2020 Toyota Prius Prime

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2020 Toyota Prius Prime Review

by Gabe Beita Kiser

There was a time when the Prius name was the only name synonymous with hybrid cars; but things have changed, and nearly every car manufacturer has joined the hybrid bandwagon, forcing Toyota to up their game with their aging Prius line-up. Still, the Prius Prime remains a noteworthy contender in the mid-size plug-in hybrid sedan segment. Differing from the regular Prius, the Prius Prime offers contemporary styling, an additional seat for a fifth passenger, and the installation of Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa as standard, along with the ability to plug-in and run on electricity alone for 25 miles. Rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq, Honda Clarity, and Kia Optima offer a considerable array of advantages over the Prius Prime, most notably in terms of updated infotainment systems and better quality interiors. However, the familiar 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired to an electric motor on the Prius Prime is nigh unbeatable in terms of fuel efficiency. Gas mileage rates when the engine kicks in are outstanding and remain the biggest drawcard to the Prime. Since its debut in 1997, the Prius Prime - although having to fight hard to stay abreast of technological and aesthetic advances - retains its worthy title as a superb hybrid mid-size sedan.

Read in this review:

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2020 Toyota Prius Prime Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Prius Prime?

Originally introduced in 2016, the 2020 Prius Prime is given a fifth seat to accommodate more passengers, as well as black accents to replace the cheap-looking white accents from the previous model. Toyota has also added a new sun visor extender, two USB ports for rear passengers, and relocated the seat heating buttons which were hard to reach on previous derivatives. Trim names have also been changed from Plus, Premium, and Advanced, to LE, XLE, and Limited - keeping things in line with the rest of the Toyota range. Additionally, Apple CarPlay and Android Alexa compatibility have been included in the infotainment system for 2020, but there's still no sign of Android Auto.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Long list of standard safety features
  • Competitively priced
  • Comfortable interior
  • Sluggish Acceleration
  • Boring to drive
  • "Love-it-or-hate-it" styling

What's the Price of the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime?

The entry-level LE model has a starting MSRP of $27,600, while the mid-range XLE is priced at $29,500. The Limited variant at the top end of the range costs $33,500, with all options coming in below the starting points of the Honda Clarity and the Kia Optima Hybrid. These prices exclude any taxes, licensing, and registration fees, as well as the destination fee of $930. Due to being a plug-in hybrid, the Prius Prime is also eligible for various rebates depending on the location of purchase and operation.

Best Deals on 2020 Toyota Prius Prime

2020 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 2020 Toyota Prius Prime Trims and Specs

2020 Prius Prime Exterior

2020 Toyota Prius Prime Front Angle View Toyota
2020 Toyota Prius Prime Front View Toyota
2020 Toyota Prius Prime Side View Toyota
See All 2020 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior Photos


  • Length 182.9 in
  • Wheelbase 106.3 in
  • Height 57.9 in
  • Max Width 69.3 in
  • Front Width 60.2 in
  • Rear Width 60.6 in
  • Curb Weight 3,365.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Classic Silver Metallic
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Titanium Glow
  • Blue Magnetism
  • Blizzard Pearl
  • Super White
  • Supersonic Red

2020 Prius Prime Performance

2020 Toyota Prius Prime Front Angle View 1 Toyota
2020 Toyota Prius Prime Side View Driving Toyota
2020 Toyota Prius Prime Engine Toyota

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    1.8L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Prius Prime feels very much like the regular Prius when on the road, but it also has some unique characteristics. The impressive EV mode uses only the electric motor, which reduces performance substantially but allows you to drive without needing to fuel up. Obviously, this is very budget-friendly but really dulls the drive down to feeling much like a glorified golf cart. The available EV Auto mode selects the most efficient manner of driving, and can turn on the engine to give more power when needed - this is a slight improvement in the general driving feel.

The steering is quite light, which is excellent for tight spaces and urban roads. Sadly, it's also a bit numb and leaves a lot to be desired in terms of road feedback. Lots of tire and wind noise are relayed into the cabin, especially at higher speeds. While the ride quality in this model is far better than many of the previous Prius models, it is still quite bland in terms of driver engagement. Still, it is stable and composed and will do just fine for the everyday commuter. It's a pity Toyota didn't add just a little more oomph to a pretty standard package to effectively bring it up to par with main rivals.

2020 Prius Prime Interior

2020 Toyota Prius Prime Dashboard Toyota
2020 Toyota Prius Prime Front Seats Toyota
2020 Toyota Prius Prime Infotainment System Toyota
See All 2020 Toyota Prius Prime Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 43.2 in
  • Front Head Room 39.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 33.4 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.2 in

2020 Prius Prime Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Toyota Prius Prime Rear Passenger Seats Toyota
2020 Toyota Prius Prime Side View 1 Toyota
2020 Toyota Prius Prime Rear Angle View Toyota

2020 Prius Prime Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ Unlimited Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime A Good car?

Whether the Prius Prime is the right car for you is mainly dependent on the reason for its purchase. In terms of performance and on-road dynamics, the Prius Prime fares rather poorly with its lackluster acceleration and poor handling abilities. On the other hand, the phenomenal gas mileage ratios make the Prime stand out for the eco-conscious and budget-focused buyer, as well as offering a decent-sized trunk in relation to the leading competitors. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration brings a great deal of value to the package, although the infotainment system's functionality is not as intuitive as what is available on other vehicles. Additionally, the Prius Prime offers a smooth and comfortable ride, mediocre handling, and although it seems to have a rather low-rent interior, is jam-packed with safety features and standard driver aids across the range. With class-leading fuel economy as the main drawcard for the Prius Prime, buyers with this as their priority will be satisfied overall.

What Toyota Prius Prime Model Should I Buy?

Since all the models in the range use the same powertrain, there isn't any difference in the performance of the Prime. While the entry-level LE model has some excellent features, it lacks significant upgrades that many competitors offer, such as the 11.6-inch touchscreen, synthetic leather interior, and wireless phone charging. The fully-loaded variant, the Prius Prime Limited, is well-equipped and boasts all convenience and comfort features available for the range, as well as additional safety systems such as head-up display, intelligent parking assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The premium JBL sound system and the heated steering wheel are worth the additional $3,000 from the mid-point of the range. If you are investing in a vehicle to face the daily-grind with, the bare minimum is the XLE, which is equipped with most of the necessary features, while being affordable. For the most part, we recommend dishing out the extra for the top-end Limited model with its upgraded safety features.

Check out other Toyota Prius Styles

2020 Toyota Prius Prime Comparisons

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Honda
Kia Optima Hybrid Kia
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota Prius Prime121 hpTBC$28,770
Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid 103 hpTBC$33,400
Kia Optima Hybrid 192 hp40/45 mpg$29,310

2020 Toyota Prius Prime vs Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

The Toyota Prius Prime and the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid are direct competitors and share the same semi-futuristic look that is often either loved or hated. The Toyota has a 1.8-liter engine with a CVT transmission and an electric motor which makes a combined 121 horsepower. The Honda, on the other hand, has a 1.5-liter engine with a CVT transmission and electric motor but produces a more impressive 212 horsepower. However, when it comes to fuel economy, the Honda only has an MPGe of 114, while the Toyota gets 133. On a single-charge, battery-only ride, the Honda can manage 47 miles compared to the Toyota's 25 miles. When utilizing both gas and electric power, the Prius Prime comes in at the top of the class: 55/53/54 mpg in city/highway/combined cycles, which is substantially more impressive than the base Honda Clarity and Kia Optima. One drawback on the Prius is the glaring omission of Android Auto capabilities, which the Honda is equipped with. Although very similar, the Prius Prime comes out on top in terms of value for money, while the Honda is the better choice for a well-appointed cabin with better smartphone integration options.

See Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Review

2020 Toyota Prius Prime vs Kia Optima Hybrid

The Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid is another worthy competitor to the Prius Prime, and just like the Clarity delivers more power than the Prius, by producing 212 horsepower from its 2.0 liter, four-cylinder engine; it operates with a six-speed automatic transmission and offers a significantly more luxurious ride than the Prius Prime. On one plug-in charge, the Kia also manages a slightly longer range at 33 miles, compared to the Toyota's 25-mile capability before needing to refuel or switch to gas power. The Optima, like the Clarity, has a long way to go to beat the excellent fuel efficiency of the Prius Prime when using the engine at full capacity. Also, Android Auto compatible, the Kia offers a better smartphone integrated-infotainment system, as well as better warranties. In terms of trunk and cargo space, the Prius overshadows the measly 9.9 cubic feet of the Optima by almost ten cu-ft. In this comparison, Toyota comes out as the winner - but only by a hair.

See Kia Optima Hybrid Review
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