Car Review: Toyota Prius keeps odd looks with better fuel economy in the plug-in Prius Prime

It’s been around for 20 years, and the Toyota Prius is still pushing its distinctive look, and comes up with some impressive fuel economy numbers to boot.

The Prius Prime adds to the impressive numbers by running on electric for the first 25 miles, then switching to the gas engine. That’s enough for most commutes, and it takes less than a normal work day to fully charge with a normal 120-volt wall charger. Just don’t expect quick acceleration.

Some welcome updates are included for 2020. The back seat will accommodate a third person now. I fit three children in the back, but with a car seat and booster, the space is tight.

The large 11.6-inch touchscreen in the Prius Prime Limited is simple to use, and Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa capability are nice additions. Like Prius models of past, the instrument panel is at the center of the dash, which is odd if you’re used to seeing in front of you.

The Limited model has a solution for that, as it comes with color head-up display to keep the display in front of you and your eyes of the road.

Price: $33,500; as tested $34,430

MPG: 133 MPGe; 54MPG gas only. I managed 59 mpg on gas and 122MPGe in 306 miles of mixed driving.

Safety: Toyota Safety Sense pre-collision system with pedestrian detection; blind-spot monitor with cross-traffic alert; lane departure alert with steering assist; automatic high beams; full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control; brake assist; smart stop technology; Intelligent Clearance Sonar with intelligent park assist.

Things to know: The 2020 Prius Prime has welcome additions for 2020, allowing for added passenger capacity and smart technology to make the efficient ride more user friendly.


  • Gas-free operation for 25 miles, then it becomes a fuel miser on the gas engine
  • Even the loaded Prius Prime won’t break the bank to buy
  • Its distinctive style continues to keep Prius faithful coming back


  • Loses some rear storage space when compared to the regular Prius
  • Slow acceleration, and the gas engine is loud when pushed
  • AWD is only available on the regular Prius models

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