Toyota Prius Vs. Toyota Prius Prime:

By Justin Cupler | November 6th, 2018

Though gasoline prices have remained pretty consistent in recent years, buyers are becoming more conscious of the amount of cash flowing into their gas tanks and the pollution shooting into the atmosphere. This is where the 2018 Toyota Prius and 2018 Toyota Prius Prime step in to clean things up and save you cash. But which of these vehicles, the hybrid Prius or the plug-in hybrid Prius Prime, is the better buy for our Waukegan, Illinois car shoppers? Keep reading to find out.

Exterior

Though they ride on the same platform, have the same name, and share many of their components, the 2018 Toyota Prius and 2018 Toyota Prius Prime look surprisingly different. A close look can pick out their similarities — especially from the profile view — but the front and rear ends are very different.

The 2018 Toyota Prius takes on a wildly futuristic look with its boomerang-style headlights, tapered nose, and zig-zag taillights. Despite being the more advanced of the two, the Prius Prime takes on a slightly more traditional look with its horizontal LED headlights and taillights. Both Prius models feature future-looking designs, but the Prime is a little more toned down.

Though they share most of their body panels and a platform, the 2018 Prius and 2018 Prius Prime have small differences in size. The Prius Prime is 4.2 inches longer and 182.9 inches and matches the Prius’ 69.3-inch width, but its 57.9-inch height is 0.2 inches lower than the Prius. Both models share a 106.3-inch wheelbase.

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Prius

  • Super-futuristic design
  • Smaller body makes parking easier

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime

  • More timid design language

Interior

Inside, the 2018 Toyota Prius and 2018 Toyota Prius Prime share very similar cabins. In the front seats, it is virtually impossible to tell them apart. The both have optional 11.6-inch touchscreens, optional leather, and available gloss-white touches. When you get to the back seats, though, the Prius holds three passengers, while the Prius Prime has seating for only two.

In the front seats, the Prius and Prius Prime boast 39.4 inches of headroom, but they are different in every other measurement. The Prius offers 42.3 inches of legroom to the Prime’s 43.2 inches; the Prius’ shoulder room checks in at 55 inches to the Prime’s 54.2 inches; and the Prius has 53.4 inches of hip room to the Prime’s 53.7 inches.

In the rear seats, the Prius and Prius Prime share shoulder room and legroom at 33.4 inches and 53 inches, respectively. In headroom, the Prius’ 37.4 inches beats the Prius Prime by 0.2 inches, while the Prius’ 51.9 inches of hip room bests the Prius Prime by 0.3 inches.

In a liftback body, like the 2018 Prius and Prius Prime feature, cargo room is a big part of the equation. The Prius’ cargo room varies by trim as the One, Two, Three, and Three Touring models have 24.6 cubic feet, while the lack of a spare tire in the Two Eco, Four, and Four Touring boosts this capacity to 27.4 cubic feet.

The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime’s cargo room gets gobbled up by the larger batteries, putting it at 19.8 cubic feet.

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Prius

  • Room for five people
  • More cargo room
  • Roomier rear seats

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime

  • Extra front-seat legroom

Performance

The 2018 Toyota Prius and 2018 Toyota Prius Prime are for buyers looking to save money on fuel and the environment. They are not for buyers looking for an exhilarating drive. Both vehicles use a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine that produces 95 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque. They also have an electric motor that brings the total hybrid output to 121 horsepower.

While these powertrains may look identical on the surface, they are way different once you dig a little deeper. The 2018 Prius is a straight hybrid vehicle with no calculated all-electric range. The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime, however, uses an 8.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery to give it up to 25 miles of all-electric driving at speeds up to 84 mph. This allows short-distance commuters to make it to work without using a drop of fuel. After draining the battery, the Prius Prime goes into normal hybrid mode like the standard Prius.

The 2018 Toyota Prius has two set of fuel-economy numbers, as it has the Two Eco trim that combines a more efficient lithium-ion battery with the hybrid system to deliver enhanced fuel economy. The Prius Two Eco gets up to 58 mpg city, 53 highway, and 56 combined, while all other Prius trims get 54 mpg city, 50 highway, and 50 combined. After using up the Prius Prime’s battery, its hybrid mode’s fuel economy rests at 55 mpg city, 53 highway, and 54 combined. When on electric only, the EPA rates the Prius Prime at 133 mpg-e.

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Prius

  • Prius Two Eco delivers superior hybrid fuel economy

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime

  • 25-mile EV range
  • Efficient electricity usage
  • Better hybrid fuel economy than the base Prius

Pricing and Features

The 2018 Toyota Prius has a whopping seven trim levels to choose from: One, Two, Two Eco, Three, Three Touring, Four, and Four Touring. Starting prices range from $23,475 to $30,565.

The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime’s lineup is a little easier to navigate with just three trims: Plus, Premium, and Advanced. Starting prices range from $27,300 to $33,300.

2018 Toyota Prius Key Features and Pricing by Trim

One: $23,475

  • 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor
  • Sealed nickel-metal hydride battery
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • 15-inch five-spoke alloy wheels
  • Bi-LED projector LED headlights with auto-off
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED taillights
  • Active grille shutter
  • Heated power side-view mirrors
  • Body-color door handles
  • Body-color roof-mounted fin spoiler
  • Rearview camera
  • 4.2-inch multi-information display
  • Cloth seats
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Cruise control
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Smart key with keyless ignition
  • Power windows with one-touch up/down
  • Power door locks
  • White-accented steering wheel and shifter
  • Two 12-volt power outlets
  • Entune Audio infotainment system with 6.1-inch touchscreen
  • AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers
  • USB 2.0 port
  • Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-departure alert
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Hill-start assist

Two: $24,685

  • All One features, plus
  • Two-tone wheel covers
  • Intermittent rear wiper
  • Front seatback pockets
  • Driver’s door smart-key entry

Two Eco: $25,165

  • All Two features, plus
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Auto-on/off headlights
  • Remote illuminated entry

Three: $26,735

  • All Two features, plus
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Auto-on/off headlights
  • Leatherette-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leatherette-wrapped door armrest
  • Semi-gloss-black or white center console with armrest
  • Three-door smart-key entry
  • Wireless charging
  • Entune Premium Audio infotainment system with 7-inch touchscreen
  • Navigation
  • Entune App Suite
  • HD Radio
  • SiriusXM

Three Touring: $28,115

  • All Three features, plus
  • Fog lights
  • LED accent lights
  • 17-inch five-spoke wheels
  • Unique rear bumper
  • Leatherette seating

Four: $29,685

  • All Three features, plus
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Heated front seats
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • Leatherette seating
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Universal home remote
  • Cargo area tonneau cover
  • 11.6-inch touchscreen
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert

Four Touring: $30,565

  • All Four features, plus
  • Fog lights
  • LED accent lights
  • 17-inch five-spoke wheels
  • Unique rear bumper

2018 Toyota Prius Prime Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Plus: $27,300

  • 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • Quad-LED projector headlights with auto-off
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED taillights
  • Active grille shutter
  • Heated power mirrors
  • 15-inch five-spoke alloy wheels
  • Variable intermittent wipers
  • 4.2-inch color multi-information display
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Leatherette-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leatherette-wrapped door armrest
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Digital instrumentation
  • Cloth seats
  • Heated front seats
  • Keyless ignition
  • Power windows with one-touch up and down
  • Power locks
  • Rear center console with armrest
  • Front USB outlet
  • 120-volt charging cable
  • Entune Premium infotainment system with 7-inch touchscreen
  • Navigation
  • Entune App Suite
  • Six-speaker AM/FM audio system with SiriusXM
  • HD Radio
  • Rearview camera
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Hill-start assist

Premium: $29,000

  • All Plus features, plus
  • Auto-on/off headlights
  • Smart charging cable lock
  • Leatherette-trimmed seats
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • Wireless charging pad
  • Entune Premium infotainment system with 11.6-inch touchscreen
  • Siri Eyes Free

Advanced: $33,300

  • All Premium features, plus
  • LED fog lights and accent lights
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Remote air conditioning
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Color head-up display
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Cargo area tonneau cover
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Park-distance sonar
  • Entune Premium JBL Audio
  • Prime Apps
  • 10 JBL GreenEdge speakers
  • Emergency Assistance
  • Stolen-car locator
  • Roadside assistance
  • Automatic collision notification

Who Should Buy the 2018 Toyota Prius?

The 2018 Toyota Prius is perfect for a buyer who just doesn’t have the time to plug in their car but still wants a thrifty ride. Also, with its five-person capacity, the Prius is better suited for larger families.

Who Should Buy the 2018 Toyota Prius Prime?

Got a short commute to work and a charging station in your parking garage? The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime is the perfect way to drive to work and back all week without using an ounce of fuel.

Still not sure which thrifty vehicle is best for you? Head down to our new-car showroom serving Waukegan, McHenry, and Crystal Lake, Illinois to test drive the 2018 Toyota Prius and 2018 Toyota Prius Prime to see which suits you best. If you can’t make it to our Waukegan, Illinois showroom, you can see if we have a 2018 Prius or Prius Prime in stock that meets your needs.

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