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2020 Toyota Prius Prime Review

The 2020 Toyota Prius Prime is great on gas, and it touts a generous list of standard safety features. Still, its lackluster acceleration hurts its performance appeal. As a result, it finishes in the bottom half of our hybrid and electric car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Great gas mileage
  • Good predicted reliability rating
  • Ample standard safety features
  • Distracting optional touch screen
  • Tepid acceleration

New for 2020

  • Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, and two rear USB ports now standard
  • Now seats five instead of four

7.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.2
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 6.4
Safety: 9.6
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Toyota Prius Prime a Good Car?

The 2020 Prius Prime is a solid pick among plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV). It gets excellent fuel economy, and it can drive up to 25 miles on electric power alone. The Prius Prime also earns an above-average predicted reliability rating. Still, it isn’t a standout in the hybrid and electric car class in part because it struggles to accelerate quickly. Additionally, the larger touch screen in the upper trims is tricky to use and hard to see in direct sunlight.

Should I Buy the Toyota Prius Prime?

The Prius Prime has some undeniable strengths, but there are several other options that may suit you better. The Toyota Prius is a traditional hybrid with excellent gas mileage, more passenger and cargo space, and available all-wheel drive. The Honda Clarity is another PHEV that has a longer electric-only range of 47 miles.

Compare the Prius Prime, Prius, and Honda Clarity »

Should I Buy a New or Used Prius Prime?

The 2020 Prius Prime is part of a generation that dates back to the 2017 model year, and there were no major changes until the 2020 model year. For 2020, the Prius Prime gained Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, two rear USB ports, and a fifth seat. Stick with an older model if you can do without these added features.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Prius Prime, 2018 Prius Prime, and 2019 Prius Prime reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Prius Prime »

We Did the Research for You: 18 Reviews Analyzed

To give you a complete overview of the 2020 Prius Prime – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 18 Toyota Prius Prime reviews alongside performance specs, interior dimensions, and more.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Prius Prime generation, which runs from 2017 to 2020.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Toyota Prius Prime Cost?

Starting at $27,750, the base Prius Prime LE's price is on par with several other hybrid and electric vehicles. The midlevel XLE trim starts at $29,650, while the top-of-the-line Limited trim goes for $33,650. You may also qualify for available tax credits of up to $4,500. For more information, read How Does the Electric Car Tax Credit Work?

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota Prius Prime Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Toyota Prius Prime or Toyota Prius?

The Toyota Prius isn't as efficient as the Prius Prime, but it's a more well-rounded vehicle overall. Not only does the Prius have a lower price than the Prius Prime, but it also has more cargo and passenger space, available all-wheel drive, and similar standard safety features to the Prime. There are few reasons to pick the Prius Prime over the standard Prius.

Which Is Better: Toyota Prius Prime or Honda Clarity?

The Honda Clarity is a plug-in hybrid that gives the Prius Prime a run for its money. The Honda has just as many standard features as the Toyota, including Apple CarPlay. It also boasts a longer electric-only range (47 miles with the Clarity versus 25 miles with the Prius Prime) and a higher-quality cabin. On the other hand, the Prius Prime has better fuel economy and a higher predicted reliability rating than the Clarity. Personal preference should guide your decision making.

Compare the Prius Prime, Prius, and Clarity »

Prius Prime Interior

How Many People Does the Prius Prime Seat?

The 2020 Prius Prime can seat up to five people, which is one more than previous Prime models could handle. The seats are supportive, and there’s a decent amount of passenger space.

Cloth upholstery and heated front seats are standard. An eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat and synthetic leather upholstery are available.

Prius Prime and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for this Toyota's rear outboard seats.

Prius Prime Interior Quality

The Prius Prime features modern cabin styling and quality interior materials. In contrast to the 2019 Prius Prime, the 2020 model features black accents that make it look richer than before.

Prius Prime Cargo Space

There's 19.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the Prius Prime, which is pretty roomy compared to rivals like the Honda Clarity. Every Prius Prime also comes with 60/40 split-folding rear seats for added cargo flexibility. That said, reviewers note that the standard Prius has more space thanks to its smaller battery pack.

Prius Prime Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Prime's standard Entune infotainment system is easy to use, with its intuitive 7-inch touch screen and handy physical controls. The optional 11.6-inch touch screen doesn't receive as much praise. Reviewers note that sunlight creates a blinding glare on the screen, and an absence of physical controls make it trickier to use than the standard system.

Standard features include a six-speaker audio system, navigation, satellite radio, a USB port, and Bluetooth. A premium 10-speaker JBL stereo, HD Radio, and wireless device charging are available.

Read more about interior »

Prius Prime Performance

Prius Prime Powertrain: Slow but Steady

The Prius Prime's powertrain consists of a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that produce a combined 121 horsepower. It's paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. The Prius Prime smoothly transitions from gas to electric power, but acceleration is pretty sluggish.

Prius Prime Gas Mileage: Fantastic Efficiency

With EPA ratings of 133 MPG equivalent and 54 mpg combined city/highway, the Prius Prime is one of the most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrids on the market. This Toyota has a 25-mile all-electric range. Reaching a full charge takes 5.5 hours with a 120-volt household-style power outlet and 2 hours and 10 minutes with a 240-volt outlet.

For more information, check out What Is MPGe? 

Prius Prime Ride and Handling: Tuned for Comfort

The Prius Prime has stable handling, and the ride is smooth enough that few road imperfections make their way into the cabin. Its regenerative brakes have good stopping power, but gauging how much pressure you need to apply can be difficult. There's also minimal steering feedback from the road.  

Read more about performance »

Prius Prime Reliability

Is the Toyota Prius Prime Reliable?

The 2020 Toyota Prius Prime has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Toyota Prius Prime Warranty

Toyota covers the Prius Prime with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and an eight-year/100,000-mile hybrid component warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Toyota Prius Prime?

The cost of insuring a Toyota Prius Prime will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

Prius Prime Safety

Prius Prime Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2020 Prius Prime. The IIHS gave the similar 2019 Prius Prime the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and the second-best rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test.

Prius Prime Safety Features

A rearview camera and Toyota Safety Sense P are standard. Toyota Safety Sense P comes with lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

Available safety technology includes front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a head-up display, and parallel park assist.

Read more about safety »

Prius Prime Dimensions and Weight

The Prius Prime is about 15.2 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,365 to 3,375 pounds.

Where Is the Toyota Prius Prime Built?

Toyota builds the 2020 Prius Prime in Japan.

Which Toyota Prius Prime Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Toyota Prius Prime comes in three trims: LE, XLE, and Limited. All models have front-wheel drive and a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that make 121 horsepower. The base LE trim has plenty of safety, technology, and comfort features. However, no packages are available. Therefore, you'll have to opt for a higher trim level to get certain features.

Prius Prime LE

The base LE trim starts at $27,750 and comes with cloth upholstery, heated front seats, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Siri Eyes Free, six speakers, a USB port up front, two rear USB ports, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and satellite radio.

It also comes with a rearview camera and the Toyota Safety Sense P safety suite, which includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Prius Prime XLE

Starting at $29,650, the XLE features an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, synthetic leather upholstery, HD Radio, navigation, an 11.6-inch touch screen, and wireless device charging.

Prius Prime Limited

The Limited trim (MSRP: $33,650) adds a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 10-speaker stereo system, front and rear parking sensors, a head-up display, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and parallel park assist.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2020 Toyota Prius Prime specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Prius Prime has lots of standard safety features, a high predicted reliability rating, and superb fuel economy. It doesn't rank as high as some of its competitors in the hybrid and electric car class because of its sluggish acceleration and tricky available infotainment system.  

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • The 2020 Toyota Prius Prime is the plug-in-hybrid member of the Prius family, and the one with the more attractive, more traditional-looking hatchback body style. … Unfortunately, it’s also distinguished by apathetic acceleration and unenthusiastic driving responses." -- Car and Driver
  • "Still, for road warriors and commuters looking for a comfortable, safe, ultra-efficient car that’s eligible for both solo carpool access and a sizable federal tax rebate, this most efficient version of Toyota’s Prius lineup makes a prime eco-friendly companion." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 'Prime' suffix would imply that the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime offers something above and beyond what you get with the normal Prius, and indeed, the plug-in Prius Prime takes the Prius formula and amplifies it. Sure, it comes with a higher initial price tag, but hefty tax rebates and its ability to run on electricity alone thanks to its rechargeable battery will ultimately make it less costly to own over the long run." -- Autotrader
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