2023 Toyota Prius appears to be like like an electrical sequel however matches the hybrid franchise


Not too long ago having a 2023 Toyota Prius for per week, for up-close scrutiny and drive time, jogged my memory of the large Hollywood film franchises that assist maintain us entertained throughout many years and generations. 

Similar to all the films to come back from Star Wars, James Bond, Marvel, or Quick and Livid, there could also be recent faces, a futuristic new look, some new twists. However beneath all of it this can be a identified amount, and it’s on a well-recognized trajectory. Whether or not we’re speaking about “Iron Man” or “Black Panther”—or right here, the Prius— the cues and precisely the place that is going; and you may virtually spell out what it’s going to ship once you step again and marvel on the backside line. 

My first half-hour with the brand new Prius, with its jaw-dropping attractiveness yielding shortly to pragmatism, jogged my memory a lot of these big-screen consolation views. The Prius is iconic and it’s a identified amount. With the 2023 mannequin harking again, virtually nostalgically, to the wildly profitable 2004 mannequin that Hollywood’s elite needed to be seen in, it attracts individuals in.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Very like these film franchises, the Prius has wandered off for a bit. It actually misplaced its manner round 2012 or so—when Toyota noticed it as a whole household and sub-brand of very appliance-like autos. Since then it’s returned to its senses, as an alternative going about spreading hybrid tech to all of the fashions within the lineup. 

In opposition to these odds it’s discovered a spot for the Prius, as a standalone hybrid, in 2023. It appears to be like nice, and appears to point out an astounding stage of consciousness and perspective from Toyota in what it must be—with one massive asterisk: It’s not way more electrical than the hybrids earlier than it. 

With my overview of the 2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade from November recent in thoughts, let me supply this: The outgoing Prius might need morphed into one thing extra inspiring to drive, nevertheless it’s the fabulous outer shell of this new 2023 Prius that may permit extra individuals to find that. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

It’s lovely and polarizing and quicker-accelerating with out shedding official mpg—the right Prius for some, a decade too late for others. 

Does the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime and its 44-mile EPA all-electric vary hit a candy spot? We’ll need to reply that afterward with testing that really lets us reside with the Prime for some days. However within the meantime, right here’s a roundup of this yin and yang, the professionals and cons that I felt whereas driving the Prius hybrid—represented in what I see as an entire set of hits and misses.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

 

Professional: Head-turning Prius styling

The brand new Prius has jaw-dropping attractiveness that maintain good-looking from about any angle. From the profile to the main points, it tends to embody influences from the second-generation (2004-2009) Prius however with racy, curvaceous coupe-like splendor that carries properly past its sub-$40,000 sticker value, even in absolutely loaded type as examined. In my time with the Prius round Portland, I obtained stopped 4 instances (truly flagged down, in a single case) by drivers who needed to find out about it. None of those individuals have been at present in a Prius—one was in a Tesla Mannequin 3, the opposite in a Polestar 2

Con: It’s not a Prius EV

Cue the just about unanimous disappointment. Whereas these curious drivers have been excited to see the Prius title on this eye-catching automobile, all however one have been shocked this wasn’t an EV. That primarily reinforces my preliminary intestine feeling about this design: It’s a misplaced alternative, and this stunner of a design may have been the delineation between Prius the hybrid and Prius the electrical car. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Professional: Makes its Prius household proud on mpg

The Prius has at all times impressed in gasoline mileage, and from what I may inform, this newest iteration is not any exception. Simply don’t anticipate this newest Prius to return larger mileage than the one you’re buying and selling in.

My take a look at Prius Restricted got here with a 52-mpg EPA mixed (52 metropolis, 52 freeway) score, whereas different fashions within the lineup get a 57-mpg mixed score. With climate within the mid-40s to low 50s over the 5 days I had with the Prius, I averaged greater than 49 mpg in a 112-mile driving combine that included some mild metropolis driving, some easygoing suburban journey, just a few miles on a favourite backroad with Sport mode engaged, and about 30 miles of cruising at 70-75 mph. 

Individually, I switched the Prius to Eco mode and ran it on my 53-mile hybrid loop that actually tends to carry out the very best in hybrids and consists of about 700 toes of elevation acquire and loss plus a mixture of under-65-mph freeway driving, suburban boulevards, and rolling-hill backroads. The Prius completed that take a look at indicating a 57-mpg common. 

Whereas these outcomes are nice, they fell greater than 10% quick on each counts versus the 2022 Prius, which underneath just about the identical situations and drive routes returned 55 mpg in mixed driving and 65 mpg on my hybrid loop. I checked the odometer for accuracy. 

What’s the reason for the decrease quantity? The scales could also be a part of it; the loaded Prius Restricted, with its glass roof, weighs 3,219 kilos, in response to Toyota—up about 150 kilos versus the outgoing mannequin. Regardless of my care to drive flippantly on the effectivity loop, the temptation to benefit from this new mannequin’s peppier acceleration could also be a part of it too.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Con: The infotainment is a mishmash

Again within the day, the Prius obtained its personal particular interface geared towards those that needed to geek out over their automobiles a little bit bit. Even within the final technology, an excellent, 11.6-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen made its debut on the Prime and filtered down by the hybrid lineup. That show, with its vibrant distinction, clean movement, and layers, immediately appears to be like a step higher than what you get within the new 2023 Prius—which responds erratically and looks like a beta try, software-wise.

Criticisms deserve particulars, and past menu gadgets that aren’t as flat as they might be or as logical as customers may guess, it comes right down to good use of the house. Few gadgets match on the display screen at a time as you scroll up and down—whether or not that be potential locations or satellite tv for pc radio channels, lists or icons—and meaning it’s a must to maintain your eyes on the display screen and away from the street for longer treasured milliseconds. Voice instructions need to be saved very fundamental and don’t depart loads of room for syntax or pure language; it wouldn’t perceive “tune satellite tv for pc radio channel 25” for example, and I lastly discovered I wanted to name out the supply as SiriusXM and use the verb “play.” There’s no dwelling display screen that may show maps and radio info without delay. And what seems to be a Toyota app is the one option to exit CarPlay—to return and browse radio stations, for instance. It’s clumsy. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

My complaints in regards to the interface transcend the middle display screen, to the gauge cluster, which is borrowed from the bZ4X. As a taller driver, simply as in bZ4X, I’m left questioning whether or not I’m imagined to have the steering wheel adjusted to look simply over the steering wheel rim or inside it. In what I’d decide to be my most pure driving place, the higher portion of the rim is correct smack in entrance of the gauge cluster. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Professional: This Prius performs!

Though it might need been onerous to maintain sight of as a consequence of its styling, the earlier Prius was a vastly higher automobile to drive versus earlier variations of the effectivity icon. With sporty, refined manners, it took on curvy backroads with relative ease—regardless that it was on no account taut, and its mucky, sluggish powertrain couldn’t ship sufficient for the chassis.

Within the 2023 model, it’s all so completely different. The marginally decrease journey peak makes it really feel racier, placing you nearer to the street. Additional, its 194-hp (mixed) hybrid system makes 60% greater than final 12 months’s mannequin; it quantities to 0-60 mph acceleration in 7.2 seconds, and fairly the distinction in pep at American boulevard speeds. It nonetheless isn’t tuned for fast takeoffs like Hyundai’s system is within the Elantra Hybrid, nevertheless it strikes like no different Prius but.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Con: It lacks some end and poise

For all the fashionable exterior shell offers in a primary impression, and the efficiency it delivers, the 2023 Toyota Prius doesn’t carry itself alongside the street with much more sophistication or poise. It feels engineered to a value, and noise, vibration, and harshness are what give. 

The brand new Prius booms with the feel of the street at freeway speeds, and in comparison with the outgoing model it doesn’t observe markedly higher than the outgoing model regardless of feeling choppier on the pavement. The steering tends to require frequent small changes at freeway speeds, simply as I famous within the outgoing model. And I anticipated there to be virtually no wind noise given the smooth profile however there’s a good quantity of it across the entrance pillars at 70 mph. 

The mix I had, with 195/50R19 Michelin Primacy tires on some sharp-looking alloys, truly rode worse than the 2022 Prius Nightshade I drove some variety of weeks earlier. I took it on the identical stretch of curvy street, and energy apart, the brand new automobile didn’t really feel any extra nimble in tight curves—though there was undoubtedly extra harshness transmitted into the cabin.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Professional: Usable again seat

I used to be ready to face tough entry and exit, an absence of headroom, and restricted rear visibility because of the slope of the roofline. Whereas the visibility is difficult, rear headroom is simply positive, and this lanky 6-foot-6 matches OK supplied it’s not behind somebody as tall. Sure, duck your head when getting out and in, however should you’ve been within the newest Toyota Corolla—or perhaps a Hyundai Elantra or Sonata—it’s actually not a lot completely different. I stepped out a number of instances in disbelief and see some genius-level work with cushion positioning and contouring; it’s fairly a feat to design a again seat—and first rate cargo house—round that roofline.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Con: Underwhelming entrance seats

For all of the packaging marvel of the again seat, the entrance seats—and actually, the entire front-seat space—left me underwhelmed. The seats don’t supply up a lot assist to thighs or again, and people in my top-trim Restricted felt no higher than these from a Corolla. And anybody over common peak had higher watch out getting in; the steep entrance pillar invitations you to face again getting in and the door cuts are unusually quick, leaving even these of common peak to thoughts their tailbones. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Professional: This Prius’s value is correct

The 2023 Prius hybrid begins at $28,545, together with the $1,095 vacation spot payment. Sure, that’s 1000’s greater than a Corolla, however the design makes all of the distinction. 

The highest Restricted mannequin I examined will get all of the active-safety items, a set glass roof, heated and cooled vinyl seats, an influence driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, bi-LED headlamps, an influence hatch, wi-fi smartphone charging, and digital key functionality. My take a look at automobile added a digital rearview mirror, a complicated parking system, a panoramic rearview monitor, and heated rear seats, bringing the full to $37,494 with vacation spot. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Con: Lacks good energy fundamentals

As a lot as I anticipate electrified undertones, the Prius can’t appear to flee its gasoline-fueled overtones, and oddly this electrified trendsetter comes up lacking on a few of the ancillary items that make hybrids—and by extension, plug-in autos—thrilling. I am not speaking wi-fi smartphone charging; it has that. Specifically, it’s lacking any form of 120-volt port or energy takeoff which may permit homeowners to energy instruments, tenting gear, and even only a cellular workspace. There’s no wink-and-nod to the rising consideration to photo voltaic both (simply have a look at the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for the way in which to try this). If something, it feels a bit like complacency shining by—that Toyota is okay letting in those that see this as horny and pushing the geeky, electro-smart prospects who used to flock to the Prius out the door. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Takeaway: A unique Prius, if solely on the skin

Typically appears to be like go a good distance, and I lastly got here to phrases with why, regardless of its lackluster features in lots of respects, I nonetheless actually like this Prius. In all, it doesn’t carry out, journey, drive, or sip gas at a lot of a unique price than its predecessor. Nevertheless it appears to be like fully completely different in and out—and that goes a protracted option to colour in how you find yourself feeling in regards to the automobile. 

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