Chevy Volt Vs. Toyota Prius Prime: Commuter Cars With EV Range

By Justin Cupler | February 25th, 2019

Plug-in hybrid models like the 2019 Chevy Volt and the 2018 Toyota Prius Prime offer buyers a fuel-free EV range for short drives and a gasoline engine for longer hauls. They also offer tons of tech and respectable comfort, but which is the better buy for our Glendale Heights area shoppers? Find out below.  

Exterior

Vehicles with advanced electrified powertrains have a tendency to feature wild styling. The 2018 Toyota Prius fits this mold perfectly with its wavy rear glass, wing-like taillights, wild body lines, and more. This may turn a lot of buyers off, but there are certain ones who will approve of this look.

The 2019 Chevy Volt has a far more traditional style that looks like a typical sedan. This traditional appearance gives a wide range of buyers more comfort in buying a plug-in hybrid without drawing in a ton of confused stares.

The 2019 Chevy Volt is 180.4 inches long, 71.2 inches wide, and 56.4 inches high. It rides on a 106.1-inch wheelbase. The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime is 182.9 inches long, 69.3 inches wide, and 57.9 inches high. Its wheelbase checks in at 106.3 inches.

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Volt

  • Traditional good looks

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime

  • Wild styling that some buyers may appreciate

Interior

The 2019 Volt’s interior is just as traditional as its exterior, giving it a look that nearly any buyer can appreciate. On top of that, it also has loads of premium standard features, including an 8-inch touchscreen, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, ambient lighting, and much more.

The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime has wild styling, including a large, glossy center console. No only can this center console take over the entire interior, leaving a bad taste in some buyers’ mouths, but it may also show excessive scratches as it ages. On the tech side of things, the Prius Prime is far from bad thanks to its standard 7-inch touchscreen, heated front seats, navigation, Siri Eyes Free, and more.

Up front, the 2019 Volt’s seats offer 37.8 inches of headroom, 42.1 inches of legroom, 56.5 inches of shoulder room, and 53.7 inches of hip room. The Prius Prime beats the Volt by 1.6 inches in headroom and 1.1 inches in legroom, and it matches the Volt with 53.7 inches of hip room. The Volt comes back to beat the Prius Prime by 2.3 inches in shoulder room.

 

In its rear seats, the Volt has 35.8 inches of headroom, 34.7 inches of legroom, 53.2 inches of shoulder room, and 51.3 inches of hip room. While the Prius Prime’s rear seats have an extra 1.4 inches of headroom and 0.3 inches of hip room, they fall short in legroom by 1.3 inches and shoulder room by 0.2 inches.

 

Cargo room is where electrified vehicles tend to lose a little because of their space-gobbling batteries. The Volt has just 10.6 cubic feet of room for cargo, but the Prius Prime is surprisingly roomy at 19.8 cubic feet.

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Volt

  • More front shoulder room
  • Big rear legroom advantage
  • Traditional good looks
  • High-tech features

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime

  • Massive optional touchscreen
  • Standard navigation
  • More headroom for taller folks

Performance

The 2019 Chevy Volt uses the second-generation Voltec electric drive system that delivers 149 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque. This system uses an 18.4-kilowatt-hour battery that delivers a 53-mile all-electric range. Once you deplete the battery, a 1.5-liter high-efficiency gasoline-fueled generator kicks in to deliver another 367 miles of range for a total driving range of 420 miles with a full charge and a full tank of fuel. The Volt’s torque-heavy electric motor delivers a respectable 8.4-second 0-to-60 time.

The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime uses a 1.8-liter gasoline engine and permanent magnet AC synchronous motor that delivers a combined 121 horsepower. The Prius Prime has just a 25-mile all-electric range, but it’s super-thrifty hybrid setup delivers up to another 615 miles of driving range, putting its total cruising range at 640 miles. The lower-power Prius Prime hybrid powertrain is slower to 60 mph at 10.2 seconds.

Charging time is a big deal in this segment, and the Volt’s standard 120-volt charging cord delivers a sluggish 13-hour charging time. When hooked up to a 240-volt charger, the 3.6-kilowatt charging module refills the battery in 4.5 hours. Upgrading to the 7.2-kilowatt charging module drops the 240-volt charging time to just 2.25 hours.

 

The Prius Prime’s lower-capacity battery gives it quicker charge times of 5.5 hours on a 120-volt charger and 2.2 hours on a 240-volt charger.

 

EPA ratings are king in this class, and the Volt is respectable at 106 mpg-e on electric alone and 42 mpg combined when the gasoline generator kicks in. The Prius Prime has a significantly better EV fuel-economy rating of 143 mpg-e thanks to its quicker charge times and smaller battery. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime delivers 55 mpg city, 53 highway, and 54 combined.

 

Handling is not the focus of these thrifty vehicles, but the 2019 Volt’s low-sitting battery pack and chassis do a good job keeping it planted on curvy roads. The Prius Prime is more like traditional hybrids with its soft suspension, plenty of body lean, and a numb-feeling steering wheel.

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Volt

  • Big, instantly available torque
  • 53-mile EV range
  • Strong handling

Advantage: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime

  • Better EPA fuel-economy ratings
  • Great hybrid efficiency
  • Comfortable ride

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Chevy Volt has just two trim levels — LT and Premier — and their starting prices are $34,395 and $38,995, respectively.

 

The 2018 Toyota Prius Prime has three trim levels — Plus, Premium, and Advanced — and their starting prices range from $27,300 to $33,300.

2019 Chevy Volt Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LT: $34,395

  • 1.5-liter four-cylinder range-extender and electric motor
  • 18.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery
  • 3.6-kilowatt charger
  • Electric power steering
  • Electric parking brake
  • Regen on demand paddle
  • 17-inch five-spoke painted aluminum wheels
  • Body-color power mirrors
  • Front intermittent wipers
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED headlights
  • LED taillights
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Chevrolet Infotainment System 3 with an 8-inch HD touchscreen
  • SiriusXM
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Teen Driver
  • Two USB ports
  • Vinyl shift knob
  • Vinyl steering wheel
  • Cruise control
  • Keyless open and start
  • Ambient LED lighting
  • OnStar
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows
  • Two 12-volt power outlets
  • Keyless entry
  • Remote ignition
  • Cloth seating
  • Single-zone automatic climate control
  • HD rearview camera

 

Premier: $38,995

  • All LT features, plus
  • 7.2-kilowatt-hour fast charger
  • 17-inch Ultra-Bright machined aluminum with painted pockets
  • Body-color heated power outside mirrors
  • Automatic heated driver and front passenger seats
  • Leather seating
  • Automatic heated leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Heated, power, body-color outside mirrors
  • Six-way power driver’s seat
  • Automatic park assist
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated rear outboard seats
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror

2018 Toyota Prius Prime Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Plus: $27,300

  • 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor
  • 8.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Electric power steering
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • 15-inch five-spoke alloy wheels
  • Quad-LED projector headlights with auto-off
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED taillights
  • Active grille shutters
  • Heated power mirrors
  • Carbon-fiber-reinforced-polymer rear hatch
  • Smart-flow climate-control system
  • Remote air-conditioning system
  • 4.2-inch dual multi-information display
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Leatherette-wrapped steering wheel
  • Digital instrumentation
  • Cloth seating
  • Heated front seats
  • Leatherette door armrest
  • Chrome interior door handles
  • Keyless open
  • Keyless ignition
  • Power windows with one-touch up and down
  • Power door locks
  • One front and one rear 12-volt power outlets
  • One front USB port
  • Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation
  • Entune App Suite
  • 7-inch high-resolution touch-screen with split-screen display
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/HD Radio audio system
  • SiriusXM
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Rearview camera
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-departure alert
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Full-speed adaptive cruise control
  • Hill-start assist

 

Premium: $29,000

  • All Plus features, plus
  • Auto-on/off headlights
  • Smart-charge cable lock
  • Eco coaching
  • Leatherette seating
  • Wireless charging pad
  • 11.6-inch touchscreen

 

Advanced: $33,300

  • All Premium features, plus
  • LED fog lights
  • LED accent lights
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • Cargo-area cover
  • Entune Premium JBL audio system
  • Color head-up display
  • Intelligent clearance sonar
  • Intelligent park assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

Who Should Buy the 2019 Chevy Volt?

The 2019 Chevy Volt is the perfect car for buyers with an average commute and are tired of getting gas every few days. Its 53-mile range is plenty to get you to work and back fuel-free. Plus, its added torque makes it drive like a traditional sedan.

Who Should Buy the 2018 Toyota Prius Prime?

Buyers with a super-short daily commute or are more worried about mpg than EV range will love the hybrid-like efficiency the Prius Prime delivers. Also, those who prefer a more in-your-face look will appreciate the wilder-styled Prius Prime.

 

Ready to tackle your daily commute to Wheaton without the need of fuel? Head down to Sunrise Chevrolet today to take the 2019 Volt for a spin. It will deliver sporty performance and great fuel economy all wrapped in one stylish package. Whether you drive to Carol Stream every day or just hit up Lombard every weekend, the Volt can get you there efficiently and in style. If you can’t make it in for a test drive, you can check out our online inventory to see what 2019 Chevy Volt models we have ready to serve our Wheaton area shoppers.

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