2017 Toyota Prius Prime

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Episode 3613
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime offers more, but not too much more, than the typical hybrid; though it certainly offers more than the Prius plug-in that it replaces. 

By way of explanation, the EV-only range of the Prime is now 25-miles at up to 84 miles-per-hour. That’s double the range it claimed before, but still only half of the Chevrolet Volt’s EV range. 

The mileage increase comes by way of both powertrain updates, enabling both motor-generators to now power the car, and a larger 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery. 

The gas engine itself remains the same 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle I4; and combined system output continues at 121-horsepower. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are estimated to be 55-City, 53-Highway, and 54-Combined; with an EV-mode MPGe rating of 133.

Charging time is a bit over 2-hours on 240-volts; about 5½-hours on standard 120. But, the battery never gets fully depleted, as normal Prius operation kicks in when EV-only range is reached. Toyota puts total range before plugging in, or topping off, at 640-miles. 

The Prius Prime’s new mission calls for a new look; as both front and rear styling are distinctive from standard Prius fare.

Sharper lines, a black facia with bigger air intakes, and ultra-low profile LED headlights portray both a more eco-conscious look, and at the same time, add some sporty flair as well.  

Wheels are 15-inch alloys, but with 2-tone covers that are designed to maximize air flow. 

In back, things are very different with full-width LED taillights, a dual wave rear window, and a carbon-fiber rear hatch.  Primarily in place for weight-saving, it also makes opening a little easier. Space beneath it, is taken up somewhat by the larger battery pack, reducing cargo capacity from 27.4 cubic-ft. to a still good 19.8.

Nothing major stood out to us in terms of ride quality, during our drive time in Southern California. Prime feels smooth and composed over just about any road surface. 

There is about 300-lbs. of additional weight; you won’t really notice it so much in handling situations, but you can certainly feel it off the line. There’s a lot of buzzing and whirring going on, but not much propulsion; expect a 0-60 time of 10 seconds plus. 

Shuffling between power sources remains as seamless as always; and at cruising speeds, except for some tire noise, things are pretty quiet. Visibility remains very good all around. 

Overall, the interior is just fine, even if our car’s, heated, simulated-leather covered seats were still not truly long distance comfortable. There are a host of tech upgrades for Prime, and trim structure differs from the standard Prius; going from Plus to Premium to Advanced. All except for Plus trim sport a larger Tesla-like 11.6-inch central touchscreen. It really blends in quite nicely and looks great. But we found actual function to be a little laggy.

There’s only adequate width for two in the rear seat, but plenty of leg room to be found, even if the slopping roof takes a toll on adult headroom. 

While the Chevrolet Volt may offer more range, the Prime has quite an advantage when it comes to pricing, as it is still a very reasonable $27,965. Whether that’s worth the $2,400 over a base Prius depends on your green driving desires. Top level Advanced trim moves closer to Volt at $33,965. Regardless, the Prius, in all of its iterations remains a lot of eco-minded car for the money. 

With that being said, it’s hard to envision the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime being a major player.  As it still seems to appeal to the few people who want a bit more battery range than a traditional hybrid can offer, but aren’t yet ready to make the jump to a full EV. But there’s no denying it’s a better option than the preceding Prius plug-in, which may be enough to make it a “prime mover” for the Toyota faithful. 

Specifications

  • Engine: 1.8 liter
  • Horsepower: 121
  • 0-60 mph: 10.0-11.0 seconds
  • EPA: 55 mpge city / 53 mpge highway,
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front

2024 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra Gets Subaru Into The EV Game

Episode 4339
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You could say that Subaru is one of the more conservative brands out there. So, it’s no surprise it took them a little longer than most to venture into pure EV territory. But now that they’ve staked a claim with this Solterra, it’s time for us to see if Subaru buyers should plug in.

The Subaru Solterra is indeed the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle; and while it took partnering with Toyota to make it happen, as we’ve seen with the BRZ and GR86 sport coupes, that partnership can lead to some great things.

So, we’ll start there; the Solterra’s counterpart is the Toyota bZ4X, and they do share most powertrain elements, specs, and features; but Subaru has done a few things to establish some unique vibes for their brand. That starts with the drivetrain, as all-wheel drive is standard here as in most Subarus, and in similar tradition, power won’t overwhelm you, it’s more safe and familiar feeling than overpowering as some EVs can be. Called StarDrive, this Subaru’s dual-motor setup rates 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Subaru loves to tout that their drivers are second only to Jeep owners when it comes to venturing off pavement, so capability is a must.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front
2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem
2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel
2024 Subaru Solterra Profile
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail
2024 Subaru Solterra Badge
2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel2024 Subaru Solterra Profile2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail2024 Subaru Solterra Badge2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port

We did find Solterra as competent as every other Subaru. Their X-Mode has been programmed to work seamlessly with the electric motors, and its 8.3 inches of ground clearance is higher than the bZ4X; plus, you can use Grip Control to moderate speeds and maximize traction.

While most new EVs seem to be hovering around 300 miles of range, max here in the Solterra from its 72.8-kWh battery pack is 227 miles, 222 here in Touring trim. Our results were much less than that, on pace for just 172 miles in our driving loop. But that may be a fluke since we managed 210+ in our bZ4X test.

Only 100-kW max for DC fast charging. But even though it has only been on the market for a year, they’ve already cut down charging times for ‘24 models. An upgraded battery conditioning system, needs 35 minutes for an 80% charge. Subaru always seems to come out on the right side of being cool while remaining authentic, and the Solterra’s styling works, as does its beefier roof rack for ’24 which now holds up to 700 lbs. for tents and the like. Touring trim comes with some great looking 20-inch alloy wheels and there’s lots of body protection, but they did go a little overboard with all of the EV badges everywhere.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected.

In addition to being a good-looking small SUV, it’s a highly functional one too with plenty of room for 5, durable materials, and a bridge-type center console with lots of storage space underneath, though there is no traditional glove box. Subaru also claims it was designed to be dog-friendly, so that’s a plus too. It does have the roomy feel of an Outback, and rear cargo capacity is pretty close, too, at 29.0 cubic-feet.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected. It really shined in the handling course at our Mason-Dixon test track; the EV low center of gravity giving it a very planted feel through the cones. There was minimal body roll and great all-wheel-drive grip; though when it came to us getting a grip on the steering wheel. Well, it’s an oddly shaped steering wheel that took some getting used to. It’s another thing that separates it from the bZ4X, though it seems a little bit like just being different for the sake of being different.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard
2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster
2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display
2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk
2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk

On the other hand, while not insanely fast like some EVs, there was good punch off the line; enough to get us to 60 in 6.2 seconds. And rather than rolling back the power, the Solterra kept it consistent the whole way down the track. We finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 93 mph. There wasn’t much feel coming through the brake pedal, but panic braking stops were fade-free with an average amount of nose dive; our stops from 60 averaged 120 feet.

Using 33-kWh of electricity per 100-miles, the Solterra earns a good efficiency rating. Pricing starts at $46,340 for the base Premium, and tops out with Touring at $53,340, with Limited in between.

Being the rugged and lovable outdoor types, Subaru owners have proven to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the good of the environment they spend so much time enjoying. Whether that will translate to them going all-in on the 2024 Solterra remains to be seen. It’s no surprise Subaru has finally gone all-electric, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’ve entered the EV game conservatively. Something tells us Subaru owners wouldn’t have it any other way.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Battery Size: 72.8-kWh
  • Horsepower: 215
  • Torque: 249 lb-ft
  • EPA Range: 222 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 seconds at 93 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 120 feet (avg)
  • MW Test Loop: 172 miles