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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 Model 3 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
To help make backing safer, the Prius Prime Limited’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning 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 Model 3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
The Prius Prime has standard Safety Connect™, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the Prius Prime and the Model 3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.
The Prius Prime’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Model 3’s (5/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).
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. Tesla doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Model 3.
There are almost 9 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Prius Prime’s warranty.
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 35 points higher than the Model 3.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Tesla is ranked 23rd.
The Prius Prime’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel and a full charge is 652 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model 3’s range is only 250 to 330 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 8 hours and 30 minutes for only a partial charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas.
In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Prius Prime has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.
The Prius Prime stops shorter than the Model 3:
60 to 0 MPH
For better maneuverability, the Prius Prime’s turning circle is 4.7 feet tighter than the Model 3’s (33.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).
The front grille of the Prius Prime uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Model 3 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Prius Prime has .5 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more front hip room than the Model 3.
The Prius Prime has a much larger trunk than the Model 3 (19.8 vs. 14.6 cubic feet).
A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Prius Prime to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Tesla doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Model 3.
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 Model 3 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
If the windows are left open on the Prius Prime the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Model 3 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Prius Prime’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model 3 doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.
The Prius Prime’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Model 3’s power mirror controls are embedded in the infotainment system, seriously distracting drivers who have to adjust them while driving.
On extremely cold winter days, the Prius Prime Limited’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Prius Prime XLE/Limited has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Model 3 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Prius Prime is less expensive to operate than the Model 3 because it costs $145 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Prius Prime than the Model 3, including $194 less for a water pump, $28 less for front brake pads and $621 less for a power steering pump.
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