Hybrids & Electrics

Why Would Anyone Buy a Toyota Prius Prime When You Could Buy a Tesla Model 3?

The Toyota Prius was the best choice for environmentally conscious drivers when it was first introduced. However, with the growth of Tesla, the Prius’ place in the market has become far more competitive than before. Here’s a comparison between the Toyota Prius Prime and the Tesla Model 3, which is the most affordable Tesla on the market right now.

What the Toyota Prius Prime offers

The Prius Prime isn’t the regular Prius, but rather, it’s the Prius but with more features. As a result, it’s better than the regular Prius overall, but it’s also more expensive. Carfax says that the Prius Prime starts at $34,600, while the regular Prius starts at about $30,000. The trim of the Prius Prime that Carfax drove was the Limited trim, which means that it has even more features. 

Carfax says that along with what’s expected from the Prius, the 2020 Prius Prime now comes with some new features. For example, it can now seat five people comfortably, it now has Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa as standard, and Toyota also gave the rear-seat passengers two USB ports for them to use. 

Another new thing is that in the Limited trim of the 2020 Prius Prime, there’s a massive, Tesla-like touchscreen that controls the car’s systems. Other than those things, though, Carfax says that the Prius Prime still drives like a Prius, which means that it’s easy to drive, but it’s not very fun.

What the Tesla Model 3 has to offer

A Tesla Model 3 is seen during the Vienna Car Show press preview
The Tesla Model 3 | Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

The Tesla Model 3 normally starts at about $40,000, which means that compared to the Prius Prime, it’s roughly $5,000 more expensive. Additionally, the Model 3 has plenty of options and upgrades, and the most expensive ones will push the price tag to about $55,000. That said, the Standard Range model of the Model 3 is actually the cheapest version, but it’s difficult to get. The Standard Range model starts at a little over $35,000.

Obviously, the Model 3 is a fully-electric car, and that gives it advantages as well as disadvantages over hybrids. For example, due to how electric motors work, the Tesla Model 3 can accelerate far faster than the Prius Prime can. This makes the Model 3 more fun to drive. However, the Model 3’s range is dependent on its batteries, which requires going to a charging station for a lengthy fill-up.

Additionally, the Model 3 will come with Tesla’s semi-autonomous self-driving feature, which makes it one of the smartest cars on the market today. And, while the Prius Prime does have some smart features, the Model 3 generally has more.

Both the Tesla Model 3 and the Toyota Prius Prime are great, but it’s up to you

If you want one of the best fuel economies possible as well as the latest smart features, it’s a no-brainer – the Model 3 is that car for you. But still, there are reasons why the Prius Prime, or even just the basic Prius, are a good idea. 

For example, people who are prioritizing their budgets may simply want as many upfront savings as possible. For those people, in line with the stereotypes, the Prius is probably the best option for them.

On top of that, the Prius Prime is more similar to any other car than the Model 3 is. The Prius Prime drives like a regular car, and its trunk is in the back like any other car is. The Model 3, however, has its trunk in the front. People looking for familiarity may want the Prius Prime over the futuristic Model 3.