9th, 2017 at 4:22 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2017 Toyota Prius Price Advanced

By David Colman

Hypes: Spacey Design, Comfortable Cabin
Gripes: Poor Brake Feel

Toyota has been busy supplementing the Prius line with new versions dedicated to extra space (Prius V), affordability (Prius c), and now, a plug-in version first distributed in fall of 2016 as a 2017 model. This latest entry in the hybrid class, named Prius Prime, looks like a space ship compared to previous Prius designs. Climb into this capsule and you feel like you should be wearing a zero gravity outfit. The conventional dashboard in front of the driver is entirely absent. Instead, you stare at an upholstered ledge behind the steering wheel where the instruments normally reside. The monitor function has been moved to a horizontal panel located just beneath the center of the windshield. Here you will find a huge type-face digital speedometer readout, accompanied by a variety of mode operation displays which you can toggle through via a steering wheel mounted control.

2017 Toyota Prius Price Advanced

Below this information panel in the Advanced version of the Prius Prime lies a tall, centrally located vertical screen. This aluminum trimmed unit contains a very easy to read 11.6 inch HD Multimedia display panel that is particularly effective in Navigation mode. This screen also provides oversight of most HVAC settings, which are splayed across the lower segment of the panel. Climate control information can be difficult to locate while driving, because the panel contains so much other media and mapping information that the display looks like a TV tuned to CNN.

2017 Toyota Prius Price Advanced

We spent a mostly storm-fraught winter week driving the Prime in very adverse conditions. Since it was really too wet to utilize the plug-in feature safely, we expended the car’s 25 mile electric range in short order, then continued to drive it on gas power alone for the remainder of the week. Despite many trips around the Bay Area, we never managed to dislodge the fuel level needle below the 3/4 mark because even in “gasoline only” mode, the Prime racks up an incredible 54MPG. If you utilize the electric recharge feature and drive mostly in electric mode, the Prime will reward you with an astounding 133MPGe in combined electric/gas operation. Toyota estimates that a full recharge of the Prime’s battery at 240 volts will take just 2 hours of plug-in time, which makes it perfect for a fuel-free commute to work provided you can access a 240 volt plug at each end of the trip.

2017 Toyota Prius Price Advanced

While the overall interior design of the Prime will excite cell phone admirers everywhere, the same can’t be said for the driving experience of this newest Prius. That’s because the car’s handling is hobbled by the MPG-generated need to use ultra low rolling resistance tires. In this case, the Toyo Nano Energy rubber is hard to a fault. Their small size and tall sidewalls (195/65R15) exacerbate the problem. Size-wise, the Toyo fitment is more suited to a vehicle from 1970 than 2017. Our test Prius was fitted with extra cost ($899) alloy wheels which looked intriguing, with 20 spokes shining at each corner. But these optional wheels still measured a paltry 15 inches in diameter. The diminutive rollers also subvert braking performance. We experienced premature lock-up even when full pedal pressure was not applied. Since the Prime enjoys independent front suspension and sophisticated double wishbone rear suspension, all the basic ingredients are present for a fine handling package – if you decide to upgrade the wheel/tire package with aftermarket equipment.

2017 Toyota Prius Price Advanced

Toyota has lavished this top Prius with a bevy of special features that make it well worth its $33,100 base price. Standard heated seats and steering wheel do a lot to increase inclement weather comfort level. Rain-sensing wipers are a boon. Push-button start and remote entry ease your burden. Quad LED headlights and crescent shaped accent lights not only endow the nose with an unforgettable smile, but really blaze away the dark. The fluted “dual-wave” rear window, mounted in a lightweight, carbon reinforced polymer hatch, distinguishes the tail from anything else on the road. However, in heavy rain we discovered that the valley between the dual flutes accumulates water, and due to this design, a rear wiper is unavailable.

2017 Toyota Prius Price Advanced

Clearly, the Prius Prime prioritizes efficiency of operation over any other ownership consideration. It provides a comfortable, safe, extravagantly presented tableau for environmentalists who prize, above all else, this vehicle’s EPA rating of 10 on a 1-10 scale for “Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Rating.”

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced

  • Engine: 1.8 liter inline 4 cylinder + electric motor
  • Horsepower: 121hp
  • Torque: N/A
  • Fuel Consumption: 54MPG gasoline/133MPGe gasoline+ electric
  • Price as Tested: $36,305
  • Star Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars

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2012 Toyota Prius c Review

Tuesday March 20th, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Ultra Efficient, Handsome, Comfy Front Seats
Against: Nervous Electric Steering, Tiny Base Model Tires

The Prius is the Japanese version of the Swiss Army Knife. You can buy a lot of different versions to fit your needs. There’s original Prius, which Toyota now terms the “liftback” model in order to distinguish it from the recently introduced “V” version, a stretched model with roomier interior. Now a third version is coming on line called “c” for city transport. The Prius c is a smaller and significantly lighter offspring of the world’s most successful hybrid vehicle. It weighs nearly 600 pounds less than any other Prius, and costs significantly less as well. The c model will be offered in 4 levels of trim, with the base model retailing for just $18,950. If you bump all the way up to level 4, you’ll still lay out only $23,230.

Of course, nothing comes free when you cut size and substance, and the Prius c is no exception. It is the only current Prius with drum rear brakes instead of discs at all 4 corners. The tires fitted to the level 1 Prius c are small enough to work on any number of motorcycles. These R400 Bridgestone Turanzas measure just 175/65R15, and do not offer much in the way of adhesion. But of course, such low rolling resistance tires are an integral part of the Prius mileage equation because their hard tread blocks reduce contact patch resistance and promote extraordinary mileage. The base Prius c fulfills those expectations by returning 53 MPG in city driving, 46 MPG in highway mode, and 50 MPG combined fuel economy. These are the highest figures yet recorded for a passenger car without plug-in capability. Many of you will stop reading right here and get yourself on the March, 2012 delivery list for the Prius c based on mileage figures alone.

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2012 Toyota Prius v Wagon Review – Building upon the success of Toyota’s popular hybrid

Tuesday June 14th, 2011 at 7:66 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2012 Toyota Prius v
By contributing editor David Colman

PROS:

  • 58% more room
  • Double sunroof
  • Airy interior

CONS:

  • Reduced MPG
  • Awkward shape
  • Plethora of driving distractions

A couple of years ago, 3 of us set out on wine country safari in a second generation Prius 4-door. By the end of the day, the cabin of that car was beginning to feel very small. The trunk was loaded with cases of wine and the rear springs sagged accordingly. Our spirits flagged from sharing such close quarters. While the trip was a success, the Prius was judged to be undersized for the mission.

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Toyota Prius Wagon to Hit U.S. in 2012

Monday March 14th, 2011 at 5:33 PM
Posted by: aquadog

Toyota Prius WagonToyota is expanding their Prius family with a new larger and heavier wagon-like Prius V — that’s the letter V for “versatility,” Toyota says, not the Roman numeral five.

The new Toyota Prius V, will go on sale in the United States in late summer or early fall. Toyota announced production has begun on the new gasoline-electric hybrid Prius wagon, that is set to hit Japan in April, followed by the U.S. and Europe. Although, those dates might slip as Japan begins clean up after its latest tsunami disaster.

Some major differences between the Prius hatchback and the new wagon-style Prius are improved visibility due to the driver being situated 1.2 inches higher, an extended rear cargo which will eliminate the hatchback’s split rear window, a 220 pound weight difference, and the option of a new polycarbonate panoramic moonroof that weighs 40 percent less than glass. The new Prius wagon is wider, taller and about five inches longer, and shares the same engine, platform, and hybrid drivetrain as the Prius hatchback, giving it approximately 42 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway. New inside features include a computer mouse-inspired one-dial climate control button and a high-capacity lithium ion battery.

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Best Hybrid and Green Cars of 2010

Monday November 1st, 2010 at 8:1111 AM
Posted by: AKramer

CarReview_Best_Green_Car_2010By Alex Kramer

What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago gas was cheap, the SUV was king, and fuel efficiency was one of the last things car buyers were concerned about. Surprisingly, it was also ten years ago that Honda and Toyota introduced a seemingly radical technology that involved strapping batteries and an electric motor to a gas engined car, creating the first hybrids.

Fast forward ten years and the traditional SUV has all but died out, gas is $3 per gallon, and hybrids are as common as apple pie. More importantly, awareness of global warming and our dependence on foreign oil, along with a depressed economy, has made fuel efficiency a far more important criteria for car buyers. This, in turn,  has spurred the automotive industry to pursue smaller, cleaner and more efficient designs. The result is a plethora of choices for buyers seeking a more fuel efficient, greener set of wheels.

Although hybrid cars are perhaps the most effective way to significantly increase fuel efficiency, with 9 out of the top ten most fuel efficient cars featuring a gas electric drivetrain, not everyone will be happy with the increased cost and performance sacrifice that often comes with hybrid ownership. Luckily we now also have a new generation of clean diesels that are nothing like the noisy, smoke belching diesels of the past, instead providing excellent performance along with hybrid worthy fuel efficiency. And for those who are wary of all of this alternative technology, there are finally plenty of efficient, well made small cars available in America.

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YouTube Users Prove it is Possible to Stop a "Runaway" Prius

Wednesday March 17th, 2010 at 10:33 AM
Posted by: michael.leroy

proving prius brakes workPrius owners defend their cars online

James Sikes now famous runaway Prius story, is still making headlines, but YouTube users are not buying his story. Several Prius owners have posted videos onto the website proving that it is rather trivial to stop a “runaway” Prius.

The hybrid owners in the video have no problem slowing the car down at freeway speeds using the brakes. The videos also prove the car will turn off and will shift into neutral even if the throttle is stuck.

Check out the videos after the jump.

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Prelimary Results of San Diego "Runaway" Prius Investigation

Tuesday March 16th, 2010 at 9:33 AM
Posted by: Derek

toyota-recallDriver’s Account Doesn’t Match With Findings

For the past week, the media have been waiting for the results of an investigation into Jim Sikes’ runaway Toyota Prius. While the investigation was taking place, a Congressional memo leaked, followed by an NHTSA report, both of which found little evidence to support Sikes’ story. Now, Toyota has released its preliminary report on the incident, and the automaker has reached the same conclusion.

Toyota engineers completed an investigation of the 2008 Prius driven by Mr. James Sikes that was the subject of a 911 emergency call on Monday, March 8. 61 year-old Mr. Sikes reported that the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed down a San Diego freeway, the accelerator pedal was stuck, and that the vehicle was out of control and could not be stopped. The emergency operator repeatedly instructed the driver to shift the car into neutral and turn off the power button.

Sikes refused to heed the operator’s advice to turn off the car or put the transmission in neutral, concerned that the car would flip over if he did. After a half-hour run down the freeway, a California Highway Patrol officer who had caught up with Sikes advised him to use both the brake pedal and parking brake to stop the car. After bringing the speed down from 94 mph to about 50 mph, Sikes finally turned the car off.

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Toyota Recalls 437,000 Priuses, Hybrids Globally

Tuesday February 9th, 2010 at 8:22 AM
Posted by: Derek

2010-Toyota-Prius

TOKYO – Toyota says it is recalling about 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles worldwide to fix brake problems.

“I don’t see Toyota as an infallible company that never makes mistakes,” President Akio Toyoda said at a press conference Tuesday in Tokyo. “We will face up to the facts and correct the problem, putting customers’ safety and convenience first.”

There have been about 200 complaints in Japan and the U.S. about a delay when the brakes in the Prius were pressed in cold conditions and on some bumpy roads. The delay doesn’t indicate a brake failure. The company says the problem can be fixed in 40 minutes with new software that oversees the controls of the antilock brakes.

“Let me assure everyone that we will redouble our commitment to quality as the lifeline of our company,” Toyoda said.

The company is recalling the 2010 Prius gas-electric hybrid — the world’s top-selling hybrid car. The automaker is also recalling two other hybrid models in Japan, the Lexus HS250h sedan, sold in the U.S. and Japan, and the Sai, which is sold only in Japan.

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Global Recall for 2010 Toyota Prius May Be as Early as Tuesday

Monday February 8th, 2010 at 8:22 AM
Posted by: Derek

2010 Toyota Prius

Toyota Motor Corp. is preparing a recall of the Prius hybrid car in Japan as early as Tuesday, followed by similar steps in the United States, Europe and other markets, according to several news agencies, all citing multiple sources

Toyota, which has earned a reputation as the green-vehicle front-runner with the fuel-sipping Prius, has said it is discussing with safety authorities worldwide how to fix a software glitch that delays braking on the model in certain road conditions.

Right now, many Toyota owners are angry, scared and feeling “in the dark” about this massive recall going on. What exactly should you do if you own one of the millions of Toyotas recalled for the floor mat problem or the sticking gas pedal problem?

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Don't Let a Prius Follow Too Closely Behind You

Wednesday February 3rd, 2010 at 11:22 PM
Posted by: Derek

2010-toyota-priusToyota ordered by Japan to address Prius brake complaints

Toyota Motor Corp., already grappling with recalls totaling 8.1 million vehicles on five continents, has been ordered by Japan’s Ministry of Transportation to investigate a rash of consumer complaints about braking problems in its popular third-generation Prius hybrid vehicle. Specifically the 2010 model as the Japaneses government has ordered Toyota to investigate the car’s braking system.

The Japanese carmaker has received several complaints about braking in the Prius in both Japan and North America since the end of last year. A computerized search for the 2010 Prius on the online data base at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration generated at least 102 complaints against the car.

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