Why I Hate my Prius Prime

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by stevepea, Apr 29, 2017.

  1. stevepea

    stevepea Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2017
    510
    554
    0
    Location:
    California
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    This post is a little long, but if you have the time to read it, I'd be interested in other people's thoughts on this...

    Okay folks, first of all, I'm being a bit playful with the title. There are plenty of good things with the Prime (I won't go into those, as others have gushed about them) as well as things not so great about the Prime (I'll mention a few of them further below).

    But what really bothers me about the Prime more than anything... is that it's a teaser. A mere taste. A morsel. A sample of what COULD be. Especially for those of us who work 60 miles away from home each way.

    I'm sure there are many of you here that would love an all-EV car. I sure would. For the last year or so, I had my heart set on the (at the time) upcoming Chevy Bolt. An all-EV car that had the range for people like me, who have to drive about 120 FREEWAY miles roundtrip to work, without a place to charge up at work (and as you all know, Freeway miles use up EV much faster than city miles with braking).

    I've only used my new Prime for a couple days now, but yesterday, managed to (barely) go about 25 miles roundtrip, from my home to a wedding, all in EV mode. And I loved it. But the problem was, all it did was whet my appetite for a full EV car. Then today when I got in the car to do the long drive to work (about 55-60 miles each way, depending where I work, it's not always the same place), the EV was gone in what seemed like a flash.

    This isn't the Prime's fault, of course. The car is what it is. But for someone who DOESN'T live a short distance to work (in which case, you could almost go all EV other than weekend family outings), the Prime is like offering you one bite of a gourmet meal. But only one bite, once a day. That's it.

    For those curious, I didn't the the Bolt because: (a) too expensive still, (b) seats TERRIBLY uncomfortable (everybody hates the seats, just google it), (c) electricity is way too expensive in California.

    I didn't get the Volt (which I considered higher up than the Prime because of over double the EV range on the Volt) because: (a) terribly uncomfortably high "deadpedal" (where your left foot rests) -- reviews have cited this as well, and (b) once the EV runs out (and for someone like me, who -- when he does drive -- it's always a long commute, not a short one), the 42 MPG is pretty bad compared to the Prime's 54 MPG.

    But getting just a taste of EV makes me envy both those who have full EV cars, and those who have the Prime, who live close enough to work to be able to live all (or most) EV. Unfortunately, there are many people such as myself who have long commutes, to where the Prime pretty much just turns into a normal hybrid ("is it really worth charging 5 1/2 hours just to get a few EV freeway miles out of the 120?") is a valid question for people with commutes like this.

    Also something to consider: California electricity rates are VERY HIGH. SoCal Edison has applied for yet another huge rate increase to make them even higher (if granted, these rates will be even worse in a year or two). But even right now, the lowest tier is about 17c. And the middle tier is 24c. And perversely, because I try my hardest to save energy (and usually get up to about 3/4ths of the first tier in monthly usage), they now BILL me a FEE for not using ENOUGH electricity -- $10/month, starting this past January (that's the thanks I get for switching to LED lights, shutting off things when not in use, etc). Even at 17c, the electricity is slightly under gas. But at 24c it would be way over (current) gas prices.

    So even an all-EV car (which my heart would love) would be much more expensive to run, at least here in Southern California (yes, I've seen SCE's EV rates, but while charging them at night goes down, take a look at the day rates for every other electricity usage on that plan -- something like 45c!)

    I think the best car (in theory) by FAR is actually Toyota's hydrogen Mirai (or the Honda Clarity). From what I understand, though it runs on hydrogen, the Mirai is a total EV car... so you get the EV "feel"... but instead of having to plug in (both $$, and depends how clean the electric grid is where you live), it uses hydrogen to replenish the battery, with absolutely zero emissions. Of course even here in So Calif, there are only a handful of hydrogen stations, so it's not at all practical if it's an only car. Maybe in a few years.

    So that's the main reason why I hate my new Prime. Because it's a taste of something great that is only just a taste, if one has a long commute. And it's not the car's fault, per se, but that yearning is still there.

    ---------

    Now, to mention a few more tangible complaints about the car. Again, I don't hate the car at all. It's the car I decided to get (knowing everything), that was best for me, with all factors considered. But I tend to be very even-keeled, and see the bad as well as the good. There's certainly is a LOT good about this car, but since negatives aren't brought up as much, let me mention a couple things...

    These are personal dislikes, others may have the complete opposite opinion...

    (1) Trunk space. This is probably the worst thing about the Prime. The older version PiP had a lot more trunk space (a colleague who has a large double-bass can fit his bass in the older PiP no problem. It's a problem with the Prime though, because the back is much higher, there's a lot less space, and also there's the seat divider in back...) There's basically no trunk space in the Prime. I put a music stand in (the only way it would fit is diagonally -- and barely so -- and that separates it into two small triangles where you can put a couple small boxes or something, but really, it's pretty bad). A friend has a 2015 Camry Hybrid, which actually DOES have an all-EV mode, that you never have to plug in (although he says it's only about 3-4 miles of EV, it's not really an EV car). That battery isn't as big as the Prime's of course, but still it's a hybrid battery, and he has a (relatively) very large trunk space. Way more than the Prime.

    (2) Back Seat Separator: I suppose if you constantly have 4 passengers, having a cupholder and separator in the back seat is ok. But why is it NOT RETRACTABLE like it is in the Hybrid Camry? Surely, it could've been designed to retract back into the rear seats (and not take up any more room than the rear seats next to it). Instead it's there -- and if one needs to lie anything down in the back seat, it makes it very hard and awkward. I'm betting something like 70%+ of drivers either drive alone, or have only someone in the front seats most of the time. Can't figure out the decision not to have it retractable.

    (3) The Touchscreen. Now, I ordered the low-end Plus trim on purpose. I was going to get the mid-grade Premium, but then realized I'd be much happier with the Plus, for reasons besides the lower price. Why? (a) Cloth seats don't get as hot when the car is parked in the hot sun as fake leather, and (b) I didn't want a giant touch screen constantly in my face. I know a lot of people like it (no problem, to each his own), but I find it a really annoying driving experience to have a giant screen like that all the time (yes, you can turn it off, but it's a pain each time to have to manually turn it off). With the Plus, at least it's just an in-dash thing, not in your face (not to mention that with the smaller Plus screen, the middle A/C vents can be in a normal place, not little wedges as is necessary to fit around the larger screen). But never having had a touch screen in a car before, one thing I found annoying is the terrible glare from the sun that can hit your eyes if you're driving with the sun behind you. I generally drive with the sun behind me (which, up until now, was nice, as you're not "driving into the sun") -- but even with the small screen (and I can't imagine how much more glare there is with the larger screen if you have the sun behind you) if you're stuck in traffic and that sun is hitting the screen and bouncing right off it into your eyes... it's not nice. This isn't just Prime-related, obviously... any car with screens like this would have this problem, but this is my first car with a touchscreen, and the glare/reflection can get very annoying (and again, would be so much worse with the larger screen).

    (4) Steering wheel: why is there no "hollow" area at the bottom? Maybe I'm just used to Hondas, but if I get tired on a Honda, I can rest my hand in the hollowed-out bottom of the Honda steering wheel. On the Prime, it's solid plastic, only place to put your hand is higher up on the wheel.

    (5) A couple "cheap touch" examples that didn't have to be (ie, wouldn't cost but a few pennies to change). (a) the cloth right behind the steering wheel. Mine is not completely glued on, so it's starting to come off in a corner. They could have just left it hollow, or put a piece of plastic instead, instead of a flapping piece of felt/cloth. (b) Where you charge the car... to the right of the charge port we use is a useless-but-shaped area for where the higher level charger would go if the car was the Japanese model. At first I thought it was a place to somehow "fit" the charger cap while you were charging, until I realized it was just a "dead" area where a higher level charger would be if it was a Japanese model. This is fine, but... why not just substitute a FLAT piece of plastic (with only the one usable charge port), instead of having it be "shaped" there to the right of the charge port. All it does is remind you that you don't have the higher level charger port :)

    (6) Lack of areas to put things. Other than the pop-up area between the front seats (where I always put a box of kleenex), there's basically just the square area in front of the cupholders. The Civic Hybrid I had before had those same areas, plus another in the dash under the radio, plus yet more small areas on the left side of the dash for loose change, etc. Not sure where to put the coins and other little things.

    (7) Lights in both the hatch area and glove box are pretty disappointing. The hatch area you have to manually turn on (if you can even find it in the dark). Why not an automatic light, like most cars when you open the trunk, that shuts off when you close the trunk/hatch? And the light in the glove box I only got to come on once (maybe it only comes on when the car's lights are on? Haven't figured that one out yet).

    I've only had the car a short time, and really only driven it three times. Those are my thoughts. Again, please don't misunderstand. I DO like the car. I knew all of this going into it, and for me, it was the best car currently available. But I did want to post both some of the small (real) things that could have been done better, as well as the feeling I get when driving (for a short time before it runs out) in the real EV mode that I wish it could have been longer range, a la the Chevy Volt (or better yet, an all-EV).

    Still, I'm happy with the car -- and am looking forward to many long years with it.

    On a side note, I'm also very glad this community exists here at PriusChat (I had a Honda Hybrid before this, never a Prius, so never really hung out here before). Seems like a great site -- both the people who run it (whoever you are), as well as the friendly folk who post here.
     
    #1 stevepea, Apr 29, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
    pjm877, ckam1989, jmarkd7 and 4 others like this.
  2. dalcon95

    dalcon95 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    512
    651
    2
    Location:
    Easley, South Carolina
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    To help with the screen glare, you may want to consider window tint. I got it done on my Prime and it was a big improvement!

    #1 in Easley,SC
     
  3. joachimz

    joachimz Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    445
    599
    17
    Location:
    SoCal
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    Re your EV range , I've had my Prime (Plus) now for a month and the EV range has steadily increased from like 23, 23 to now 42. My commute is 50 miles one way, about 5 miles onto the fw and 5 miles off so ~40 miles freeway, from Temecula to San Diego, going from ~1100ft up to like 1400 and down to like 100 (I still need to profile it exactly). When i get into work, I typically have ~ 2-3 miles EV left. I have a Chargepoint station close by so I am taking advantage of the $100 Toyota card til it's used. into work, I get 80% EV range, so the 42 range is pretty accurate. the way home with all the climbing is a different story, get ~ 60-65% EV range. I avoid the bad traffic by leaving after 9am, so typically i set the cruise control to 67 and don't have to stop/slow down til getting off fwy. My mpg at ~ 2500 miles so far site at 125mpg, so I am VERY happy.
    Your other points, well, I've come from a Gen3 Prius and the Prime is a VAST improvement in any aspect, luckily my mountain bike still fits in the trunk and I don't remember when I had 5 people in the car, my kids are in college and have their own cars, so I'm happy with the space, of course everyone is different.
    addl comment re EV range, I use A/C when it's 82-85+, otherwise it's completely off
     
    HPrimeAdvanced and unicorn like this.
  4. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    40,341
    11,859
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    The trunk light is automatic. Just leave it in the "ON" position and it'll shut off when you close the hatch.

    The glovebox light comes on if your parking lights are on (which also includes the headlights)
     
  5. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    2,301
    845
    1
    Location:
    Cool CA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    I haven't heard of anybody getting 42, I thought I was lucky with 27-30, I wonder why there is such a huge difference? Also if you start out in HV you will extend that EV range to a period of time that the car then automatically switches between EV/HV . At that point the driver has little control over the mode.
     
  6. dalcon95

    dalcon95 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    512
    651
    2
    Location:
    Easley, South Carolina
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    I haven't heard it going that high either. If I could get it that high, I would only need to charge it at home and make it to work and back on one charge. Here is what I am getting right now.
    Screenshot_20170429-225203.png

    #1 in Easley,SC
     
  7. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    2,301
    845
    1
    Location:
    Cool CA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    36 is also incredible, I wonder if the later the car is made, the better EV charge. Has Toyota done something?

    Was that a at work charge?
     
    #7 Andyprius1, Apr 29, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2017
  8. joachimz

    joachimz Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    445
    599
    17
    Location:
    SoCal
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    I am positively surprised by that #, I think what plays in my favor that my typical commute I can keep at constant speed, maybe have 7 or 8 stops, keeping speed constant, even on fwy at 67 is more efficient than repeatedly accelerating.
    This morning:
    IMG_2846.JPG
     
  9. dalcon95

    dalcon95 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    512
    651
    2
    Location:
    Easley, South Carolina
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    No. At home. I do charge at work now too since I need another 5 miles of addition EV range more than what I get with a single charge.

    #1 in Easley,SC
     
    HPrimeAdvanced likes this.
  10. heiwa

    heiwa Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    220
    208
    0
    Location:
    Central Valley, CA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Advanced
    Stevepea, regardless of what’s important to you, economics and/or environment, Prime seems to me the car that strikes the best balance. Despite many shortcomings and compromises you described adeptly, I am still impressed by its efficiency. My wife who is not a hyper-miler is getting just as good or sometimes better MPG/ ECO score in her 150-160 mile/day (twice a month) driving than I do as a hyper-miler, 74-84 MPG on display, which is about 10-20 MPG better than what she did with 2014 Prius Plug-in (while we drive at posted speed limit or slower, Hwy and City).


    I think Joachimz said on the way to work has longer down hill which may explain the 42.
     
    HPrimeAdvanced and unicorn like this.
  11. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    2,301
    845
    1
    Location:
    Cool CA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    I have TOU from my Utility so I always charge between 1200-0600
     
  12. dalcon95

    dalcon95 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    512
    651
    2
    Location:
    Easley, South Carolina
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    I have numerous hills that hinder my efficiency that even when I drive by the driving coach, I am driving at least 5 mph below the speed limit, which people don't have patience for.

    #1 in Easley,SC
     
  13. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    2,301
    845
    1
    Location:
    Cool CA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    So you think he's referring to measured miles? I was referring to charger miles.
     
  14. dalcon95

    dalcon95 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    512
    651
    2
    Location:
    Easley, South Carolina
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    I could do that, but I like the convience of the car being ready to drive at any moment I want or need to. If I drive spontaneously when I have it scheduled to charge in the morning, I would be using gas in the evenings when it wasn't charged because of the schedule.

    #1 in Easley,SC
     
    HPrimeAdvanced likes this.
  15. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    2,301
    845
    1
    Location:
    Cool CA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    Understood.
     
    dalcon95 likes this.
  16. heiwa

    heiwa Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    220
    208
    0
    Location:
    Central Valley, CA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Advanced
    No, EV "estimated" miles on her/his display (post #9, 42.4 miles). She/He said one way is 50 miles in travel distance. My understanding is that she/he is on full EV the entire 50 miles and has 2-3 miles of EV left. 1400 ft to 100 ft elevation drop must be a long down hill!
     
    #16 heiwa, Apr 29, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
    HPrimeAdvanced likes this.
  17. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    13,119
    6,659
    90
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    The Camry Hybrid is 5-passenger, Prime is only 4-passenger.

    The mechanics of the center position were decided by personal injury and product liability lawyers several decades ago. If a (small) person can sit there, then there must be a seat belt there, making it a 5-passenger car, regardless of actual load capacity and reasonable passenger space.

    The Prime lacks the load (weight) capacity to be a called 5 passenger, it realistically can carry only 4. But in order to leave out the 5th seat belt without attracting those lawyers trolling for multi-mullion-dollar wrongful death suits after someone does die from that position, the position must be made essentially un-sit-able. That is why the console doesn't retract. The Chevy Volt does the same thing.

    I had one of the last cars that was realistically labeled as 4 passengers, and lacked that center seatbelt, without some sort of mechanical block in the center. And of course, some partying teenagers still stuffed the back seat full of petite teens, which usually means females. (And pretty ones at that, which matters only to the perceptions of the jury deciding how much money to award.) And of course, some of them are drunk and end up crashing and fatally launching unbelted passengers through the windshield. And of course, some parents went to court and pointed out that the center passenger lacked a seatbelt and thus couldn't buckle up, and collected their $$$ compen$ation. Presto, a year or so later, that model line (and many others of similar size) had a center seatbelt and was labeled 5-passenger, never mind that 3 average size adults could not realistically fit in back.
     
    #17 fuzzy1, Apr 30, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
    HPrimeAdvanced and Prius Maximus like this.
  18. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    23,002
    12,874
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    A lot of the length had nothing to do with the Prime. So I'll cover the Reader's Digest version.
    My other car is a BMW i3-REx bought used, end of lease. So far, it has been the fun car around town but I still know how to map every free charger and the shops around them. After a year, the prices of used BMW i3-REx have softened $5-8k from what I paid.
    Good PiP friend @bisco reported electricity rates that make gas the more affordable choice in some cases. So one alternative is home solar cell arrays. This would give an option to the local utility company.
    Remember the cost per mile when using utility power can be equivalent or even higher than gasoline prices. Triple the EV range (aka., BMW i3-REx) does not reduce the operational cost if using grid power.
    There are at least two receiver hitches available that can carry a cargo tray or small trailer. Either one effectively makes the car into a load carrier.
    Our two dogs have not complained. Buy a car that meets your requirements.
    I like the low-end too but ran over the mailbox because there were no rear sensors like on our BMW i3-REx. But it also meant the fix was a simple, hand-tool job.
    Personal style, as long as it is adjustable so I may or may not hold it with my legs, no problem.
    Toyota has a nice warranty, cite the list when you bring the car back for warranty work.
    As long as I have a place for change coin cup, no problem.
    I augmented our tire patch kit with a bright, LED light.
    Somethings you'll adapt. Others may become a repeated sore spot. Regardless, in another 3-5 years, there will be new options.
    It makes sense to differentiate between that which you'll learn versus the things that irritate. The cruise control pop-up that can not be turned off is mine although I realize what it obscures is not really useful. Hummm, maybe I can set it to stay on all the time and congratulate the cruise control interface team in destroying the work of the driving guide team work.

    Bob Wilson
     
    HPrimeAdvanced and dalcon95 like this.
  19. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    85,467
    37,678
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    o/p, it sounds like you purchased the best lemonade out of a bunch of lemons.:p
     
    HPrimeAdvanced and dalcon95 like this.
  20. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    4,917
    3,544
    0
    Location:
    Westminster, Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Advanced
    I guess I wouldn't mind a full EV, but it would need to have capabilities that no current EV has, such as either a 600 mile range or the ability to recharge in 8 minutes anywhere combined with a 300 mile range. But one of the many things I love about the Prime is that it drives like an EV even in Hv mode.
     
Loading...