2021 BMW 330e vs. 2020 Toyota Prius

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 2020/08/11

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 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 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 an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Prius 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 has a metal gas tank.

Both the 330e and the Prius 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 all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The BMW 330e weighs 819 to 1128 pounds more than the Toyota Prius. 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 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 2020/08/11

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’ 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’ (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 (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’ 1.8 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the 330e running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Prius:

MPGe

330e

RWD

Electric Motor

72 city/80 hwy

AWD

Electric Motor

64 city/71 hwy

Prius

MPG

FWD

Eco 1.8 4-cyl. Hybrid

58 city/53 hwy

1.8 4-cyl. Hybrid

54 city/50 hwy

AWD

1.8 4-cyl. Hybrid

52 city/48 hwy

The 330e’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 23 miles, about 38 times as far as the Prius’ 0.6-mile range.

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 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:

330e

330e opt.

Prius

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 are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 330e has larger standard tires than the Prius (225/45R18 vs. 195/65R15). The 330e’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Prius (F:225/40R19 & R:255/35R19 vs. 215/45R17).

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 L Eco/LE’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 XLE/Limited’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 330e has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Prius L Eco/LE. The 330e’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Prius XLE/Limited.

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 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’ 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’ 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 (112.2 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 330e is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Prius.

The 330e’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.3% to 50.7%) than the Prius’ (61% to 39%). This gives the 330e more stable handling and braking.

Passenger Space

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The 330e has 1 inch more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 1.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Prius.

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’ 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 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 doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Servicing Ease

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The 330e uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Prius 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. 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 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’ parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the 330e and the Prius 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 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The 330e’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Prius’ cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 L Eco/LE’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’ 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 has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/Limited.

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’ 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 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the 330e and the Prius 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.

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 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the 330e and the Prius 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 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 LE/XLE/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 2020/08/11

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 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 because typical repairs cost much less on the 330e than the Prius, including $167 less for fuel injection, $225 less for a fuel pump and $351 less for a power steering pump.

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