Kelley Blue Book Best Buys of 2017: Electric/Hybrid Car
Finally, a user-friendly plug-in for the masses
While the technology is nothing new, plug-in hybrids have yet to find their footing in the U.S. marketplace. Two key factors are behind this abstention: 1. Cost 2. Ease of use. The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is the first PHEV to entirely resolve both issues, thus earning it a coveted KBB.com Best Buy Award over last year’s champion, the Chevrolet Volt.
Plug-in and Play
22 miles of electric range isn’t exactly revolutionary, but that’s also the point. The Prius Prime’s 8.8-kWh battery pack delivers just enough electric range to cover the daily commutes of average Americans. Where the Prime really begins to shine is when it comes time to recharge. Though it is compatible with 240V level 2 chargers, the Prime’s universal appeal derives from its straightforward recharging process. Simply plug in the supplied charge cable to a traditional 3-prong outlet and voilà! 5.5 hours later you’ve got a fully charged battery. No longer will you need to purchase an expensive 240V system for your home or waste time driving around your office in search of a dedicated EV charging station. Plus, as the most efficient production vehicle available, the Prius Prime delivers exceptional fuel economy once the battery becomes discharged.
More Than Just a Hypermiler
Thanks to a specially tuned suspension and numerous weight-reduction measures, the 2017 Prius Prime is surprisingly rewarding from behind the wheel. Bumps and ruts are dispatched with barely a shake to the cabin, and the low-effort steering calibration is a joy to use both in town and on the highway. Toyota's decision to place the battery beneath the rear seats also endows the Prime with a planted, secure feeling at high speeds.
Doing so, however, limits the Prime to only seating four. Nevertheless, both rear-seat passengers will be greeted with an abundance of legroom and headroom along with an executive-esque center console.
Up front, the Prius Prime charms with a massive 11.6-inch tablet-style infotainment center, a supremely comfortable 8-way power driver’s seat, and one of the finest optional sound systems this side of the luxury space.
With an enviable reputation for Toyota reliability and quality under its belt, not to mention rock-solid residual values, the Prius Prime is brimming with value even before factoring transaction prices into the equation. And the news gets even better when you do. Already an affordable buy at its starting MSRP of $28,000, the Prius Prime qualifies for up to $4,500 in federal tax credits along with up to $1,500 in state incentives (where available). This alluring sticker price combined with some of the lowest ownership costs in the industry make the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime an exceptionally smart buy.
More Prius Prime
Inside and Out: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime
More 2017 Best Buys
Popular at KBB.com