Buyers trying to figure out which fuel-efficient vehicle to pick up have a few different options to consider. They will have quite a few small car options to consider, but when going for a hybrid or electric option there are a few budget options that stand out more than the rest. The two major players are the Toyota Prius Prime and the Nissan Leaf when considering value and overall fuel efficiency. Both are capable vehicles but they are very different machines that serve different purposes. Below is an overview of the differences between the two to help you figure out which is right for you.

2017 toyota prius prime

Long Distance Driving Winner

If you plan on traveling for long distances often, the Prius Prime is the obvious winner of the two. That’s mainly because the Nissan Leaf doesn’t have a gas engine at all. It can’t travel more than the 100 mile or so range that it offers. That means you will have to find a charging station and wait for the battery to charge up again before being able to continue on your trip if you want to go farther. The Prius Prime offers excellent efficiency, and can handle the long-distance trips that most people like to take in the US at one point or another.

Battery Power Champ

The Nissan Leaf is the clear winner if you want to rely on only battery power. It has a considerably farther range when on battery power alone. That means that you can probably take on your work commute every day with the leaf, while it might be a stretch with the Prius Prime if you want to use electric only power. The Prime has a range of about 25 miles, which is good for many people, but not enough for longer commutes.


While the Nissan Leaf looks like a really strong contender when you look at its range and power, it also comes at a considerably higher cost than the Prius Prime. The car will set you back about 9,000 more than the Prius Prime. For shoppers looking for an affordable driving solution, it’s hard to justify the added cost of the Nissan Leaf without a strong need or desire to only use the battery for driving. Instead many drivers will opt for the more affordable Prius when comparing vehicles. It’s important to look at local pricing though, as well as tax credits before deciding on the vehicle that you want to buy.

Improved Acceleration

If you opt for one of the more powerful versions of the Prius Prime, it’s nearly a full second faster on acceleration from 0 to 60. That’s a pretty major difference and something worth considering if you merge onto highways often. The Prius Prime takes full advantage of that gasoline engine and uses it to boost highway merging speeds.

Both cars have a lot to offer but the option that’s right for you depends on what you are looking for. If you want the vehicle that’s going to offer the longest travel range on full-electric power, the Nissan Leaf is the clear winner. If you want something that’s going to travel more than 100 miles at a time, the Prius Prime is the winner. The Prime is also a lower cost vehicle and a bit faster at hitting highway speeds. The Leaf is a good solid option if you don’t need to travel more than 80 miles, and strong competitor if you don’t mind the increased cost.