2023 Toyota Prius Side Profile

Toyota Prius vs. Prius Prime

2023 Toyota Prius


2022 Toyota Prius Prime
$27,450 MSRP

Starting Price

$28,770 MSRP
Up to 57


Up to 54
2.0L 4-cylinder Hybrid


1.8L 4-cylinder PHEV







If you’re shopping for one of the world’s top hybrid cars, you’ve more than likely run across the Toyota Prius. Redesigned each year, the new Prius builds on two decades of success with its hybrid engine. There’s another option out there, called the Toyota Prius Prime that also offers a hybrid powertrain, yet in a slightly different way than the ordinary Toyota Prius. Either way, you get a solid performer for San Jose and San Carlos roads.

The experts at Toyota 101 will dive into the differences between the Toyota Prius vs. the Prius Prime so you can decide which one is better for you and your lifestyle. Read on to learn more!


Toyota Prius vs. Prius Prime: Prices & Trims

Pricing and budget are the first things you think about when trying to figure out which vehicle you want in your Belmont driveway or garage. You’re in luck with the Toyota Prius or Toyota Prius Prime. They’re close in price, so you can easily determine which type of hybrid car you want.

The base Toyota Prius price is $27,450 MSRP, while the base Prius Prime price starts at $28,770 MSRP. Take a look at the rest of the Prius and Prius Prime lineup to see what the rest of the trims cost:

  • Toyota Prius LE Price: $27,450
  • Toyota Prius LE AWD Price: $28,850
  • Toyota Prius XLE Price: $30,895
  • Toyota Prius XLE AWD Price: $32,295
  • Toyota Prius Limited Price: $34,465
  • Toyota Prius Limited AWD Price: $35,865
  • Toyota Prius Prime LE Price: $28,770
  • Toyota Prius Prime XLE Price: $30,550
  • Toyota Prius Prime Limited Price: $34,550

The prices are about the same as you move up each trim. However, there are two distinct differences in the performance of each engine you need to consider before buying a Prius.

Toyota Prius Prime vs. Prius: Engine Performance

Both the Toyota Prius and the Toyota Prius Prime offer hybrid powertrains with nearly identical gas mileage figures using a battery in combination with a gasoline engine. But each model uses them differently.

Toyota Prius Engine Performance & Operation

The Toyota Prius switches between battery mode and gasoline mode depending on how and where you drive. For example, it will use battery mode when driving in the city and when you drive near your home. When it switches to gasoline mode, the Toyota Prius uses an alternator, powered by a drive belt, to recharge the hybrid battery.

You’ll get up to 57 mpg with the Toyota Prius, meaning you’ll have fewer trips to the gas station with city driving. The electric powertrain, because it kicks in during city driving, is why you might get better fuel economy when driving on city streets versus highways.

The other major difference is that the Toyota Prius has an AWD variety if you want better handling on snowy or slick roads and highways in San Mateo and Palo Alto.

Toyota Prius Prime Engine Performance & Operation

When you choose a Toyota Prius Prime, you have control over using the battery or gasoline engine because you recharge the battery using a plug-in feature. Most drivers use battery mode for their daily commutes. You can drive up to 25 miles on electric-only power before the gasoline engine engages.

Rather than the gasoline engine recharging the hybrid battery, you’ll need to plug in the vehicle at the office or in your garage. The battery warranty for the Toyota Prius Prime is 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Either way, the Toyota Prius or Prius Prime is great for drivers who have daily commutes with city driving. When assessing the Toyota Prius vs Prius Prime debate, the interior features of both vehicles are identical.

Test Drive a Toyota Prius or Prius Prime!

No matter which one you choose, you’re getting a great hybrid vehicle with very good gas mileage for the Toyota Prius or Prius Prime. If you’re ready to experience either of these cars in person, contact us or call 650-881-3147 to schedule a test drive. We’re happy to help in any way we can!

If you want any of the other Toyota hybrid models, we can accommodate you. Check out our new vehicle inventory to examine our entire selection of quality Toyota models on our lot.

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