Deep dive: Prius Prime tech trades function for flash
Toyota completely reinvented the Pruis's dashboard with the plug-in prior model.
It didn't have to, but it did it anyway.
So take a close look and I'll show you what they're working with.
Now, the Prius's dashboard is divided into two main areas.
There's the upper brow and the main display.
Now, upstairs, things are actually looking pretty good.
We've got a very simple setup with two screens.
One's a digital instrument cluster and trip computer.
And the second is a multi information display where you can see things like your hybrid information, fuel economy.
You can also monitor your various driver aid features, as well as mirror Your audio source and navigation information up there if you wanna keep it in your line of sight while you're driving.
You control that second screen with a pad here on the steering wheel.
It's very well organized and laid out, I really like what's happening up there.
We've got the large main display.
It's a 12-ish inch vertically oriented display, very similar to what we've seen in vehicles like Tesla's Model S or Volvo's 90 series of vehicles with their Senses Connect.
Now here's where the biggest changes from the standard Prius occur and also where Things start to get a little bit wonky.
Let's take a look at the interface.
You've got this big map that sort of fills up the screen and serves as the background of most of the interface.
And above that, you've got these widgets that sort of overlay and pop in for the various parts of the interface.
Now, on the home screen here We've got three widgets, for destination input, shortcuts to Toyota's Entune app suite which requires a paired smartphone running a companion app, and a big old green button in the middle for all of your hands free calling stuff.
You can also pop out sections to allow you to do things like monitor your current audio source and climate control And if you tap this Menu button, you get a second overlay menu that for some reason shows the same three options that were on the home screen.
With a fourth Info option, where you can monitor your various fuel economy information and hybrid systems.
Now my problems with this system are twofold, partially software and partially hardware.
On the hardware side you've got this really big screen that's very prone to glare and kind of washes out in direct sunlight and at night?
Well, it's a Big or bright screen in the middle of your dark car it's kind of a distracting eyeball magnet.
The software issues pretty much lie in the fact that there is just a whole lot going on here things are popping in from all different parts of the interface and it's just a lot of visual information that van be very distracting.
It doesn't seem to make, Very good use of its real estate.
This is particularly evident when you're in a densely packed urban areas with a lot of streets on this map.
It's a lot of visual noise and it can be kind of hard to find your little car icon on the map at a glance.
And if you add to that a very complicated menu structure underneath it that makes even the simplest task like choosing a satellite radio station that's not a preset into a multitap odyssey, you'll start to see Why I'm pretty frustrated with this system.
Plus, there's no android auto or apple car play available so if you don't like what Toyota has given you here, you're kind of stuck with it.
With a standard Prius it had an in tune system that I wasn't a huge fan of.
But, at the very least, it was small and unobtrusive and kind of stayed out of the way.
This system is just big and bold and always in your face with its frustrations.
At the very least, it's kind of flashy.
So maybe you'll be able to show it off to the people who ride in the car with you, this has been your deep dive into the tech in the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime,