2020 Toyota Prius Prime vs. 2019 Chevrolet Volt

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Prius Prime are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Volt doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Prius Prime has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Volt doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Prius Prime’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Volt doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Prius Prime and the Volt have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Prius Prime the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Volt has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

The Prius Prime’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Volt’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Prius Prime for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Volt.

Reliability

The Volt’s redline is at 5600 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Prius Prime has a 4000 RPM redline.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Prius Prime’s reliability 59 points higher than the Volt.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked fourth.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 23rd.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Prius Prime gets better fuel mileage than the Volt:

MPG

Prius Prime

Electricity (MPGe)

Electric Motor

145 city/121 hwy

Gasoline

1.8 4-cyl. Hybrid

55 city/53 hwy

Volt

Electricity (MPGe)

Electric Motor

113 city/99 hwy

Gasoline

1.5 4-cyl. Hybrid

43 city/42 hwy

The Prius Prime has 2.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Volt (11.4 vs. 8.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Toyota Prius Prime higher (7 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Volt (3 to 7). This means the Prius Prime produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Volt every 15,000 miles.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Prius Prime has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Chevrolet Volt has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Prius Prime has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Prius Prime flat and controlled during cornering. The Volt’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Prius Prime’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55.5% to 44.5%) than the Volt’s (58.5% to 41.5%). This gives the Prius Prime more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the Prius Prime’s turning circle is 3 feet tighter than the Volt’s (33.4 feet vs. 36.4 feet).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Prius Prime Limited is quieter than the Volt Premier:

Prius Prime

Volt

At idle

27 dB

37 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

67 dB

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Prius Prime a Mid-size car, while the Volt is rated a Compact.

The Prius Prime has 1.6 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1.4 inches more rear headroom and .3 inches more rear hip room than the Volt.

Cargo Capacity

The Prius Prime has a much larger trunk than the Volt (19.8 vs. 10.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Prius Prime Limited has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Volt doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Prius Prime’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Volt’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

The Prius Prime Limited’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Volt’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Prius Prime’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet charges extra for heated mirrors on the Volt.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Prius Prime owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Prius Prime with a number “5” insurance rate while the Volt is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Prius Prime is less expensive to operate than the Volt because it costs $527 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Prius Prime than the Volt, including $394 less for a muffler, $39 less for front brake pads, $24 less for a fuel pump and $311 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Prius Prime, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its July 2016 issue and the Toyota Prius Prime LE won out over the Chevrolet Volt Premier.

The Toyota Prius outsold the Chevrolet Volt by almost five to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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