2021 BMW 330e vs. 2020 Toyota Prius Prime

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

The 330e’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 330e has standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The 330e offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The 330e offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Prius Prime only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Compared to metal, the 330e’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Prius Prime has a metal gas tank.

Both the 330e and the Prius Prime have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The BMW 330e weighs 664 to 773 pounds more than the Toyota Prius Prime. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 330e the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Prius Prime last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2019.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

The 330e comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Prius Prime’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 330e’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Prius Prime’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 330e for 1 year and 11000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Prius Prime (3/36,000 vs. 2/25000).

Engine

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The 330e’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder hybrid produces 167 more horsepower (288 vs. 121) and 204 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 106) than the Prius Prime’s 1.8 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Transmission

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The 330e’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 330e’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Prius Prime:

330e

330e opt.

Prius Prime

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

10.2 inches

The 330e’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Prius Prime are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 330e has larger standard tires than the Prius Prime (225/45R18 vs. 195/65R15). The 330e’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Prius Prime (F:225/40R19 & R:255/35R19 vs. 195/65R15).

The 330e’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Prius Prime’s standard 65 series tires. The 330e’s optional 225/40R19 front and 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Prius Prime’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 330e has standard 18-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Prius Prime. The 330e offers optional 19-inch wheels.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 330e can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 330e has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Prius Prime’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The 330e offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Prius Prime’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 330e’s wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the Prius Prime (112.2 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 330e is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Prius Prime.

The 330e’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.3% to 50.7%) than the Prius Prime’s (55.5% to 44.5%). This gives the 330e more stable handling and braking.

Passenger Space

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The 330e has 2.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Prius Prime (94 vs. 91.5).

The 330e has 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 1.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Prius Prime.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 330e offers cargo security. The Prius Prime’s hatchback body style, non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the 330e. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the 330e offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The 330e uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Prius Prime uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the 330e is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Prius Prime. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the 330e, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer a memory system.

The 330e’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Prius Prime’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the 330e and the Prius Prime have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 330e is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Prius Prime prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The 330e’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Prius Prime LE/XLE’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The 330e’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Prius Prime’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

The 330e has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Prius Prime has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/Limited.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 330e offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 330e also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the 330e has standard extendable sun visors. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the 330e is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Prius Prime’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 330e’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Prius Prime offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the 330e and the Prius Prime offer available heated front seats. The 330e also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Prius Prime.

The 330e’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the 330e and the Prius Prime offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the 330e has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The 330e’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Prius Prime Limited’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

Insurance will cost less for the 330e owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 330e with a number “3” insurance rate while the Prius Prime is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 330e is less expensive to operate than the Prius Prime because typical repairs cost less on the 330e than the Prius Prime, including $172 less for a fuel pump and $100 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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