For 2020, Toyota is finally fixing the Prius Prime’s two biggest downsides

Toyota Prius Prime

Efficient, smart, and reliable, the Toyota Prius Prime has been one of our favorite hybrid cars since it went on sale in 2016. It’s not perfect, but Toyota is finally fixing its two biggest downsides by carving out more space for passengers, and by adding useful connectivity features. The updated Prius Prime will begin to arrive in showrooms during the 2020 model year.

Toyota focused on the interior during this round of updates. It notably added a more spacious rear bench to make the Prius Prime a five-seater. Its overall dimensions haven’t changed, so we wouldn’t want to fit three XL-sized adults in the back, but the additional rear seat makes the Prius considerably more practical for motorists who occasionally carry four passengers, or who have children. There’s no word yet on whether going from four seats to five has an effect on cargo capacity.

As an incentive to sit in the back, Toyota placed two additional USB ports within the reach of the rear passengers. Up front, motorists will finally be able to enjoy Apple CarPlay. The Japanese automaker firmly refused to offer the feature for years, but it finally caved, and CarPlay is gradually appearing in a growing list of Toyota models. Amazon Alexa compatibility comes standard, too. Android users are out of luck for the time being, but that could change soon. Several Toyota models (including the redesigned Tacoma) are gaining Android Auto compatibility for the 2020 model year.

There are no visual changes to report, for better or worse, so the Prius remains as polarizing as ever. Similarly, Toyota hasn’t made any updates beneath the sheet metal. The Prime still uses a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that works jointly with an electric motor linked to an 8.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The system’s total output checks in at 121 horsepower, and the Prime returns an EPA-estimated 54 mpg in a combined cycle.

With a full tank of gas and a full battery, Toyota’s fuel-sipper offers a 640-mile driving range; in other words, you can drive it from New York City to Detroit without stopping, and still have a little bit of fuel left in the tank. Its electric-only range checks in at up to 25 miles.

The 2020 Toyota Prius Prime will go on sale in the summer of 2019. The Japanese firm has renamed the three available trim levels LE, XLE, and Limited, respectively, but pricing stays relatively flat. Plan on spending $27,600 for the base LE model, $29,500 for the midrange XLE, and $33,500 for the range-topping Limited.

Cars

Tire review: BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT

BFG melds performance heritage with everyday practicality to deliver a more sophisticated all-season radial with the Advantage T/A Sport LT.
Cars

What is Apple CarPlay? Here's all you need to know about iOS in your dashboard

CarPlay is one of two major infotainment systems currently vying for your car's dash. Here's everything you need to know about the system, including its feature set and host of third-party apps.
Product Review

The 2020 Ford Explorer shows why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover

The 2020 Ford Explorer emerges from a redesign on a new rear-wheel drive platform, boasting hybrid and sporty ST models for the first time. Ford pulled out all the stops to keep the Explorer on top.
Cars

The GX gets smarter as it ages; it’s even teaching tricks to other Lexus models

Lexus gave the GX 460 tech and visual updates for the 2020 model year. The GX now comes standard with a full suite of electronic driving aids, including automatic braking with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control.
Cars

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 thunders into the muscle car ring with 760 hp

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 revives one of the greatest names in American muscle cars, and gives Ford some ammunition in the horsepower war with Chevy and Dodge. Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the GT500 boasts over 700 hp.
Cars

Nissan’s high-tech ice cream truck removes the fumes from your order

Nissan has given the traditional ice cream truck a modern makeover to create a cleaner, greener, high-tech alternative that also gives aging electric-vehicle batteries a new life.
Cars

How the furious pace of innovation has sculpted the world’s fastest motorcycles

The technology that powers modern MotoGP race bikes isn't just inside of them -- it's everywhere. Literally every single part of the bike, from the brake pad coating to the shape of the gas tank, is painstakingly designed to make the rider…
Cars

Study finds motorists overestimate Autopilot’s capabilities; Tesla disagrees

Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finds many motorists are confused about the semi-autonomous driving aids found in cars. They often think the systems are more capable than they truly are.
Cars

Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai top 2019 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai took the top three spots in the 2019 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, while Jaguar ranked lowest. J.D. Power surveys owners for problems with new vehicles.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Tesla Special Edition turns out to be a beautiful dream

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 may not be far away now, but there are still surprises in store. One that will not happen is a team-up with Tesla. A post on Weibo referenced what turns out to be an imaginative high-concept render by a YouTuber.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Illuminated keyboards and a retro gaming console

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

What is Android Auto? Pull over and we'll tell you everything you need to know

What is Android Auto? Google's app overrides native infotainment systems to reduce distractions while driving. Here's everything you need to know about it, including the feature set and compatible car models.
Cars

The hottest of all Mini hatches is coming with a Batman-approved design

The Mini John Cooper Works GP concept first seen at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show will go into production in 2020, Mini has confirmed. The John Cooper Works GP is the ultimate performance version of the Mini Cooper.
Cars

Airbus-backed Voom could take on Uber’s on-demand flying taxi service

Airbus-backed Voom says it's planning to take its on-demand helicopter taxi to more U.S. cities this fall, a move that could put it in direct competition with Uber's app-based air taxi service launching soon in New York City.