Long Term Updates

Mileage: 1,500

Now, our 2021 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid is of course not a fully electric, but its 8.8-kWh battery does deliver 25-miles of EV-only driving. Then, it behaves just like a traditional Prius hybrid, shuffling between battery and engine power seamlessly depending on the current driving situation.  

On our lot for less than a week, we made a quick trip down to Georgia; finding the highway experience quite comfortable and composed.  Extended high speed travel is not the best way to maximize the benefits of a PHEV, but we’re pleased with the 53.5 miles-per-gallon we’ve averaged over the first 1,500-miles.

Mileage: 4,000

We’ve been spending lots of time in our 2021 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, from short trips to the store to 200-plus mile road trips.

We really enjoy the sheer volume fit inside Prime’s small package. A family of 4 is an easy fit thanks to a well thought out cabin. No cramps, no crunches– just comfort. We do wish some of the center stack touch screen controls were a little easier to use, but that available 11.6-inch multimedia display is great for navigating unfamiliar towns.

The 121-horsepower hybrid powertrain is surprisingly responsive. We often find the speedometer creeping up faster than expected. 

“We’ve been pretty diligent about making sure we keep the Prius Prime plugged in and charged up so we can use EV mode as much as possible. I mean, you get all of the perks of an EV: a quiet, smooth ride, but it still has plenty of pep for around town driving.”

Even without using this PHEV’s 25 miles of EV-only driving, we are delighted at the fuel economy of 66.6 miles-per-gallon– a big increase over the 53.5 we tallied last period. That big leap was due to autumn leaf-peeping road trips, with some 4,000 miles of seat time in three months.

The Prius Prime is a culmination of Toyota’s best hybrid know-how, and we’re glad to have it in our long term fleet.

Mileage: 5,500

It’s been a little over a month since our last Long Term update on our 2021 Toyota Prius Prime, and it seems like the longer we have it the more things we find to like about it.

We’ve added 1,500 miles since our last report, which brings our total mileage up to 5,500. 

In the four months that we’ve had it, the Prius Prime has surprised us with its responsiveness and agility. It’s a pleasure to drive and, even better, it’s just as fun to pack for a road trip.

For a compact of this size, the Prius Prime offers passengers with “prime” real estate when it comes to space. There’s a lot of room in the back and plenty of cargo storage– we’d say almost as much utility as an SUV.

Toyota’s hybrid powertrain is what makes a Prius a Prius, and plug-in capability is what makes this Prius a Prime; and Prime is an accurate description of how this system operates. Transitions between gas and battery power are seamless. And that’s even if there are transitions because we’re finding that the 25 miles of EV range is enough for most of our daily trips between charges.

With more highway driving, we have seen a slight decrease in our overall fuel economy; 62 miles per gallon, down 4 from our previous 66 mpgs. Realistically, that’s a small deviation, and we’re perfectly satisfied with its ultra-frugal nature.

Less time at the pump means more time on the road, and we’re looking forward to what lies ahead for our Prius Prime.


Mileage: 8,000

We’re checking in once again with our 2021 Toyota Prius Prime, which has seen quite a bit of pavement since our last update; 2,500 miles of it, to be exact. That brings our total up to 8,000 miles in the five months we’ve had it.

In our last update we noted a slight decrease in mileage and unfortunately that trend has continued. We’re sitting around 54.1 miles-per-gallon down from our peak of 62. It could be attributed to the colder weather, which requires the gasoline engine to run more often.

It’s been really cold here lately so we’ve been running the Prius’ heated seats and steering wheel at full blast. It helps kill the chill, but the gas engine has to compensate for it. Now, we hear it kick on, but we don’t really feel it. That’s a testament to Toyota’s mastering of the hybrid handoff. So, our fuel economy might be suffering a tad, but our daily driving comfort is not.

In fact, this little hybrid recently took us all the way down to Georgia for our yearly Roebling Round-up, and it handled fairly well in the moderate ice storm we passed through. It also made the 10-or-so hours plenty comfortable.

The Prius Prime is still a welcomed addition to our Long Term Fleet.

Mileage: 9,000

We’ve just passed the seven-month mark with our 2021 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. With an additional 600 miles since our last update, our odometer now stands at 9,000 miles.

We mentioned a slight decrease in mileage last time, due to winter weather making us run the gasoline engine more; but this time we’re happy to report a slight increase, now 55-and-a-half miles per gallon. We’ll chalk that up to warmer days and more judicious use of the pedal.

With gas prices so high, we’re liking the frugal nature of the Prius Prime even more. But it’s not just the fuel economy of the plug-in hybrid powertrain, it’s the operation. The system’s just as smooth in the city as it is on the highway. And the much improved seat comfort just adds to its righteous road trip abilities. 

As far as daily drivers go, our 2021 Toyota Prius Prime continues to impress us. This little PHEV remains a prime choice for commuters everywhere.

Mileage: 13,000

It’s been a while since we last checked in on our 2021 Toyota Prius Prime, and we’re happy to say our experience keeps getting better.

In a time where gasoline prices just keep rising, our Prime has hit 65.5 miles per gallon of regular over 4,000 miles just since our last update. That brought our total distance up to nearly 13,000 miles and our overall efficiency average to an impressive 58.3 miles per gallon.

This generation Prius Prime is nearing the end of its life cycle, but considering it was the first vehicle to ride on Toyota’s TNGA global platform, its surprisingly agile driving dynamics have held up well. On the other hand, the interior is showing its age a little bit. Specifically, the infotainment screen, which lacks the looks and functionality of others even within Toyota’s lineup. Luckily the fuel-saving hybrid technology is arguably the best in the business.

We haven’t faced any major quirks or groans; it very much remains the same practical Prius plug-in we took on 10 months ago. And where less frugal vehicles have us leery of summer road trips, the Toyota Prius Prime is brightening up our time behind the wheel, while also being easy on our wallets.

Mileage: 14,600

After a couple of summer road trips sprinkled on top of daily commutes, it’s time for another Long Term update on our 2021 Toyota Prius Prime.

We’ve tacked on an additional 1700 miles, bringing our grand total to 14,600.

Truth be told, we haven’t been plugging in as much as we should, resulting in a dip in efficiency—50.2 miles per gallon over the last month or so. Still, our overall efficiency has barely taken a hit, sitting pretty at 57.2 MPG.

“The advantage of plug-in hybrids like this Prius Prime is that, while it’s worth it to charge, it’s not absolutely necessary like it is in a full EV. So even when purely electric driving range is depleted, we’re still treated to Toyota’s excellent hybrid system. In fact, unless we’re really goosing it or actively monitoring its operation, we hardly even notice the engine running. And that’s the way it should be in a hybrid.”

Having the Prius Prime in our fleet, we’re thrilled to be spending less time and money at the pump. Which means more trips and more fun.

Mileage: 19,774

Well, we knew this day would come; time to say goodbye to our 2021 Toyota Prius Prime.

We’ve spent an entire year with this compact hybrid, finishing with 19,774 miles. Overall efficiency rests at 59.9 miles per gallon combined– a testament to Toyota’s Hybrid System. A peppy powerplant, even when it relied solely on the Prime’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder.

It’s not without flaws; we still wish the center stack controls were easier to use. Still, a small gripe it more than made up for during these times of high-priced petrol.

“After being sentenced to one year of hard labor at MotorWeek, this Prius Prime hasn’t fussed one bit. And for the most part, neither have we. You could always ask for more horsepower or in this case more all-electric driving range, but the truth is, the 25 miles it gave us was usually enough. And those quiet, battery-powered miles just made it that much more comfortable. Not bad for a 6-year-old car due for a redesign.”

The Prius Prime weathered snowstorms, extreme summer heat, and everything in between. It kept us cozy for the long hauls and provided ample room for everyday errands.

At the risk of sounding too sentimental: so long, Prius Prime. May you live on to pinch pennies for years to come.