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Toyota Prius Plug-In Review

heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius

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Toyota Prius

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Toyota Prius

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Toyota Prius

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Toyota Prius

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Toyota Prius

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Toyota Prius

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Toyota Prius

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Toyota Prius

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Toyota Prius

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1 / 10

00/10
heycar rating
"Range and price restrict appeal"
  • Launched: 2017
  • Family hatch
  • PHEV

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Quick overview

Pros

  • Zero-emissions driving potential
  • Famed Toyota reliability
  • Very well equipped

Cons

  • Big price jump over the regular Prius
  • A 34-mile EV range is quite limited
  • Less practical than the regular Prius

Read by

Toyota Prius Plus Plug-in Front Side View

Overall verdict

Toyota Prius Plus Plug-in Steering Wheel

On the inside

Toyota Prius Plus Plug-in Left Side View

Driving

Toyota Prius Plus Plug-in Front Side View

Cost to run

Toyota Prius Plus Plug-in Rear Side View

Prices and Specs

Overall verdict

"The Toyota Prius Plug-In is a cannily development from Toyota, but the target customer base is too small for it to be of much interest to most people. You’re probably better off sticking with the regular Prius and saving thousands upfront. You’ll enjoy a bigger boot, too."

Toyota Prius Plus Plug-in Front Side View

As its name suggests, this is a plug-in version of the regular Toyota Prius – the car Toyota provocatively calls a ‘self-charging hybrid’. In a nutshell, it’s largely the same as the regular Prius, but has a larger battery pack that allows up to 30 miles on pure electric power, rather than barely a mile or so. The battery pack here doesn’t ‘self-charge’. Instead, it has to be plugged in, just like any other ‘PHEV’ plug-in hybrid vehicle.


It’s quite a savvy vehicle for Toyota to offer. It caters for the needs of those who have a commute to work within the vehicle’s range, so they can drive in pure electric mode, yet still have an onboard petrol engine to take them further when needed. And all for, essentially, the cost of a bigger battery when compared with the regular Prius.


Well, make that a bigger battery and a different rear end. Toyota didn’t need to restyle the Prius Plug-In, but it did so anyway. Some prefer the more sober rear-end design over the sharper, shoutier look of the regular Prius. Oddly, in contrast, the front end gets a louder look. Those four square projector-style LED headlights really do stand out.


Inside, the Prius Plug-In is almost identical to the regular car, even down to a sloping roofline that eats into rear headroom. The boot is smaller, though, due to the bigger battery pack, making it quite shallow beneath the sliding load cover.


The Plug-In offers the added benefit of a significantly expanded electric driving range, giving silent-running electric car luxury in situations where the regular Toyota’s engine fires up and hums away. It will only do this if you charge the batteries frequently, though. If you don’t, it will feel little different to a regular Prius – and that’s a car that costs thousands less.


On paper, the Prius Plug-In makes sense for company car drivers, due to its ultra-low CO2 emissions bringing significant Benefit-in-Kind tax benefits. In reality, this doesn’t seem to have been enough to tempt many fleet car drivers to make the switch and the Plug-In is easily outsold by the regular Prius. It also means there’s not a great deal of choice on the used market.


However, if it works for you, and you’re keen to own a spacious plug-in hybrid with all the reliability Toyota is famed for, it might be worth a look. Those with a daily commute of less than 30 miles will save a fortune on fuel and do their bit for the environment without needing an EV.


Let’s take you through the intriguing choice that is the Toyota Prius Plug-In and tell you everything you need to know.


Is the Toyota Prius Plug-In right for you?

The Toyota Prius Plug-In serves a very specific need. It’s for those who have a daily drive within the car’s 30-mile range, allowing them almost 100 percent zero-emissions motoring in regular use (with the backup of an onboard petrol engine for when they go further). Owners must thus commit to plugging in regularly to charge the batteries.


Otherwise, you may as well buy either the regular Prius or a pure electric car. It’s an intentional in-betweener, and you can tell even Toyota thinks this, as it’s a derivation of the Prius rather than a standalone model.


It does have some compromises over a regular Prius too, particularly in terms of boot space. One to bear in mind if you already drive a Prius and assume the Plug-In will be equally practical. It won’t.


What’s the best Toyota Prius Plug-In model/engine to choose?

The model line-up is very straightforward. There are just two versions: Business Edition Plus and Excel. 


Whereas you can get a regular Prius in more affordable Active Trim, Toyota keeps things upmarket for the Prius Plug-In. However, this does mean the price jump from an entry-level Prius is around £8,000.


What other cars are similar to the Toyota Prius Plug-In?

There are more plug-in hybrid cars coming to market, with manufacturers inspired by government incentives to go green (and the financial benefits this can deliver their customers). Hyundai was early in the game with the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid, part of the electrified Ioniq range that also includes a hybrid and a pure EV.


Kia’s version of the Ioniq is the Kia Niro PHEV, which is part of a model range that also includes a Niro HEV hybrid and electric e-Niro. Plug-in versions are coming to the Kia Ceed range as well, while Volkswagen and Skoda have plug-in versions of the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia respectively.

Learn more

Toyota Prius Plus Plug-in Steering Wheel

On the inside

Toyota Prius Plus Plug-in Left Side View

Driving

Toyota Prius Plus Plug-in Front Side View

Cost to run

Toyota Prius Plus Plug-in Rear Side View

Prices and Specs

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Quality checked, all cars less than 8 years old and warranty included

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