The Upcoming 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Oct 19, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

The venerable Toyota Prius has returned as the new 2017 Prius Prime. Compared to the previous model of this popular plug-in hybrid, the upcoming 2017 Prius Prime is 0.6 inches wider and 2.4 inches longer. It is similar to the traditional hybrid model but with a few key stylistic differences in addition to the unique powertrain. Let's take a look at what we know about the new model.

Appearance and Styling

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To make it clear that the 2017 Prius Prime is not your previous hybrid, Toyota gave the vehicle a significant makeover. While the traditional version has a lower “fish lip” that protrudes below the grille, you won’t find this feature on the Prius Prime. The fascia has deeper creases and thin enclosures for the LED headlamps surrounding the center section, which is blacked out. The rear was enhanced by the new LED taillamps in a wraparound design that integrates right into the spoiler.

Structural Changes

The Prius Prime also has an aluminum hood, carbon-fiber liftgate, and high-strength steel chassis as a way to reduce its overall weight and boost efficiency. The Prime has gotten an inch lower and has the same automatic grille shutters as the 2016 Prius. The new model is more aggressive and angular than its predecessor, which may appeal to more buyers.

Hybrid Powertrain

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As expected, the 2017 Prius Prime runs on the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive. In this case, it pairs a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine featuring an efficient Atkinson cycle with the brand’s first electric-drive system that can use both generators and motors. These are called MG1 and MG2 and drive the wheels when in EV mode. The ability to use both comes from a one-way clutch connecting the transmission and engine that improves acceleration. The powertrain works with the planetary-gear CVT. The system also has a new 8.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack with twice as much energy capacity as on the previous version.

Mileage and Efficiency

Thanks to this powertrain and weight loss, the Prius Prime should get 120 MPGe when in EV mode. It will also be able to reach 84 miles per hour and double its fully electric range to reach 22 miles. When completely charged and the tank is full, this Toyota can go over 600 miles. You can charge your Prius Prime in just 5.5 hours if you use your standard household outlet. To cut that time in half, there is an optional 240-volt charger.

Premium Features

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In addition to its excellent efficiency, the 2017 Prius Prime is packed with features, including the Safety Sense P suite. This includes pre-collision detection featuring automatic braking and pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, dynamic cruise control, and lane keeping assistance. You can also get rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, a heads-up display, and an 11.6-inch central infotainment screen with a high-definition display. You can even access some of the Prius Prime’s functions with your smartphone app, including finding public chargers, checking your charging status and schedule, and controlling the climate of your hybrid. The new style and improved efficiency might attract new drivers to the new version of the Toyota Prius.


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