2023 Toyota Prius, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
The Toyota Prius (/ˈpriːəs/) (Japanese: トヨタ・プリウス, Hepburn: Toyota Puriusu) is a car built by Toyota which has a hybrid drivetrain, combining an internal combustion engine with an electric motor. Initially offered as a four-door sedan, it has been produced only as a five-door liftback since 2003.
In 2007, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) rated the Prius as among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States on the basis of smog-forming emissions. The 2018 model year Prius Eco ranked as the second-most-fuel-efficient gasoline-powered car without plug-in capability available in the US that year, following the Hyundai Ioniq Blue hybrid.
The Prius first went on sale in Japan in 1997, and was available at all four Toyota Japan dealership chains, making it the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. It was subsequently introduced worldwide in 2000. Toyota sells the Prius in over 90 markets, with Japan and the United States being its largest markets. Global cumulative Prius liftback sales reached the milestone 1 million vehicle mark in May 2008, 2 million in September 2010, and passed the 3 million mark in June 2013.
Cumulative sales of one million were achieved in the U.S. by early April 2011, and Japan reached the 1 million mark in August 2011. As of September 2022, the Prius liftback ranked as the world’s top selling hybrid car with 5 million units sold.
In 2011, Toyota expanded the Prius family to include the Prius v, an MPV, and the Prius c, a subcompact hatchback. The production version of the Prius plug-in hybrid was released in 2012. The second generation of the plug-in variant, the Prius Prime, was released in the U.S. in November 2016.
The Prime achieved the highest miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) rating in all-electric mode of any vehicle rated by EPA with an internal combustion engine. Global sales of the Prius c variant passed the one million mark during the first half of 2015. The Prius family totaled global cumulative sales of 6.1 million units in January 2017, representing 61% of the 10 million hybrids sold worldwide by Toyota since 1997.
2023 Toyota Prius Hybrid
2023 Toyota Prius Hybrid First Look: Hold On, This Is a Prius?
Maybe it’s time to stop thinking of the iconic hybrid as boring, slow, and cheap.
Talk about your ugly duckling becoming a swan. The 2023 Toyota Prius hybrid has undergone the kind of transformation automakers often promise but rarely deliver when slapping an “all-new” label on a long-running model. But, dang! The Prius became a household name over two decades ago because of its efficiency and affordability—never, never, ever because of its looks—so consider us stunned it is now a stunner.
While the original Prius made headlines 22 years ago when it first went on sale and celebrities hoping to make an environmental statement pulled them up to red carpets, fashionability largely eluded the hybrid’s first four generations. The fifth-generation Prius, by contrast, is sleek and modern, its windswept shape managing to look fast and efficient; it also sits atop the newest-generation TNGA modular platform. Toyota also has found a way to increase the hybrid system’s power and fuel economy.
If Toyota were to say the Prius also costs less than before, we might dismiss the whole thing as a fever dream. But pricing won’t be announced until later this year, and a price drop is unlikely.
Coming up with a new Prius is no easy task, especially given the awkward business position Toyota’s found itself in as competitors continue to beat it—badly—to the rapidly popularizing fully electric vehicle segment. “The weight of the Prius name is heavy. It carries with it the identity of an entire category of vehicle powertrain,” said Toyota general manager Dave Christ of an approach to efficiency fast falling out of fashion among cost- and environmentally conscious buyers. “We’re confident the all-new 2023 Prius and Prius Prime will continue this important legacy.”
Let’s unpack what Toyota has done to the hybrid that’s found over 5 million buyers here in America and 20 million globally since its introduction, and hopes to find yet more in a world going nuts for EVs.
The 2023 Toyota Prius’ New Look
Forgettable as it is, we should remind you the 2001 Prius was bland and frumpy. Over the years designers overcorrected, with lines and creases the eye could barely follow. The 2023 Prius bears only the faintest hints of the Prii before it. The piercing silhouette came from the design studios in Japan, and the front bears the same hammerhead nose as the Toyota Crown and Toyota bZ4X.
The roofline is 2 inches lower, the car is an inch longer, and the rear of the vehicle is almost 1 inch wider than the front which further enhances the wedge shape. Larger 19-inch wheels on the XLE and Limited trims add further substance to the look. The entry-level LE, which is the most efficient trim, has 17-inch wheels.
This is the first Prius with a fixed panoramic roof; it is an option on the XLE and standard on the Limited. The top trim also has a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, and optional heated rear seats. And check out the integrated door handles for rear passengers, which are on every Prius.
Among the three grades, the LE has a smaller 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen set into the more streamlined dash, but there is an optional tombstone-style 12.3-inch screen on the XLE, which is standard on the top-of-the-line Limited grade. There are six USB-C ports, and the higher trims come with a wireless charger. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is included, and you can upgrade to a JBL Premium Audio system with eight speakers.
The new electrical architecture improves the Toyota’s overall connectivity and makes it easier to send over-the-air software updates that enhance the vehicle. Just say “Hey Toyota” to give the car voice commands for navigation, climate, and audio control.
2023 Toyota Prius Has New Platform, Hybrid Powertrain
The new Prius moves to the second generation of the already good TNGA-C platform, which lowers the center of gravity, removes weight, and increases rigidity. With the car’s wider stance and lower driving position—the hip point is an inch lower—it should feel far less dorky to be behind the wheel of a Prius. From the appearance of the interior, it is apparent that Toyota is moving the Prius upmarket; it has room to do so, what with the popular and cheaper Corolla Hybrid family expanding for 2023.
The new hybrid system enjoys increased engine and battery output—hence more power and efficiency at the same time. The fifth-gen hybrid system is paired with a larger 2.0-liter I-4 engine (the current Prius uses a 1.8-liter) and a new lithium-ion battery that has 15 percent more output than the outgoing nickel metal battery. Toyota was slower than most to switch to lithium-ion chemistry, which results in a smaller and lighter battery.
It is again located under the rear seats, but it doesn’t impinge on interior and cargo space as much as the outgoing car’s pack, which was also located primarily under the rear seat.
The resulting power boost is huge, with the Prius’s output going from 121 horsepower to 194 horsepower. Toyota claims this plummets the zero-to-60-mph acceleration time to 7.2 seconds in the front-drive model and seven seconds flat for the 2-hp-more-powerful all-wheel-drive version. As before, the AWD Prius adds an electric motor to the rear axle to spin the rear tires when starting off and at lower speeds in slippery conditions. Buyers can add e-AWD to every Prius trim level, too.
The efficiency play is equally compelling. The current Prius has an EPA rating of 52 mpg combined—the next-generation gets up to 57 mpg combined.
“Our design and engineering teams really delivered,” Christ said.
The latest version of Toyota Safety Sense is standard and there are “convenience” features to detect vehicles in your blind spot, behind you, or help when parking.
New ‘Beyond Zero’ Badging
The Prius is the first vehicle to sport Toyota’s new “Beyond Zero” badging, a blue circle that is a reference to the automaker’s electric bZ sub-brand in support of Toyota’s commitment to zero emission solutions that fit customer lifestyles. It is a dance around the fact that Toyota is behind most of the competition when it comes to EVs, relying more heavily on hybrids combining an electric motor and an internal combustion engine.
Going forward all electrified vehicles will have the circle logo with HEV (for hybrid electric vehicle); BEV (battery electric); FCEV (fuel cell electric); and, in many countries, PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric). However, in the U.S. the plug-in version will say “Prime,” in keeping with the outgoing Prius PHEV’s naming scheme. Toyota’s only battery-electric vehicle, the bZ4X, will adopt the new badging next model year.
Toyota also used an event on the eve of the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show to debut the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime, the identically styled plug-in hybrid Prius, also with more power and electric range that increases to about 38 miles. And the automaker showed another pure electric concept: the Toyota bZ Compact SUV Concept which could be a precursor to a Toyota Crown EV in the future.
Toyota’s lineup consists of 10 hybrids, two plug-in hybrids, one battery electric vehicle and the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The automaker has announced it will invest more than $70 billion in electrified vehicles over the next nine years, with $35 billion committed to BEVs. Plans are to expand to about 70 electrified models globally by 2025. By 2030 Toyota will have 30 EVs with the goal of selling 3.5 million EVs annually. In the meantime, expect the Prius to bridge that period more stylishly than we could have possibly imagined.
2023 Toyota Prius Prime First Look: The Quickest, Most Powerful Prius Ever
The plug-in hybrid space pod is now low-key fast and stylish? Really!
At this year’s Los Angeles auto show, a new wedge-shaped automobile with far more power than its predecessor makes its debut. But this is no Rodeo Drive-bound exotic—it’s the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime. Although it’s still far—far—from a hybrid supercar, the redesigned Prius PHEV hatchback promises better performance, tech, and range—not to mention, aesthetics—than any Prius before it.
Wait, The Prius Looks Cool Now?
Like the equally new 2023 Prius hybrid (the one without a plug), the new Prius Prime receives a gob smacking glow-up. Admittedly, the old model set the styling bar about high as a Toyota Supra’s ground clearance, but the newest Prii (the identical-looking hybrid included) might be the first to ever beckon shoppers with its design, rather than mere affordability and efficiency. We suppose someone at Toyota finally asked the question whether stylistic self-flagellation for the sake of MPGs was necessary.
Taking a sleek aerodynamic shape, the body carries dapper sculpting and clever details like hidden rear door handles. Based on an updated version of the TNGA-C platform, the wedge-like Prius is roughly 2.0 inches shorter and 1.0 inch wider and longer than the previous model. Most eye-catching are the thin LED headlights, which wouldn’t look out of place on a sports car. In fact, there are amusing parallels between the Toyota’s headlight design and, well, the same pieces on the latest Ferraris.
Unlike the outgoing model, the new Prius Prime’s body is essentially identical to that of the standard Prius. Toyota is differentiating the Prime by positioning it as something of a performance variant in the Prius range.
The SE, XSE, and XSE Premium trims it’s offered in are denominations reserved for Toyota’s sportier trim-level pillar. (Toyota’s L-based designations such as L, LE, and XLE are reserved for more luxury-focused models—and are the only offerings on the regular 2023 Prius.) A cute cursive “Prime” tailgate badge, unique wheels, interior trim, and an available clear lens for the LED taillights are the Prime’s, um, prime design differentiators.
The Most Powerful And Electric Prius Ever
A subtle detail seen only on the Prius Prime is what looks like two fuel doors. In actuality, gasoline goes in on the driver’s side flap, while electricity flows into the passenger’s side charge port, which has a fitting for a J1772 connector to replenish the now lithium-ion onboard battery.
This new battery is located under the rear seats, ensuring a lower center of gravity and optimized space in the hatchback cargo area. Although official EPA certification is forthcoming, Toyota promises all-electric driving range will increase by more than 50 percent over the outgoing model—estimate 37 or 38 miles in EV mode. An available rooftop solar panel can help replenish the battery when parked, and power accessories while driving.
When running as a hybrid, the 2022 Prius Prime scored a 54 mpg combined fuel economy rating, slightly better than the standard Prius’ 52 mpg score. Given that the new 2023 Prius is targeting 57 mpg combined, it seems likely that the new Prime’s hybrid efficiency will rise, too.
The electric propulsion system is supplemented by a 2.0-liter I-4 engine, up from the previous 1.8-liter mill. It remains connected to a planetary-type continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is available only on the standard Prius hybrid. Working together, this battery and motor give the Prius Prime a huge power increase—now 220 hp, up from 121 hp; the standard Prius makes 194 hp with FWD and 196 hp with AWD.
As such, Toyota estimates the Prius Prime will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds, downright rapid compared to the 10.0-second result our test team measured from the outgoing Prime. Equally important to regular driving, Toyota says the Prius Prime’s accelerator responses have been tuned to feel more like those of an all-electric vehicle.
Screens And Buttons Applied Harmoniously
Inside the Prius Prime, Toyota earns a nod for not joining the industry trend of eliminating physical buttons in favor of digital everything. Hard keys for HVAC controls are placed on the dashboard, drive mode options are on the center console, and a variety of other functions are seen on the steering wheel, which looks borrowed from the brand’s bZ4X all-electric crossover.
Yet there’s no shortage of pixels. Like in the bZ4X, the Prius Prime’s driver looks at a digital gauge display. An 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard on the SE and XSE grades, while a 12.3-inch unit is optional on XSE and standard on XSE Premium. Both screens come prepared for wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual Bluetooth device connectivity, and future over-the-air updates.
Every Prius Prime includes six USB-C ports, and the XSE Premium will have a wireless charging pad. Furthermore, that range-topping trim offers a digital rearview mirror, semi-autonomous parking capability, and a surround-view camera system.
Self-Driving Capabilities Come Standard
Like most 2023 Toyota models, the Prius Prime will come with the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) suite of driver-assist and active safety features. Here it’s the brand’s latest version 3.0 of the tech, which bundles front automated emergency braking, lane-keep assist, lane-change assist, adaptive cruise control, road sign recognition, and automatic high beams; XSE and XSE Premium models gain blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear automatic braking.
New to TSS 3.0 is Proactive Driving Assist, which runs in the background to provide assistance in situations less dire than what might activate, for example, automatic emergency braking. Rather, Proactive Driving Assist remains ever-aware to provide slight steering and braking inputs based on traffic conditions ahead.
Debuting on the Prius Prime is Toyota’s new Traffic Jam Assist. This system builds on the adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist systems to provide hands-free driving when traffic is moving at less than 25 mph. A camera integrated into the steering column monitors the driver’s eyes to ensure they’re paying attention
The Best Prius Ever?
With the original Prius, Toyota revolutionized the auto industry by bringing hybrids to the mainstream. Yet as the world races toward all-electric vehicles, Toyota has ceded its leader status. Can the 2023 Prius Prime’s alluring looks and improved electric driving range make it an appetizer for Toyota EV models in the works? Time will tell, but right now, this much is clear: the car has mojo like it’s never had before. When pricing is announced in the first half of calendar year 2023, expect it to start a few thousand dollars above the standard Prius.