Prius Prime Short Test Drive Review

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by 'LectroFuel, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. 'LectroFuel

    'LectroFuel Senior Member

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    I test drove the Prius Prime at the OC Auto Show on Sunday and have a few opinions about it.

    I got to the auto show at 9 am, which is when Toyota was supposed to open their test drives as it said online. They didn't tell anyone it opened at 10 am, so I waited an hour in line.:mad: Luckily, I was third in line, so the car was fully charged.:D

    As for the car...

    Love the exterior. I like the look of the curved rear glass and the taillights. The interior is almost exactly the same as the 4th gen Prius, but with the bigger screen and a few driving mode buttons.
    The rear seat seats 2. The two seats are very comfortable for lighter people. The size of the seat is huge, but Toyota cheaped out on the padding. When I "squished" the seat with my hands, I could only feel about an inch of padding before I felt a hard, metal board. I'm assuming heavier people might not like the padding of the rear seat. I didn't feel the hard board while sitting though. Overall though, this is a better Uber car for transporting people in the back. The middle console has two cup holders and a small console to store stuff. The front seats are as comfy as the 4th gen: not that comfy, especially after sitting in the other new cars at the auto show.
    The big screen is not the size of a Tesla, which I knew it wasn't, but the screen did look big in the video reviews. I like the Tesla screen more, but Toyota is going in the right direction (although I know reviewers will bang the car for not having a volume knob. I don't mind it much. It worked fine.). I like it more than the small screen in the 4th gen. The resolution seems to be fairly high and the navigation takes up almost the whole screen when on that setting. The backup camera though shows up as small as in the 4th gen at the top of the big screen. They should have utilized the screen space.
    The little screen next to the speedometer is unchanged, except you can now cycle through the "apps" without looking at the screen. Basic functions are still locked while the car is in motion.
    One of the most interesting features of the Prius Prime are the different driving modes. There are so many combinations of driving modes to choose from. I, like always, leave the car in power mode. There are the normal ECO, PWR, and Normal modes. I left the car in PWR mode for all of these secondary modes.
    In addition to these modes, there is a CHG mode (hold the HV/EV button) that constantly runs the engine to recharge the battery. This seems like it would reduce gas mileage a lot, but you're still charging the battery, so it's a necessary feature. I found while in CHG mode, the engine was using so much power to charge the battery, that the car felt WAAAAYYY underpowered. It felt like an ECO mode for the ECO mode. It felt like when I'm on two purple bars in my gen 2 Prius. I didn't like driving in this mode, but you gotta charge the battery somehow I guess. There is also an EV Auto button that allows the car to choose between regular Hybrid mode or EV mode, whichever happens to be more efficient at the time of driving.
    The EV mode is amazing. I only got to 65 mph because it was in the busy city streets of Anaheim, so I couldn't test the speeds of the freeway. I floored it in EV/PWR mode and the car had an instant surge of torque. The EV mode is faster than leaving the car in PWR mode only with regular gas engine (no CHG mode or HV mode). After being in EV mode for about 90% of the time, the charge when I got out of the car was 89% charged. Pretty impressive considering I was driving aggressively.
    The ride seems to be a little more planted, although the streets I drove on were pretty smooth. It feels a little heavier because of the bigger battery.
    Now the bad news... The trunk is VERY VERY VERY VERY small. The battery really does take up too much space in the car and I think that is the number 1 problem with the car. The battery should be spread out on the bottom of the car evenly. The small trunk is almost a deal breaker.
    Overall, I was pretty impressed with the car. If the trunk was bigger and if it had a 5th seat though...:(
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Good to know about CHG mode. Looks like Toyota intends that function to be used on a non-mountainous highway section.
     
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  3. DavidA

    DavidA Prius owner since July 2009

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    Thank you for the review. Very helpful.
     
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  4. 'LectroFuel

    'LectroFuel Senior Member

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    Oh, I forgot that the car has a heated steering wheel, not available on the regular U.S. 4th gen.
     
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  5. ltlurker

    ltlurker Junior Member

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    they should just slap a suv frame on the drivetrain for more space.
     
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  6. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Uber requires seating for 5.

    What's a necessary feature?
     
  7. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    The intended user is for while highway cruising, when you have excess power available. It takes very little to maintain constant speed. So, that works out well for overall efficiency.

    It is nice knowing it works elsewhere too. Though, I don't see a benefit on suburb roads.
     
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  8. giora

    giora Senior Member

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    Could be a necessary feature in Europe to allow entering to restricted zones in some towns (which are only increasing in number and area).
     
  9. civicdriver06

    civicdriver06 Active Member

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    Can't wait to read reviews of the final production model .
    Sad to hear that the trunk is so very small,it does look quite reasonable in this screenshot .

    Screenshot_2016-10-07-20-27-04.png
     
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  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    great review, thank you! (y) charge mode isn't a necessary feature, but is handy in some circumstances. you can charge the battery by plugging it in.

    agree on the hatch space being the biggest problem, any idea if these are still pre production models?
     
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  11. giora

    giora Senior Member

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    I think the screenshot shows the trunk with the rear seats folded down. Look at the long sliding cover assembly lying.
     
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    that does give the illusion of more space behind where the seat backs would be.
     
  13. civicdriver06

    civicdriver06 Active Member

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    Yes they are folded down but remember that the rear seats are lower than the cargo deck and yet the trunk opening looks to be not great but ok .
     
  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    good description.:)
     
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  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    I would have thrown this back at the engineers, say sharpen your pencils, fix this:

    upload_2016-10-15_11-20-56.png

    And get a spare in there damn it. :ROFLMAO:
     
    #15 Mendel Leisk, Oct 15, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
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  16. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Then you would've ended up with a PiP. A car with lower AER. That's the decision they made for the PIP - same cargo floor so smaller battery. The original intent was a 5.x kWh battery size. Based on what Danny said, it sounds like they did want to keep the flat floor but AER wasn't enough.
     
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  17. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    An 8.8kWh battery should easily fit under the rear seat. Even with large packaging, it should have only protruded slightly into (and under) the rear cargo area. A battery as physically large as the one in the Prime should be about 20kWh.

    The V battery fit in the center console.
     
  18. giora

    giora Senior Member

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    Fait accompli...
     
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  19. Coast Cruiser

    Coast Cruiser Senior Member

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    Do I understand correctly, that the battery can be charged two ways? Putting the vehicle in "CHG" mode while driving; Or plugging it in?

    And is the driving CHG mode quicker than plugging it in for several hours?
     
  20. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    Or descending a large hill, yes.
    Don't know.
     
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