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2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/18/2021 5:32 AM

A few weeks ago, I had to drive to Huntington Beach to see a client. It took me over 3 hours with traffic - mid day traffic, not rush hour. I live less than 50 miles away, so that's excessive and LA County was still in partial shut down mode! Oh yeah, the return trip was about 1 1/2 hours - so with the meeting, I lost a whole day - something has to change!

So, my brain started churning and with some research, I found that I could get a carpool stickers if I bought a Prius Prime! Carpool stickers allow me to drive in the carpool lane without having a passenger. I was ready to order a base model LE, but for less than $1,200 more, the XLE made more sense. What does $1,200 buy? Nothing on the outside - both are the same. Mechanically, the same motor, battery, etc. The amenities - there you go. Leatherette vs cloth. JBL stereo system (and it does sound pretty good). 11.6" large screen vs 7". Navigation system (great when I leave my phone at home). Power drivers seat - this is something I'll use. Predictive traffic and weather overlay - nice! Power lumbar support - great feature! Auto on headlights. Qi wireless phone charger - great for me, because I forget my cord all the time! Smart charging cable lock - so people can't steal my charging cable! Three door vs one door smart key access - very important. Three year Safety Connect and Remote Connect vs 1 year - good as long as I keep the car for more than a year. I'm buying this car for a carpool sticker, so should I spend the extra $1,200?

When I found out that I qualify for a $4,502 tax credit and a $900.11 California rebate, the decision was easy. Go for the Prius Prime XLE.

I've owned the car for about two weeks. What do I think of it? On my first drive, I really didn't like the car. In the first five minutes, I was almost sideswiped by a large van (on the freeway). I swerved hard to avoid him and the car didn't feel very safe and the chassis felt like the car was too heavy.

Cons: Acceleration is sluggish - expected for a Prius. No volume button or station button for the stereo - who engineered this! The seat is pretty comfortable - better than the older Prius. The hard buttons next to the screen don't work well. Shifter is in an odd place - I've hit the touch screen a few times when grabbing the shifter. Apple CarPlay cable is in the wrong place - should be under the screen, so the cable can be hidden. Visibility to the rear and sides isn't great. Steering is vague. Safety nannies are a little intrusive. A little noisy on the highway. No carpool stickers, until I get the registration - bummer!

Pros: Great fuel economy (52.9 combined showing on the trip computer which includes many miles of 80+ mph highway speeds). Stereo sounds really nice - one of the better stock systems I've owned. AC works great! Navigation is actually pretty good and the large screen is a plus. Apple CarPlay is a nice bonus. Sirius XM has a pause button! Plenty of space in the back seat. Cargo cover included and cargo area light switched to rear hatch operation. Siri is much more helpful than I thought she would be. 400+ miles and no fill up yet. Plug in is a nice option, but I haven't used it yet.

My summary. I didn't think this car would help my efficiency (workwise), but it has. I've been able to do much more than I thought I would. I've also enjoyed the low cost of fuel (zero now, but expecting $35 fill ups). Lane change assist doesn't work great and if I don't use my turn signal, it's a little aggressive. Stereo is really nice - it helps when I'm spending hours on the freeway. XM sounds good. Apple CarPlay and Spotify are also winners! Phone sound is good too! Overall, I'm pleasantly surprised and it's turning out much better than I expected. After the tax credit, My net cost is under $20K. What else can you get for that much?

Does anyone else here have one? What's your take? Would you buy another one? What's your biggest pet peeve?

For those who don't own one, would you consider buying one? If you hate the car, why? What do you think of those Prius drivers? Hyper milers who block traffic in the fast lane?

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#1

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/18/2021 5:57 AM

Great posting with lots of useful details. Thanks for sharing.

The posting also explains some of the reasons that life is so much nicer on the right coast compared to the left coast. Rush hour adds about 5 minutes to my travel time. We do have to slow down if there is a turtle or red headed sand hill crane walking in the road. Baby sand hill cranes are long legged yellow fluff balls that look exactly like Big Bird from Sesame Street and people stop to watch. I guess we all have our burdens to deal with.

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#34
In reply to #1

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 10:39 PM

I have a client moving from Florida to California. When I warned her about traffic, she laughed! She told me that traffic in Miami is horrible. "At least traffic moves in LA - in Miami, you sit for 5-10 minutes, then move a few car lengths".

She told me that she's looking forward to the traffic in LA.

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#2

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/18/2021 8:54 AM

I think there's about a million cars I'd rather have in the $20k neighborhood than a Prius....course I'm just guessing....

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#7
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 6:28 PM

Except for one thing - which one can you get a carpool sticker in CA?

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#13
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 7:00 PM

I don't need no stinkin' carpool sticker...

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#14
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 7:07 PM

Since the pandemic, people drive in the carpool lane with only one driver. Some use the lane as a passing lane - in and out. Of course, without a passenger and no carpool sticker.

Carpool violation in CA $490. And no point.

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#15
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 7:35 PM

I keep this in the garage for when the greenies take over....

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#16
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 8:54 PM

Silver Pine Mica - perfect color for the Trader Joe's parking lot! And all the right stickers, except the Mc Donalds at the right ...

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#17
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 11:43 PM

That was placed there ironically...It was a slipup though, as everybody knows the lefties have no sense of humor...

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#18
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/20/2021 12:39 AM

Here are a few more to add:

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#3

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/18/2021 9:25 AM

Never driven a Prius but they are very popular with taxi drivers where I live in the UK. That must be a plus vote for their economy & versatility.

I'm a bit of a dinosaur, sticking to petrol for now. I'm taking my car for an upgrade tomorrow, aiming to raise it's power from the current 250bhp to 350bhp.

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#8
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 6:29 PM

250-350 bhp? What are they doing and what kind of car is it?

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#35
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 10:46 PM

I just checked the wholesale auto sales and there have been recent Prius sales with the following miles. 300K, 301K, 313K, 314K and 361K.

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#4

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/18/2021 11:05 PM

https://www.caranddriver.com/toyota/prius-prime

It's slow, weird looking, and has tiny wheels...

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#5
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 8:43 AM

Just kidding ...seems like a very practical commuter vehicle...gets great gas mileage, very dependable, cheap to own...then you get the treehugger discount.... it's safe middle ground between petrol heads and greenies...It's a great Mommy car....

...."the Toyota Prius holds its value well with the lowest depreciation value out of all green cars."...

https://www.motorbiscuit.com/is-buying-a-used-toyota-prius-worth-it/

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#6
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 11:52 AM

And the gov'mint pays you to buy one...

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#12
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 6:44 PM

Good for me, but I'm not sure if it's good for the country. Why should we get paid to buy an EV or Plug in Hybrid?

Now I'll just go hide in my corner and enjoy the fish tacos I'm buying with my $4,502 tax credit ... and my $900.11 state rebate! And then to the store to get a new cell phone (the Apple is in pretty bad shape) ...

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#19
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/20/2021 12:09 PM

. . . from here ??

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#22
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/20/2021 10:50 PM

I love that place!

Unfortunately, it's about a 1 1/2 hour drive from my house!

Here's where we go - pre-pandemic, this is what a normal Tuesday looked like:

And here's what our Taco Tuesday $1.25 taco special (per fish taco) looks like: It's like a gourmet taco! The best I've had - even better than Pepe's on the Silver Strand in Oxnard - and their fish tacos are fantastic - my favorite until I found Tacos Ensenada!

Pepe's on the Silver Strand - 2nd best fish tacos and best nachos - skip the burrito though:

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#25
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/20/2021 10:58 PM

From where you're at, keep walking on the boardwalk (paved trail) for about a 1/4 mile or so. Just past the parking garage, you'll see a restaurant called Aloha. Great place for happy hour - decent food, good prices on drinks and a nice crowd - and an awesome view. Lots of young beachgoers walking down the boardwalk!

After you've finished happy hour, you can walk toward the freeway. Cross over the freeway, go up a couple blocks and you're in downtown Ventura. There are a lot of cool hangouts on Main St! Back in the late '80's, it was our go to for Friday and/or Saturday night. There was a bar upstairs that had $1 Corona night (midweek). They had live bands and lots of young gals would hang out there. Those were fun days indeed!

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#27
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 10:35 AM

I occasionally travel to Ventura for business. That is a fun place to hang out. My daughter and her husband are down in Oceanside as he is stationed at Camp Pendleton. There is a nice pier down there as well. Appreciate the tip on the Aloha. Been down Main St. in Ventura. Definitely a hip place.

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#37
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 11:05 PM

Ventura had a really good rib place called Chicago Ribs (or something like that). Great value and pretty good ribs. We loved going there, but unfortunately, they closed a few years ago. There was also a place called Old Vienna (not far from Victoria near the college). Really great people and it had an authentic German feel, but the last time I drove by, they were out of business too!

Our absolutely, positively favorite place to eat is Cafe Zacks on Thompson - a few blocks south of downtown Ventura. They have a set of daily specials - great choices! Or you can order from the normal menu. And their wine list is awesome with a lot of local wines in the $35-45 a bottle range - really nice wines that he ages a few years. Everything we've ordered has been perfection! My favorite is the rib eye with maytag blue cheese! And they have these golden potatoes, split into 1/8's and cooked in butter - the butter infuses into the potato and when they cook it, there's a slightly crispy texture. I ask for double potatoes and skip the vegetables.

slow roasted boar shank [ 35 ]
oven roasted milanese with a rich demi-glace

14oz new york strip steak – bone in [ 36 ]
maytag blue cheese cabernet reduction sauce or tellicherry peppercorn encrusted

duck breast [ 28 ]
please inquire for today’s preparation

roasted rack of lamb [ 35 ]
prepared with a rosemary and garlic marinade

medallions of pork tenderloin [ 26 ]
sautéed tenderloins, sliced apples and olive oil with a brandy créme reduction sauce

chicken pizziola [ 22 ]
sautéed cicken breast, fresh tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and red chili flakes with extra virgin olive oil

And if you get to Santa Barbara, you have to try La Super Rica! It's a hole in the wall, but they have some insanely good food. The line is usually pretty long, but it's worth it. Get the #15 - its a bowl of cheese with bacon chunks and home made tortillas (they make them there - you can watch the lady working her magic). You scoop the cheese/bacon mix on to the tortilla and put a little salsa! Oh my - a heart attack in a bowl! Reasonable prices, nice people and cool place to people watch. After you're done, head to the beach in Santa Barbara and go for a walk - I love Santa Barbara!

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#10
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 6:39 PM

I can not go to Trader Joe's! I can stand in line with the other Prius owners, waiting for our turn to enter our favorite store.

When I get to the front of the line, I'll be so excited ... except I can't go in - I forgot something! No, not my mask - I have it right here! I forgot my Birkenstocks! Off to the Birkenstock store to buy a pair! This trip to Trader Joe's is becoming a little more expensive than I thought. As I leave the parking lot, I can waive to all the Prius drivers! See you soon!!!

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#20
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/20/2021 12:17 PM

Well who wouldn't want to pay $135 for a pair of uncomfortable sandals....

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#23
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/20/2021 10:51 PM

For some reason, people love 'em! I've never owned a pair.

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#28
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 11:07 AM

Me neither. But some people feel a strong desire to be in the "correct uniform of the day".

I'm definitely a function before form kind of old fuddy-duddy. And value/cost ratio is an important part of that function. I am certainly not a dedicated follower of fashion.

I used to love Levi's blue jeans. But years ago when 501's were hitting $60 per pair, I started looking around. When I can get Members Mark blue jeans at Sam's Club for $13 per pair (and they aren't quite as good as Levi's) I could see a much higher value/cost ratio. You can easily guess what I am wearing now.

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#30
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 9:55 PM

Uniform of today. Here's what I pulled from the internet - first image under 2021 men's fashion.

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#31
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 9:58 PM

Here's the second image. I am not joking, this is really what I pulled from Google.

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#32
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 10:18 PM

I feel very out of place here! I don't own anything that is considered "trendy" for men in 2021!

I don't even have blue hair! I am so out dated!

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#36
In reply to #32

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 10:49 PM

Yes you should immediately dye your hair blue....or red...maybe even rainbow...

...or you could take it one step further and get ahead of the crowd...

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#38
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 11:07 PM

Very Gen Z 2021! These are our future leaders!

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#43
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/24/2021 12:45 PM

Can't be any worse than the current crop.

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#42
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/24/2021 12:44 PM

Nope. Nothing there I would wear. Ever.

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#40
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/22/2021 10:45 AM

I had a pair and they are very comfortable. I liked wearing them with socks and my wife objected on aesthetic grounds. She said I looked like her dad!

Back to boots.

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#11
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 6:40 PM

Yes, it is a very practical commuter vehicle. Maybe more of an appliance than I expected, but it does allow me to be more effective (businesswise). So that's a good thing!

And when I want to have an enjoyable drive, I have other options at home!

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#9
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/19/2021 6:36 PM

And the rear wheel well looks smaller than the front!

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#21
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/20/2021 10:09 PM

I guess you'll be getting a cat now....

I found a t-shirt for ya'...

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#24
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/20/2021 10:52 PM

Where can I order one!!!

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#26
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/20/2021 11:53 PM

I think you get one free with your first man purse....

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#29
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 8:46 PM

No thank you!

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#33
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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/21/2021 10:28 PM

I think I'll order one of these:

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Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/24/2021 12:49 PM

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#39

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/22/2021 10:09 AM

I just bought one, an SE which is the “cheaper” of of the two versions.

So do to the hype the dealers are placing a mark up of up to $10,000 over the MSRP, this is ridiculous.

What I really like:

it’s very fast, I believe it’s the second fastest production Toyota in the market right now.

I charge it at home and at work so I seldom use gasoline, if your daily commute is 40 mph or under and you charge it regularly then your fuel mpg will average 99.9.

If you don’t charge it then the car still gives you the fuel efficiency of a hybrid car.

It has AWD which I need where I live, the car also has all the other current standard technology like radar assisted cruise control and all those other bells and whistles people enjoy.

I was driving an old beat up truck so this is all new to me.

I’ve only had it for 2 weeks and driven it close to 1000 miles without refueling the tank. That to me is mind blowing since I was refueling my old truck every week getting an average 16 mpg and with fuel prices I think I was paying between 65 and 85 dollars to fill the tank.

My commute is about 70 miles round trip and I have a charger at work and installed a level 2 charger at the house.

Yes I really like this car is like driving an EV without range anxiety as on a full tank you can drive over 500 miles.

Like I said I’ve only had it for about two weeks but so far so good.

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#46
In reply to #39

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

06/02/2021 12:01 AM

I just passed on a RAV 4 Prime SE at $3,500 over MSRP. $7,500 federal tax credit + $1,000 from CA state = $8,500 tax credit. Makes sense, because it's about the same price as an XLE Hybrid.

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#41

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

05/22/2021 10:45 AM

Sorry everyone my review was on the RAV4 Prime not the Prius prime.

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#45
In reply to #41

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

06/01/2021 11:54 PM

I had a feeling it was. That RAV4 Prime is a hot rod SUV! Only 2021 Toyota that's quicker is the Supra with the 3.0 straight six - and that's one heck of a motor in the BMW Supra ... I mean Toyota Z4 ... ummmm ... Toyota Supra??? Yeah, that's it!

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#47

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

06/02/2021 12:21 AM

I filled up the gas tank on Friday - first time I put gas in my Prius Prime. Trip odo said 538 miles and took $38 and change to fill it. At $3.89 a gallon for the ARCO cheap stuff (87 octane here). Trip computer said something crazy like 53.5 mpg. That's a mix of city, highway and mixed. Highway was at 75-80 ... maybe 85 mph. City was stop and go. Mixed was pretty good with 35-55 mph with some stop signs and red lights. Car is rated as 54 mpg EPA, so I'm close and I drove faster than I should. I also have some hills - that lowers the mpg also. And it was never plugged in - the cable is still wrapped in plastic!

If I try to hypermile the car, maybe I can increase the mpg, but why??? Even if it drops to 45 mpg, does it make a real world difference? I filled the tank on my BMW 330i (E46 for you BMW aficionados) and it took $52.98 for 12.47 gal of 91 octane at 4.25/gal. 324 miles or 26 mpg - not bad for a 3.0L straight six that's driven a lot harder. Less than 1/2 the mileage and it uses more expensive gas, oil, tires, brakes, repair parts, etc ... however it's a lot better driving car AND it's made much better (330 is better built than the Prius Prime).

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#48

Re: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime - What Do You Think of the Car?

08/28/2021 12:05 AM

I decided to get a 2021 Toyota 4Runner to replace my Prius Prime. I drove it for the first time today. Here's my feeling about the new Toyota.

1. I like the updated feel to an old body style car. Apple CarPlay works great! Smart key is a huge plus.

2. Seats are very comfortable and supportive, plus I like the power seat on this car (power lumbar helps on long drives).

3. Stereo system has XM and HD radio. Volume goes way up (I think to 60), but the bass is muddy and doesn't sound good over 40 (when on XM). This is the Premium Audio with 8 speakers and Dynamic Navigation.

4. Made in Japan - you can feel the quality!

5. Handles very nicely for such a big, heavy vehicle with a high center of gravity.

6. The motor is okay. Seems to be short on power, though it's rated at 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. It is heavy, curb wt 4,400 lbs! Yikes!

7. Fuel economy isn't very good. Like my Tacoma was. 16 mpg city is optimistic! 19 hwy is reasonable (I got nearly 21 mpg on the way home).

8. The transmission feels like it doesn't know which gear to be in, so it goes for the higher one to save gas. Makes the weak feeling motor feel even more sluggish.

9. Lane change at speed is very stable! Very impressive!

10. Third row seat is very small. Best for smaller kids.

11. Looks good. I got the Nautical Blue Metallic - looks good with the body style.

12. Drives better than either of the Tacoma's I had. A lot better.

13. Great visibility. With the mirrors adjusted right, I was able to maneuver the big SUV well.

14. Even though it's the old body on frame build, the SUV drives well. It has a nice solid feel - much better than our Honda Pilot!

15. Good value for the money (at MSRP or below). I have seen dealers charging upwards of $10K over MSRP, which is due to the chip shortage. Bummer if you pay that much!

16. Came with 2 smart keys. Tacoma's only come with one and Toyota leaves a note saying they'll provide the second one when the chip shortage is resolved.

17. Did I mention how well this car handles?

18. Being a Toyota from Japan, I'm assuming I'll get 300,000 + miles out of it.

19. Great build quality. No squeaks, rattles, cabin noises. Fit an finish are top notch! Good job Toyota!

20. No auto headlights, but has auto high beams. Has auto shut off lights, just in case I forget to turn them off.

21. Has the TSS 2.0 suite - good for safety, but can be annoying at times.

22. Last but not least, still has the roll down rear window - love this feature! Has buttons on the hatch for operating outside the vehicle and power switch for driver control. No control on the remote?

I really like my 2021 Toyota 4Runner! The last 4Runner I owned was a 1993 with the 3.0L V6. It was a fantastic vehicle off road, but on the highway it was so underpowered (150 hp). At the time, I have to go up a small hill (118 freeway between the SF Valley and Simi Valley). By the time it got to the top, I was lucky if I was still doing 45! But boy, did it dance on the dirt roads!

I'm looking forward to taking my new 4Runner on a dirt road to see if it still has the magic. I'm pretty sure it will.

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