The Toyota Prius hatchback turns over a new leaf this year as it enters its fifth generation. After many iterations, the Prius finally morphed into a handsome hunk of sheet metal with a fuel-efficient powertrain hidden inside. The new car offers up to 196 horsepower, the most ever from a Prius. Toyota estimates that the front-wheel drive model will get up to 57 mpg combined, also the best number achieved by a Prius. A completely redesigned cabin welcomes a more traditional approach to the driver’s compartment layout, with larger screens and a sweetened offering of features, including available heated rear seats. The new Prius has a lower roofline, a wider stance and a lower seating position that promises to make it fun. Achieving this shouldn’t be that difficult for the Prius: it just needs to outpace well-known rivals like the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid and the Toyota Corolla Hybrid. Toyota hasn’t said when the Prius will go on sale, but we expect it to hit the market in early 2023.
What’s new for 2023?
The 2023 Toyota Prius is the start of a new fifth generation with a car that has been thoroughly updated inside and out. Every Prius now rides on the next evolution of Toyota’s TNGA-C platform, making it a leaner, but more rigid, eco-friendly compact with a wider stance and lower driving position. A new 194-hp hybrid powertrain with available all-wheel drive was added; Toyota promises it will be at least a few seconds quicker to 60 mph while maintaining competitive fuel economy. All-wheel-drive models get 196 horsepower thanks to the additional high-output magnet inside the rear motor. A 220-hp plug-in hybrid Prius Prime model is also offered, but we review that model separately.
Prices and which one to buy
Known for its incredible fuel economy, the Toyota Prius lives up to its green promise. Its array of safety equipment and extra features is as strong as its reluctance to stop for gas. Base models come with 17-inch wheels, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a not-so-outrageous starting price.
Engine, transmission and performance
One powertrain drives the Toyota Prius lineup. It’s a 194bhp hybrid setup that uses a 2.0-litre hybrid inline-four petrol engine borrowed from the Corolla Cross hybrid crossover, bolted to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard. For all-wheel-drive Priuses, Toyota adds a high-output permanent magnet electric motor to the rear axle, bumping total drive output to 196 horsepower. While the AWD model’s extra power is virtually undetectable, this new car’s 75-hp advantage should be over the outgoing model. The last-gen AWD Prius we tested finally clocked up to 60 mph in 10.8 seconds, but Toyota promises the new powertrain should get there in 7.0 seconds. While we’ll have to wait to strap our test equipment to the new fifth-generation model to quantify that, the 2023 Prius looks to be the fastest Prius yet.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
While fuel economy for the new Toyota Prius has not yet been certified by the EPA, Toyota estimates it’s capable of 57 mpg combined, or a 1 mpg improvement over the last-generation Prius’ most efficient version, the Eco. That’s a 5 mpg improvement over other versions of the outgoing car. Historically, the difference in fuel economy between front- and all-wheel drive Priuses has been marginal, and we expect that to remain true with the new fifth generation. We will update this space with EPA information as it becomes available, as well as data from us 75-mph highway fuel economy test. For more information on the Prius’ fuel consumption, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, comfort and cargo
While the new fifth-generation Prius takes on a new shape, the interior has played it conservative, now with a more traditional car cabin. For the first time, the Prius now has a gauge cluster directly behind the steering wheel. The new design affects the interior with a roofline that is 2.0 inches lower, and to affect a lower center of gravity, front passengers also sit lower than before. Base models get a faux-leather steering wheel, but upgrading to the XLE or higher trim will unlock heated front seats, more cupholders for rear passengers and heated rear seats.
Infotainment and connectivity
Both base and top-level models get larger screens than the previous car. A new 8.0-inch infotainment screen comes standard on LE and XLE, and Toyota added a massive 12.3-inch touchscreen for the Limited (or as optional equipment for the XLE). This system includes “Hey Toyota” voice control and updates its infotainment over the cloud thanks to over-the-air updates. The larger screen comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability and available Wi-Fi.
Safety and Driver Assistance Features
The Prius comes standard with driver assistance technology which many rivals only provide via option packages and upper trim levels. For more information on its crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard automatic high beams
- Standard lane departure warning and lane keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Cover
Toyota matches what its competitors offer, but it offers above-average coverage when it comes to included maintenance. Likewise, its hybrid component warranty is an industry standard.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Hybrid components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for two years or 25,000 miles
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