Poll: Toyota Prius Prime or Chevrolet Volt?

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Hybrids and electric vehicles are the future of motoring, even if they’re not necessarily ready for primetime. Two of the best mass-market, earth-friendly offerings available today are the new Toyota Prius Prime and Chevrolet’s Volt.

Which of these amped-up autos do YOU prefer? Well, here’s some information on each one.

The Prius in this comparison is a plug-in model that offers an electric-only driving range of 25 miles. Running solely on electrons, it tops out at an impressive 84 miles an hour. The battery pack that enables all this eco-friendly running measures a hefty 8.8-kWh and is of the lithium-ion variety.

When that battery is depleted an economical 1.8-liter gasoline engine kicks in, helping provide an EPA-estimated maximum driving range of 640 miles. Total system output in the Prius Prime is pegged at 121 horsepower.

Focusing on the bow-tie offering in this head-to-head, the Volt also features a lithium-ion battery but its pack clocks in at 18.4 kWh, more than twice as large as the Prime’s. Not surprisingly, it offers about twice the electric-only range, which is rated at 53 miles.

A twin-motor drive unit turns stored energy into forward movement; when the battery is depleted a 1.5-liter gasoline engine comes online so you can keep on truckin’, or at least driving. The Volt’s total system output measures a claimed 149 horsepower along with 294 lb-ft of torque.

As for efficiency, the Prime is estimated at 133 MPGe when operating solely on electricity. Start burning dinosaur juice and that figure drops to about 54 miles per gallon. In comparison, the Chevy is rated at 106 MPGe and just 42 miles per gallon combined when internal combustion is providing propulsion.

When it comes to pricing, the cheapest version of the Chevy Volt can be had for less than $35,000, including delivery fees. In comparison, the Prius Prime is a few grand cheaper. You can pick one of at your local Toyota dealer for less than $28,000.

For more information on these rival electrified cars please compare them here and don’t forget to vote in our poll!

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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3 of 26 comments
  • Eric Eric on Oct 27, 2016

    I own one of each. The Volt is my go-to vehicle. Not even close.

  • Denny Hunthausen Denny Hunthausen on Jan 06, 2017

    I'm a 2010 Prius owner and currently in the market for a 2017 plug in hybrid. I've driven both within the past week. There's no doubt the Volt drives better, has some better technology, has superior EV range and is sportier overall and it seems well built enough. The Prius prime is a definite improvement from the previous generation in terms of handling and overall driving experience. We also know of it's solid reliability - my 2010's been extraordinary. What is a deal breaker for me with the Volt is it's very poor rear seating for adults. At 5'11" I can't sit comfortably upright in the back and there's no legroom. Very different experience int he Prius - even the previous generation is a reasonably comfortable ride in the rear seats. Likewise, the Prime is somewhat better designed for hauling things. I have been amazed how handy my Prius has been over the years and, while the prime takes up some of that with it's extra battery, the opening and overall storage area design are better than the Volt. I'm looking for more than a two-seat sports car and that's what the Volt is base on my review. I have a 12 mile RT commute so the Prime can be all EV for me most of the time.