Toyota knows how to build hybrids, and the fourth-generation Prius continues as the standard-bearer of fuel efficiency in its class. Last year, the 2019 Prius received a mid-cycle refresh. A little late to the party is the freshly updated 2020 Prius Prime plug-in hybrid.
If you’re undecided as to which Prius is right for you, we make a side-by-side comparison of the 2019 Prius against the 2020 Prius Prime and call out some of the major differences.
New for 2020
- Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay compatibility
- Five-passenger seating
- New black interior accents replace white accents
- Two additional USB ports for rear passengers
- Sun visor extender
No range anxiety here
The Prius Prime is Toyota’s plug-in hybrid vehicle with a max EV-only range of 25 miles. The combined power output of 121 horsepower is identical to the regular Prius. However, the Prius Prime weighs 300 pounds more and has an electric motor with less power. All of which affects acceleration and braking.
The good news is the Prime’s outstanding estimated driving range of 640 miles; an EPA estimated 54 mpg and 133 MPGe. Alternatively, the non-plug-in version of the Prius can achieve 52 mpg—a noteworthy achievement by itself.
Room for a fifth passenger
Now that the Prius Prime can seat five passengers, the interior design is nearly identical to the standard Prius from the C-pillar forward. However, behind the rear seat is a different story. Since the battery’s footprint changed, there is less cargo space, and the cargo floor is higher. With the changes, the Prius Prime only has 19.8 cubic feet. The model without plug-in capability has over 27 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row.
Due to popular demand, the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime now has three USB ports. There’s one 2.0 media port with iPod connectivity and control located ahead of the armrest. The other two charge ports are behind the center armrest. This configuration is the same as the regular Prius.
It’s nice that Apple CarPlay and Alexa is now part of the infotainment system capability. Unfortunately, even though the 2019 Prius was updated last year and has the same 11.6-inch multimedia display as the Prime, it isn’t possible to update the software for the same CarPlay and Alexa features according to my sources at Toyota.
In prior years, Toyota’s Safety Connect was available only on the top-of-the-line Limited grade. Starting with the 2020 model, emergency assistance to Toyota’s 24/7 call center is included across all grades for subscribers. When you do subscribe, the service offers emergency assistance, stolen vehicle tracking, roadside assistance and collision notification.
Tax incentives and rebates
- The 2017 – 2020 Prius Prime qualifies for $4502 federal tax credit and up to $1500 rebate for California residents
- 2020 Prius Prime eligible for California HOV carpool sticker
- Click the link to look up the list of state laws and incentives that applies to advanced vehicles and alternative fuels for your location
Shoppers looking at a plug-ins’ electric-only capabilities should check out alternatives such as the Hyundai Ioniq (29 miles of EV-only range, 54 mpg combined), the Honda Clarity (48 miles of EV-only range, 42 mpg combined), or the soon-to-be-discontinued Chevrolet Volt (53 miles of EV-only range, 42 mpg combined). Price sensitive consumers will notice that only the Ioniq is cheaper than the Prime; however, the Honda and Chevrolet start at $34,320 and $34,395, respectively.
If a lot more all-electric range is needed, check out our reviews of the Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro, Chevy Bolt and Nissan LEAF Plus.
In this video, Tommy and Roman take the 2020 Prius AWD-e and Tesla Model 3 on a road trip to see which alt-fuel vehicle is more fuel efficient.
Specs: 2020 Toyota Prius Prime vs. 2019 Toyota Prius
|2019 Prius Limited||2020 Prius Prime Limited|
|Price as tested||$N/A||$N/A|
|Combined System Power Output||121 hp||121 hp|
|Combined System Torque||105 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm||105 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm|
|Engine||96 hp 1.8L DOHC 4-cylinder||95 hp 1.8L DOHC 4-cylinder|
|Electric Motor Output||53 kW (71 hp)||29 kW (39 hp)|
|Electric Motor Torque||120 lb-ft||N/A|
|Electric Range||N/A||25 miles|
|Maximum Estimated Range||572 miles||640 miles|
|Tires||215/45R17 Bridgestone Ecopia||195/65R15 Bridgestone Ecopia|
|Acceleration 0-60 mph||N/A||N/A|
|EPA Estimated Fuel Economy||52 mpg (combined)||54 mpg (combined) /133 MPGe|
|Curb Weight||3,075 lbs||3,375 lbs|
|Wheelbase||106.3 inches||106.3 inches|
|Length | Width | Height (inches)||180.0 | 69.3 | 57.9||182.9 | 69.3 | 57.9|
|EPA Interior Volume||93.1 cu. ft.||91.5 cu. ft.|
|EPA Cargo Volume||27.4 cu. ft||19.8 cu. ft.|
|Max Cargo Volume||65.5 cu. ft||N/A|