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Toyota's Prius Prime plug-in hybrid touts 120MPGe

It's the most efficient plug-in hybrid, but don't expect to go far on electricity alone.

Drew Phillips
Drew Phillips
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|March 23, 2016 2:25 PM

Toyota's Prius line has lost some of its luster in recent years. While it's still synonymous with hybrid cars, its plug-in hybrid model is facing stiff competition that has an edge in terms of pure electric range. The auto giant isn't standing still, though: it's unveiling the Prius Prime as an answer to these pretenders to the throne. The PHEV's electric-only range has only been doubled to a still-modest 22 miles, but it makes up for this with an equivalent efficiency of 120MPGe. If the figure holds up, it makes the Prime the most fuel-efficient plug-in on the market. Toyota chalks it up to the combination of an upgraded hybrid system and a larger battery.

Gallery: Toyota Prius Prime at the NY Auto Show | 16 Photos


The vehicle is a technological showcase on the inside, too. If you want, you can have an 11.6-inch touchscreen that dominates the center stack Tesla-style. You'll also have the usual raft of circa-2016 options, including a heads-up display, Qi wireless charging for smartphones, pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings and radar-based cruise control.

The Prius Prime should arrive in the fall, but Toyota isn't discussing the price yet. That may be the true deciding factor here -- if the Prime is too expensive next to the competition (or even regular Prius models), it may deter buyers who'd otherwise be sold. If it's at least on par, though, it could reel in a lot of commuters eager to cut fuel costs without the shorter ranges that come with all-electric cars.

Toyota Prius Prime Unveiling Footage

Toyota's Prius Prime plug-in hybrid touts 120MPGe