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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2022 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2021 Toyota Prius Prime Limited

Vehicle Type: Small Hybrid
 overall score
Category Ranking: 7

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $34,000
Price as Tested: $34,995

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Electricity/regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 11.4
120V Charge Time: 5.5 miles per hour
240V Charge Time: 12.5 miles per hour
EPA City mpg55
EPA Highway mpg53
EPA Combined mpg: 54
EPA Combined MPGe: 133
EPA-Est. Electric Range (mi): 25

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [S]
  • Advanced Headlights [S]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [O]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [S]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [O]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional
NHTSA Rating:

Overall Observations

The Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, which debuted in 2017, is the most recent addition to the Prius lineup. It combines a fuel-efficient 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine, an electric motor (121 hp total), and a larger, rechargeable battery pack. This enables the Prime to travel farther (about 25 miles) on battery power alone, which is only middling in today’s PHEV world. Overall fuel economy, however, is awesome—54 mpg. Additional strong points include LED headlights, ToyotaCare maintenance (free for 2 years/25,000 miles), and the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of advanced safety features. High fuel economy comes at a cost, however. The Prius Prime’s hybrid powertrain feels underpowered and exhibits throttle lag. The interior is roomy, but the styling is uninspired. The front seats aren’t particularly comfortable, getting in and out of the backseat is difficult, and the cargo area is small when the seat backs are up. Rear visibility is also limited by the rear window’s angle and the horizontal partition across its center.
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Strengths and Weaknesses

Strong Points

  • Excellent fuel-economyratings
  • Good efficiency and value
  • Long list of advancedsafety features
  • Decent overall interiorroom, especially frontheadroom

Weak Points

  • Underpowered, suffersfrom throttle lag
  • Only 25 miles all-electricrange
  • Uninspired interior styling
  • Poor rear visibility

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2021
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 3440.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 182.9 / 69.3 / 57.9
Wheelbase (in): 106.3
Number of air bags: 10
Warranty (months/miles): 36/36,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Toyo Nano Energy A41
Front and rear tire size: 195/65 R15
Max towing capacity (lbs): Not recommended
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Hybrid drive
Drivetrain type: Front wheel
Engine/motor: 1.8L 4-Cyl. DOHC VVT-i
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 95 @ 5200
Electric motor horsepower: 71
Combined system horsepower: 121

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:








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