As the automotive world has rapidly shifted from a fascination with hybrids to pure electric vehicles (EVs), Toyota has been forced to spruce up its Prius lineup to stay top-of-mind. With its standard Prius liftback, the Japanese automaker settled on a bold (though unflattering) design language and improved fuel economy.
Predictably, eco-friendly shoppers who fear a conversion to the all-electric lifestyle have latched onto the new model, despite its quirks. But Toyota can only rely on range anxiety for so long—affordable, pure EVs are on the way with a new generation of battery technology to alleviate consumer concerns.
Enter the plug-in hybrid (PHEV), now dubbed the Prius “Prime.” Bettering the standard Prius is the Prime’s exterior styling, interior features, packaging. The 2017 Prius Prime may be Toyota’s final stopgap before an all-electric replacement, but it’s also the most sophisticated hybrid of the moment.