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Toyota Prius Plug-In Review

The 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In ranks 36 out of 41 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Toyota Prius Plug-In, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In is ranked:

The 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-in may get great fuel economy, but it has a shorter electric-only driving range than its plug-in hybrid rivals, and test drivers say it has lackluster handling.

The Prius Plug-in is powered by a four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a lithium ion battery pack that can be charged using a household outlet. An automatic transmission is standard. According to reviewers, the Prius Plug-in’s acceleration is unimpressive, and the car struggles to stay in electric-only mode when merging onto the highway or climbing hills. The 2015 Prius Plug-in gets an EPA-estimated 95 mpg-equivalent in combined city and highway driving using both electric and gas power, which is decent for a plug-in hybrid, and 51/49 mpg city/highway when using only gas, which is very high compared with the fuel economy of plug-in hybrid rivals. According to Toyota, the 2015 Prius Plug-in can go up to 62 mph on electric power alone, and the EPA reports that it has a six-mile all-electric range. Most plug-in hybrid rivals have better electric-only ranges and top speeds. Test drivers note that the Prius Plug-in has clumsy handling that makes it boring to drive, though they appreciate its smooth ride. Reviewers write that the Prius Plug-in’s regenerative brakes feel different from the brakes in non-hybrid cars, so you may need time to get used to them.

Critics report that the 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-in has futuristic styling, but its interior materials seem cheap considering the car’s high price. The Prius Plug-in’s spacious front and back seats earn praise from critics, as does its roomy cargo area. Standard features in the Prius Plug-in include heated front seats, automatic climate control, push-button start and Toyota’s Display Audio infotainment system, which includes a 6.1-inch touch screen, navigation, a rearview camera, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio and the Entune App Suite, which allows you to control smartphone apps like Pandora Internet radio using the Prius Plug-in’s touch screen. Available features include leatherette upholstery, a power-adjustable driver seat, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking and an upgraded infotainment system with a 7-inch high-resolution touch screen and an eight-speaker JBL sound system. Some critics note that the Prius Plug-in’s standard infotainment system complicates certain audio adjustments, and they say that the Entune App Suite can be frustrating because you have to register for it and install an app on your smartphone.

  • "The 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-in offers an advantage over the standard Prius with its ability to travel 11 miles on pure electric power alone. It costs more, though, and some rival plug-in hybrids might prove more appealing overall." -- Edmunds
  • "… like other Prius models, it does possess the less exciting but more practical virtues that will endear it to most hybrid buyers, including a comfortable ride, safe handling and a versatile hatchback bodystyle that provides 21.6 cubic feet of cargo space." -- Left Lane News
  • "It does get Toyota back into the conversation about cutting-edge hybrid technology, and that's an important step. But with less than half of the Volt's electric range, not to mention a 62-miles-per-hour absolute limit in electric mode, the Prius Plug-in doesn't move the goalposts in the plug-in world like past Prius models have done in the world of electric vehicles." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "The Toyota Prius Plug-in retains all of its ‘standard’ sibling's attributes but adds the ability to run for longer distances solely on electric power. At the same time, it commands a hefty price premium over the regular Prius. The top-end model butts against the likes of the Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle that goes much farther on its battery." -- Consumer Guide (2014)

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Other Cars to Consider

The Chevrolet Volt’s 38-mile electric-only driving range is excellent for a plug-in hybrid, and critics note that it has nimble handling and a responsive electric powertrain. They also say the Volt’s interior is stylish and features top-notch materials.

Reviewers say the Ford C-Max Energi has agile handling and plenty of highway passing power. The C-Max Energi has a longer electric-only range than the Prius Plug-in and a higher electric-only top speed.

Compare the Prius Plug-in, Volt and C-Max Energi »

Details: 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-in

The 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-in is a five-seat plug-in hybrid hatchback that is available in base and Advanced trims. The Prius Plug-in is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged from an electrical outlet. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard. The regular Prius is reviewed separately. The Prius Plug-in has seen few changes since its debut in 2012, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2012 through 2015 model years.

See 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-in specs »

Review Last Updated: 1/30/15

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