2021 Prius Prime: One of the Most Popular Eco-Cars Just Got Better

2021 Prius Prime
Get ready to drive and drive and drive! (Photo Courtesy Toyota)

Before I have a press car, I usually know what it will be, and I end up talking to friends and family about it.

When I mentioned I’d be driving the 2021 Prius Prime, the first question everyone asked me was “What makes it a Prime?” Well, I’ll tell you: it’s the plug-in hybrid.

2021 Prius Prime Plugin Hybrid

Don’t worry! You can plug in this beauty in your garage. No special outlet needed. (Photo Courtesy Toyota)

640-Mile Driving Range

The 2021 Prius Prime isn’t just a hybrid, it’s a plug-in hybrid. It can drive for a while (approximately 25 miles) in no-gas EV mode. Combine that with the already fuel-efficient hybrid engine (55 city/53 highway/54 combined MPG), and you get an extra long range on your small tank of gas. Toyota estimates that the 25-mile range of all-EV driving will cover many drivers’ daily commutes. Therefore, the 2021 Prius Prime is one of the most efficient hybrids on the market.

Also, you don’t need any special equipment or connections. This is a huge plus! The Prius Prime plugs right into a household outlet and can fully charge in less than 5.5 hours.

The great thing about plugin hybrids is that they don’t need a full charge to drive. Even if you forget to plug in the car, you can drive as long as there is gas in the tank.

Related: Can an EV Work as a Family Car? The Car Mom Puts the VW ID.4 to the Test

2021 Prius Prime Interior

The model we drove had a two-toned interior that was white and gray, and I liked it a lot, but this all-black is pretty sharp too! Photo: Toyota

2021 Prius Prime: Safety Upgrades

The 2021 Prime gets an upgrade from Toyota Safety Sense-P to Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. This means it has all the latest and greatest safety technology Toyota has to offer.

Because this is a hybrid, it runs silently some of the time. Therefore, the vehicle actually plays a sound when you’re backing up to let pedestrians know you’re in motion. At first, it feels kind of funny to be driving such a small car and hearing it beep when you’re in reverse. However, it does make sense when you think about how quiet this car is.

2021 Prius Prime Unique Design

Check out that window under the spoiler. It’s not just for looks either – it increases visibility for the driver. Photo: Toyota

Unique Design Features

Of course, Toyota wants the Prime to stand out from the pack. While it is instantly recognizable as a Prius, special touches make it unique. My favorite of these is the “dual wave” glass panel and spoiler on the back. Its signature LED lights go all the way across. Additionally, the car features exclusive front and rear fascias, unique two-toned wheels, and automatic grille shutters to reduce drag.

2021 Prius Prime Media

A whole new driver’s display – in the center of the dash. Photo: Toyota

Minimalistic Comfort

Although there is nothing luxurious about the Prius’ interior, it has a certain minimalist charm that makes you feel very comfortable. The most notable and unique feature is the lack of a driver’s display in front of the steering wheel. Instead, everything is located in the center of the dash just above the infotainment screen. The infotainment screen also doubles as the climate control panel. It’s a very different setup, but I kind of liked it!

Related: 13 of Our Absolute Favorite Electric, Hybrid, and PHEV Vehicles

2021 Prius Prime Gear Selector

Excuse me, are we gaming or driving? It’s hard to tell with this cute little joystick staring back at me. Photo: Toyota

Quirky Things

2021 Prius Prime Interior

Check out that massive media screen! Photo: Toyota

It wouldn’t be a Prius if it weren’t just a little quirky. Of course, the exterior design is unique. Additionally, there are a few things on the inside that you’ll either love or hate. One of those is the gear selector. Try as I might, I couldn’t quite get used to it. First of all, it’s bright blue. Second, it moves funny, like a joystick. The infotainment system also plays a little song every time you start the car. I don’t know, maybe you can turn that off? It’s cool the first few times, but after that, you’ll roll your eyes.

2021 Toyota Prius Prime

Get ready to drive and drive and drive! Photo: Toyota

What You Need to Know About the 2021 Prius Prime

The Prius Prime is available in seven colors and three trim levels:

The LE (base model) starts at $28,220. This includes all of the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 features as well as 60/40 fold-down rear seats and LED projector headlights.

The XLE starts at $30,000 and adds things like a larger multimedia screen, heated front seats, and wireless charging.

To top off the offerings, the Limited starts at $34,000 and gives you all the features found on the LE and XLE plus a heads-up display (HUD), intelligent clearance sonar (detects items at low speed) and park assist features, plus blind-spot and rear-cross traffic alert systems.

Keep in mind that being an EV, the Prius Prime qualifies you for up to $4,502 in tax rebates.

Related: 6 Reasons I Love My Toyota Prius

A web developer, digital marketing consultant, auto journalist, truck expert, photographer and lover of gadgets, Erica is a textbook... More about Erica Mueller