2022 Toyota Prius Prime

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2022 Toyota Prius Prime Review: The Hybrid King Returns

The Prius has been a popular choice for those on a budget in the USA for quite some time, so many will likely be asking themselves if the Toyota Prius Prime is really worth the extra $4k. It shares almost all the same infrastructure with its cheaper sibling, including a 121-horsepower powertrain, as well as similar infotainment and safety features. But what sets it apart is its plug-in nature. Without relying on regenerative brakes, the Prime can run purely on electric power between recharges, for up to 25 miles. It also boasts class-leading mileage figures of 133 MPGe, handily besting its direct competitors, the Honda Clarity PHEV and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. And while it may not have the premium interior or stylish body that many more modern rivals are flaunting, it has managed to remain popular over the years. With a few welcome updates for 2021, it is back to prove that it is still one of the most economical vehicles on the market, despite the rise of pure EV options.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 6 /10
  • Performance 5 /10
  • Fuel Economy 10 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 6 /10
  • Reliability 10 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 7 /10
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2022 Toyota Prius Prime Changes: What’s the difference vs the 2021 Toyota Prius Prime?

Last year, Toyota improved the Prius Prime's safety and driver-assistance features and added Android Auto to the infotainment system at last - although it is strangely still only offered on the entry-level LE trim and not on the XLE and Limited. Last year's Prime carries over virtually unchanged to this year.

Pros and Cons

  • Almost unbeatable gas mileage
  • Low asking price
  • Plenty of safety tech
  • Electric-only driving over short ranges
  • Comfortable, if simple, interior
  • Dreadfully dull to drive
  • Lackluster acceleration
  • Divisive styling

What's the Price of the Toyota Prius Prime?

The price of the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime has not risen and the base-model LE still starts things off at $28,220 MSRP. The mid-tier XLE is set to go on sale for $30,000 and at the top of the range is the Limited, with a slightly more intimidating base price of $34,000. With no comprehensive packages and only a small collection of accessories to choose from, this figure is not likely to climb that much, even if you want every bell and whistle. Keep in mind, though, that the prices do not include tax, registration, licensing, or the $1,025 destination charge. These may be offset somewhat by the possible hybrid rebates that some States offer. The 2022 Prius Prime also qualifies for a federal income tax credit of $4,502.

Best Deals on 2022 Toyota Prius Prime

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
1.8L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
1.8L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
1.8L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2022 Toyota Prius Prime Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Efficiency-minded hybrids in this segment are not like their regular or performance-oriented sedan brethren, as all their electric components serve to better fuel economy rather than the driving experience. As such, the Prius Prime is not a thrilling driver. It is mild-mannered on the road, which is complemented perfectly by its silence when running on electric power alone. But with a maximum range of just 25 miles, you won't be spending that much time in EV mode.

The rest of the time, the overall feel is adequate. Steering is light, as you would expect from a town car, making for easy maneuvering on the street or in the parking lots, but it is very uncommunicative. So, while the suspension does a relatively good job of dulling most minor bumps and abrasions, larger interruptions will make themselves known to the whole cabin without warning. Wind and road noise are also unpleasant and ever-present companions, though they only really become intrusive when trying to get anywhere fast.

So, when all is said and done, the Prime is an adequate commuter, with enough comfort and control when traveling at sedate speeds around town. But, it will never excite, and it will make you regret it if you try to force it to.

Verdict: Is the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime A Good Car?

A tricky question, no doubt about it. The only way to really answer this properly is to ask yourself, what is your priority when it comes to buying a new car? Do you want a luxury vehicle? Then the answer is no. Do you want an exciting driver? Still no. Perhaps you want plenty of cargo room and the ability to do some heavy work? No again. But if the question is, do you want a reasonably affordable commuter or town runabout with excellent gas mileage figures? Then the answer is a definite yes.

The Toyota Prius Prime hybrid hatchback knows where its strengths lie, and it leans into them heavily. Not everyone in the US is obsessed with overpowered pickups or SUVs that can carry the whole family and the dogs. Some people just want to get to and from work without a fuss and keep costs down while they do so that they can spend money on things that really matter. But sticking to a budget does not mean settling for low quality. The midsize car is outfitted with plenty of features, like heated seats, a great infotainment suite, and a surprisingly comprehensive list of driver-assistance features.

With nigh on unbeatable fuel economy, pretty good safety ratings, and a perfectly adequate array of features, both comfort- and safety-wise, the Prius Prime won't disappoint buyers who know their priorities.

What Toyota Prius Prime Model Should I Buy?

There are not a lot of differences between the three models on offer, since they all receive the same powertrain and boast the same performance and mileage figures. So it really comes down to which features you can and cannot live without. If you want to keep the cost of your Toyota Prius Prime down, then sticking with the LE is definitely best. You still get the complete Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 safety system, as well as several desirable comfort features like heated front seats and a great infotainment system. But if your purse strings are not too tight, we recommend you take a good hard look at the Limited, which sits at the other end of the range. With a price of $34,000, it might intimidate some, but it certainly warrants the increase since it gets the fully upgraded infotainment suite, with a larger touchscreen and ten-speaker sound system, but it also gets some safety features that cannot be had on any other trim, including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Check out other Toyota Prius Styles

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Comparisons

Toyota Prius Toyota

2022 Toyota Prius Prime vs Toyota Prius

Naturally, there are differences between the Prius and the Prime, but they are not as many as one might expect. What really sets them apart is their powertrains. Both are hybrids, but where the Prius relies purely on regenerative braking, the Prime can supplement this with plug-in recharging so that it can spend even more time in EV mode, without drawing power from the gasoline engine at all. So while the two cars share almost identical fuel economy figures, the Prime will save you more in the long run, since it can return 133 MPGe and can travel up to 25 miles on electrons alone. Of course, this comes at a cost. The standard Prius is quite a bit cheaper, starting at just $24,525, and it offers more cargo capacity since it does not have to accommodate all the extra electrical components - 27.4 cubic feet versus the 19.8 on the Prime. But, since both vehicles are aimed at buyers looking for the best deal, we still recommend spending a little more initially on the Prime, as it will save you more over years of ownership.

See Toyota Prius Review

2022 Toyota Prius Prime vs Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

One of the Toyota's chief competitors, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid bears many similarities to the Prius Prime, including a polarizing exterior aesthetic. However, under the hood, the two are quite dissimilar. The Clarity has access to a lot more power from its 1.5L engine and electric motor, which together develop 212 horsepower as opposed to the 121 hp from the Prius' powertrain. But while it may be a little more fun to drive, the Honda does not cut the mustard in terms of fuel economy, maxing out at 42 mpg combined or 110 MPGe against the Toyota's 54 mpg combined and 133 MPGe. So, despite having a better electric-only range of 48 miles, the Clarity PHEV will still cost you more if you ever engage the combustion engine. And, since Toyota has given the Prime some much-needed updates like Android Auto and more standard safety tech, it is still the winner in terms of sheer value for money.

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