For decades, the Toyota Prius was the car to have if you wanted people to know that you gave a damn about the planet. Its hybrid powertrain gave you impressive fuel economy and its styling helped it stand out from the crowd. But its crown has been waning in recent years as the likes of Tesla and other EVs from Hyundai and Kia came in to steal its eco-minded buyers. But now, Toyota is preparing to launch a sleek new fifth-generation Prius to try and retake the throne.
The new Prius destined for Europe and Japan has broken cover, and it’s all change for the hybrid Toyota. There’s a new 2-liter hybrid powertrain, improved all-electric range and a sleek new look for the Prius. And, somewhat surprisingly, the new car looks great.
On the outside, it still looks like a Prius. There’s that flat rear end, pointy nose, and stance that makes it look like it’s running a high rake. But, almost every body panel has been tweaked and finessed to improve the look of the whole car.
Up front, there’s a new lighting array that is modern, without being too much like a sci-fi gimmick. In profile, the Prius now has an almost Mazda presence about it, which I mean as a compliment.
But this is a Prius, so while fancy new styling is nice, it’s what’s underneath that matters. In Europe and Japan, Toyota will launch the 2023 Prius with a new two-liter plug-in hybrid setup, or as a traditional parallel hybrid.
The new Prius PHEV comes with a larger two-liter engine compared to the outgoing model, but Toyota is promising the same level of fuel efficiency from the unit. The automaker also says the plug-in will offer 50 percent more electric-only range over the outgoing model. As the current model promises 25 miles, we can expect this one to manage around 37.5 miles on a single charge.
The PHEV will be the most powerful offering next year, as it produces 220hp from its engine and electric motors. This, Toyota says, is enough to propel the new Prius from 0 to 62mph in 6.7 seconds.
If you don’t want your Prius to come with a plug socket, Toyota has a 1.8-liter and two-liter parallel hybrid offering. The two-liter model now boasts 190hp, and both come with Toyota’s electric all-wheel-drive system for improved performance uphill and on snow-covered roads.
These figures are all for the EU and Japanese Prius, we’ll have to wait for Toyota to confirm which models will make it to the U.S. to find out how it will perform stateside.
The cabin on the ‘23 Prius has also been reworked. The dashboard is still predominantly screen, but it’s definitely more refined than the outgoing model.
That enormous center console screen has been trimmed down and now sits in landscape orientation on the dash. It’s joined by an array of actual, physical buttons for some of the car’s controls.
Behind the wheel is another screen to show you your speed, fuel level and battery level in the plug-in. It makes a welcome change from the old Prius’ expansive center screen that would share all that information with you before.
Then, there is all the new tech and safety features that Toyota has crammed into the 2023 Prius.
You can expect parking assist and front and rear cameras to spot hazards in the road. There’s also an in-vehicle drive recorder to monitor your performance on the road.
Put all that together and you’ve got some pretty substantial upgrades to the Prius. What do you think?