After nearly six full days of driving the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid during the Amgen Tour California, I stopped for my first refuel about two hours into a 3 1/2-hour evening drive from San Jose to Morro Bay, California.
The route was primarily a long, straight haul north-south along Highway 101 before an undulating, often single-lane finishing 17-mile trek on Highway 41 into the ocean resort city. I stopped with about 90 miles left in the drive. I filled up the Prius Prime with 9.3 gallons at $3.09 per gallon for a total of $29.00. I’d driven 499 miles.
The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is rated at 54 miles per gallon. I averaged 53.3 mpg on my first tank of fuel.
Recently awarded Green Car of the Year honors at the New York International Auto Show the Prius Prime is at its best on long, straight freeway treks. For the start of the women’s race, I drove a primarily uphill 103 miles from near Sea Level to an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet in South Lake Tahoe.
So far, I’ve driven nearly 600 miles with perhaps 450 miles on downhill or flat, high-speed freeways and perhaps 50 miles of city driving. I’ve used the air conditioning periodically.
Two other features of the Prius Prime have been impressive. During last night’s drive on Highway 101, the flow of traffic often exceeded the posted speed of 70 mph. The navigation system (part of the 11.6-inch vertically presented infotainment center) began its warning of stopped traffic 20 miles ahead on the freeway.
Updates were provided every few miles approaching the pending issue, a late-night construction working under bright lights on a long stretch of the freeway. The flow of traffic was reduced to one re-routed, narrow lane pushed to near the highway center median. With the proper long-range and repeated notices, the situation was tackled without freeway anxiety.
The Toyota Prius Prime also has a lane departure alert system. If the turn signal indicator isn’t engaged, a warning sound and a dashboard image signal the vehicle has crossed into another lane, even if slightly. The sound and image aren’t overtly loud or flashy to cause further alarm, but appropriately engaged to apprise the driver.
Here are my previous blog posts during the Amgen Tour of California:
Article Last Updated: August 7, 2023.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.