Many enthusiasts think of the Toyota Prius as a mobile billboard that advertises how eco-friendly a driver is. The Prius boasts excellent fuel economy ratings and it’s also one of the most reliable Toyotas you can buy. If you are looking to save money on a Prius model, buying used is the way to go. Consumer Reports specifically recommends going with the 2017 Prius v or the 2017 Prius Prime to get some of the latest modern features at a discount. Here’s how to decide between the two.
So what’s the difference between the Prius v and the Prius Prime?
Both the 2017 Prius v and the 2017 Prius Prime have excellent reliability ratings. The main difference between these two Prius models though is that the Prius v functions as a traditional hybrid while the Prius Prime has a plug-in capability.
Toyota discontinued production of the Prius v three years ago so the 2017 model is the most modern version available. The Prius v looks like a very tiny minivan and was fashioned as a hefty wagon version of the original Prius model. If you want your Prius to look sleeker, then the Prime version will probably be more attractive to you.
We wouldn’t say that either of these Prius models is particularly sporty or agile, but the Prime offers more potency compared to the v. The 2017 Prime gets its power from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with two electric motors. Once charged, the 2017 Prime model can get up to 23 miles of electric range. The Prime works like a regular hybrid when it’s not in EV mode and gets a combined 50 mpg.
The Prius v feels a little pokier compared to the Prime but it is still a wonderfully efficient option. It returns a combine 52 mpg and is powered by a 134-hp, four-cylinder engine and also features two electric motors. The Prius v handles sharp turns and dips quite well but some critics say that it feels a tad too slow when accelerating to higher speeds.
Both the Prius v and the Prime have decent infotainment systems. The Prius v comes with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth, and Siri Eyes Free which offers iPhone functionality. Upgrades on the v include iHeartRadio and Pandora.
The Prime offers a fancier infotainment system that includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, navigation, smartphone integration, Bluetooth, HD Radio, and satellite radio. This infotainment system can be upgraded with an 11.6-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, and a JBL car audio system. The display on this model may take you some time to get used to though.
Plenty of driver-assist features come standard on the Prius v and Prime too. Both models come with forward-collision warning, advanced emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist.
Which one to buy
The 2017 Prius v has an average starting price of $17,200 and the 2017 Prime starts around $19,525. You really can’t go wrong with either model but we’d say if you’re looking for more EV capability go with the Prime. If you are looking for a spacious passenger and cargo hauler, go with the Prius v.