Revealed at a private event ahead of the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota has officially unveiled the next version of its Prius gasoline/electric plug-in hybrid and Prius Prime. These fifth-generation hatchbacks get a sleek new look, revised battery, and updated safety and connectivity technology. The company also claims the standard Prius hybrid will achieve 57 mpg in combined city/highway driving.
Count us among the chorus of experts impressed by the exterior design of the new Prius. It retains the same basic wedge shape as the previous two generations, but most of the sharp edges have been smoothed out, giving an appropriately futuristic look. The car is 2 inches lower, one inch wider and one inch longer than its predecessor.
The sleek new body is based on the second generation of Toyota’s “New Global Architecture” (TNGA). This time around, the company is focusing on performance. Front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive (AWD) options will return to the standard Prius hybrid while the Prime remains front-wheel-drive only. All see their four-cylinder gasoline engines go from 1.8 to 2.0 liters. The redesigned battery switches to lithium-ion technology from the older nickel-metal hydride, resulting in a 15% increase in output. Total system horsepower ratings are 194 and 196, with estimated 0-60 mph acceleration times of 7.2 and 7.0 seconds for standard and AWD front models, respectively.
The Prius Prime gets even more juice with a combined 220 horsepower, giving a 0-60 draft time of 6.6 seconds. Although it has more power, Toyota claims the Prime is capable of around 38 miles of all-electric travel, a significant increase over the 25 miles of the last-gen plug-in.
Inside, the instruments and controls are a hybrid of Toyota’s all-electric bZ4X SUV and other passenger vehicles like the Highlander and Sienna. The Prius Hybrid range includes LE, XLE and Limited versions, while the Prime adopts SE, XSE and XSE Premium versions. The standard tablet-style infotainment screen measures 8 inches on LE/SE and XLE/XSE models. Optional on XLE/XSE and standard on Limited/XSE Premium is an ultra-wide 12.3-inch panel. Full smartphone integration is included with six USB Type-C power points.
XLE/XSE features Toyota’s SofTex leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, power driver’s seat, rain-sensing windshield wipers, wireless charging and front obstacle detection and at the back. Limited/XSE Premium models add a JBL-branded audio system, fixed glass roof, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats and a digital key that uses a compatible smartphone to lock, unlock and start the vehicle.
Blind Spot Alert with Rear Cross Traffic Detection; lane departure warning; adaptive radar cruise control; and traffic sign detection are standard. New is something Toyota calls “Proactive Driving Assist”, which uses the car’s camera and radar systems to provide limited autonomous capability, including cornering braking and braking/steering to help maintain the distance between vehicles, pedestrians and/or cyclists. Limited/XSE Premium models are available with a surround-view camera system and hands-free parallel parking.
The 2023 Toyota Prius Hybrid is expected to hit dealerships early in Calendar 23, with the Prime plug-in following shortly after. Full pricing and fuel economy estimates will be available closer to that date.
We’ve always been fans of the practical, affordable and highly efficient Prius. That said, it’s a little less clear to us these days how the Prius fits into Toyota’s lineup. Both the Corolla and the Camry can have a hybrid version, and the former is about as fuel efficient as the Prius. But marketing is Toyota’s problem. If the new, much prettier Prius is as well sorted as previous editions, count on us.
2023 Toyota Prius Gallery
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