2023 Toyota Prius First Look Review: Revitalizing An Icon

First Look

25 years in, the new Toyota Prius has reclaimed its relevancy and looks better than ever.

It's been 25 years since the first Toyota Prius arrived on the scene as a symbol of automotive eco-consciousness, which means that the nameplate is just about due for a quarter-life crisis. And yet, nothing about the all-new, fifth-generation Prius comes across as insecure or uncertain. By far the most stylish Prius yet, the new one is also no longer an absolute sluggard in performance terms, while still being admirably efficient. Toyota has doubled down on the fact that the world isn't ready for full electrification just yet, and the confident new Prius hybrid is more evidence of that stance.


When Is The Toyota Prius Coming Out?

Revealed in November 2022, the exact release date for the Toyota Prius wasn't announced at the time of writing. We expect it to be coming out early in 2023, though.

2023 Toyota Prius Price And Competition

As with its release date, the price of the 2023 Toyota Prius hasn't been revealed. The 2022 model starts at an MSRP of $25,075 in the USA, but due to the scope of improvements, we fully expect the new one to cost more. Look for the new Prius to begin at around $27,000 and increase to a starting price of around $35,000 higher up in the range.

One of the car's key rivals, the Honda Insight, is no longer on sale. However, there is an all-new Honda Accord Hybrid that has received its own successful redesign, although we expect this to be more expensive than the Prius as it is a larger car. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, which starts at $22,800, is also worth a look, but neither of these vehicles has the hatchback body style of the Prius.


New Toyota Prius Exterior And Colors

Is the exterior of the new Toyota Prius hatchback the most successful redesign over the last year or so? It may just be. Whereas previous iterations of the Prius hovered somewhere between gawky and anonymous, the new one has a beautifully resolved shape.

The roofline has been lowered by two inches, the wheels are larger, and the rear is almost an inch wider. These changes all contribute to the sportier and more aerodynamic look, but it's the tauter, smoother lines and details that really make a difference. The new headlights are sleek and neatly wrap around the front. The glasshouse along the sides appears to be narrower, but the latest Toyota Prius hybrid completely avoids the slabby, heavy-set appearance of its predecessor. It has a premium aura that is hard not to appreciate.

At the back, there is a full-width taillight below the signature spoiler of the Prius that appears below the long rear window.

The base LE comes with 17-inch alloy wheels with wheel covers, while the XLE adds 19-inch alloys and the option of a fixed glass roof. This glass roof is standard on the Limited, which also gains a power back door for more convenient loading and unloading of cargo.

There will be six colors for the new Toyota Prius. These are Wind Chill Pearl, Cutting Edge, Guardian Gray, Black, Supersonic Red, and Reservoir Blue.


Toyota Prius Dimensions

Although Toyota hasn't published dimensions for the new Prius, it has made some statements that lead us to believe the car's height, width, and length haven't changed much. Toyota says the new Prius has a two-inch lower roofline than before; for reference, the outgoing Prius is 57.9 inches tall. The new one has a rear that's almost an inch wider, so you can add that to the current model's 69.3-inch width. The length is unknown, but the 2022 Prius is exactly 180 inches long.

Toyota says that the new car's second-generation TNGA-C platform reduces weight, but we don't know what the curb weight is for the new Prius just yet. The 2022 Prius starts at 3,010 pounds.

Toyota Prius Engine And Performance

The relentless focus on efficiency came at the expense of decent performance in the outgoing car. Fortunately, the engine in the new Toyota Prius is considerably punchier.

The fifth-generation hybrid powertrain consists of a larger 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. For front-wheel-drive variants, there is now 194 horsepower, up from just 121 hp previously. With all-wheel drive, there is also an IPM (Interior Permanent Magnet) motor at the back and slightly more grunt at 196 hp.


FWD models are now capable of a 0-60 mph sprint time of 7.2 seconds, a 26% improvement over the previous model's lethargic 9.8-second effort. With AWD, the 0-60 time is seven seconds. These times are not going to blow you away, but it should make merging with faster traffic and zipping around the city a lot less of a chore.

The new Prius comes with three driving modes: Normal, Eco, and Sport. There is also a Power mode, and when in this or Sport mode, the drive force in the low-/mid-accelerator opening is increased, which in turn improves the responsiveness of the throttle.


Gas Mileage/Range, Charging, And Battery Life

For the most efficient LE FWD model, Toyota estimates that the new Prius will achieve 57 mpg combined. That's only 1 mpg better than the previous Prius, but considering the much better performance, it's certainly a step forward overall. The new Prius is comfortably more efficient than the Corolla Hybrid (50 mpg), the larger Honda Accord Hybrid (47 mpg), and Hyundai Elantra Hybrid (54 mpg). Quite simply, you still won't find a more efficient hybrid out there. The Hyundai Ioniq managed 59 mpg, but that model is no longer available for 2023.

The AWD model's gas mileage figures aren't known yet, but we expect it to get something closer to 50 mpg combined. A newly developed lithium-ion battery is positioned under the rear seat, and although its capacity is unknown, Toyota says it provides a 15% increase in output relative to the older Nickel Metal battery.

Assuming that the FWD Prius comes with the same 11.3-gallon gas tank, it will have a range of about 644 miles. As this is a normal hybrid and not a plug-in hybrid like the Prius Prime, you don't need to worry about charging the battery.


Toyota Prius Interior And Cargo

This is another area where the new Prius has to up its game. The previous model was practical but cheap-feeling inside, so we hope that the quality has improved once we've had the opportunity to properly assess the interior of the new Toyota Prius. It certainly looks better than before, though.

The new interior has a more modern dashboard with a standard eight-inch touchscreen interface and a SofTex leather steering wheel. Toyota says that the driving position is lower than before. That may not sound like much, but combined with all the other improvements, the Prius should feel like less of an appliance from behind the wheel.

The mid-range XLE adds heated front seats, an eight-way power driver's seat, wireless charging, and a digital auto-dimming rearview mirror. The seats in this Toyota Prius derivative are also upholstered in SofTex. For the Limited, there are ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel. This trim is also the most advanced of the three with its 12.3-inch touchscreen and eight-speaker JBL sound system. To the Limited, customers can optionally add heated rear seats and a panoramic view monitor.


Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be standard across the lineup, and Wi-Fi connectivity is available. As with most modern vehicles, the car is compatible with over-the-air updates. Second-row occupants are not forgotten, as they will have access to Type-C USB ports and dual cupholders (top two trims only).

The Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 is a standard safety suite that groups together various technologies to keep everyone safe and prevent potential collisions. This suite includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, lane departure alert with steering assist, road sign assist, automatic high beams, and proactive driving assist. You don't have to pay extra for blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert either, although the front/rear parking sensors and hands-free parking system require an additional cost.

Cargo space in the outgoing Toyota Prius was a generous 27.4 cubic feet in the base model, and when the final specs of the new one come out, we hope that it will at least match this figure.




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