A tepid review of the Prime via ABG, as is to be expected with anyone who values driving dynamics:
2017 Toyota Prius Prime Quick Spin | Homeliness and half-measures
There's part of the Prius Prime experience worth loving.
I'm not in love with the Toyota Prius Prime. But, for at least part of my time with it, I loved driving it.
The Prius Prime offers about 25 miles of all-electric driving if you pop it into EV mode and leave it there. Those are, by far, the best 25 miles you'll drive in the Prime all day (unless, of course, you're able to charge it up before going out again). Those 25 miles are quiet and smooth. In those 25 miles, good things happen when you press the accelerator. The task of modulating the pedal with the selector in "B" mode is satisfying. Even in Eco mode, the electric get-up when accelerating from a stop is the sort of feel that a classical soundtrack in allegro accompanies nicely.
When I ran out of juice, though, I was ready to be done. The buzzing of the engine is a stark contrast to the serenity of electric driving. It isn't slower, but the Prius Prime definitely feels slower as its struggling to gain speed becomes audible. . . .
There are definitely things I like about the Prius Prime, and I've considered switching to a plug-in hybrid for my next vehicle. Using the Prime in Hybrid mode, though, has me thinking I'd be happier to go fully electric. Either way, there is a sizable list of cars with and without gasoline engines that I'd rather live with than this one. . . .
He also mentioned the hard plastics, looks etc. As noted previously it's still a Prius, with all that entails both good and bad.
In an apparent attempt to make the car somewhat less 'Priusy', via plugincars.com:
Toyota’s New GR Performance Lineup Includes Sportier Version of Prius Prime Plug-in Hybrid
Toyota announced today that the design of the Prius Prime will add some excitement when the company introduces a high-performance version of the plug-in hybrid in Japan. While Toyota has not yet confirmed plans to launch GR option packages in the US market, the Prius Prime is the only model in the new performance GR sub-brand that is currently sold in the US. In Japan, the more stylish version of the plug-in hybrid, which offers 25 miles of all-electric range, will be called the Prius PHV GR Sport.
The new packages offer a sportier grille design, white painted brake calipers, special badging, and racing seats. The Prius GR Sport adds specially tuned suspension and a chassis stiffening brace for improved handling. The car’s interior also features a special tachometer, aluminum pedals, a Smoke Black trimmed shift knob, and a small diameter steering wheel.
The main target of the new brand is younger customers, according to Gazoo Racing President Shigeki Tomoyama. “What constitutes the heart of the Gazoo brand is a desire for challenges and to make innovations by breaking through barriers,” he said earlier this year.
Some industry observers believe that the new sub-brand, which emphasizes performance, creates a conflict with the company’s long-time focus on advanced eco-friendly cars powered by batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. However, by adding a sporty option for the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, the company is instead signaling how it intends to expand the appeal of cars that are more efficient. . . .
While I applaud the intent, old sayings about "applying lipstick to a pig" and "If I were you, I wouldn't start from here" come to mind. It's sort of like trying to make an exciting version of the iMiEV: it may be possible, but it'd be better to use an entirely different basic platform. You can add a turbo to the Kia Soul and few will
, but I suspect the same may not be true of the Prime. Short of replacing the ICE with something more powerful and quieter, and dumping the CVT for a multi-speed auto trans with paddle shifters while also doing something about the steering and brake feel, it's still going to be and look like a Prius.