Toyota Prius Plug-in review

Category: Hybrid car

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:hybrid
Available colours:
Toyota Prius Plug-In 2020 RHD rear tracking
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  • Toyota Prius Plug-in
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RRP £24,875What Car? Target Price from£23,437
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The biggest difference between this Plug-in model and the normal Toyota Prius is that it comes with a zero-emissions EV (fully electric) driving mode. The Plug-in's extra battery capacity, combined with a modified gearbox, allows the car to use its two electric motors to drive the car forwards, building speed much more quickly than the regular hybrid, taking off the instant you flex your right foot. That said, while electric-only mode feels peppy enough around town, it’s rather sluggish getting up to motorway speeds.

When the 1.8-litre petrol engine is called into action (when saving the battery or when the latter is depleted, for example), it starts without sending much vibration through the steering wheel and is relatively quiet. However, that calm is shattered if you need to pick up speed in a hurry; put your foot down and the engine revs frenetically to pick up speed, yet acceleration is still rather disappointing. 0-62mph takes more than 11sec; key rivals manage it in less than eight.

Not only is it hard work getting it up to speed, it’s not as easy as it could be to slow down smoothly, either; the brakes are grabby and can be hard to modulate. That’s largely down to the regenerative braking system, which tops up the battery during deceleration using the car’s electric motors as a generator. The effect it has on braking isn’t actually particularly strong, but you still have to push through it with the brake pedal before the conventional friction brakes suddenly take over. 

As for the rest of the driving experience, the suspension is fairly soft and compliant, thanks in part to tiny 15in alloy wheels being standard fitment on both trims, making for a mostly comfortable ride; only the most severe potholes will thump through the base of your seat. However, body roll isn't that well controlled, the Plug-in doesn't grip the road as tenaciously in corners as the regular Prius, and its economy-focused tyres filter too much noise into the car.

Toyota Prius Plug-In 2020 RHD rear tracking

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