Hybrids

Toyota announces Prius Plug-in hatchback, CH-R SUV recalls

Nearly 70,000 models covered in separate safety campaigns.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Toyota has announced a pair of unrelated recalls that affect its 2012-2015 Prius Plug-In Hybrid hatchbacks and its new 2018 C-HR small crossover SUV.

The Prius Plug-In campaign covers 39,900 units, and apparently stems from a fuse in the hybrid drive system that could malfunction under certain conditions. According to the recall notice, the fuse may fail if the vehicle is "repeatedly operated in EV mode under high-load conditions, such as during a long hill climb." 

If the fuse fails, a warning lamp will be triggered and additional warning messages will be displayed. In such scenarios, the car's hybrid system may shut down entirely, or the vehicle may still be capable of driving with reduced power. Either scenario could result in an accident should the vehicle not be able to keep up with the speed of traffic.

The automaker assures that steering and braking systems in affected Prius PHEV models remain unaffected.  

Toyota dealers will inspect and replace fuses in these Prius models at no charge, with affected owners receiving recall notifications by mail beginning in January, 2018.

Around 28,600 Toyota C-HR crossovers from the 2018 model year are also being recalled, due to a possible issue with the software that governs its electronic parking brake. An operational issue could result in a failure to disengage when applied or prevent the brake from being applied in the first place. 

Although the recall notice doesn't explicitly mention it, presumably if the electronic parking brake fails to disengage, the vehicle could become immobilized, leaving the driver stranded. And if the parking brake cannot be activated when called upon, affected CH-R models could be at heightened risk for rollaway.

Toyota will inspect and update the software on the electronic control unit at no charge. Owners will be notified beginning in late November.