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2017 Prius Prime plug-in hybrid: distinctively different

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The second generation Prius Prime hybrid plug-in features a competitive electric-only cruising range, convenient battery charging and distinctive styling details.

EPA ratings show the first generation plug-in, called PHV, averaged about 11 all-electric miles. Its equivalent fuel economy ran about 95 miles per gallon. The second generation Prime – known as PHV in foreign markets – is expected to reach 22 all-electric miles and 120 miles per gallon equivalent.

With the 8.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, the Prime’s all-electric range jumps to 31 miles and the fuel economy extends to 168 miles per gallon equivalent.

“The Prime has twice the nominal battery capacity at 8.8 kilowatt-hours,” wrote Jeff Nisewanger for HybridCars.com, “and almost twice the power output capability at 68 kilowatts.” The first generation PHV could store only 4.4 kilowatt-hours of energy, generating 38 kilowatts of instantaneous power.

Using a standard household outlet, drivers can fully recharge the Prime in 5 1/2 hours. A .3 kilowatt-hour Level 2 source recharges the car in 2 hours.

Upscale details – a sharp silhouette, energy efficient lights and touch-screen technology – distinguish the Prime from other Prius models. The net effect is youthful and bold.

Front-end design tweaks resulted in a lower profile that’s remarkably chic. “The new-generation Prius Prime is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and about an inch lower than its predecessor,” wrote Jim Shi for Men’s Journal.

The Prime’s artfully positioned LED headlights, taillights and signals are meant to turn heads.  According to Motor Trend, the Prius Prime’s taillights “stretch across the top of the rear end and encircle the lower glass,” forming a pair of C-shaped clusters.

A full color head-up display and PQi-compatible wireless charging for electronic devices carry the Prime’s classy vibe inside. According to Stephen Edelstein for Green Car Reports, the Prime’s 11.6-inch infotainment screen displays navigation functions and connects to smartphone apps.

The 2017 Prius Prime plug-in will be available to US customers later this fall.

Thomas Toyota of Joliet, 1437 North Larkin Avenue Joliet IL 60435, 815-741- 2760 http://www.thomastoyotajoliet.com/

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