First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
The large number of Prius-owning progressive celebrities in 2002 prompted The Washington Post to dub hybrids "Hollywood's latest politically correct status symbol". Conservatives called "Prius Patriots" also drive the cars because they want to contribute to reducing US dependence on foreign oil. A 2007 San Francisco Chronicle article said "Prius Progressives" were becoming an archetype, with American conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh opining that "these liberals think they're ahead of the game on these things, and they're just suckers".
But it's the shift in consumer tastes toward compact crossovers that has most impacted the Prius. Toyota's own RAV4 Hybrid is neck-and-neck in sales this year, even with a base price that's almost $4000 higher and fuel economy numbers that start with 3s rather than 5s. If you're looking for an answer to the "Why all-wheel drive? Why now?" questions, this is it. It doesn't hurt that Toyota is already selling a nearly identical all-wheel-drive Prius in Japan, simplifying this marketing move.
^ Jump up to: a b "Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard". InsideEVs.com. Retrieved 19 February 2017. See annual sales in 2016. First generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid sales totaled 52 units in 2016 through September, when dealerships run out of stock. Deliveries of the second generation Prius Prime began in November 2016. A total of 3,788 Prius Prime cars have been sold between November 2016 and January 2017.
^ Jump up to: a b "Most Efficient EPA Certified Vehicles". U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016. The 2014–16 BMW i3 BEV was the most efficient EPA-certified vehicles considering all fuels and of all years until November 2016, when it was surpassed by the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric. As of November 2016, the 2016 Toyota Prius Eco hybrid car is most efficient EPA-certified vehicle with a gasoline engine without plug-in capability.
The hatchback body style of the Prius means there's plenty of room for cargo behind the back seat, although it's not the most spacious vehicle in this competitive set. Its dash-mounted shifter frees up room for storage cubbies in the front seat; rear cubby storage is limited to two unusually small door pockets and the small cupholders found in the center-seat pull-down armrest.
Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. The driver should remain attentive to traffic, surroundings and road conditions at all times. Visibility, weather and road conditions may affect feature performance. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.
Consider that a larger-than-average chunk of the Prius's cost is directed to make possible its advanced powertrain, and the amount of plastic in the interior starts to make sense even as it left us wanting for better trimmings. It could be appointed in sumptuous leather and we'd still take issue with the center-mounted information gauges, which require the driver to take their eyes off the road too frequently. Passengers have plenty of room to spread out in the Prius—there's space for four six-footers thanks to upright seating—but several rivals offer even more legroom for back-seat passengers.
On the inside, Toyota has replaced the white plastic interior trim with black glossy and semi-glossy finishes. The Prius lineup has gone through a name change, too, dropping the numbered trims with a more traditional Toyota name lineup of L Eco, LE, XLE and Limited. Feature content remains largely unchanged, which unfortunately also means Apple CarPlay is not yet available. On the plus side, the Toyota Safety Sense P suite of advanced safety features is standard on all Prius trims.
The HVAC system uses an AC induction motor to drive a sealed-system scroll compressor, a design principle not usually used in automotive applications. Using a scroll compressor increases the efficiency of the system, while driving it with an AC induction motor makes the system more flexible, so the AC can run while the engine is off. Because the oil used with the refrigerant gas also flows in the area of the high-voltage motor-windings, the fluid must be electrically insulating to avoid transmitting electric current to exposed metal parts of the system. Therefore, Toyota specifies a polyolester (POE) oil (designated ND11) is required for repairs. The system cannot be serviced with equipment normally employed for regular cars, which typically use polyalkylene glycol (PAG) oil, as the equipment would contaminate the ND11 oil with PAG oil. According to SAE J2843 the oil provided from maintenance equipment must contain less than 0.1% PAG when filling. One percent PAG oil may result in an electrical resistance drop by a factor of about 10.
Unlike its predecessor, the Prime runs entirely on electricity in charge-depleting mode (EV mode). Toyota targeted the fuel economy in hybrid mode to be equal or better than regular fourth generation Prius liftback. The Prius Prime has an EPA-rated combined fuel economy in hybrid mode of 54 mpg‑US (4.4 L/100 km; 65 mpg‑imp), 55 mpg‑US (4.3 L/100 km; 66 mpg‑imp) in city driving, and 53 mpg‑US (4.4 L/100 km; 64 mpg‑imp) in highway. Only the Prius Eco has a higher EPA-rated fuel economy rating in hybrid mode. The 2017 model year Prime has a different exterior design than the fourth generation Prius. The interior design is also different. The Prime has a four-seat cabin layout, as Toyota decided to improve the car's efficiency to achieve its design goals.
If you’ve always coveted a Tesla but didn’t want to spend close to six figures, this might be your route. It’s a mid-size electric car with plenty of technology, as expected with this brand. Additionally, the trunk is large enough to easily hold a mountain bike (as long as you fold the flat rear seats), and the interior cabin is large and comfortable. Consider the long-range battery version — approximated at an extra $7,000 — if you plan on driving longer distances.