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Will Fifth Seat Make Toyota Prius Prime a Prime Choice Among Hybrids?

Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid

Toyota is giving the 2020 Prius Prime — the plug-in version of the Prius hybrid — a fifth seat with a rear bench, plus adding Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility.

Related: 2020 Toyota Corolla First Drive: Hatching a Sedan You Can Love

The Prime PHEV previously was a four-passenger car with two seats in the rear, and Toyota apparently believes being able to sit three across back there will add appeal. Prius sales have suffered overall (Toyota does not specify the Prime separately), though they might pick up with currently rising gas prices. But it also has more hybrid competition, including in-house, with a very capable new Corolla hybrid and hybrid versions now of most other Toyota products. There also is a growing number of full electric cars with more affordable prices. Toyota says the 2020 Prime PHEV will have the same EPA rating as the 2019: 25 miles of all-electric range and 54 mpg combined running as a gas-electric hybrid.

2020 Toyota Prius Prime

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A 2020 Prius Prime with the fifth seat also will cost a little more. Toyota has changed the trim names from Plus, Premium and Advanced to the LE, XLE and Limited trim naming used for other Toyotas. A 2020 Prius Prime base LE will start at $28,530, including a $930 destinationcharge, up $250 from the 2019 Prius Plus. The mid-level XLE will start at $30,430, up $450, and the Limited will start at $34,430, up $150 (all prices include destination).

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