The Toyota Prius needs no introduction––its reputation as an extremely efficient, incredibly practical, and tremendously boring vehicle precedes it. Since its introduction over 20 years ago, it has been equal parts praised for its fuel-sipping hybrid design and mocked for its complete lack of anything resembling driving enjoyment. But for the 2023 redesign, Toyota is out to change that. The all-new 2023 Toyota Prius has received a sleek redesign that maintains its iconic wedge shape but makes it look futuristic again. More importantly, the all-new hybrid powertrain is far more powerful, offering genuinely fun performance as well as class-leading efficiency.
A Sports Car at Heart?
In a world where it seems every sedan is trying to become an SUV when it grows up, the Prius is going in the opposite direction. Toyota proudly declares that the new 2023 Prius is a full two inches lower than the outgoing model, as well as an inch wider with a lower center of gravity. That’s the sort of thing manufacturers brag about for their sports cars, not their hybrid grocery-getters. The new Prius also comes with massive 19-inch alloy wheels on most trims, a huge step up from the 17-inch wheels that were previously available, sharpening its handling and style.
The sportiest version of the 2023 Prius is the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Unlike in previous years, when the Prime was the most eco-focused variant (it was actually only available with diminutive 15-inch wheels in 2022), the new Prime is only offered in Toyota’s sporty SE and XSE trims, while the standard Prius continues to be offered in the LE, XLE, and Limited trims. The reason for this choice is that, like the popular RAV4 Prime, the 2023 Prius Prime takes advantage of its more electric-biased plug-in hybrid powertrain to offer superior acceleration and performance.
More Power, A Lot More Power
With a grand total of 121 hp, the 2022 Prius could be said to deserve its reputation as one of the most uninspired vehicles on the road. The new 2023 Prius changes the game by increasing that power figure and not by a small amount, either. With a larger 2.0L gasoline engine and the shift from an old-fashioned Nickel-Metal battery to a more powerful Lithium-Ion battery, the standard Prius now offers a whopping 196 hp. Choose the sporty Prius Prime, and you will enjoy an even 220 hp––only 8 hp short of the Toyota GR86 sports car. That much power gives the Prius Prime a 0-60 time of just 6.6 s, making it the third-fastest sedan in the Toyota lineup, behind the GR Corolla rally car and the Camry V6.
Of course, despite its new-found need for speed, this is still a Prius we’re talking about, and outstanding fuel economy remains front and center. The standard model is estimated to get 57 MPG combined, putting it a touch ahead of the outgoing model’s 56 MPG combined––quite possibly a result of the new car’s lower, sportier, and more aerodynamic design. The more powerful lithium-ion battery pack added to the Prius Prime also contributes to the estimated 50% better all-electric range of the new plug-in model. This incredible combination of both performance and efficiency is a hallmark of the latest hybrid models and makes the 2023 Prius arguably the best all-around sedan in the Toyota lineup.
Anything But Boring
While the beefed-up hybrid powertrain and eye-catching design steal the show, they are far from the only new features of the 2023 Toyota Prius. Drivers are sure to love the available 12.3-inch infotainment display, which dwarfs the eight-inch and nine-inch displays found in the Corolla and Camry. Toyota also included a solar roof in the Prius Prime, which can take electrical load off the powertrain when driving and trickle-charge the battery pack when parked. Last but not least, the all-new Traffic Jam Assist feature allows for hands-free driving on congested streets as long as speeds remain below 25 mph. Altogether, the redesigned Prius is anything but boring, and this iconic model is ready to once again be the futuristic centerpiece of the Toyota lineup.