The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In is available in Base and Advanced body styles. Standard equipment on the base model includes 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED taillights, keyless entry/ignition, cruise control, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, automatic climate control, heated front seats, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, Bluetooth (phone and audio streaming), a back-up camera, a navigation system, voice recognition and a six-speaker sound system featuring a touchscreen display, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB interface and satellite and HD radio. Toyota's new Entune smartphone and Web integration system is also standard.
The Prius Plug-In Advanced adds automatic LED headlights, foglamps, unique exterior styling treatment, adaptive cruise control, upgraded seat upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a head-up display, more Entune capabilities and a premium eight-speaker JBL sound system with a larger touchscreen display.
The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a pair of electric motor/generators. Together they send a total 134 horsepower to the front wheels through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT). The battery pack features advanced lithium-ion technology and has more capacity (4.4 kWh) than that in the regular Prius'.
In Edmund's testing, a prototype Prius Plug-In accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 10.1 seconds, the same time as the regular Prius. Toyota says the Prius Plug-In will achieve 49 highway mpg and drive up to 15 miles on battery power alone.
Every 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid comes with anti-lock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, a driver knee airbag, full-length side curtain airbags and hill start assist. The Advanced has an additional pre-collision warning system.
In Edmund's brake testing, a prototype Prius Plug-In stopped from 60 mph in 130 feet, an average result for the class and 12 feet short of the conventional (and lighter) Prius hybrid.
The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In features straightforward climate and audio controls that arc out toward the driver in a floating console configuration that offers a storage space underneath. It's a slightly futuristic design that also serves to maximize cabin space. The digital instrument panel also features a floating layer that displays audio, temperature and trip computer information when the driver touches those controls on the steering wheel, minimizing eye movement. Some drivers might find the overall design a bit too busy-looking, however.
New for 2012 is Toyota's new Entune suite of smartphone-connected services that includes features like the Bing search engine, Pandora streaming radio, real-time traffic, sports and stock information, and the ability to reserve movie tickets or a table at a restaurant on the go.