Consumer Reports Prius Prime Review (Aug 3 2017)

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by stevepea, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. stevepea

    stevepea Senior Member

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    Consumer Reports has a new (August 3rd 2017) review of the Prius Prime. I just read it online via the library. I won't put the whole review here, but will put up a couple sections. I'm not a great fan of CR's product tests -- not just autos, but for appliances and electronics as well. I do consider them a good general source of info (often with common sense advice) but I personally often have a difference of opinion of their reviews. Nonetheless...

    The 2017 Prius Prime is the ultimate Prius for drivers who want a fully electric vehicle for in-town trips but also the flexibility to take longer journeys without range anxiety [...] Thanks to an 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery, the car averaged 22.5 miles of range on electric power according to our testing [...] Once past those electric miles, the Prime reverts to regular hybrid operation. We got 50 mpg overall -- two less than the regular Prius. This difference can be attributed to the Prime's 300-pound weight increase over the Prius.

    Thoughts: in their Chevy Bolt review (in which they say they actually got a higher 250 range than the official 238 interestingly), they say for their tests (and I assume it's the same for the Prime) they test their cars mostly just going 65mph with the A/C off. As we all know, the Prime easily gets more if you do a mix of fast and city driving, and way better than 50mpg. Not to mention, even though it's heavier than the regular Prius, the Prime is more efficient, and gets better (not worse) MPG than then normal Prius, no? (other than the ECO model).

    The screen looks stunning but can be infuriating to use. Controls for such common tasks as changing radio stations are hidden, while navigation and phone controls are easy to see.

    Thoughts: Well, I opted on purpose for the 7" Plus trim, so... :)

    Overall Score: 73 out of 100
    Roadtest: 74 out of 100, Reliability (Predicted): 4 out of 5, Owner Satisfaction: 4 out of 5, Accel: 2 out of 5, Transmission: 5 out of 5, Handling: 4 out of 5, Braking: 3 out of 5, Comfort: generally 4 out of 5, Display: (11.6): generally 3 out of 5


    Thoughts: I don't know how this compares to a normal Prius... I'd assume it would be similar, but didn't bother to look. Then again, the Prius isn't a Corvette, nor does it want to be.

    Highs:
    • Can drive on electric power for more than 20 miles
    • Quiet and no emissions in full-electric mode
    • Charges in 5 hours on 120V, so no need for a 240V connector
    • Qualifies for a $4,500 federal tax incentive
    • Gets access to HOV lanes (high-occupancy vehicle) in some states with just a driver
    Lows:
    • Less fuel-efficient than regular Prius in hybrid mode
    • Seats only four
    • Has no rear wiper
    • Convoluted, distracting infotainment screen in Premium and Advanced models
    • Cold weather and high power demands kick the Prime out of electric-only operation
    It's a long review that covers everything from gauges to braking to infotainment. Generally most things were above average but not stellar (safety was stellar). Makes me wonder also, how they tested the car -- ECO mode, NORMAL or POWER, for unless I missed it, they don't talk about those 3 choices you have.

    If anyone's curious, here's some Chevy Bolt scores:
    Overall Score: 70 out of 100. Roadtest: 76 out of 100. Reliability: 3 out of 5. Owner Satisfaction: 5 out of 5. And yes, they mention the (incredibly) uncomfortable driver's seat. Yet they do crazy things like giving the Bolt "1 out of 5" for Fuel Economy, even though they got a 250 (not 238) range and the MPGE numbers were: Overall: 119, City: 128, Hwy: 110. Not the highest, but still pretty darn good. But CR gives them a "1 out of 5" for Fuel Economy? See, this is what I mean about CR sometimes.

    And here's the general Hyundai Ioniq scores (hybrid, not plug-in):
    Overall Score: 66 out of 100. Roadtest: 67 out of 100. Reliability: 3 out of 5. Owner Satisfaction: 4 out of 5.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that CR's full review of the Prime is now online (and will probably be in an upcoming paper issue).
     
    #1 stevepea, Aug 7, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  2. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    The radio stations are actually front and center (on the 11" display) while the phone stuff is hidden in the phone menu.

    I drove an all highway trip Saturday in Ev. 22 miles and had over 10 left when I arrived. Both ways.

    I drove a 1500 mile trip with a fully loaded car across Kansas at 78mph in heavy wind and averaged 55mpg.

    CR is clueless as always. Their surveys are good, their reviews are terrible, and always have been.
     
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  3. Captmiddy

    Captmiddy Active Member

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    The thing that still makes CR useful is that generally their comparison to other vehicles are consistent. So if you take 5 CR reviews and lay them side by side, they don't tend to vary vastly which means I can use this to see which vehicles may be better for my usage. If I read a review alone without other CR reviews to compare against, it may turn me off certain vehicles. This is mostly within a vehicle type, comparisons across types of vehicles can be a little hard to fathom.

    That said, I don't put a ton of stock in their views on efficient vehicles, they tend to think these things should drive like hot rods and ride like luxury vehicles.
     
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  4. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Except for when comparing their fuel economy results. CR tests are done outside, using locally available fuel, in Connecticut. The climate and fuel blend variables make such comparisons questionable.
     
  5. araw0727

    araw0727 New Member

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    The CR criticism seems right, although I don't know if I'd ever make a comparison on some random numerical score. I drove both, and the Prime seemed more solid.

    CR is crazy lol. All the reviews I read on the internet and saw on YT were just ... short sighted. Except for SavageGeese and maybe AlexoA.

    How can CR they not comment on dealer support? Everything else is subjective, why not opine on this? Also, resale value?

    I'm not defending the Prime but...GM knows nothing about their vehicle in most locations where I am. They also rarely take you seriously, and it's the same for their regional customer service (who handles escalations). I've owned numerous Chevys and they've spewed straight BS to me since I've owned their vehicles (Corvette, Silverado, Sonic, Cruz..). I was a technician and I'm an engineer now... I usually give them root cause analysis when I bring it in, so just fix the darn thing.

    Toyota on the other hand, is not like this. Yeah, they'd given me the run around a couple times. Citing one time, I blew the rear on my Tundra towing at the rated max. They blew some smoke, and then I told them I'd escalate to corporate if they didn't put an A-tech on this right away. Someone could have gotten hurt... Yeah, he found it in 5 seconds and agreed the rear wheel bearings were burned up and on the way out. They gave me a loaner and took care of it, NO PROBLEM.

    Toyota has been invested in the hybrid market for awhile now. They've matured a product. Yeah, it's not cool and new...but they stand by it, even when there was no reason to.

    Maybe I'm nuts. But I think overall customer service end-to-end is more important than some made up numbers that get re-normalized everytime something cool and shiny comes along.


    -Avi
     
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  6. alexcue

    alexcue Active Member

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    I really don't know how they test there mileage, but wow, the lowest I've ever gotten was an indicated 53.9 after driving 375 in one day from Fresno to Pasadena, CA. If anyone knows that road, you have to go through the return leg of the Grapevine, and I wasn't just cruising but moving pretty good up the hill. This was with a regenerated 20 EV miles to start. I had no access to a plug for this trip for a couple of days. The leg up I got 56.7mpg a couple of days before, but with a full charge. I don't think their test track is as varied as my drive was and this was going 75+ miles per hour for most of the trip.
     
  7. jaqueh

    jaqueh Active Member

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    When you are testing mpg you should never include the readout with the battery charged. You should either make sure is in hv mode the whole time or wait to drain ev mode before seeing the mpg in hv mode
     
  8. huskers

    huskers Senior Member

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    Well, at least they admitted we exist.
     
  9. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    If Toyota US would agree with you, they could capture more of the market. They are successful, for the most part, IN SPITE of their dealers, not because of them.
    There are a few good dealers but most of them are to be avoided if at all possible. That is why people like me drive 150 miles away to avoid the local dealer when making a purchase.
     
  10. Jpparker19

    Jpparker19 Junior Member

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    I will have to agree 100% on dealers not knowing their product (Bolt), not caring if you buy. A Ford Dealer in the Hampton Roads area literally had the only plug in hybrid of any brand in a 300-mile radius. After pulling out the Bolt, from what seemed to be the section of less desirable, we went for a test drive. Could not answer questions on the drive. Back at the dealership, rather than looking up my questions in their system, told me to go home and look it up on the Internet. Six days later I drove up to Maryland, and have been content since.
     
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  11. araw0727

    araw0727 New Member

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    LOL Dude.My conversation with Chevy salesman.

    Me - "Does this thing help warm up the battery when it's cold?"

    Rep - "Yeah, it has a battery"

    Me - "Ok, what is the electric range?"

    Rep - "It takes a few hours to charge"

    *Buys Prime*
     
  12. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Here's OP's cited CR report in PDF.
     

    Attached Files:

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  13. MNdriver

    MNdriver Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting that, Marine.
     
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  14. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Best and worst used cars from same Sept 2017 CR magazine. Surprised they rate the Tesla Model S over our Prius's when the Tesla predicted reliability is lowest "poor" vs our highest "excellent". Plus you can get about 3-4 used Prius's ($10K-15K each) for one used Tesla Model S ($40K-60K)
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    Yes, I know a Prius is not a Tesla Model S. Comparing apples to oranges.
     
  16. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    Yeah...a Prius can charge 20 times as fast at 100 times as many locations and have twice the range when it's done, all while costing 1/5th as much.
     
  17. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Yes and no. CR reports they have formula to adjust for local temperature effects and I'm OK with that. Fuel effects with the exception of ethanol, are in the noise.

    The real problem is Consumer Reports local, MPG test protocol that has more in common with:


    Bob Wilson
     
  18. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    I am convinced there is a problem in Consumer Reports auto section. It is hidden behind a veil of 'proprietary' nonsense and suggests a fundamental ignorance of basic engineering ... sophomore level. But I learned in college that 'journalism' often attract those unskilled in math and physics and Consumer Reports validates lessons learned at Oklahoma State.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  19. stevepea

    stevepea Senior Member

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    Actually the PDF that Marine posted is only the summary, not the complete write-up on the Prime (that's pretty long and covers a bunch of stuff). I didn't want to post the entire thing because it's behind a paywall, but for those who subscribe (or who can access it online for free through a library) you can read the entire thing.

    The fact that they give the Chevy Bolt "1 out of 5" (worst score) for "Fuel Economy" when it doesn't use any fuel -- and the Bolt's MPGE numbers (CR's own!) were darn respectable, show the problems with CR. Obviously CR's testers aren't hypermilers... but as people have posted here, their numbers are way out of whack with reality even when driven "normally" and hard. Heck, even in Calif with our 10% Ethanol gas now (not sure if that's the case in Conn. or not) which gives worse MPG, we get way better MPG than CR does -- even when treating the car rough.

    I think one can look at CR for things such reliability projections... but as I stated in the original post, I disagree with CR more often than not (and not just with autos). Still, I wanted to let people know the review was out (again, especially the "road test" section is pretty lengthy).

    PS: as for people's comments about Chevy dealers: I had the same problem, even here in SoCal. At the auto show, the National Chevy reps were very knowledgeable and eager to answer any and all questions... but the local dealer? Nope. Their ignorance didn't affect my decision in the end, but yes, it's certainly a problem. The 3 Toyota dealers I went to when shopping around (plus a 4th locally that I go to for service) all knew everything about the car.
     
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  20. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    The rating could be factoring in survey results. Tesla, Porsche, and Chrysler were the only brands in a recent survey to receive the highest level of customer satisfaction.

    How do they account for prevailing winds? This is the first I've heard about the the temperature adjustment; it wasn't mentioned in the write up on their testing method I last saw. I think we both agree CR can improve the confidence in their test results if they were more up front about the method.

    I'd bet on there being ethanol in the fuel they get.
     
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