Ever since the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid debuted at the New York International Auto Show, we have been eagerly anticipating this versatile vehicle. It shows that Toyota was listening to customers who wanted a plug-in hybrid, and that they'd vastly improved on its predecessor.
The anticipation is understandable. The 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery is twice the size of the one found in the 2012 model, and promises a 22-mile all-electric range. If that sounds impressive, it gets better: the combined range is estimated to be 600 miles on a single tank of gas. The larger battery pack necessitated a 2+2 layout instead of a traditional five-seat arrangement, though Toyota is already working on a five-seat design for the next generation.
The wider, longer, and sportier look is a bit of a departure from Toyota Prius design of late. High-strength steel and extensive use of aluminum combined with a low drag coefficient keeps weight down to improve fuel economy and handling. The car tops out at 84 miles per hour thanks to a four-cylinder 1.8 L Atkinson Cycle engine and two electric motors that deliver 121 horsepower. The lot is coupled to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
The car was originally supposed to debut in Japan this fall, followed shortly after by Europe and North America. With the Japanese release being pushed back, it's hard to tell whether the American release will also be delayed, or if the car will appear in all markets simultaneously.