The 2019 Toyota Prius Prime represents the pinnacle of efficiency and technology for the new- generation Prius, with dual-motor hybrid powertrain with a remarkable EPA-estimated 133 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent), the highest rating in the industry among all vehicles.
That also represents a substantial 26-percent enhancement over its predecessor model, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, the result of greater battery capacity and an improved hybrid system. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime stands out again, exceeding all competitors’ fuel economy ratings with EPA-estimated 55 city/53 highway/54 combined MPG.
All 2019 Toyota Prius Prime models are built around Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) and feature double-wishbone style multi-link rear suspension. You’ll find that kind of suspension on the best sport sedans, and it can work the same wonders for handling and ride quality in a super-efficient hybrid, too. The trailing-arm design allows increased luggage space, in this case an outstanding EPA-estimated 19.8 cu. ft. with the rear seatbacks in use.
TRIM LEVELS AND FEATURES
The 2019 Toyota Prius Prime is available in three trim level: Prime Plus, Prime Premium and Prime Advanced, each with successively more amenities and technology. The Prius Prime Plus starts with a long roster of standard features, including fabric-trimmed heated front seats with armrests and seatback pockets, power windows with auto up/down, smart-flow climate control system with pollen filtration, integrated navigation and backup camera, dual sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors and heated power outside mirrors. The standard SofTex-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel integrates controls for audio, climate, the Multi-Information Display and Bluetooth hands-free phone. Additional user tech includes the Smart Key System (on driver side) with Push Button Start. To power devices, there’s a 12V auxiliary power outlet up front, and another in the rear, plus one front USB power outlet.
Stepping up to the 2019 Toyota Prius Prime Premium nets more technology, comfort and convenience. Entune technology goes big-screen with the 11.6-inch vertical HD multimedia display. The Smart Key System with Push Button Start is expanded to three doors and includes remote illuminated entry. Comfort moves up a few notches with SofTex-trimmed heated front seats with armrests and seatback pockets. The driver gets an 8-way power adjustable seat with power lumbar support. The Prius Prime Premium also comes with wireless cell phone charging for Qi-compatible devices, just place a compatible phone on the console charging pad.
The Prius Prime Advanced adds a heated steering wheel, remote climate control system, rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers and auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink universal transceiver. LED fog lights help bolster visibility, while a color head-up display helps the driver keep focused on the road by projecting vital information onto the lower portion of the windshield. HUD displays include speedometer, hybrid battery charge Hybrid System Indicator navigation and the various systems within TSS-P.
The safety tech roster grows with Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Safety Connect, which includes Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification. (Includes complimentary three-year trial subscription).
Accentuating the Prius Prime futuristic lines are four standard paint color choices including Classic Silver Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Titanium Glow and Blue Magnetism (available only on Prius Prime), plus two premium colors, Blizzard Pearl and Hypersonic Red.
Not to be overshadowed by all the electrical action, the Prius Prime’s gasoline engine also plays a starring role in that efficiency. The 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, 4-cylinder engine, used in all 2017 Prius liftback models, expects a groundbreaking 40-percent-plus thermal efficiency. Most modern automobile engines reach about 25-30 percent.
Dig into the specs, and you’ll find a very high compression ratio of 13.0:1, yet like all Prius models, the Prius Prime runs on regular-grade gasoline. Myriad details throughout the hybrid powertrain contribute to its efficiency: an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system with a cooler, a smaller, lighter, quieter hybrid system water pump, and an exhaust heat recirculation system that speeds engine warm-up.
The combined net output for the Prime’s hybrid system is 121 hp. The effect of the electric motor and the planetary-type continuously variable transmission give the Prius Prime a spunky, responsive attitude in urban driving. On the highway, in battery mode, the silence is quite serene, indeed. The Prius Prime remains a quiet cruiser in all drive modes thanks to the sound-insulating laminated windshield and front door glass, comprehensive sound insulation measures and the optimized aero shape that helps keep wind noise where it belongs – outside.
Both the standard Prius hybrid and the Prius Prime are powered by Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which seamlessly combines the output of the gasoline engine and electric motor through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission. The biggest difference is that the Prius Prime can be plugged in to recharge its larger 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack – more than double that of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid it replaces.
To help make extended EV mode driving range possible using Hybrid Synergy Drive, Toyota modified the system. For the first time in a Toyota hybrid, the system uses a “dual motor drive.” Toyota didn’t add another motor, however. Rather, a new one-way clutch engages both the generator (MG1) and electric drive motor (MG2) for drive force, the first time MG1 has been used for that purpose. Regenerative braking recaptures electrical energy under deceleration and braking and stores it in the battery, which helps to reduce fuel consumption.
There’s no special equipment needed for home charging. Just plug the Prius Prime into a standard household outlet (Toyota recommends using a dedicated GFI 15A outlet) using the supplied cable. Charging using a standard household outlet takes less than five-and-a-half hours, or approximately two hours when using a public charger or other 240V source.
HYBRID POWER SYSTEM
Hybrid Net System Horsepower
121 horsepower (90kW)
1.8-liter 4-cylinder aluminum double-overhead cam (DOHC) 16-valve with VVT-i
4-valve/cylinder with VVT-i
Bore x Stroke
3.17 x 3.48 in.
Horsepower (SAE Net)
95 horsepower (71kW) @ 5,200 rpm
105 lb-ft (142 Nm) @ 3,600 rpm
EPA Fuel Economy
133 MPGe EV Mode
55 city/53 highway/54 combined
EPA Estimated Total driving range
EPA Estimated EV Mode range
Up to 25 miles (up to 84 mph)
Charging time (hour/minutes)
Approximately 2:10 (240V) / Less than 5:30 hours (120V)
MOTOR GENERATOR TWO
Drives front wheels, regeneration during braking
Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous Motor
HYBRID BATTERY PACK
Electronically Controlled continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT)
19.8 cu. ft
The 2019 Toyota Prius Prime adds even more premium touches and exclusive tech features compared to the all-new Prius liftback, including its available vertically oriented 11.6-inch HD multimedia screen and an available full color head-up display.
Notably, the Prius Prime comes standard with more active safety features of any hybrid in its class. Among the many safety features is standard Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). This multi-feature advanced active safety suite bundles the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology and Automatic High Beams. The Prius Prime Advanced model also comes with standard Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
All 2019 Toyota Prius Prime models come equipped with eight supplemental restraint system airbags, including driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front- passenger seat mounted side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, and a front passenger seat cushion airbag.
MSRP for 2019 Toyota Prius Prime