Preview: 2023 Toyota Prius
Last November, Toyota rolled out the 2023 Prius to a shocked and stunned public. Every perception about this pioneer in gasoline-electric hybrid automobiles was thrown out the window.
The sleek design captivated the media and the public. The promise of more performance from both the hybrid and plug-in version also caught everyone’s attention.
It starts with the sleekest and boldest design ever seen on a Prius. The overall length remains about the same compared to the 2022 model, however one would notice the two-inch lower roofline and an inch extra width towards the rear of the Prius.
Keen observers will find a complete departure from previous Prius models. The instrument cluster is now in front of the driver. Taking over the middle is a new eight-inch touchscreen for Toyota’s latest infotainment system. On higher trim levels, that screen is upgraded to 12.3-inches.
Even though the roofline was lowered by two inches, most occupants will find ample space in both front and rear seats. The tradeoff of the lower roofline is less space for cargo – a reduction of four to seven cubic feet compared to last year’s model.
The gasoline engine has been enlarged to 2.0 liters. Combined with an electric motor, net output is increased to 194 horsepower for front-drive models, 196 horsepower with all-wheel drive. Power is transferred via an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission to the front wheels or a dual motor electronic all-wheel drive system.
In terms of fuel economy, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the Prius can get up to 57 MPG in the city, 56 MPG on the highway.
The new generation Prius will also be available in a plug-in hybrid version called the Prime. The addition of a 3.5-kilowatt level 2 charging port means an increase in performance with a net output of 220 horsepower. With a full battery, the Prius Prime delivers approximately up to 44 miles of electric-only driving. That also translates into a combined range of up to 600 miles.
In a brief drive of a hybrid XLE model, we found there was a significant difference in performance. With the new driveline, there is definitely more pep from underneath the hood. We also found the overall driving experience somewhere between Priuses of the past and a set of new benchmarks giving this new model a fresh lease of life.
One thing we weren’t sure about what was the driving environment. The bZ4X’s set up has some limitations, however it has a higher seating position. The new Prius sits lower, giving taller drivers a challenge to balance reading the instrument cluster screen with a steering wheel does that not adjust higher.
The 2023 Prius is available in three trim levels – LE, XLE, and Limited. Pricing starts from $27,450. Prius Prime customers have a choice between SE, XSE, or XSE Premium grades with pricing starting from $32,350.
As the 2023 Prius arrives at showrooms, customers tend to not look at any other vehicles in comparison. If they did, they will find that they could cross-shop with the Toyota Corolla Hybrid and the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid.
However, Toyota still makes an original vehicle based on a simple electrification principle – combining a gasoline engine with an electric motor. Now in its fifth generation, the Toyota Prius is more extroverted with improved performance, and a sleeker profile. This could be the Prius that will win you over this time.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors