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2017 Toyota Prius Prime Debut, Release Date, Price and Review

( [email protected] ) Sep 19, 2016 11:04 PM EDT
The latest Toyota Prius Prime is set to debut, but is it going to transform the hybrid vehicle category?
Melissa Riofrio

With us ready to bid adieu to 2016 in a few months’ time, it makes perfect sense for vehicle manufacturers to tout their wares for the coming year. The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is a, pardon the pun, a prime example of that. While the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime has nothing to do with Michael Bay and his collection of Transformers movies, it is nice to see the ride all decked out at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco as it made its West Coast debut. Understandably, the model on display was a late prototype, so nothing is quite set in stone just yet.

Still, the actual 2017 Toyota Prius Prime should not be too far off the prototype model in terms of its features, specifications and design, taking into consideration how the flagship Prius is set to ship some time this fall. Being the only plug-in electric vehicle (PHEV) from Toyota, it has been given the ‘Prime’ suffix simply because it represents the best of Prius.

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime will not be a small vehicle, and neither would your passengers feel cramped. It has gained 2.4” in length compared to the normal Prius, and is 0.5” wider. Perhaps the increase in its size is to accommodate the larger 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery.

So far, we have no idea on how much the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime will cost, but it does seem that a $30,000 price point would be a reasonable figure. Now that gas prices have fallen to such low levels, would people still make the rush for a hybrid vehicle in order to save some bit in terms of gas costs in the long run? Don’t forget that the battery technology is not that advanced to be able to last a good 20 to 30 years without any kind of replacement, and gas savings might be ploughed back into the battery replacement cost in the future, and then some.

As for the gas engine, it has been placed right smack into the front compartment of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime, while the hood itself is made of aluminum so that the entire shebang will be lighter. As for how the 0.24 coefficient of drag is achieved, this can be attributed to the wave-shaped dimple that can be seen in the rear glass.

Carbon fiber is the material of choice for the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime’s hatch, so that the ride will be able to lose more weight in order to increase its efficiency. As for its 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery, that is located in a sealed section underneath the trunk area. Such placement results in a slightly raised floor, not to mention lost cubic volume. Then again, all PHEV on sale at the moment had to go through difficult decisions as to which space should be sacrifice so that more battery power can be incorporated into the ride.

As for its charging cords, they are put away in a long bin that is located along the back of the trunk area. At least you do not need to cram them into a smaller space, since you can easily drop them due to the length of the bin. Those who tend to be neat might still find themselves carefully folding the cord according to their preference before dumping it in.

Expect the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime to come with 22 miles of pure EV range, which is a whole lot more than its predecessor, but is far behind the Chevy Volt's 52 miles of pure EV range. What do you think of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime?

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