Looking for a Hybrid Sedan With Electric Driving? Say Hi to the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime PHEV Electric Car

Red 2023 Toyota Prius Prime
Meet the Prius Prime. Photo: Jill Robbins

The 2022 Toyota Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV, and that means the best of both worlds.

Everyone loves an SUV (or so it seems) but the market for small sedans, like the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime, a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle, or PHEV, is far from dead. There are lots of reasons buyers are still interested in sedans. They may have limited parking space, want something small and well-suited for city driving, or want something compact for use as a second car. Whether you’re downsizing or just want to stay small, here are some things we loved about the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime. With 2023 model year cars already popping onto the market, dealers may be motivated to give great prices as they sell off 2022 models.

Related: BEVs, PHEVs, and Hybrids: Everything You Need to Know About Cars With Alternative Power

A Fun Color And The Nifty Badge Spice Up The Prius Prime'S Exterior. Photo: Jill Robbins

A fun color and the nifty badge spice up the Prius Prime’s exterior. Photo: Jill Robbins

The 2022 Prius Prime Easily Switches Between Electric and Hybrid Power

The Prius Prime runs on an electricity-charged battery and an unleaded hybrid gas engine. It takes less than six hours to fully charge the battery at home–so easy that I didn’t need to take it to a public charge station during my test drive.

According to Toyota, the Prius Prime can be fully charged in about two hours using a 240V charger, about the size of a household dryer outlet, and a size that is commonly found at level 2 charge stations. The Prius Prime’s smaller battery system does not accommodate level 3 DC fast charging, which is the fastest way to charge fully electric cars but not plug-in hybrids like the Prime.

The Prius Prime has an electric range of 25 miles and automatically switches to gas when the electric charge is depleted. Fueling the 2022 Prius Prime works exactly the same way as putting gas in any other car. But it’s advantageous to keep the car charged because you’ll spend less on gas. Something we all can get behind.

Drivers Can See Exactly How Their Car Is Using Power And From What Source. Photo: Jill Robbins

Drivers can see exactly how their car is using power and from what source. Photo: Jill Robbins

Different Driving Modes for Power or Economy

But unfortunately, you have to pick the one you want at the time. I personally didn’t notice any real difference between using Power mode and what a normal drive experience is like. Eco mode, however, felt like the car was tired and that I was having to really coax it to accelerate at moderate speed.

Or, you can drive the car in the all-electric mode. This will run the Prius Prime on the electric charge until it’s depleted. Then, it automatically switches over to gas.

There’s a setting on the media screen that allows you to see how the car is working in real time. The illustration shows where the power is coming from and how that can shift and adjust, factoring in things like whether or not you’re using the air conditioning.

The battery is designed to last the life of the car. The battery warranty that comes with the car covers 10 years or 150,000 miles.

2023 Toyota Prius Prime Home Charging

Plugging in the car after your last trip of the day is an easy habit to adopt. Photo: Jill Robbins

Solid fuel economy

The 2022 Prius Prime is estimated to get 133 MPGe with combined fuel and battery – though this is a confusing estimate that equates the energy value of a gallon of gas with that of 33.7 kWh of electricity (the Prius Prime, for the record, has an 8.8 kWh battery). The real-world answer though, is that using the hybrid engine only, the Prime gets 54 MPG, which is very good. Plug it in daily and you might rarely drive using gas. Use the battery power to supplement the hybrid engine, and you might go weeks or even months between fill-ups.

Driving on all-electric, though, can be a daily devotion: the battery-only range of the Toyota Prius Prime is 25 miles. If your regular driving habits are mostly shorter trips, you’ll get a lot more staying power from the charge. If you expect to get more mileage out of the electric range, you may want to shop around a bit.

Related: USED: A review of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

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If I were buying this car, the fuel economy would be the most enticing feature for me. Photo: Jill Robbins

Comfy Interior and Cargo Space that get it Done (in Small Doses)

I found the interior of the 2022 Prius Prime interesting. I didn’t quite fall in love with the vertical screen. My front-seat passengers reported they had a better, clearer view of the screen while I was driving. This might be a selling point if you’re sharing navigation duties or if your passenger is in charge of the playlist.

A Girls Guide To Cars | Looking For A Hybrid Sedan With Electric Driving? Say Hi To The 2022 Toyota Prius Prime Phev Electric Car - A Girls Guide To Cars Prius Prime Dash Pics 2

While I didn’t love the vertical screen, I liked the size, and like most new things, I would have probably have gotten used to it. Photo: Jill Robbins

I found the cockpit comfortable for short-haul driving. But I didn’t love the low-to-the-ground seating that comes with driving a sedan. That’s a critique of sedans in general and not of this car.

Interior Console 2023 Toyota Prius Prime

A small space to hide your valuables or store essentials. My purse is small and not full. A larger bag would not fit. Photo: Jill Robbins

The Overall Price is Easy on Most Budgets

The car you see here is $36,057. The options on this one are pretty minimal and rack up to about $1K – the base price was $35,645. Options include upgraded paint (Supersonic Red) and carpeted floor mats.

Three trim levels offer various bells and whistles for the driver

  • LE starts at $29,865
  • XLE starts at $31,645
  • Limited starts at $35,645

The lowest priced LE includes the Toyota Safety Sense Package, which comes standard on all new Toyotas. The package includes pedestrian detection, land departure alert, automatic high beams, lane tracing assist, road sign assist, proactive driving assist, and dynamic radar cruise control. The LE also has a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a seven-inch touch screen with six speakers, and is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.

The top trim level includes extras such as wireless charging, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, parking assistance, and upgraded audio (11.6 inch touchscreen and 10 JBL speakers.)

Related: 6 Reasons I Love My Toyota Prius

The Cupholders At Work. Photo: Jill Robbins

The cupholders at work. Photo: Jill Robbins

Hybrid = Taking the Leap Toward Greener Driving

And this is the strong selling point for anyone considering an all-electric or hybrid vehicle – the sense of doing one’s part toward reducing the number of fossil fuels in the environment. If for whatever reason, you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into the world of all-electric driving, a plug-in hybrid is a good compromise and the 2022 Prius Prime may appeal to Toyota loyalists. If you’ve talked to a Toyota owner about their Toyota, chances are you’ve heard they’ve had their Toyota for a while, or that their last car was also a Toyota.

Woman And Red 2023 Toyota Prius Prime

Are you ready for reduced emissions? Photo: Jill Robbins

Is the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime a Family Car?

While I wouldn’t leap to the label of a family car, the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime got it done for me during the week of my test drive. I have two 12-year-olds who were finishing up a season of fall baseball when I drove this car (along with the seeming bazillion other places they needed to be driven) and we mostly had enough room.

The Front Seat Of The Prius Prime. Photo: Jill Robbins

The front seat of the Prius prime. Photo: Jill Robbins

The backseat worked for my kids and their backpacks but would have been a tight squeeze for a larger or taller adult. The rear space was adequate for a medium-sized grocery run and sports bags but not the full-blown family Costco run or the sports wagon.  The back seat will seat three people. It could work as a people mover in a pinch, for a grandparent or aunt who drove the kids occasionally, or as a second car primarily used for commuting or kid-free outings.

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The battery pack uses a lot of real estate back here, reducing the amount of space you have for groceries or luggage. Photo: Jill Robbins

Related: Five compact, sporty cars for road tripping

Who should drive the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime?

I enjoyed the drive but this car doesn’t meet me where I am now. The 2022 Prius Prime would suit:

  • Empty nesters or anyone seeking to downsize
  • Students
  • Young professionals (think recent college grads who are first-time car buyers)
  • Singles or child-free couples. This could work for a single mom or a couple with one small child. The rear space might not support baby and kid gear or luggage for three people.
  • Family buyers who are shopping for something other than the primary family people mover, i.e. commuter car, car for teen drivers to share.
A Girls Guide To Cars | Looking For A Hybrid Sedan With Electric Driving? Say Hi To The 2022 Toyota Prius Prime Phev Electric Car - Review 2023 Toyota Prius Prime A Girls Guide To Cars 8

I found the driving on city street and park roads to be smooth but I think you might encounter some bumpiness on rougher roads – this car sits pretty low to the ground. Photo: Jill Robbins

The Toyota Prius was a revolutionary car; it taught drivers that we could get unfathomable fuel economy in a hybrid system that can last 300,000 miles or more. With the Prime, the lesson continues, showing drivers how far they can go on several hours of charge time. And, for those of us who love saving money in a budget-friendly, gas-sipping, electric-charging sedan, the Prius Prime is a great option.

Disclosure: Toyota provided the 2022 Prius Prime for this review; all opinions are my own.

Jill is the oldest mom with the youngest kids pretty much everywhere she goes. She has a 29-year-old daughter... More about Jill Robbins