As electrical automobiles proceed to make their method deeper into the automotive panorama, it’s straightforward to overlook about hybrids. They’re type of like the center little one of the automobile world – caught someplace between the inner combustion previous and EV future. Properly, the fifth-generation Toyota Prius needs you to know that hybrids are nonetheless right here, nonetheless related, and higher than ever. The 2023 Prius comes with a brand new look, much more energy, a premium really feel, and sportier driving traits. It’s additionally probably the most highly effective and, relying the way you spec it, probably the most fuel-efficient Prius ever. It’s sufficient to drag the Prius – a automobile that has been on sale within the U.S. since 2001 – again into relevancy. Right here’s how Toyota did it.
Full Disclosure: Toyota flew me out to Del Mar, California, put me up in a swank resort for 2 nights and fed me copious quantities of meals throughout my keep, all so I may drive the brand new 2023 Prius.
2023 Toyota Prius: Extra Highly effective and Extra Economical
Toyota goes down the “have your cake and eat it too” route with the fifth-generation Prius. Toyota says the brand new automobile – supplied you go for the bottom “LE” trim with smaller wheels – can obtain 57 mpg mixed, thanks partly to a slippery 0.27 coefficient of drag. (For reference, the perfect you possibly can do with a base-model 2022 Prius was 52 mpg mixed, per the EPA; even the Prius Eco maxed out at 56 mpg mixed.) After all, general gas economic system drops as you add on the choices or test the field for all-wheel drive: High-of-the-line XLE and Restricted AWD fashions get a Toyota-estimated 49 mpg mixed, and official EPA numbers haven’t but been finalized.
Regardless of the gas effectivity enchancment, there’s no penalty in efficiency. The truth is, one of many greatest upgrades with the brand new Prius is a bump in energy. The hybrid powertrain pumps out a complete of 194 hp in front-wheel drive guise, or 196 with all-wheel drive. The Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (up from 1.8 liters) places out 150 horsepower all by itself. The brand new and improved powerplant operates nearly silently within the background. For those who flip the radio up only a tad, you may suppose this was a very electrical automobile.
The engine groups up with a 110-hp electrical motor system (up greater than 40 hp over the fourth-generation automobile) driving the entrance axle; all-wheel drive fashions get a second electrical motor on the rear. All of that provides as much as sufficient energy to maneuver the little liftback from zero to 60 in a manufacturer-estimated 7 seconds flat in all-wheel drive trim. For reference, the earlier automobile sprinted to 60 in a leisurely 9.8 seconds, in accordance with Toyota.
2023 Toyota Prius: Inside and Tech
For those who’ve spent any time inside a previous-generation Prius, it’s a utilitarian design that’s not notably comfortable or luxurious. Like every part else with the 2023 Prius, Toyota modified that too.
In line with custom, the 2023 Prius has a really open, ethereal really feel. Toyota did away with the tall, slender center-stack display, changing it with a bigger, extra horizontal unit. The inside of the brand new Prius feels nearly Lexus-like. It’s plush, but very properly thought out. The seats are beautiful, offering loads of assist for my ruined again and achy knees. Each button and knob is precisely the place you’d anticipate it to be – save for the amount knob, which is on the passenger’s facet of the 12.3-inch middle display and is usually a little bit of a attain for the motive force. Yet one more curiosity is the location of the instrument cluster. In contrast to earlier Priuses, the speedometer has moved from the middle of the sprint to proper in entrance of the motive force, however pushed pretty far ahead, nearly like a heads-up show. Throughout my testing I seen that the steering wheel typically blocks giant chunks of the instrument show, so before you purchase considered one of these, actually sit in it to ensure the sight strains be just right for you.
The infotainment system is nearly as commonplace as may be, however very straightforward to make use of. Menus and options are by no means various faucets away, and the positioning of the display by no means takes your eyes too far off the highway. Over-the-air updates ought to preserve it feeling newer for longer.
Whereas the entrance seat occupants might really feel a way of airiness, the identical can’t be stated for back-seat passengers. At 6’1” I couldn’t comfortably match at the back of the automobile until I eliminated my head. For brief journeys, I’m positive it will be wonderful, however I’d not need to spend any type of prolonged interval again there. The form of the brand new Prius’s roof works properly visually, however comes on the expense of rear headroom. The corporate says rear headroom now sits at 36.4 inches. That’s down a full inch from the 2022 mannequin, and isn’t a really Toyota transfer.
Driving the 2023 Toyota Prius
“Prius” and “enjoyable” have by no means been phrases that actually go collectively. The Prius has at all times been an effective way to get the place it’s important to go. It simply works. The brand new automobile additionally works, however it provides in some verve that had been lacking from earlier automobiles.
Toyota introduced alongside a current-generation Prius on this launch occasion, and I used to be in a position to drive it back-to-back with the all-new 2023 mannequin. The distinction in driving dynamics is night time and day. The brand new automobile corners flat and evokes sufficient confidence to allow you to push the hybrid a lot more durable than the previous one. I’m not going to sit down right here and inform you the 2023 Prius is a canyon carver, but when you end up on a twisty highway, you gained’t have a foul time.
That’s all properly and good, however the actual meat and potatoes of driving a Prius is freeway commuting and in-town errand working. I’m pleased to report that the fifth-generation Prius is an all-star when the going will get mundane. It’s quiet, with a clean and cozy trip it doesn’t matter what type of highway you’re on, thanks partly to a wheelbase stretched by roughly 2 inches. The MacPherson entrance and multi-link rear suspension ensure that each bump will get only a single response. There’s not one of the floaty movement that you just obtained within the fourth-generation automobile, however the brand new Prius isn’t overly stiff both. Summed up, the trip is ideal for the sort of automobile.
2023 Toyota Prius Glow-Up
The 2023 Prius is 2 inches decrease, one inch wider and one inch longer than the outgoing mannequin. Mix that with wheels pushed additional out to the corners, a pushed-back roofline apex, and a few actually funky cutlines within the sheetmetal, and also you get a really hanging bundle. The break up rear window – a Prius staple since its second era – is gone. This truthfully does damage rear visibility a bit, however hey, fashion’s gotta fashion.
The 2023 Prius is so hanging, in reality, that at one level whereas I used to be driving it, a person in a vibrant pink Dodge Viper practically broke his neck to try me. While you put the last-generation Prius subsequent to the all-new 2023 mannequin, the distinction is even stronger.
The truth is, at Toyota’s launch occasion, the previous-generation Prius obtained a mild ribbing from considered one of Toyota’s personal engineers. He stated that, general, each Prius has been a handsome automobile… with the fourth-gen being the one exception. You’ll be able to’t win ‘em all, however Toyota has fastened the state of affairs after which some with this all-new mannequin The aggressive styling is one signal that Toyota is aiming the brand new Prius straight at youthful consumers. I believe it’s successful.
2023 Toyota Prius: Pricing, Trims, And Closing Ideas
The bottom-model 2023 Prius LE with front-wheel drive begins at $28,545 (together with $1,095 for vacation spot), a rise of $1,165 over 2022 (Toyota determined to eliminate the previous base-model Prius L). XLE and Restricted begin at $31,990 and $35,560, respectively. All-wheel drive may be added to any trim for $1,400. As commonplace you get LED exterior DRLs and taillights, 17-inch wheels, 6-way material seats, single zone local weather management, six USB-C chargers, an 8-inch middle show. Toyota Security Sense 3.0 is commonplace on all fashions, together with radar cruise management with cease and begin in addition to pedestrian avoidance. As you go up in trim ranges you possibly can add niceties like a digital key, a bigger middle display, heated and cooled seats, 19-inch wheels, a panoramic roof and LED headlights.
Count on the 2023 Prius to start out exhibiting up at sellers someday in January; the plug-in hybrid Prius Prime, with 220 hp and a solar-panel roof, is about to reach in spring 2023.
Toyota has been slightly gradual on the EV uptake, however the firm clearly thinks there’s room and urge for food for a brand new hybrid. The 2023 Prius has all of the elements to doubtlessly show Toyota proper in regards to the automotive world’s center little one.