Toyota has announced the second-generation plug-in hybrid Prius Prime.

The new vehicle from the Japanese automaker has been the subject of positive reviews from automobile experts, and is packed with features. The new model offers a raft of improvements over a car that already ranked among the top vehicles in its segment.

Toyota Launches New And Improved Prius Prime

Toyota makes design changes and improves performance

Toyota has made some design changes to the exterior, including the front bodywork and grille. Overall changes make for a major facelift for the Prius Prime, which looks sportier than its predecessor.

Under the hood the Prius Prime boasts an 8.8 kWh battery, double that of its predecessor. A complete charge takes 5.5 hours with a 120V connection, or under 3 hours with a 240V source.

The Prius Prime does more than 120 MPGe, up from the 95 MPGe on the Prius Plug-In. The new vehicle also sports an 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 4 seats and a 3.3 kW onboard charger.

Pricing details have not yet been disclosed, but Toyota predicts that it will sell 20,000 units of the plug-in hybrid in the United States every year.

Critics react favorably to Prius Prime

“The Prius Prime also received a major facelift on its overall shape. The Plug-In sports the traditional aerodynamic styling of the original Prius cars. On the other hand, the Prime model has a lower arching back, making the side windows appear longer, since they meet with the rear glass through design continuity,” writes Mary Heart in Design&Trend.

Performance is also set to improve. “It even has one driving detail that will please plug-in enthusiasts right off the bat: The Prius Prime will, in its EV Mode, entirely lock in electric operation—even when you floor the accelerator,” according to the CS Monitor.

It’s an impressive redesign from Toyota that looks set to freshen the Prius range. The styling is much improved and so is performance.

Fans of the original Prius would do well to consider an upgrade to the sportier Prius Prime which also offers improved range and performance. Long-term testing is underway from a number of outlets but initial impressions are good.