The 2017 Toyota 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. It can drive 22.5 miles on electric power when fully charged. Beyond that, it transitions to normal hybrid operation using its gasoline engine in combination with a battery-powered electric motor for an impressive 590 miles of total range. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime gets 50 mpg overall, 2 mpg less than the regular Prius.

The battery recharges in 5 hours on standard 120-volt power, eliminating the need for a garage-wall charger that can cost hundreds or more to install. On electric power, the Prime runs nearly silently and provides a quick initial takeoff, but fires up the engine when circumstances demand. Like the Prius, the Prime serves up a comfortable, steady ride and sound, reflexive handling.

The sci-fi-looking cabin is a mix of hard plastic and soft surfaces. On top trims, a large tablet-like touch screen hosts the controls for the audio system, trip information, phone, and navigation. 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. The front seats are supportive, but the rear seats are designed for only two riders. Forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are standard across the line.

Read the complete 2017 Toyota Prius Prime road test.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

HIGHS: Fuel economy, no range anxiety, standard advanced safety gear, tax incentives
LOWS: Complex infotainment screen, 4-seat only, shifter, less luggage space than the Prius
POWERTRAIN: 121-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine; continuously variable transmission; front-wheel drive
FUEL: 133 MPGe*/50 mpg**
PRICE AS TESTED: $29,889

*Miles-per-gallon equivalent. **Miles per gallon while running on gas engine.


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Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the September 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.