Usually, before I have a press car, I 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 was “What makes it a Prime?” Well, I’ll tell you: it’s the plug-in hybrid.
640-Mile Driving Range
Instead of just being a hybrid, the 2021 Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid, and 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 commute, making this one of the most efficient hybrids on the market.
And just in case you’re wondering about charging the car at home, no special equipment or connections are required. The Prius Prime plugs right into a household outlet and can fully charge in less than 5.5 hours.
The really great thing about plugin hybrids is they don’t have to be charged to drive them. If you forget to plug in the car and you have gas in the tank, you can drive it just like any other hybrid car.
2021 Prius Prime: Safety Upgrades
The 2021 Prime gets an upgrade from Toyota Safety Sense-P to Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, meaning it has all the latest and greatest safety technology that Toyota has to offer.
Because this is a hybrid and runs silently some of the time, 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 having it beep when you’re in reverse, but it does make sense when you think about how quiet this car is.
Unique Design Features
Of course, Toyota wants the Prime to stand out from the pack. While it is instantly recognizable as a Prius, it has some special touches that make it unique. My favorite of these is the “dual wave” glass panel and spoiler on the back with its signature LED lights that go all the way across. The car also features exclusive front and rear fascias, unique two-toned wheels, and automatic grille shutters to reduce drag.
There is nothing luxurious about the Prius’ interior, but it does have a certain minimalist charm that makes you feel very comfortable. I think the most notable and unique feature is that there is no driver’s display in front of the steering wheel. Instead, everything is located in the center of the dash just above the infotainment screen, which also doubles as the climate control panel. It’s a very different setup, but I kind of liked it!
It wouldn’t be a Prius if it weren’t just a little quirky. Of course, the exterior design is unique, but there are a few things on the inside that you’ll either love or hate, and 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 and after that, you’ll roll your eyes.
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 like and 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 which starts at $34,000 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.
Being an EV the vehicle qualifies you for up to $4,502 in tax rebates.