First Timer: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime


Going for the MPG

Memories fade over time, but the day you buy your first electric vehicle will stay with you, maybe forever.

A First Timer for Clean Fleet Report is someone who purchased their first EV, PHEV or FCEV. This alphabet soup of letters simply means their car has a plug or runs only on electricity, such as an electric vehicle (EV), or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or produces its own electricity as a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, (FCEV.)

Clean Fleet Report speaks with First Timers to hear about their experience. In this case we met with Mark and Annette, who purchased a 2021 Toyota Prius Prime.

Happy with their choice

Clean Fleet Report: Tell us a bit about yourselves.

Annette: We live in South Orange County, California. Annette has worked from a home office as a book editor for many years, and Mark is a technical engineering manager in the energy and process improvement field.

CFR: Tell us about the research and shopping experience and the purchase decision process, such as when did you buy or lease the Prius Prime, when did you begin researching new cars, and what dealer did you go with?

Mark & Annette: Mark’s job requires a fair amount of travel, so we wanted a car with exceptionally good gas mileage and range. The fully electric vehicles we considered were either too expensive or didn’t have the range Mark requires for work travel, so then we took a look at plug-in hybrids. The Prius Prime is a good compromise, providing great gas mileage with a fully electric option for shorter trips.

We began the car search in January 2022. Mark’s car had just come off lease and we were dealing with supply constraints. Within a week’s time, we found a pre-owned 2021 Prius Prime at AutoNation Toyota in Irvine, and we purchased the car almost immediately.

CFR: Which other cars did you consider?

M & A: We considered the Kia Niro, Mini Cooper Countryman and Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrids.

CFR: What drew you to the Prius Prime?

M & A: The Prius Prime was reasonably priced and, most important, it was available as car inventory and availability the past year has been tight. Toyota has an excellent reliability record, the warranty is comprehensive, and friends with Priuses highly recommended the car.

CFR: Since this is your first electrically powered car, what are your driving impressions?

High marks for the touchscreen

Mark: I am the primary driver and am enjoying the technology and driving data. We get about 71 miles per gallon on the highway, which was a surprise and great considering the high cost of fuel. The large touch screen and the iPhone interface are nice features.

CFR: What have your experiences been with charging? Do you have a home charger? Do you use public chargers, and if so which company is your preference?

M & A: We use the common 120-volt wall outlet at home, and haven’t used a public charger yet. We plug-in at night, and it’s fully charged in the morning, giving us electric driving mode for trips under 25 miles. Annette managed a 30-mile round-trip in electric mode, thanks to the regenerative braking.

CFR: How do you usually use the car, and what is the longest trip you have taken?

Mark: The car is used most often for long-distance work trips, with the longest round-trip being 1,336 miles.

CFR: Do you have any closing thoughts on owning a Prius Prime, and would you consider owning this car again?

M & A: We like the car, but it’s a little bit underpowered, which may be why it gets great gas mileage, so that’s a reasonable trade-off. We’d consider buying another Prius Prime.

Make sure to opt-in to the Clean Fleet Report newsletter (top right of page) to be notified of all new stories and vehicle reviews.

Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Toyota.

Our time with the Prime:

Road Test: 2020 Toyota Prius Prime Limited

Road Test: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime

Flash Drive: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime


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