2018 Toyota Prius Prime Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 7.5

Mostly soft-touch surfaces fill the Prius Prime's nicely arranged cabin, and both rows of seats are spacious and comfortable. There are various standard technology features, but the upgraded infotainment system’s touch-based controls are frustrating to use.

  • "Build quality, especially given we were driving pre-production models, felt excellent and a step above the Volt's." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)
  • "Most 'touched' surfaces are lightly padded, and if you like black-and-white trim, you're in luck." -- Consumer Guide (2017)
  • "Unlike the old Prius Plug-in, the Prime has styling and features that make it stand apart from the regular Prius models. This makes sense because what good is it having the latest iPhone if everyone thinks you're still swiping and pinching the old version." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Seating

The Prius Prime is a four-door hatchback with seating for four across two rows of spacious cloth seats. The base trim also has heated front seats. SofTex leatherette upholstery and a power-adjustable driver's seat are available. The Prius Prime's overall passenger space is average among compact cars; however, because it lacks a rear middle seat, its back row is more spacious than those of rivals like the Chevy Volt.

  • "The Prius feels spacious up front, and the back seat is much more livable than the Chevrolet Volt's, despite the Volt's on-paper legroom advantage." -- Car and Driver
  • "Seating is limited to four passengers, one fewer than in the regular Prius. While the practical reason for this decision is largely to save weight so the Prime could meet its efficiency targets and fit the larger battery pack, the benefit is a more spacious and upscale experience for the rear passengers." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)
  • "There's some Prime action in the back seat as well. A pair of adult-sized bucket seats replaces the standard Prius's three-passenger rear bench seat, separated by a center console complete with a storage bin, cup holders and an armrest. Rear-seat headroom and legroom are generous. No one has to be stuck in the middle, either, riding the 'hump' as can be the case with the Chevy Volt and its cramped three-across rear seating. The Prime seats just four, keeping dignity intact." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Interior Features

You get a plethora of features in the standard Prius Prime, including push-button start, a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, satellite radio, hands-free phone capability, an Entune app suite, and a six-speaker audio system. It also comes with Toyota Safety Sense, which includes a rearview camera, pedestrian detection, forward collision alert, lane keep assist, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. Other available features include Siri Eyes Free, wireless smartphone charging, a 10-speaker JBL premium audio system, a larger 11.6-inch touch screen, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a head-up display.

The standard 7-inch infotainment system is intuitive, and its redundant physical controls make it pretty easy to use. The optional 11.6-inch touch screen is significantly larger, but its lack of physical knobs and buttons can make it harder to operate.

  • Toyota has made an impressive array of infotainment technology standard in the Prime, with some models carrying a huge Tesla-esque screen in the center of the dash. Despite its size, that display is not as versatile as the coveted unit in Tesla's Model S and Model X." -- Car and Driver
  • The base Prime Plus comes with a 7-inch touchscreen augmented by volume and tuning knobs. Climate controls consist of flipper levers to adjust temperature, fan speed, and mode. By contrast, Premium and Advance have a large, vertically oriented 11.6-inch touchscreen where everything is done through the screen or repetitive-step virtual pushbuttons; there are no knobs or flippers. Though this all comes off as appropriately 'techy,' we found the base system easier to use." -- Consumer Guide (2017)
  • "The interior is nice enough, and that massive 11.6-inch hi-res screen will be a big draw among the technological elite, as well as among those who can't afford a Tesla but really want the Tesla's 17-inch screen. You can pinch/pull it just like your iPad!" -- Autoweek (2017)

Cargo

There's 19.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the 2018 Prius Prime, which is an above-average measurement in the compact car class. Its 60/40-split-folding back seat is also useful when carrying larger cargo. In comparison, the base Toyota Prius offers a larger 24.6 cubic feet of space. The Prius Prime’s smaller cargo area is due to its rechargeable battery pack.

  • While the passenger cabin of the Prius Prime and the standard Prius hybrid are equally roomy, the Prime's cargo hold is meaningfully diminished by its larger battery. It provides less real-world luggage space than the standard Prius and some of its competition. Interior storage is ample, but family road trips will be a tight fit." -- Car and Driver
  • On the downside, cargo space in the Prime is reduced by more than seven cubic feet compared to the Prius. This is due to the larger 8.8 kWh battery residing under the raised cargo floor, equipped with almost twice as many Li-ion cells. But at 19.8 cubic feet accessible through a large hatch opening, the Prime still has as more space back there than a typical sedan, and it's plenty roomy for the typical Costco run and that's without folding down the rear seatbacks." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • "The trunk frame is, no joke, made of exposed carbon fiber. While this is to some degree a marketing boon, the trunk door is easy to lift and close." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)

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