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2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/19/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In is unchanged.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In is the plug-in variant of the Prius hybrid hatchback. Powered by a 1.8-liter I-4 and an electric motor with a combined output of 134 hp, the plug-in hybrid hatch uses a continuously variable automatic transmission. Prius Plug-In models use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery instead of a nickel metal hydride unit, enabling it to get up to 62 mph on electric power alone. Fuel economy is the same as in the regular Prius at 51/48 mpg city/highway but the Plug-In is able to cruise for 11 miles in EV mode. Compared to its competitors, the Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi exceed the Prius Plug-In’s EV only range at 20 miles while the BMW i3 is able to go up to 81 miles before needing to recharge.

Overview

Despite the added powertrain components over the regular Prius, the 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In doesn’t sacrifice practicality and is able to accommodate five passengers and cargo with 21.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the split-folding rear seats. The car behaves like a regular Prius and prefers being in hybrid mode since the small lithium-ion battery isn’t up to task when accelerating in EV mode. Driving dynamics and refinement are weak points because the car’s steering isn’t very communicative and there’s plenty of road noise entering the cabin.

The 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In earned a four-star rollover safety rating (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS evaluations, the car received a Top Safety Pick+ designation, scoring Good on four categories and Acceptable in the small overlap front crash test (Good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

Building upon the regular Prius, the 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In is a decent choice among plug-in hybrids, offering exceptional fuel economy in a practical four-door hatchback. However, in a comparison test against the Chevrolet Volt, we preferred the Chevy because the Toyota's gas engine constantly turned on to back up the electric motor even when driving within its EV-only range. Additionally, we also noted that the car’s steering was “indifferent” and that it produced plenty of road noise.

You’ll Like

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Practical hatchback body style
  • Spacious interior

You Won’t Like

  • Gas engine turns on too often to support the electric motor
  • Makes lots of noise on the road
  • Powertrain doesn’t operate seamlessly

Key Competitors

  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Ford Fusion Energi
  • Ford C-Max Energi
  • BMW i3
  • Nissan Leaf

Rating

2 star

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