Toyota is not taking the full electric vehicle (EV) route just yet, as they continue to have faith in their hybrid vehicle range which is spearheaded by the Toyota Prius. It looks like there is room for a high end model in place soon in the form of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. This is no Autobot, but rather, a fourth generation Toyota Prius that will arrive with up to 25 miles of pure electric range.
Not only that, your wallet would not be that heavily impacted either, since the entry level 2017 Toyota Prius Prime that will go on sale this fall will kick off with a price tag of $27,100. There will be a couple of better trim levels available for the discerning consumer, which would be the $28,800 Premium and the $33,100 Advanced. Regardless of which particular model that you would choose from, all of them are fully eligible for up to $4,500 in federal tax credit. Contrast this with a base-model 2017 Toyota Prius which would have cost slightly more than $29,100 a pop, and you would know where is money well spent.
In terms of fuel economy, the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime does not disappoint, either. The official EPA estimates point to 55 miles per gallon while driving in and around the city, 53 mpg on the highway, and 54 mpg combined. Taking into consideration that this is also a plug-in, the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime has an MPGe rating to boot. The MPGe rating stands at 124. Right from the start, Toyota was looking at an all-electric range of 22 miles, but thankfully with the advancement of technology, there are now 25 EV miles for you to play with. While it might pale in comparison with other all electric vehicles, this is still more than double the amount of the 11 miles in which the first generation Toyota Prius delivered.
The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime might be the fourth generation Prius, although it does have another "title": being the second generation plug-in Prius. The new name will help separate it from its past, where it will come with four doors and a rear hatch, alongside a larger battery pack, a charging port and a large, portrait-format 11.6-inch touchscreen display. Do take note that the rear hatch is made of carbon fiber.
Drivers of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime will find the presence of Power, Normal and Eco drive modes which are also similar to what the Prius Liftback sports. Apart from that, things do get a wee bit muddled up with the Prius Prime sporting a set of complementary modes: EV, HV and EV Auto. That would translate to a whopping 9 different drive mode combinations, which might be a wee bit too many to figure out for the ordinary driver. We are not Formula 1 drivers, you know, with lightning quick reflexes and such!
While it is disappointing that the Prius Prime packs in a single USB port, at least it comes with a charging pad that is ideal for smartphones that play nice with Qi wireless charging. This seems to be the ideal ride for folks who hate to raise the ire of tree huggers and yet want something stylish and comfortable to get around in.