2017 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced

People don't buy the Toyota Prius Prime because it looks so awesome; they buy it to squeeze the most miles out of a gallon of gas.

The Prime is the Prius you can plug in. Fully charged, it can go about 25 miles on electric power only before switching over to conventional hybrid operation.

The top of three trim levels, the Advanced model includes full LED headlights and other premium features.

The Prime keeps traditional, annoying Prius features like a center-mounted gauge cluster and dash-mounted gear selector. The Advanced model includes a huge touchscreen for navigation and other features. It's all pretty easy to operate.

Row two reveals the Prime is strictly four passenger, a console occupying what would be a center seat.

There's no power hatch, but it's an easy lift with weight-saving carbon fiber construction. The cargo hold is very shallow because space is taken up by batteries and charge cord storage.

Combined horsepower is an anemic 121 from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors. The weak powertrain means you have to plan moves in traffic carefully, but handling is much improved over Prius models of years ago.

So, for the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced, I say thumbs up to outstanding gas mileage, improved handling, and excellent headlights; thumbs down to not enough power and tight cargo space.

I got about 64 miles per gallon. The as-reviewed sticker price is $33,985.

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