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2020 Toyota Prius Prime gets fifth seat, other upgrades

by Byron Hurd

Toyota is doubling down on practicality for its most frugal hybrid.

Toyota's plug-in Prius Prime may seem like somewhat of an afterthought, especially in today's crossover- and SUV-heavy market. For better or worse, Toyota seems to have noticed. For 2020, the Prius Prime is getting some upgrades to make it more relevant to the average buyer.

Previously only available as a four-seater, for 2020 the Prius Prime gets a three-wide rear bench. This is the most significant upgrade by far, as seating arrangements for plug-in hybrid vehicles have long been a sticking point with critics and buyers alike. See: Chevrolet Volt.

That's not the only convenience upgrade coming to the Prime. Appropriately, it's getting access to Amazon Alexa, along with integration of Apple CarPlay and SiriusXM. Yes, that's new. There are also two new USB charge points for rear passengers.

To make the austere plug-in feel a bit more upscale, Toyota is also offering a new black interior package and a sun visor extension. Fancy.

If you ask us, the five-passenger configuration should have been available from the word "go," but we understand that it wasn't 100% compatible with the plug-in's efficiency-first mission.

Despite this addition, its price tag and 25-mile EV range will probably still keep it from being the Uber superstar that the regular five-passenger Prius is, but it should make for a slightly more compelling package for typical consumers. Plus, you get HOV access in California and New Jersey. That's worth something, right?

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