2022 Toyota Prius Prime

Your mockery of its appearance and performance will not diminish its excellent fuel economy.

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Being one of the most popular and the oldest-selling plug-in hybrids is something the 2022 Prius Prime boasts about. But since its introduction back in 2017, it has been heavily criticized for what it offered back then. But now, it is a well-equipped compact PHEV with exceptional mileage figures and decent interior amenities too.

Overview

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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The Prime is not that different from the regular Prius except for the added power that is harnessed from an electric motor. We often allow ourselves to freely criticize Toyota’s cheapest-selling plug-in hybrid about the drive and the interior, but if you only care about good fuel economy then it should be a fine choice. The Prius Prime debuted in 2017, so the overall design is towards the more modern Toyotas. The outgoing model year, however, brought a few necessary changes like the addition of a more advanced suite of driver aids consisting of features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and forward collision mitigation. The good thing about owning a plug-in hybrid is that you can drive it with full-electric power up to 25 miles, as per the EPA estimates. With all that said, it is not the perfect option. Competitors include the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. Should you consider the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime because of its unbeatable value and reliability? You will know everything you need to.

Trims and Features

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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Toyota likes to keep its lineup easy to remember. "The 2022 Prius Prime is available in three different trim levels: LE, XLE, Limited. All three trims feature the same 1.8-liter naturally aspirated engine which is paired to an electric motor that drives the front wheels via a CVT. There are no fancy packages loaded with features, so you wouldn’t be wasting your hard-earned money on buying them. Here is the detailed trim and features list for your reference.

LE.
Price: $28,220.

  • LED headlamps, DRLs, taillamps.
  • 15-inch alloys.
  • Heated rearview mirrors.
  • Automatic climate control.
  • Driver information display.
  • Cloth upholstery.
  • Multi-level heating for the front seats.
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.
  • Hands-free driver-side entry.
  • Six-speaker sound system.
  • 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display.
  • 120-volt household power outlet.

The Prius Prime comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 which includes:

  • Forward collision mitigation.
  • Lane-departure warning.
  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Lane-keeping assist.

XLE.
Price: $30,000.

  • Hands-free keyless entry for all four doors.
  • Navigation system.
  • Heads-up display.
  • Leatherette upholstery.
  • 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment display.
  • Charging cable lock.
  • Wireless charging pad.
  • Voice recognition system.
2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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Limited.
Price: $34,000.

  • Rain-sensing wipers.
  • LED foglamps.
  • Heated steering wheel.
  • 10-speaker JBL premium audio unit.
  • Blindspot monitoring.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Parking assist.
  • Rear automatic braking.

Exterior: Looks unique, if you would show your manners

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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Yes, we feel that the Prius Prime’s looks have been criticized from the moment it was revealed. And, to be honest, we found the overall looks of the Prime are not bad either. The front fascia is very similar to the Camry with sleek LED headlamps and a creased hood. The intake grille, however, is not as big and wide as you would expect. It is a much slimmer grille, and that’s okay to cool down a small 1.8-liter engine. The top-tier Limited trim has LED fog lamps and rain-sensing wipers while the base LE trim comes with driver-side hands-free entry, heated exterior mirrors, and a set of 15-inch alloy wheels. There are no bigger wheel options available, even as an optional upgrade. From the sides, the weirdness is more noticeable and you cannot ignore it. The rear is thick and it shrinks down as it comes to the front nose. It has the design dynamics of a sports car but there is hardly any sportiness. The rear will somewhat remind you of the BMW X6 with those taillamps and the Sportback design. Yes, as we said, it does not look bad and it is even better in person.

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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As for a mid-size sedan, it is quite compact if you compare it to its rivals. The Prius Prime is about 182.9 inches long which means it is shorter than the Sonata and Clarity by ten inches. It is about 69.3 inches wide, has a height of 57.9 inches and the wheelbase is 106.3 inches. The Sonata has a 111.8-inch wheelbase while both the Sonata and the Clarity are slightly by two-three inches larger than the Prime. The ground clearance is decent-ish for a sedan, although it is meant to stay within city limits, 4.8 inches are not bad. As for the curb weight, its compact dimensions have led to shedding some pounds as the Prime is the lightest with 3,365 pounds in the said competition.

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior Dimensions
Model 2022 Toyota Prius Prime
Curb Weight  3,365 lbs.
Length 182.9 in.
Width  69.3 in.
Height 57.9 in.
Ground Clearance  4.8 in.
Wheelbase  106.3 in.

Interior: You get what you pay for

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Interior
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The weirdness doesn’t end but starts growing inside the cabin too. But most importantly the quality takes a major hit. Let’s start with the design. A whole lot is going on with the dashboard with the center getting all the attention as it has the horizontally laid out driver’s display on the top and just below is the infotainment display. It seems that drifting the display to the center was stupid enough already as if it is needed by all of the occupants but the driver. Moving forward, the steering wheel is all plastic-made and so are the dash and the door panels. The use of cheap plastics is inevitable, but Toyota could have easily taken care of it by installing cheaper soft-touch materials. I hope that Toyota can fix it with the next generation Prius Prime. The seats are cloth-covered but you will get heated front seats as standard. Furthermore, there are no leather seats but you can get the faux leather upholstery with both XLE and Limited.

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Interior
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While the seats are comfortable, the seating space is not. However, that is only felt when you get on the rear row. The front has good 39.4-inch headroom and about 43.2-inch legroom, making up for the driver and the front passenger. The rear row, well, has a lot less legroom and we can blame the shorter wheelbase of the Prime and also the bigger battery that is housed underneath the cabin. So there’s 37.4-inch headroom and about 33.4-inch legroom at the rear. Toyota could’ve shrunken the front legroom a bit more to make the rear row a bit more accessible. Taller individuals will hate it back there.

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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Now, all of the aforementioned factors do limit the seating comfort, but the Prime has a respectable amount of cargo space of about 19.8 cubic feet. While both the Sonata and the Clarity provide all-around comfort, they fall back in terms of carrying luggage. Here are some of the important interior features of the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime for your reference.

  • Automatic climate control.
  • Driver information display.
  • Cloth/leatherette upholstery.
  • Multi-level heating for the front seats.
  • 120-volt power outlet.
  • Wireless charging pad.
2022 Toyota Prius Prime Interior Dimensions
Model 2022 Toyota Prius Prime
Seating Capacity 5
Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 39.4/54.2/43.2
Second Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 37.2/53.0/33.4
Cargo Capacity  19.8 cu.ft.
2022 Toyota Prius Prime Interior
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The infotainment system is greatly packed as standard with features like a seven-inch touchscreen display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, a six-speaker audio unit, and Bluetooth connectivity. However, Android Auto is only available for the lowest LE trim. See? Weird. Opting for the higher trims will unlock a bigger 11.6-inch touchscreen display placed in portrait orientation and has the split-screen function for added convenience. Other features included with the higher trims would be:

  • Heads-up display.
  • Navigation system.
  • Voice recognition system.
  • 10-speaker JBL system.
  • SiriusXM.

Performance and handling: Gets the job done

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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How do you think the Prius Prime delivers the level of fuel economy it promises? Well, the performance is severely compromised as you might have guessed. There is a 1.8-liter naturally aspirated inline-four engine that churns out a mere 95 horsepower and 105 pound-feet. Now, as it is a plug-in hybrid, the Prime has an electric motor that is powered by an 8.8-kWh battery pack. As a result, there is a slight power bump to 121 horsepower. This engine drives the continuously variable transmission that sends power to the front wheels. As for the comparisons, the Clarity puts out 212 horses while the Sonata puts out 192 horses. As plug-in hybrids, they do not sacrifice a lot of mileage for putting out the said power figures. The lack of power can be felt on a day-to-day basis with the Prius Prime. It can barely accelerate the way you want it to behave: 0-60 miles per hour in 10.3 seconds and a standing quarter-mile in 17.7 seconds. The speed tops out at 101 miles per hour and that is quite acceptable as you would not want to drive the Prime fast.

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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Driving in the city limits would be the best for the Toyota Prius Prime. The highway drivability is not bad either if you want to stick to a constant speed and do not care about overtaking other cars. The Prius Prime would be the best for you if you are a middle-aged family man. As expected the steering wheel feedback is as numb as it can get but its lower heft makes it mobile for short and quick turns. The suspension is set on the softer side, allowing to car soak up bumps and rough patches quite nicely. To sum it up, you will not be thrilled to drive the Prius Prime, but if you are buying it for its specialty, the fuel economy, you have to forgive its on-road character.

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Performance Stats
Model 2022 Toyota Prius Prime
Engine Type 1.8-liter naturally aspirated inline-4 w/ electric hybrid
Drive Type FWD
Transmission Continuously variable-speed automatic
Power  121 hp @ 5,200 RPM
Torque  -
0-60 (mph)  10.3 seconds
Quarter-mile 17.7 seconds
Top Speed 101 mph

Fuel Economy

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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This is where the Prius Prime shines and if you can let go of the caveats, you might get all dazzled by the fuel economy and consider it. It is literally a money-saver for a lot of you guys. The EPA considers the fuel economy to be great and it has rated 55/53/54 for city/highway/combined. As it is a plug-in hybrid, the 8.8-kWh battery pack can deliver up to a claimed 25 miles in the EV mode. The gas battery combined mileage is way more impressive 133 MPGe than its competitors with about 110 MPGe. Because of its already high fuel economy, Toyota did not equip the Prime with a big gas tank and add further weight, rather it stuffed a smaller one of 11.4 gallons that can get you about 600 miles easily.

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Fuel Economy
Model 2022 Toyota Prius Prime
MPG (City) 55
MPG (Highway) 53
MPG (Combined) 54
Tank Capacity (Gallons) 11.4
Range (City, Highway, Combined) 627.0/604.2/615.6

How safe is the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime?

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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It is never alien to expect good safety and reliability from Toyota and what you get with the Prius Prime could never be disappointing. The NHTSA has rated the plug-in hybrid at 5-stars while the IIHS did not award the “Top Safety Pick+” but has complemented it with “Good” in most categories except for the passenger-side small overlap and headlights. The scores are decent for the price, we would say, but the Sonata got the “Top Safety Pick”. Anyway, the Prius Prime gets loads of standard driver assistance features which are of course rare for the price range. They are:

  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Forward collision mitigation.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Lane-departure warning.

Other safety features available with the Limited trim are as follows:

  • Rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Blindspot monitoring.
  • Rear automatic braking.
  • Parking assist.

Should you consider the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime?

2022 Toyota Prius Prime Exterior
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You will like the Prius Prime if you consider fuel economy over more modern looks, better cabin comfort, performance, and handling. The Prime, when it was launched, had a great impact but now the competition has gotten better in every way except for the fuel economy. But to achieve that impressive fuel economy, you have to sacrifice the 200+ horsepower the competition is offering. Other impressive features include added driver aids like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist which are not available to the other leading competitors.

FAQ

How much does the Toyota Prius Prime cost?
The starting price of the 2022 Prius Prime is about $28,220 while the range-topping Limited will set you back $34,000.

Toyota Prius hybrid mileage?
With the hybrid mode on, you can get a claimed 133 MPGe as combined.

Is the Prius Prime available with AWD?
No. Unfortunately, the Prius Prime does not come with AWD.

Is the Prius Prime reliable?
The Prius Prime has a predictable reliability rating of 74 out of 100. Sadly, the J.D. Power ratings are not available.

Amreetam Basu
Amreetam Basu
Automotive Journalist
After working predominantly as a freelancer at CarHP/CarIndigo, Amreetam joined the TopSpeed team as a journalist in September 2021. In a world where SUVs are booming, he favors sedans and adores BMWs and Mercedes, with a special spot for Lexus and Genesis. He is currently pursuing Master of Arts in History and is 23 years old.  Read full bio
About the author

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