2017 Toyota Prius Prime
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.
- Engine: 1.8 liter
- Horsepower: 121
- 0-60 mph: 10.0-11.0 seconds
- EPA: 55 mpge city / 53 mpge highway,
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT
It’s An SUV On A Track, Deal With It
When we started testing cars 43-years ago, hot rod SUVs like this Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT were not on our radar. Back in those days, utility vehicles were trucks and Porsches were cars. But times have changed, and the only place to make sense of it all is at a racetrack, so hop in and join us for some high-performance haulin’.
Now, most would say the high-performance SUV is a relatively new phenomenon, but we’ve been testing them for over 30-years now, going back to the GMC Typhoon. If you don’t remember that one, we’d suggest Googling it, purely for the nostalgia of it, as this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is on a totally different level.
This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car… ah la the 911.
Starting with the Coupe version of Porsche’s largest SUV, which benefits from a mid-cycle styling refresh for ’24, the Turbo GT adds a carbon-fiber roof, big wing with side planes, rear diffuser, and a sport exhaust system with titanium tailpipes.
Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control is also included, making body-roll almost non-existent; and with the help of a new two-valve air suspension setup it was all traction all the time through the high-speed turns of Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway. Though unlike last gen, if you’re aggressive enough with the throttle, you can get the rear to step out on you a little. Rear-axle steering is also included and the best praise we could heap on steering feel and feedback through corners is that it feels like a Porsche.
Tires are also wider than before: 315/35 Pirelli P Zeros in back, mounted on 22-inch GT Design wheels. The brakes behind are comprised of enormous carbon-ceramic composite discs with monster yellow calipers…
…and they truly were impressive on track, hauling this 5,000-pound, luxury-minded performance utility down from triple-digit speeds lap after lap without wavering.
This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car... ah la the 911.
Equally impressive is the powerplant that initiates those high speeds, Porsche’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 which cranks out 19 horsepower over last year for a total of 650; torque output remains the same, at 626 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is standard, as is an 8-speed automatic trans, which helps the Turbo GT get up to speed in a hurry; 3.1-seconds to 60, to be exact. That’s a couple of tenths slower than the first-gen Turbo GT we tested 2 years ago, but we’ll chalk that up to testing that one on a well-prepped drag strip versus this trip down Roebling Road’s slippery front straightaway on a 40-degree day. And it gained time back quickly, as our 11.3-second quarter-mile time was only a tenth slower, finishing at 124 mph.
Other notable changes for ’24 include a new dash and control layout for the interior. The highlight is a new 12.6-inch curved digital gauge display; it’s joined by a central touchscreen that sits higher up and is nestled into the dash more than before.
No more actual shifter in the console, as it’s been replaced with Porsche’s toggle switch gear sector which resides on the dash to the left of the touchscreen. That means a new console layout with additional storage space and new controls. While none of that helps lower lap times, it all provides a much more useful and better overall environment than before, for that time spent behind the wheel commuting or just sitting in traffic.
Front and rear seats are comfortable yet sporty feeling; and while it does do a lot of SUV-like things pretty well, the coupe body shape does limit rear cargo capacity to 20.3 cubic feet, expanding to 52.4 with rear seatbacks folded; and the central-mounted exhaust does negate adding a tow hitch.
No matter how you look at it, the Cayenne Turbo GT is an insane vehicle, but it also comes with an insane price tag, starting at $197,950. So essentially, that’s six-figures worth of high-performance hardware jammed into an already impressively capable standard Cayenne… an SUV made much better with comprehensive updates front to back for all ’24 Porsche Cayennes.
It easily remains the standard bearer for luxury-minded utility vehicles, evidenced by recently earning our Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Luxury Utility. But it’s this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT that really impresses the most as the ultimate track-focused SUV money can buy. You may not need it, but you know you want it!
- Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8
- Horsepower: 650
- 0-60 mph: 3.1-seconds
- Starting Price: $197,950
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 625 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 11.3-seconds at 124 mph