A Prius Expert’s Review of the 2018 Prius Prime

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by Tideland Prius, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
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    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    I finally joined the plug in crowd in the middle of January. I decided to give it a few weeks before I write a review to give me some time to get used to the car, figure out ownership and establish daily habits. I’ve owned a 2005 Prius, 2010 Prius and 2016 Prius and have briefly driven the 2012 Prius c, 2012 Prius v and 2012 PiP.

    Each Prius generation has improved upon the the last. Yes, there were a few hiccups (let’s not mention the 6.1” Display Audio system or the reduction of storage cubbies again) but the overall package has generally improved. I will touch upon areas that could be changed and offer different perspectives so that those who are read this can see both sides of the story and why certain decisions were made.

    I'll have a summary at the bottom if you prefer a TL;DR version. If you want to read the long version, maybe grab a cup of your favourite hot beverage before continuing.

    Exterior:
    I’m in the camp that likes the design of the Prime. The quad LED headlight gives it a premium look and the decision to run the high beams at super low power when the low beams are on (basically to act as accent lighting) is a great choice from a design perspective. It’s distinctive and looks like a premium vehicle when you see another Prime driving towards you. The rear lighting design is cool too and I like the CHMSL (3rd brake light) design where the light fades from the centre.

    One thing that I like and dislike at the same time are the indicators. I like that they’re LEDs and are at the corner, however, they seem really delicate and because they protrude out, they seem vulnerable to parking lot damage. While they are similar to the Gen 3 which also had corner indicators, the Gen 3 ones don’t protrude from the body as aggressively as the ones on the Prime. One of Toyota's stubborness is the refusal to add side mirror indicators. They finally added sliding visors to the 2019 Prius (and hopefully that makes it over to the 2020 Prime) but side indicators are still missing.

    Other design elements that I appreciate include the upper door character line that goes from the vertical plane to the horizontal plane (from door to rear spoiler) and the lower rear door character line that gives a darker shade from certain angles. If you wash your Prime by hand, the number of angles on the body and light pieces is just mind boggling. For example, I had no idea the plastic piece at the tip of the rear spoiler (where the 3rd brake light is housed) has a concaved area that runs the width of the piece. Even though I saw it in real life at the NY Auto Show reveal, I didn't notice that concavity until I washed my own Prime. I'm wary of the acrylic panel given the reports on PriusChat so I'll have to pay attention if I'm going down a gravel road or just following a vehicle after the road has been sanded.

    The doors close with a really nice thud; it does sound more Camry and less Yaris. The additional rubber seal between the front and rear doors help (not sure if that's for sound insulation or for aerodynamics). The more solid doors help with audio dampening as well imo. The hatch also latches with a more pleasant sound than the last two generations of Prii.

    Interior:
    The interior is a place of mixed feelings from a long time Prius owner. Let’s start with the front. The front seats are wonderfully supportive for my body type. They’re aggressive enough to hold you during harder cornering but not so aggressive that you’re rubbing against the bolsters every time you enter or exit the vehicle. I find them comfortable but I haven't driven for long hours yet. The Gen 2’s seatback was the narrowest which was fixed with the Gen 3 but the Gen 4/Prime adds more bolstering. I found the default lumbar a bit more natural and more supportive, thus I required less bulge on the lower lumbar area than I needed to on my Gen 3. Speaking of the driver’s seat, apparently Toyota made a change midway through 2018 as my power seat switches are missing the chrome accents that other members here have on their cars. The front passenger seat is mounted higher than on our Gen 4 Touring; that was unexpected but something to consider if you carry passengers and have to contend with ingress/egress or simply if you need more headroom. It’s not as high as the Gen 3 but noticeable enough when I switch between our Gen 4 and the Prime.

    The centre console box is smaller than both previous generations which is a bummer and I do not like the fact that it isn’t double hinged like it is on the Prius v. This needs to be fixed. The box is fortunately deep enough to store a small tissue box. The lack of charging points is disappointing for a 2018 car but then again, I was equally disappointed with the 2010 and the lack of USB/iPod connectivity back then (which was fixed in Sept 2009 in the US but was never fixed in Canada). The 2019 Prius has more USB charging ports so it’s promising for the 2020 Prime midlife update. The USB placement is ok for those who constantly plug and unplug their phone but it’s inconvenient for those who use USB or iPod units. A charging cable cutout for the centre console lid would be appreciated so that I can hide my iPod in the centre console box without pinching the cable. Alternatively, one USB port inside the console and one outside can cater to both types of users. Of course one could just use BTA and leave the phone on the wireless charger to charge. In Canada, I’m disappointed at the lack of Entune availability. Yes it’s not the most robust of software but it has some nice features like traffic, weather, remote charging, remote A/C and charging station POI which are all missing in Canada.

    The 11.6” HD MFD is under utilized in my opinion. A birds eye view camera system from the Camry or RAV4 will help fill the bottom half of the screen in reverse. I find the rear view camera a bit dim (I’m using the default brightness and contrast for both day and night mode) so I adjusted the contrast +1 for day mode and the brightness +2 for the night mode for the camera. This seems to get me the results I want (and an image similar to my Gen 3). I was impressed with the 2010 Prius’ rear view camera quality and was a little disappointed with the 2016 Prius. I haven’t noticed anything that stands out on the Prime and I assume they're using the same camera as the 2016 Prius. However, the MFD resolution is different so that might result in a different perceived image quality. USB video is also quite small in “full screen” mode. It really should be the lower half of the screen without the borders it currently has.

    The inset nav screen (for dual screen or freeway mode etc) is a floating design and I would prefer having it locked into the corner. I do like the navigation instructions (it’s clear and early enough) and it’s nice to see the instructions on the HUD.

    With the low sun angle in the winter and at certain angles, the glare from the screen is insane. I don’t mean that I can’t see the screen but the fact that the screen and the metallic black trim around the screen are reflecting the sunlight towards my eyes. It’s a rare occurrence but it’s quite blinding when it does occur. It comes from the top right corner.

    The design of the dashboard is nice and the satin chrome accent is tastefully applied. The painted metallic black trim around the screen and the cup holders remind me of the Gen 2 and its painted upper glovebox area. The glovebox in the Prime is woefully small; the two manuals and quick guide practically take up the entire box. I would much prefer a larger glovebox for the next generation please. (Or even a dual glovebox). I feel like the “swoosh” on the passenger side could’ve accommodated a small shelf so it feels like a lost opportunity there. As it stands, it slants down towards the door so if you put a pen or a chapstick, it will slide and fall out when the front passenger door is opened.

    The rear seats are decent but a bit upright. The door armrest is a good height (they were too low in the Gen 3). The rear centre console box armrest is too low but I like the fact they added the box. Some may disagree since animals or people cannot lie across the seat. I prefer the box for extra storage since we lost a lot with this new design. The official rear legroom numbers keep decreasing with each generation and by numbers alone, it appears tight (33.4" for the Prime vs. 36.0" for the PiP). However, in real life, it is adequate and not as tight as the numbers suggest. The rear floor is no longer flat but I don't know if the crease is due to body rigidity or some other packaging/design reason. Given that it's a 4-seater, it doesn't really matter but I suppose it's the same floorpan as the Gen 4 which will matter (or if the Prime gets 5 seats). With a 4-seater design, I wish there was a pass-through option. As it stands, you lose a passenger carrying capability when you fold down any side of the 60/40 split folding seats.

    (The following paragraphs on the JBL audio were edited on Feb 5, 2019)
    The JBL audio system is only found in the Prime in Canada; the regular Prius cannot be equipped with a JBL audio system. This system has a more solid bass and with the better damped doors, it doesn't rattle (and the mirrors do not vibrate) as easily as they did before. The bass is also less muddy at higher volumes than the Gen 3. The mids/highs sound clearer too. However, I found the mid to be too strong in FM radio and slightly high in iPod so I did drop the mid setting in both sources. I dropped the treble in FM as well to -1. I don't bother with satellite radio (that and SiriusXM keeps calling once you listen to it.. and they have, since I bought the car. Argh). I haven't tested out the audio system by sitting in the back seat (In the Gen 3, there is a noticeable difference in audio between the front and rear seats. I think Toyota just cheaped out on the rear speakers in the Gen 3) so I'll see if Toyota kept the quality speakers all around or opted to just put better ones in the front and "adequate" ones in the rear.

    I managed to carve out an hour to just sit in the car and listen to a variety of music. I am listening to it on an iPod Nano 4th Generation in R&B equaliser mode with a cable connected to the USB port.

    The clarity of the songs are definitely a step up from the 2010/2011 JBL Audio systems (2013-2015 were changed so I can't comment on those) and let's not even talk about the "JBL Audio" of the 2004/2005 Prius. At a volume of 15-17, treble set at -1 and mid set at -2 with the bass at +2 (+1 also works), I was able to hear certain softer instruments of the songs (especially in the intros) that I either couldn't hear before or were just muddled into the louder portions of the song. It would behoove you to listen to the songs at a slightly higher volume if you wish to hear the nuances of the song. For normal driving, it's usually set at 4-7 because the Prime is so quiet but bumping them up to 15 or so makes the songs come alive. Vocals sound a bit better once I put the Mid back to 0. Anything by Michael Jackson sounds absolutely fantastic. Bass-heavy songs such as hip-hop or EDM sound solid with the audio system able to distinctly hit each of the low frequencies instead of mushing them into some sort noise analogous to a whale call; basically anything in the Top 40s work well with this audio system. The midrange/tweeters at the top of the dashboard are set a touch too high which is why I had to lower them down a touch. However, I found songs by Céline Dion are brought forward if the treble was nudged up to +1 and the mid set to 0. The only genre I found lacking was anything in the Rock department. Van Halen, Duran Duran and even Bonni Tyler sounded flat. The system has trouble with the electric guitar. The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary sounded good (surprisingly... maybe it's the recording I have?). Classical sounded ok but I think my mp3 versions aren't of the best quality.

    I find the audio system is better suited for pop, EDM, techno and Hip-Hop music. It's ok for classical and I suspect it'll need more tuning for something like Rock. Vocals don't seem to be as powerful as they were in my Gen 3 but I may have to play with the equalizer a bit more. I am not an audiophile by any means but I do appreciate a nice sound so while it's no Mark Levinson or Bowers & Wilkins (I can definitely pick up on the clarity of those speakers), the JBL audio system in the Prius is good enough for its purpose. If I had to make a change, I would prefer a few more physical speakers to create a fuller soundstage. The "10-speakers in 6 locations" basically means it's a 6-speaker system but they improved the perceived quality of the sound with separate front speakers (a tweeter and a midrange up top with a subwoofer in the front doors) rather than a full range in the front door and tweeters on the dash. I'm guessing this is as good as it will get for a "commuter" car without having to incur extra costs (such as C-pillar speakers for the rear passengers or creating the same soundstage for the rear passengers which I suspect is unnecessary for the targeted demographic of Prius owners). I am satisfied with the current setup, it is an improvement over the last two JBL audio systems (god the Gen 2's one was awful... we basically kept it as an 8-speaker audio system and disconnected 9th front centre speaker the entire time) and a slight improvement over the basic 6-speaker setup in our Gen 4.

    Cargo:
    Coming around to the rear, the area is wide and spacious but the height really is the limiting factor. All my reusable shopping bags are taller than the distance between the floor and the tonneau cover so there's always a bulge when I pull the cover. The higher load floor also reduces the effectiveness of the grocery bag hooks on each side as the bag usually isn't hanging due to the higher floor. This definitely needs to be addressed. I do like the grab handle added to the roller-type tonneau cover. I lament the loss of the underfloor bin to store emergency items such as the tire inflator, first aid kit, plastic bags and tie down straps. I did manage to fit most of them in the smaller cut-outs on each side as well as the passenger-side underfloor cubby. The rear most underfloor cubby is mostly taken up by the charging cable. I haven't taken it on a road trip but I suspect it will definitely have to be done without the tonneau cover so I'll have to take that into consideration. The rear hatch is nicely damped and weighted for opening and closing. The dual grab handles (vs. one grab handle on the regular Prius) is the same as it has been on the Gen 2 and 3 Prii but the location is different. On the old Prii, one pulls down in the same motion that one would grab a pull cable on a tram or a bus to indicate to the bus driver/tram conductor that one wishes to stop at the next stop. On the Prime, it's a hand slot which makes closing awkward (and sometimes requires you to actually push down on the Toyota emblem to finish closing the hatch). I prefer the previous method as you can close the hatch in one motion.

    The Drive:
    Ok I've made you wait long enough. The drive is the biggest change for any Prius owner (well sort of... I mean we did have EV Drive Mode for short distances). First reaction? WOW! Every reaction since then? Wow, wow, wow. Honestly, this is my favourite Prius to drive. (Sorry 2016... you've been bumped down the list). It's supremely smooth, quiet and just effortless to drive. Sure, it doesn't have the kickback of a Tesla or a Volt but the power delivery that Toyota appears to have dialed in, is one of smoothness (like a V12 in a Rolls-Royce... but with 1/5th of the power lol). I haven't tried full throttle acceleration (break-in period plus, like any conscientious Prius driver, I'm trying to get the best kWh/100km rating) but initial acceleration from a stop in everyday driving is adequate. I have mentioned repeatedly on this forum that I wish the Prius and Prime were faster and I still do. But Toyota has done well with what they have, balancing efficiency with driveability.

    In hybrid mode, the engine comes on smoothly and mostly stays in the background. Under hard acceleration, you'll hear the engine (that's normal) but if you stay within the Eco Accelerator Guide area, the engine noise will be kept to a minimal. The power does feel a bit weaker in hybrid mode and you do have to press the accelerator slightly harder to get the same amount of acceleration (I noticed my speed starting dropping when I ran out of charge and went into hybrid mode). Hence, the car feels much peppier in EV Mode (with the car in Eco Mode) than it does in hybrid mode (where Eco mode, appropriately feels like Eco mode). The difference is noticeable but not as dramatic as the Volt between its EV mode and Mountain Mode.

    The steering wheel is definitely lighter than my Gen 3 but I think it's a touch weightier than the Gen 4 Touring (which is surprising... maybe it's because of the extra 200kg of curb weight or just the way they programmed the electric power steering). My Gen 3 had the 15" wheels so it had the 17.6:1 steering ratio (not the quicker 14.1:1 for the Gen 3 Touring or Gen 3 V/Five for US model). The Prime obviously has a quicker steering ratio (13.4:1) and feels much more natural. It was tedious to drive the Gen 3 at slow speeds around a car park because of the number of hand-over-hand motions as I manoeuvre the car park; it's much easier in the Prime.

    The suspension tuning is definitely on the softer side compared to our 2016 Prius Touring (with its Touring-spec suspension and larger 17" alloys). It rides more comfortably but the 2016 Touring will corner better and it feels more nimble than the Prime. Both are a huge step up from the last two generations. I suppose "comfortably firm" is what I would term the ride. On the road, the Prime is quiet and is the quietest a Prius has ever been. Tyre noise is omnipresent, no doubt a consequence of the harder compound. Wind and road noise is non-existent at lower speeds. I haven't much experience at higher speeds but I didn't notice any excessive wind noise.

    Someone who tracks their car or races will have a better idea than I do but based on my limited knowledge, the Prime's settles into a corner fairly quickly on initial turn-in. The front bound damper setting is stiff - great for the turn-in, maybe a touch harsh for certain speed bumps (the sharp kind, not the smoothed/rounded ones). It sits in between the Gen 3 (which felt like it was weak at the knees) and the 2016 Touring (which feels more like a sporty-ish compact car). Body roll is more apparent than the 2016 Prius Touring going into a corner on a downhill but it's negligible on an uphill corner. In either scenario, it's much better than my Gen 3 (I'm sure the solar roof didn't help the centre of gravity situation on my Gen 3). Coming out of a corner, the Prime feels more confident; it feels like there is greater grip in the rear tyres. Again, I don't race or do track days but I'm guessing it's a combination of the suspension geometry, the lower centre of gravity, stiffer chassis (have you seen the number of braces under the car?!?) and the better weight distribution (56:44 vs. 61:49) that results in what I'm feeling. I feel like the Prime can benefit from the larger 215/55R17 tyres for better braking performance and cornering ability but it will result in the loss of AER and possibly a slightly harsher ride. I suppose Toyota stuck with 15" because the US market is focused on EV range and this setup gives the best combination of ride and EV range while in Japan, the range is more than enough and priority is placed on handling and how the vehicle looks.

    The stiffer chassis and laser screw welding (LSW) should result in less body twist as the car ages. My parkade has a steep ramp and with the Gen 3, it resulted in a body twist every time I exited the parkade as I made a sharp right after cresting the ramp. As the car aged, the hatch would creak whenever the car was subjected to an odd angle road (like turning at the top/bottom of a ramp).

    Under braking, the regenerative braking is better blended than on the 2016 Prius (and almost in line with my Gen 3). When I first got the 2016 Prius, I felt like Toyota took a step back. The brake transition from regen to friction was rougher than in the Gen 3, more akin to the Gen 2's system. It appears Toyota has tweaked the setting as I found the Prime's transition to be much smoother. Coming to a stop is also the smoothest in any Prius. The ECB can be a bit hard to modulate compared to the hydraulic system. (Those old enough will remember that you can lift off your foot just before you come to a stop to catch the front suspension rebound and have a completely smooth stop for you and your passengers with the hydraulic system. It's harder to modulate with the ECB). While I can't objectively state it, it feels as though the Prime's friction brakes come on earlier in the CHG section of the HSI to better blend the braking force; a compromise to be made to create a more natural braking feel I suppose. While I haven't had to test the Prime's braking system (I managed to anticipate a bad move by a fellow motorist last week so I avoided a collision with someone who couldn't follow the curved dashed lines in an intersection and decided my lane was theirs at the other end of the intersection), I'm a little skeptical about the size of the rotors with the width of our tyres and the weight of our car. The last time a Camry wore 15" wheels, it weighed 1,300-1,400kg and had 205/65R15 tyres. The Prime is heavier and has narrower tyres so I suspect our braking distance is going to be longer than average. The wider 215/45R17 tyres from the Prius Touring may help increase grip.

    From the driver's seat, the visibility is much improved over the Gen 3 and nearly rivals the Gen 2. Forward visibility is great for a modern car and I don't have to look around the A-pillar as much as I had to with the Gen 3. The more upright windshield helps push the A-pillar a bit forward, allowing for line of sight of crosswalks out the side window. The Gen 3 went with a cockpit design (hence the flying bridge and the enclosed design) while the Gen 4/Prime is inspired by the Gen 2 and it shows. It a wider-feeling cabin with a greater sense of airiness. I feel like the front doors are longer as I can sit further back in the Prime. The Gen 2's visibility was aided by the high seating position but that felt like you were sitting on the car, not in the car. In the Prime, I can see out quite well but yet feel cocooned inside the vehicle. The view out the back is quite good for a Prius and I have no qualms with reversing into a spot looking out the rear window without the aid of the backup camera or sonar sensors. The other great thing about the seating position of the Prime is that I can confidently pull up to the curbside without inducing curb rash. I could do that easily with the Gen 2 (even after driving the Gen 3 for 5 years, I could hop back into the Gen 2 and know I will not curb the wheels). However, I could never quite figure that out with the Gen 3. I would always stop too far and would have to reverse and adjust so that I could park/stop closer to the curb. I have no idea why and it bugged me for the entire length of ownership. The one area where visibility has decreased is the right-hand shouldercheck towards the passenger side three-quarter area. The removal of the rear quarter window results in a larger C-pillar and a larger blind spot. The improved rearward visibility means that the auto-dimming mirror, for the first time in a Prius Liftback, actually works as intended!! Hooray! I don't know if it's because of the extra dip in the rear spoiler due to the Prime's dual wave rear window but the headlights finally hit the light sensor and the mirror will dim as expected.

    The side wing mirrors are, happily, wider to cover a better area and reduce the total arc degree of blind spots when adjusted correctly. It's a bit of a surprise since I thought a wider mirror would reduce the total aerodynamic coefficient (as the housing would have to stick out more) but I'm ok with the slight reduction for the wider piece of glass. I think the height has been reduced but I cannot confirm that without taking measurements off the glass of the Gen 3 & Prime. A nice surprise that isn't listed in the brochure or the specification sheet is the water-repellent front door glass. (It is mentioned in the technical manual). I don't know if all Prime models get it (I assume it comes with the acoustic front door glass which means, it's possible that all Primes and the Four/Four Touring models of the Prius or the Limited for 2019+ have the water-repellent windows too). I've come to appreciate the drier glass on rainy days. You can tell if you have the water-repellent glass when you run water over it - Watch the water sheet down in the rear door windows but watch the water bead and run off on the front door windows).

    At night, the LED low beams are wonderful as they cast a wide area of light. Throw (amount of light visible down the road) is adequate but not exceptional. The high beams cast a very noticeable, nearly round, area of light towards the centreline of the car. Automatic high beams work well but I wish we had the matrix LED system.

    The Prime Prius:
    When it comes to efficiency, the Prius is the one to beat. While technically the Ioniq Electric Plus (PHEV) is rated higher at 15.6kWh/100km or 136MPGe vs. the Prime's 15.8kWh/100km or 133MPGe, I think the Prime will win in the real world. I've consistently beaten that number with light use of the climate control and agreeable temperatures (read: above freezing), usually in the 13.0kWh/100km range (150MPGe+). In the recent western Canada deep freeze, it's risen to 17kWh/100km (dropped to 123MPGe) with heater use. The Prime is insanely efficient. The one day I ran out of charge and had to do a 20km urban round trip in hybrid mode, I achieved 3.6L/100km (65.3mpg) going there and 3.8L/100km (61.9mpg) coming back. I don't think I've ever gotten that in my Gen 3 even in the summer! The larger battery definitely helps and the Prime wants to stay in EV mode as long as possible (similar to the Gen 4's software). I saw the battery drop to around the equivalent of 6 bars (for seasoned Prius owners) but by the time I got to my destination, it had recharged back to above the HV/EV threshold (still stayed in HV though). The extra buffer definitely helps with mpg so those wondering if the Prime gets better mpg than the regular Gen 4, under certain circumstances, it does. In Canada, we have a lot of free charging stations (some have free parking, others have paid parking) so additional electricity cost is negligible other than the one you pay for at home. This helps extend the range of the Prime as I hop from one destination to another. It's been 2.5 weeks and the fuel gauge just left "F".

    As with previous Prii, it becomes a game to see what's the best kWh/100km efficiency you can achieve. Hybrid mode mpg is a given but I'll be curious to see what the highway numbers will be. I will be doing a trip later in February and I suspect I will be one of the drivers so that will give me a chance to try out the hybrid mode on an extended highway run.

    It isn't all sunshine and daffodils. I would definitely prefer a longer AER. 40km is fine if you're in flat land but go up a hill and boom, I lose 20% just by climbing 3-4km uphill. A longer AER will allow for more flexibility in HV/EV mode. I suppose that means a smaller gas tank, lower total range and maybe a smaller engine. I don't envy the engineers and designers who have to figure out how to package, design and price the next generation Prime - do they inch up the price to accommodate the requests of enthusiasts or try and keep the price down by better packaging a smaller battery? I'm in the longer range camp but hopefully $/kWh comes down enough that Toyota can do both - increase range and keep MSRP increases to a minimum.

    The Prime has succeeded in become the best Prius that Toyota has to offer and now it comes with a ride that's more compliant and handling that is, at the very least, comparable to modern compact cars rather than a second thought.

    Complaints:
    The Prime is wonderful in so many ways and of course there is room for improvement and I hope Toyota can take some of these ideas that PriusChat members have expressed and continue to improve their vehicles.

    The biggest of course is the reduced cargo area. Packaging isn't the problem as @RonMc5 found out, there is a large gap beneath the battery (slightly taller than the width of a canned beverage) so the battery definitely can be lowered if Toyota chooses an alternative way to cool the battery without actually changing the battery's size or chemistry.

    Toyota has provided lots of info in the 4.2" MID but it is missing a few things. I would like an EV/HV ratio (similar to the A/C load %) and a separate HV mpg readout and not a blended mpg readout. The current EV Driving Ratio includes the % when the engine is off in hybrid mode. I suppose that is EV mode but I’d like to know the % I was actually in the car’s EV mode parameters too.

    In Canadian models, when you use the "Split" screen for the speedo's 4.2" MID, one of the options is kWh/100km instant readout. The problem is that it goes from 0-10 kWh/100km. Considering that the Prime is rated for 15.8kWh/100km, a more useful scale would be 0-20 or 0-30kWh/100km. As it stands, the bar is ALWAYS full unless you're coasting or very lightly touching the accelerator which makes that readout impractical. I think the US readout is better scaled. This carries over to the Fuel Consumption screen where 1km and 5km bars are shown. The bars are almost always maxed out unless I go down a hill or coast for 1km. It’s equivalent to giving the Prius a 0-30mpg gauge - it’s always going to be full bars since it’ll do better than 30mpg.

    On the MFD, the Trip Information and Past Record screens left over from the regular Prius only work in HV mode. They do not show regen in EV mode. The only way I can see it is if I go full screen on the Energy Monitor, then click the top right icon to show the Battery/Engine/Climate control usage pop-out screen. There, I can see total trip energy recovery and past minute energy recovery.... but it's a small screen that requires a full screen Energy Monitor.

    The RCTA pop-up shows both sides and you have to see which mirror is flashing its BSM icon. A supplementary system where the RCTA pop-up also shows which side (with the red flashing triangle) would be appreciated.

    The charging flap is really large and if Toyota could switch over to CCS so that we can have a smaller charging flap, that would also be appreciated. In tight spots, the flap can sometimes be knocked close by the neighbouring EV owner, reaching for their charging cable.

    I assume this will come with Entune 3.0 but in the off-chance it doesn't, Toyota Canada needs to include ways to monitor our charge. I don't want to be that guy who accidentally leaves the car plugged in but not charging because I have no way of monitoring when my car will be done charging (if I end up staying longer at my destination than my car will take to fully charge).

    Improvements:

    • I would like to see some sort of anti-glare or better yet, auto-dimming feature for the wing mirrors.
    • Naturally, TSS-P 2.0 (or will it be 3.0 by the time the next gen Prime arrives?) would be nice.I like the low-light pedestrian detection given our northern latitudes and longer winters.
    • Additional sound absorption or sound reflection material in the wheel wells to reduce tyre noise would be appreciated and will round out the list of noise complaints.
    • I would like a longer range for AER. As it stands, I can lose 20% of SOC just by climbing a hill towards a nearby freeway; that's really depressing.
    • A flat cargo floor (from bumper to rear seat) is a must and 5 seats.
    • More in-cabin storage for small items. A larger glovebox that can fit more than just the manuals
    • More USB charging ports
    • An extendable driver's seat thigh support (manual is fine)
    • LED interior lighting
    • LED Matrix Headlights
    • Better energy consumption screen. The Consumption screen in the MFD doesn't show regen in EV mode and really is never used unless I'm in HV mode. The consumption screen in the MID only shows 1km and 5km intervals (previous it had the option for time OR distance) and the scale in Canadian models make it worthless - it goes from 0 to 10kWh/100km. The car is rated at 15.8kWh/100km so.... the bars are almost always maxed out which doesn't provide me with useful information.
    • For Canadian models, we need a way to monitor our car's SOC and have smartphone-enabled remote climate.


    Summary:
    Congrats on getting to the end (or if you skipped to here, hopefully this covers everything you wanted to know). I will be comparing the Prime to the Gen 2, Gen 3 and Gen 4 Prius that I have/still do own.
    • I like the futuristic design but some elements like the indicators seem susceptible to parking lot damage (e.g. shopping carts/trolleys)
    • All around visibility has improved over the last two generations of Prius making it easy to position the car. It also means that the auto-dimming mirror.
    • Much improved cabin for space and seating position
    • I lament the loss of storage cubbies that the last two generations had. Bring them back!
    • The 11.6" HD MFD is under-utilized. Toyota can do so much more with it
    • Needs more USB charging ports
    • Needs a double-hinged centre console box lid
    • Much improved ride quality and handling
    • A little concerned about the possible long braking distance (just doing the math with the weight of the car, the size of our tyres and the size of the brake pads/rotors)
    • EV mode is peppy for around town driving
    • HV mode is amazingly efficient too
    • LED lights are good at night
    • Would like to see a longer all-electric range (hilly terrain significantly cuts down on range)
    • Would like to see (hear?) tyre noise reduced
    • Needs some reshuffling of data presented to the driver for EV/HV driving
    • Canadian models lack connectivity so I can't check SOC or start/stop charging or do remote climate via smartphone like the competition (Ford, Honda, Hyundai).
    • Next gen must have a flat cargo floor
    • Prefer to have 5 seats (mostly for the competition)
    • Need to include an energy consumption screen. The fuel consumption ones on the MID and MFD are ineffective in EV Mode

    Phew, that's all for now.


    Edit1: Added more impressions about the JBL Audio now that I had one-hour to just sit and listen to different songs.

    Edit2: Added impressions about the fuel consumption screens and improvements needed

    Edit3: Here's a link to the first road trip report - Post #64: A Prius Expert’s Review of the 2018 Prius Prime | Page 4 | PriusChat
     
    #1 Tideland Prius, Feb 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
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  2. bamike

    bamike Junior Member

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    Excellent review. I am a first time Toyota customer and I am switching from a E90 BMW 328i to a Prius Prime due to the excellent pricing I was able to get on the prime. I honestly have to say I cannot stand driving my BMW anymore and I am trying to sell it because the prime is such a quiet and amazing car to drive. Such a smooth linear acceleration on this car, Toyota has done an excellent job with the prime and has converted me from my previous Honda’s and BMW. The steering feel is very smooth and gives the driver an excellent feel for the road, while letting the power steering do it’s job and making it very easy to make lock to lock turns. It’s really a great car for the price.
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    great write up! sure, not perfect, but i see toyota selling 100,000 primes next year in the usa
     
  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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  5. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Thank you! Considering your history (Hondas and BMWs), that's amazing that the Prime will attract a customer such as yourself. I'm glad Toyota decided to improve the ride and handling on this generation. They can no longer rely on the appeal of low fuel consumption; the competition has caught up and compact/midsize cars drive much better than they did before.

    Thanks!

    lol. I don't have ALL of them right now. There's only two - 2016 and Prime.
     
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  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I did some more testing with the JBL audio system and I will report my findings in a bit and amend the review above.
     
  7. iplug

    iplug Senior Member

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    Enjoyed the write up.

    2005 Prius, 2010 Prius, 2016 Prius, and now your 2018 Prime...Once you've gotten a taste of EV, you can never go back.
     
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  8. KrPtNk

    KrPtNk Active Member

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    A very good write up which I enjoyed reading. Thanks for all your thought and effort.

    Your long familiarity with Prius gives your impressions of the Prime all the more weight.

    I was pleased to hear your comments about the Primes quietness and smoothness. As time goes by I value those qualities more and more.
     
  9. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I agree. The PHEV is the gateway drug to full EV.

    Funny enough, the Gen 2 gave me the bug after I installed the Coastal Tech EV Mod that lets you accelerate in EV mode up to 50km/h. The Gen 3 tampered that with the more limited version (16km/h until the engine is in S4 then only up to 25km/h). Now I'm back to EV bliss.

    Thank you. I appreciate the comments. I hope to continue to serve this community. :)
     
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  10. KP7

    KP7 Member

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    Great review! Sounds like you're getting the best of both right now: EV most of the time but long range whenever you need it. Even with only having my prime for about 4 months, I already can't wait to see what is available for BEVs when it's time for the next car.

    By the way, have you tried out the in-door cup holders yet...
     
  11. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I have. Each door has a water bottle cause you never know when you want a drink and the only options are sugary ones lol. I always carry water in the car for emergencies or just when you're out and want something to drink.
     
  12. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Thank you for your review Tideland Prius . As a previous owner of the Generation 3 , I concur th at the new Prius Prime is a better car in many aspects All you have to do is close the door in a generation 3 and close the door on the new Prime. One can immediately hear and feel the difference.
     
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  13. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Thanks for the writeup!

    After reading writeups like this I definitely get 'new car envy' and wonder how long I can stick with our 2012 and 2012 v. (y)

    ....must...resist....temptation...o_O
     
  14. KP7

    KP7 Member

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    I was being snarky...not sure if it is the same on all trims but in the plus the in-door cup holders are not cylindrical. Can't fit any rigid bottles. It was quite the surprise on the first road trip with the family: coffee mugs in the center console holders, awesome; metal water bottle in the door holder, what the...huh.
     
  15. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Ahh. That was lost in the text.

    No and they have different sized bases and expanded at different rates but as long as the circumference of the bottle is smaller than the (rough) circumference of the base of the bottle holder, it should work, no? I should try my coffee tumbler in there (instead of the cupholder) and see if it works; it is slim so in theory, it should.
     
  16. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    I’m going in for the software recall tomorrow morning and need to stand strong and resist the urge too;).

    Probably test drive again if nothing else(y).
     
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  17. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Crap that's right..I just got the recall notice too. I guess that means I have to look around in the showroom...uh oh! :whistle:
     
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  18. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    No temptations out here as there was only 1 Prime on the lot and it was white and a Premium:(.

    The lot was full of Tacos and Tundras though:eek:.

    I had to wait for the “master tech” to grace the dealership with his presence before they could begin the software work:rolleyes:.

    2 hours later it was done but the hood prop rod wasn’t seated correctly, the foot well paper to protect against dirty boots was there and while the service writer said the tech had to take it on a 2 mile trip, it had the same odometer reading that I dropped it off with :cool:.

    A good reminder to stay away from dealers whenever possible(y).
     
    #18 Raytheeagle, Feb 8, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  19. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    ^ Just wait til the next gen. We're almost halfway through the current one, what's a few more years? ;)
     
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  20. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Oh I’m on the @bisco challenge path :).

    That puts me at August 2024 before the upgrade;).

    Should have our 2010 at 350k miles at that point and I should be ready for the next gen Prime (y).
     
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