Toyota took some time off from producing a plug in hybrid, but now they're back with a brand new offering called the Prius Prime. They call it the "Prime" since it offers the best features on any Prius.
First and foremost, it's an all electric car if you want it to be. Now you can go up to 25 miles on pure electric - even on the freeway since it now goes up to 84 MPH in all electric mode.
Toyota says their research shows that a large majority of the commuting public can get to work and back in all electric mode. But if you need some more range, the gas engine kicks in and you can go up to 640 miles. In hybrid mode, the Prime gets about 54 MPG.
Prius Prime also features the largest touch screen display Toyota has ever put in one of their vehicles. It measures in at 11.6 inches, although you will have to get the upgraded trim to get it. There are three available - base is the Prime Plus, next is Prime Premium and then there is Prime Advanced.
Driving this car is a lot of fun. It feels great knowing that you can go all electric and never use a sip of gas if you don't want to. But at the same time there is no range anxiety since you are also getting a car that can function as your typical hybrid.
Two downsides to this high tech car - Toyota is not supporting Android Auto or Apple CarPlay at this time, and the back seat now only has room for two people instead of three.
Overall, the Prius Prime is a no-brainer upgrade over the standard Prius Hybrid. If you decide to plug in each night you can potentially save a lot of money on gas. It takes just over 5 hours to fully charge using a standard household outlet. But if you forget to charge it up you'll still be able to go wherever you want thanks to the gas tank. It really is the best of both worlds. It's a tiptoe into the world of electric vehicles without making a lot of sacrifices.
Prius Prime starts at $27,100 and will be available in all 50 states by late Fall 2016.
Chevy says the Prime's biggest competition will be the Chevy Volt, which offers a similar mix of electric and gas. The Volt can go up to 53 miles in pure electric mode or 420 miles when you combine it with a tank of gas. It takes 13 hours to charge using a standard household plug and starts at about $33,000.