My Prius Prime Premium review

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by Digloo2, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Digloo2

    Digloo2 Active Member

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    I got a 2017 Prius Prime Premium a few weeks ago now and I'm really liking it. Actually, I'm tired of all the whiners so I thought I'd post a more positive review.

    BACKGROUND

    I had a 2012 Prius V (the trim with Nav) that I bought with 32k miles on it three years ago. I used it for Uber, Lyft, etc, as well as Amazon Prime Now! deliveries, and put on about 85k miles in 3 years. That was a terrific car. All I ever did was change the oil, air filter, cabin air filter, and wipers regularly. I had to replace the tires at about 60k miles. I had just turned over 117k miles when I traded it in. Doing the ride-share and deliveries, it got about 36 MPG, but since I got a new job that's 7 miles away last summer, I've been getting 45 MPG, although it's rated at 42.

    The Prius V is a bit heavier than a regular Prius because it's bigger. I guess it's a modern-day "station wagon" design. It's perfect for ride-sharing and deliveries, tho.

    Anyway, I ran it in "Performance" mode and it had really nice acceleration. I could easily squeal the tires turning out of a parking lot onto a street too fast.

    My credit has been messed up for a while, and it became a bit of a game to let a sales guy put me through their ringer knowing they wouldn't be able to close the deal. Hey, what else are you going to do waiting for an oil change, eh?

    This time they had the deal finished before I got to test drive the car! Mainly because the battery on the Prime was dead. Dead. As. A. Doornail. I guess it had been sitting there a while. (What can you say about a car with plugin charging and the dealer lets the damn battery die?)

    DRIVER'S COCKPIT

    Anyway, when I finally got to drive this car, I really liked it. The floorpan and driver's seat feels a couple inches lower than in my Prius V, but the lower door frame is an inch or so higher, so I'm still not used to lifting my foot up high enough to get into the car. I sort of let myself flop into the seat to avoid hitting the steering wheel.

    The cockpit definitely has a more "sporty" feel than the Prius V, and the seat is a lot more comfortable, although both vehicles need more lower-back support. (The lumbar support is too high for me.)

    I set the driving mode to "Performance" and I find it accelerates way faster than the Prius V from a stop light. One thing I like about the Prime in this area is that it "remembers" the driving mode you were in last when you start the car up; the V always resets it.

    Acceleration-wise, after leaving a red light, I'm finding I'm going 50 before I realize it. That's partly because the car is smoother than my Prius V, and probably because it's just faster at accelerating from a dead stop.

    However, the Prime does not have as much giddy-up when you're going down the road at 40+ MPH and you want to accelerate quickly as the V had.

    Overall, I much prefer the lower center-of-gravity, handling, and out-the-gate performance of the Prime over the V.

    The shocks are also fairly stiff, which I like. (One thing I hate is a "big car feel" where it's soft and mushy and you cannot feel the road at all, like in a Lincoln Towne Car.) Some people complain that this suspension system is too stiff; I find it "just right". It corners nicely, but I don't go fast around corners.

    BODY STYLE

    I like the new body style, mainly because it does not look like a Prius! (Heck, most people don't even know what a Prius V looks like, because it doesn't look like a regular Prius either.) Frankly, Toyota changes features on these cars so slowly that it's hard to tell one model year from another unless you're a Prius nerd. Lots of fanboys complain about the new body style. Hey, get over it already! Be happy they finally CHANGED IT!!! The new style of the regular Prius models still look like a traditional Prius. The Primes ... not a hint! I LOVE It!

    INTERIOR FEATURES

    I mentioned a bit about the cockpit earlier. The seats have this faux leather that seems ok, but I'm not eager to see how it feels in the summer when it's 110+ outside and 140+ inside the car. The dealer said it's more comfortable than real leather ... sorry, but I don't believe much of anything like this that comes out of anybody's mouth at a car dealer when there's a potential sale on the hook. Does anybody have any experience with the fabric in these cars when it's blistering hot outside that they'd care to share? What am I looking forward to.

    One annoyance I found when I was moving the stuff from my V to the Prime was that they redesigned the spot in the door where you put your water bottle. It only holds smallish 16-oz plastic bottles. Are you kidding me? When it's 125 outside, I can't put an insulated 25oz water bottle in the door! SERIOUSLY! Just a short, skinny plastic bottle of water. Wth???

    One thing I really loved about my Prius V was how the console was designed. I don't like the Prime's design nearly as much. Never mind the silly built-in Qi charger; my only experience with Qi chargers was in a phone I had a few years ago; at one point both the charger sensor and the charging plate fried, and nearly took the phone with them. My current phone doesn't have Qi capability, so it's a non-issue. But there's nowhere to put trash -- no trashtray, no nooks, no anything. Just that shallow space with the Qi pad that's got soft edges on the sides where stuff slides over if you take a turn too tightly.

    One thing I can't really speak to is the A/C and heating other than I dislike how it's controlled from the screen. It's nearly as confusing to operate as the nav and audio, and requires far more attention than it should, mainly because you have to be looking at the damn screen to press anything! You cannot reach out and rely on tactile feedback, since the slightest touch of anything -- whether on the screen or the bezel -- triggers it.

    ELECTRONICS / ENTERTAINMENT

    Sadly, the absolute worst part of this vehicle is the piece of crap electronics in the middle of the console -- the ancient "navigation" system and the idiotic sound system. I posted a rant about these in another post, so I won't repeat myself too much here, other than to emphasize again that the UI design of this thing is sorely lacking. I'm guessing the guy who designed this stuff retired a decade or so ago and they just hire interns to make tweaks to the branding. The logical structure of this stuff has not changed in eons, and it SUCKS.

    The promise of a fancy schmancy 11" landscape-format screen was awesome. Until I discovered it's nearly useless the way it's designed. Unlike my Prius V where I had to jam my fingers into the screen to make a "click" occur, this screen reacts if you barely touch it. I've got the setting adjusted for what I guess is supposed to be the least sensitive, but it doesn't seem to matter. The bottom of the screen is where the gearshift knob was on the V, so I'm constantly bumping my hand into the screen when I'm reaching for the shift lever. And it triggers the radio or climate or whatever is on the display at the time. Blech.

    The Nav follows the same design as an old Garmin GPS I once had that was made over 10 years ago. I can pick up my phone, hit the Google Maps button, say, "Flo's on Bell Road" and it finds it. Then I touch the button once and it shows the route. Another touch and it starts navigating. Fairly safe to do while driving. (At least, it's easy to do waiting at a light.)

    The Nav in this vehicle, like the same crappy Nav in most vehicles (they're almost all from the same vendor) cannot do that. In fact, they KNOW that their UI design is SO POOR that they DISABLE IT WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING!

    Yeah ... now there's a brilliant design ... an in-vehicle navigation system that cannot be changed while you're driving. Meaning most people will end up using their phone's nav system instead.

    And because the car manufacturer is so concerned about driver safety (NOT!), they couldn't be bothered to provide a way to connect your phone (with far newer, safer, and easier-to-use Nav features) to the computer hidden behind the panel. I'd say this computer is a door-stop, but it's just dead weight hiding in your dashboard that Toyota probably charges several thousand dollars to include.

    The audio system is pretty much the same as what was in the 2012 Prius V, but less functional. It literally has things missing that were on the V's audio. Nothing new, just stuff missing. Well, it supposedly has a bunch of new features buried under the hood there, with nice labels and lights on the virtual console. But like the design of the Nav, you can't do anything with them on the screen -- that would be far too obvious. No, you have to access them through a separate bunch of settings pages. Again, this was not designed to be used by anybody who's driving. It's even a way poorer design than a classic AM/FM/CD player that was found on most cars prior to 2000, because those things had everything on the front panel -- there were no menus, no settings pages, nothing to really distract you. You'd push a light or button or turn a knob to make a change.

    The biggest problem with the audio is how dumbed-down the USB logic is. It follows the same design as the Nav, and isn't any better than what was in the 2012 Prius V. And in fact, it's worse because it has things missing. Including a jack to plug your iPod or phone into. They force you to use Bluetooth, which means you probably have to use their sucky UI to talk to your device. (I haven't tried it, so I don't know. But I can't imagine it's any more intuitive and easy to use than what's already there.)

    Not to mention, I find it absurd how they picked a few functions to "build-in" as buttons on the left and right side of the screen's bezel, with no "virtual buttons" anywhere. I'd love to see a few knobs and buttons that can be re-assigned depending on what functions are showing on the screen. This is just a horribly poor design.

    And the worst part about that big, fancy screen? It's mounted rock-solid in the middle of the dashboard, facing straight where someone would be sitting and looking from if they were sitting on the middle console.

    Hello! ... I'm the driver! I'm over here to the LEFT OF CENTER! Hello!!!!

    So more often than not I just see a screen full of glare. Yep, what a beautiful screen ... if only I could read it clearly during the day.
     
  2. Roy2001

    Roy2001 Active Member

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    I completely agree with you. Acceleration after 40mph is too slow to make merging and passing a nightmare.

    The 11 inch LCD is like a joke. It replaces a lot of physical buttons and only make AC/Radio operations much more difficult and need driver to pay more attention to LCD screen!

    Huge LCD screen does not show much useful info as all we care is still in the narrow screen above it. Navigation through the MP3 is also terrible if you have a lot of albums.

    The Navigation is still like decade ago and lags far behind smart phones years ago, and Entune is completely useless!
     
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  3. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    The USB/AUX Jack is located between the cupholders and the centre console box.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    no offense, but i didn't find a lot more positivity in this review.:p
     
  5. Digloo2

    Digloo2 Active Member

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    yeah, you're right. And it won't let me edit it now. Oh, well. Sorry.
     
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  6. Digloo2

    Digloo2 Active Member

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    Dang, you're right! I had to put my glasses on and use a flashlight to see it. My eyes are getting old. smh.
     
  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Save up and pay cash? It means having a little patience and discipline, and I'd assume paying significantly less.
     
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  8. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

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    Actually I found his view completely open and honest, he said what he liked and didn’t. when I mentioned to my son that the Nav on my prime was useless, he said just use your Cell phone. He already knew about the problem. He has my 2012 now. As for understanding everything on the electronics or internet, you are somewhat behind, and I am even further behind than you. And I used to work in electronics. However I agreed with all the subjects mentioned in the first half of his critique, as did others ( of his generation )
    It’s amazing, he sounded just like my son So intergenerational misunderstanding is increasing and probably we will never catch up. Incidently my son gets paid to stay at home and play with the latest internet toys plus travels to different parts of the world to integrate and disseminate his findings. Tuf job.
     
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  9. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

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    An outstanding write up, if only Toyota would read it.
     
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  10. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    That's ok. It's not exactly in the easiest place to find (you should see where Honda put the Clarity's 2.1A USB charging ports! If owner's don't read the manual, they may not find it for years, if ever)
     
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  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    hang on, you drove the pip for 6 years and never realized the gps was useless?(n)
     
  12. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

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    4 years and I found it very difficult to use. I would always preplot my route on my mini tablet. The prime is even worse, the picture just goes away and it quits talking to you, can’t change volume
    and difficult to shut off, while driving. To me this all points to Safety issues that Toyota should be addressing.
    So I would not be surprised if they got sued over an incident. Please don’t put words in my mouth that came from the OP. All in all it was a great critique!

    I think most know this, but this generation has different pressures on them and making pmts. on everything seems almost to be the norm. I’m sure you have noticed that many Ads for cars don’t even show the total
    price. Since 1965 I have always paid cash for everything and it has done me well. This is seemingly a hard concept for younger generations to get....but maybe the millennial s have it.

    I said the nav on the Prime was useless.
     
    #12 Andyprius1, Mar 18, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2018
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  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    sorry, what words did i put in your mouth?
     
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  14. Roy2001

    Roy2001 Active Member

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    Think in the opposite way, all rests are positive :)

    You can tell OP loves his Prius Prime. Same as I . I only wish it is a little more faster on freeway and the EV range is doubled. with 25 miles range. Sometimes I need to turn on ICE, and just for a few miles.
     
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  15. ct89

    ct89 Active Member

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    I think people are working too hard to avoid using the ICE.
    It's there...You can't leave it at home so if you're carrying it around, might as well let it exercise a little.
    I figure I'm using 1-2 gallons of gas per week on average...At this rate, the engine will last well over 30 years and it gets fresh gas every month or two. I don't see the ICE coming on from time to time as a problem.
    Yes, I could save a dollar each week if I could use electricity instead but that's not enough to get too excited over.
     
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  16. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

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    No imposante Senor Bisco,mucho gusto.
     
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  17. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Curiosity doesn’t care. My first winter had several defrost events. I didn’t remember any cruise control events.

    When it was reported and investigated, I now can easily avoid it. It means I drive the car the way I want . . . without surprises.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  18. Digloo2

    Digloo2 Active Member

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    Great advice. When this is paid off in 6-1/2 years then I can set aside the same payments for another 5 years and finally buy a new one with cash!
     
  19. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Which physical buttons? Remember, you've still got control of those functions via the steering-wheel, that doesn't require you to look down.
     
  20. Digloo2

    Digloo2 Active Member

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    SOME of those functions are available on the steering wheel -- mainly the audio controls. Nothing else. In particular, no climate controls are on the steering wheel.

    If ever there was a case for virtual control buttons and knobs -- real buttons and knobs -- this would be it.

    The "buttons" around the screen are simply touch-sensitive spots that you cannot "touch" without triggering them. You literally have to be looking at the what you want to press before you press it.

    This is a HORRIBLE design for drivers who should not be forced to take their eyes off the road.

    I've had the car for a month now and I _still_ reach out to adjust the "gear shift" knob and hit the screen instead, and whatever happens to be there gets activated and sometimes scares the heck out of me.

    I do NOT LIKE this touch-sensitive design. My eyesight isn't that good any more (close-up), I can't read what's on the screen with the glare much of the day, and I can't "feel" anything since there's nothing to feel.

    You can develop "muscle memory" when there's something you can touch since you get tactile feedback. This design prevents that from ever happening since you cannot get tactile feedback, and you have to look at the damn touch panel before you touch it to be sure it's showing what you want. Otherwise, you're very likely to end up with something totally unexpected.

    I waved my hand and accidentally touched something on the screen the other day and wasn't watching, and the screen changed to something i had no idea what it was or how I got there. And I didn't know how to get back to the main screen.

    When you're driving down the road and the dashboard can change suddenly like that and you don't know what happened or how to un-do it, that's DANGEROUS!

    In many ways, it's worse than texting. It's a horrible design. LOOKS COOL, though.
     
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