2017 Toyota Prius Prime: first drive of new plug-in hybrid Page 3

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2017 Toyota Prius Prime test drive, Ojai, California, Sep 2016

2017 Toyota Prius Prime test drive, Ojai, California, Sep 2016

The two higher trim levels, however, have an impressive vertical 11-inch touchscreen display with pinch-and-swipe ability. It's mildly reminiscent of the huge vertical touchscreen in the Tesla Model S and Model X or, perhaps, the Volvo Sensus screen in its new XC90 and S90 luxury vehicles.

No safety ratings have yet been released for the Prius Prime, though it has a comprehensive suite of electronic active-safety features with the awkward name of Toyota Safety Sense-P as standard equipment.

Those include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure alert, and automatic high beams.

In addition, Toyota adds a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert to the highest trim level, the Prius Prime Advanced.

Last year's new fourth-generation conventional Prius was designated a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium

The Prius Prime is offered in three trim levels, from the base Prime Plus through the mid-level Prime Premium to the highest Prime Advanced.

And Toyota has priced the Prime range aggressively, with the Plus starting at $27,950, the Premium at $29,650, and the Advanced at $33,950. (All prices include a mandatory $850 delivery fee.)

It qualifies for a $4,500 federal income-tax credit, and in California, it is eligible for both a $1,500 purchase rebate and the coveted green sticker that gives single-occupant access to carpool lanes on freeways.

While the Prius Plug-In Hybrid was not a 50-state car, the Prius Prime will be, Toyota says.

Toyota's basic warranty is 3years/36,000 miles, with 60,000 miles on the powertrain. However, hybrid-related components carry a warranty of either 8 years/100,000 miles in most states.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime test drive, Ojai, California, Sep 2016

2017 Toyota Prius Prime test drive, Ojai, California, Sep 2016

Certain states, however, require a 15-year/150,000-mile coverage of hybrid-related components except for the battery, which is covered for 10 years/150,000 miles.

The first 2017 Toyota Prius Primes will reach dealers "later this year," according to the company.

Toyota provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-person report.

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