Comparison: Toyota Prius Prime vs. Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

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Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) offer the best of both worlds. For shorter trips and local errands, a PHEV operates like an electric vehicle (EV). For longer trips, including cross-country excursions, a PHEV drives like a gas-electric hybrid vehicle. If you want an electrified vehicle but need something that serves multiple purposes without fear of range anxiety, a plug-in hybrid is a great choice.

Two of the more useful PHEVs are the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in and the Toyota Prius Prime, aerodynamic 5-door hatchbacks with near SUV levels of utility. Both of these vehicles will receive updates for the 2020 model year.

2020 Toyota Prius Prime Changes:

  • Revised trim levels: LE, XLE, Limited
  • Seating capacity expands from 4 people to 5 people
  • Standard Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, Amazon Alexa integration
  • Fast-charge USB ports for rear-seat passengers
  • Revised controls for the standard heated front seats

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Changes*:

  • Revised exterior styling
  • Updated interior design
  • Available 10.25-inch infotainment system display
  • Upgraded Bluetooth supports two paired phones simultaneously
  • New advanced driving assistance systems include cyclist detection and a lane centering assist system

In the meantime, you might be shopping for a 2019 version of these cars and wondering how they compare. Find out in this Toyota Prius Prime vs. Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid comparison article.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid Price and Configurations

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Plug In Hybrid Silver Front View
Available in two different trim levels plus an Ultimate Package, the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid delivers affordable EV driving. (Hyundai)

 

For the 2019 model year, the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid is offered in two trim levels: standard ($25,350) and Limited ($29,350). Upgrading to Limited trim adds the following features:

  • LED headlights
  • Side mirror turn signal indicators
  • Chrome exterior trim
  • Upgraded instrumentation
  • Leather upholstery
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • Rear air conditioning vents
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Programmable garage door opener

The Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid Limited also adds numerous ADAS technologies. They include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist
  • Lane departure warning with lane keeping assist
  • Driver attention monitoring

An optional Ultimate Package ($2,975) is available for the Limited trim level. Highlights include:

  • Headlights that help to illuminate corners and curves in the road
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Rear parking assist sensors
  • A navigation system
  • A premium sound system
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • And more…

2019 Toyota Prius Prime Price and Configurations

2019 Toyota Prius Prime Silver Front View
The Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid version of the Prius, but with different styling and equipment. (Toyota)

 

Toyota offers the Prius Prime in three trim levels: Plus ($27,350), Premium ($29,050), and Advanced ($33,350).

While the Prius Prime has a higher base price than the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid, it is important to remember that ADAS technology is standard for this car. The contents of the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) suite include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane departure warning with lane keeping assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Choosing the Premium trim level adds the following features to the Prius Prime Plus:

  • SofTex simulated leather upholstery
  • 8-way power driver’s seat
  • Expanded Smart Key passive entry functionality
  • Larger 11.6-inch infotainment display screen
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Charging cable locking mechanism

The next step up the Prius Prime trim level ladder is the Advanced version of the car. It is equipped with everything listed above, plus:

  • LED fog lights and accent lighting
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Head-up display
  • Intelligent Clearance Sonar (360-degree obstacle sensing)
  • Semi-autonomous parking assistance system
  • Navigation system
  • Enhanced infotainment applications
  • Remote climate control and charge management capability

The Best Things About the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid

Toyota Prius Prime vs Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid Front View
Where the Toyota Prius Prime looks wild, the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid is comparatively mild. (Hyundai and Toyota)

 

Based on an analysis of Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid features and specifications, these are the best things about the car in comparison to the Toyota Prius Prime:

  • Offers 29 miles of electric driving range, compared to 25 miles with the Toyota
  • Makes a combined 139 horsepower, compared to 121 hp in the Toyota
  • Comes with a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission, instead of a droning continuously variable transmission (CVT), like what’s in the Toyota
  • Includes standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and offers a range of Blue Link connected services at no charge for the first three years of ownership. The Toyota is unavailable with smartphone integration (until 2020), and while its connected services package matches the Hyundai in terms of the free trial period, it isn’t as robust in terms of functionality.
  • Holds five people, compared to four in the Toyota (until 2020)
  • Has a 23 cubic-foot trunk, compared to 19.8 cu.-ft. in the Toyota
  • Hyundai’s standard and powertrain warranties are superior to the Toyota’s
  • Includes a much longer free roadside assistance program than the Toyota
  • Hyundai’s Shopper Assurance program makes it easier to test-drive and buy an Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid, and lets you exchange the car if you’re not happy with it

The Best Things About the Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime vs Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid Dashboard and Interior
Hyundai takes a more conservative and traditional approach with the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid’s interior, while Toyota goes futuristic with centrally grouped displays and controls. (Hyundai and Toyota)

 

Based on an analysis of Toyota Prius Prime features and specifications, these are the best things about the car in comparison to the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid:

  • Includes important ADAS technologies at thousands of dollars less than the Hyundai
  • Provides EV operation at speeds up to 84 mph, compared to 75 mph for the Hyundai
  • Recharges in 5.5 hours using a standard household power outlet, compared to almost 9 hours for the Hyundai
  • Rated at 54 mpg in combined driving when used as a gas-electric vehicle, compared to 52 mpg for the Hyundai
  • With Premium and Advanced trim, locks the charger to the car so that other people cannot interfere with it
  • With Advanced trim, allows an owner to remotely heat or cool the car’s interior while it is still plugged into the grid
  • Available 11.6-inch infotainment system display in Premium and Advanced trim, compared to the 8-inch display offered only in the Hyundai’s optional Ultimate Package (until 2020)
  • Offers free scheduled maintenance for the first two years and 25,000 miles of driving
  • All versions rate as a “Top Safety Pick” according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, whereas the only Ioniq Plug-in to achieve that status is the Limited with the Ultimate Package

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid vs. Toyota Prius Prime. Which is Better?

Toyota Prius Prime vs Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid Rear Views
Both of these cars are 5-door hatchbacks with split folding rear seats. That means they offer more utility than your typical sedan; nearly as much as some crossover SUVs. (Hyundai and Toyota)

 

As is often the case, your choice between the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid and the Toyota Prius Prime boils down to personal preference. Each vehicle is worthy of consideration but in different ways.

We give the Hyundai our stamp of approval. Its main flaw is reserving ADAS technologies for the Limited trim level, requiring you to spend $2,000 more in order to get them.

Beyond that, however, the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid is better suited to daily driving and does a better job of providing peace of mind. The best things about it are significantly better than the Prius Prime, while the Toyota provides incremental superiority in the areas where it shines brightest.

* Based on press release for European-specification 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid


About the Author

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

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