Since its US debut in 2000, the Toyota Prius has been synonymous with hybrid car. Now, Toyota has 11 alternative fuel models available, including the new 2021 Toyota Prius Prime. Like the RAV4 Prime, the Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid vehicle or PHEV. This means it has a bigger battery that charges by plugging it in (as well as while you drive), versus the Prius hybrid that charges its smaller battery only as you drive. The biggest difference between the Prius and Prius Prime: the Prius Prime can go in all-electric mode, where the Prius always operates in hybrid gas/electric mode. Both versions of the Prius offer incredible fuel economy, but each has different advantages.
Let’s start with fuel efficiency since that is what most Prius or hybrid car buyers consider first. The 2021 Prius gets up to 54 mpg* while the 2021 Prius Prime also gets 54 mpg but 133 MPGe*. What is MPGe? It is the EPA-equivalent of gasoline fuel efficiency but adjusted to measure electric operation. So, utilizing the bigger electric battery, you can go farther in the Prius Prime before you need to stop and get gas or charge the battery. The other advantage of the Prius Prime is that you can drive 25 miles in EV mode**. That means you can do many daily activities or shorter commutes with zero emissions. If you charge your Prius Prime when you get home or overnight, you will rarely get inconvenienced with stopping at a gas station!
If the Prius Prime gets better gas mileage, why buy the regular Prius? The Toyota Prius has a lower starting price point by about $3,000 and has several trim options for more customization when compared to the Prius Prime. You also have the option of AWDe (electronic all-wheel-drive), for an additional cost, in the Prius. There is also a bit more cargo space in the standard Prius as the Prius Prime loses some room to the larger battery. Both models have 60/40 split rear seats, with the regular Prius maxing out at 50.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
Another notable plus for the 2021 Toyota Prius is the drive feel. The Prius hybrid is lighter and does not have regenerative braking, which some find more difficult to gauge how much pressure to use. However, most get used to it quickly, and the Prius Prime has improved acceleration compared to the Prius. Another key difference is the availability of AWDe. If you spend more time on rough roads or in inclement weather, the 2021 Toyota Prius hybrid may be the better option.
Both the 2021 Toyota Prius and 2021 Toyota Prius Prime come with:
- Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, Amazon Alexa
- Available Qi wireless charging station
- 7” touchscreen and available 11.6” option
- LED head and taillights
- Fabric seats with optional SofTex® trim
- Available heated front seats
- Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.0
Only available in the Toyota Prius Limited is a power moonroof, and only available in the Toyota Prius Prime Limited is a premium JBL audio system. There are different trims available in either model, but the Prius hybrid has more options and packages The Prius Prime does not have any package options.
The choice between a new Toyota Prius and a Toyota Prius Prime really comes down to personal preference. If fuel economy is your biggest concern, the 2021 Toyota Prius Prime is the best option, and with available federal and state tax breaks, you can alleviate much of the cost difference. You will also enjoy quicker acceleration and a more modern style. However, the 2021 Toyota Prius offers more options and ways to customize, a lower price point, and still-impressive fuel economy. The 2021 Toyota Prius L Eco can get an even better 56 mpg combined, 58 mpg city*!
Ask the experts at Freeman Toyota about the available state and federal electric vehicle incentives. California residents can get up to $3,500 in CA tax rebates*** when purchasing a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) like the Toyota Prius Prime. You can also get up to $4,502 in federal tax rebates!† The 2021 Prius Prime also qualifies for single-occupant use of CA HOV lanes‡.
Freeman Toyota in Santa Rosa, California, carries all of the latest Toyota hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Our experienced, friendly staff will help you compare each model and its available features and options so that you find the perfect Toyota hybrid or plug-in hybrid that works best for you. Visit Freeman Toyota in Santa Rosa, CA, to take a test drive of both the 2021 Toyota Prius and 2021 Toyota Prius Prime and feel the difference first hand. Then speak with our auto finance experts to ensure you get the best price possible. Freeman Toyota, doggone friendly since 1963!
*EPA-estimated 54 city/50 hwy/52 combined mpg for 2021 Prius LE, XLE, 2020 Edition and Limited. 51 city/47 hwy/49 combined for 2021 Prius LE AWD-e and XLE AWD-e. 58 city/53 hwy/56 combined mpg for 2021 Prius L Eco. Your mileage will vary for many reasons, including your vehicle’s condition and how/where you drive. See www.fueleconomy.gov.
**EPA-estimated 133 combined MPGe for 2021 Prius Prime. EPA-estimated 55 city/53 hwy/54 combined mpg. Use for comparison purposes only. Your MPG/MPGe will vary for many reasons, including your vehicle’s condition and how/where you drive. See www.fueleconomy.gov.
***Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP): Provides savings directly to purchasers and lessees of fuel cell, battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Standard rebate is $1,000, increased rebate of $3,500 is for applicants with low-to-moderate household incomes (less than or equal to 400% of the federal poverty level). Visit https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng/ev/incentives/state-and-federal for more information.
†Government incentives are for informational purposes only. They are subject to change without notice, and do not constitute tax or legal advice. Government incentives are not within Freeman Toyota’s control and all persons considering use of available incentives should consult with their own tax professional to determine eligibility, specific amount of benefit available, if any, and further details. State incentives are based on http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/state. All credit and rebates are subject to approval by issuing entity. Please check with your local, stator federal agency (IRS) and/or a tax professional for eligibility requirements.
‡Eligibility for government incentives, including any rebate and/or sticker, is based on income and is subject to change at any time. See cleanvehiclerebate.org for more details.