Prius Prime

Electric Motor

145 city/121 hwy

Model S

75D Motor

102 city/105 hwy

100D Motor

101 city/102 hwy

P100D Motor

92 city/105 hwy

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 S’ range is only 259 to 335 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

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 S doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Prius Prime’s turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the Model S’ (33.4 feet vs. 37 feet).


The Toyota Prius Prime may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1400 to 1550 pounds less than the Tesla Model S.

The Prius Prime is 1 foot, 1.1 inches shorter than the Model S, making the Prius Prime easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Prius Prime is 8 inches narrower than the Model S, making the Prius Prime easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

Passenger Space

The Prius Prime has .6 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front legroom and 1.9 inches more rear headroom than the Model S.

Servicing Ease

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 S.


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 S doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Prius Prime’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model S doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Prius Prime is less expensive to operate than the Model S 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 S, including $336 less for a water pump, $54 less for front brake pads and $731 less for a power steering pump.


Consumer Reports? recommends the Toyota Prius Prime, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Tesla Model S isn't recommended.

The Toyota Prius outsold the Tesla Model S by almost four to one during 2018.

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

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