The 2023 Toyota Prius just had a major glow up. The stalwart hybrid from Toyota has finally gone through its awkward phase and emerged as a sleek four-door car that boasts the high fuel-efficiency we’ve come to associate with the Prius badge, but with a twist: Toyota says the latest Prius will be a thrifty car that’s also fast and fun to drive. That echoes a recent claim from the Japanese auto giant, which it made good on with its revived flagship sedan, the Crown.
And I can’t shake the idea that the new Prius is basically a little Crown. Call the new Prius the Crown prince or whatever cute name you want, but the latest model of the long-running hybrid would hardly look out of place in the lineup of Crown models that Toyota said it would be releasing in Japan at some point.
Indeed, the new Prius looks a lot like the Crown “Sport Type” or the Crown “Estate Type” that Toyota teased when it announced the return of the flagship.
The new Prius just happens to be a smaller car that takes after its bigger sibling, even without the two-tone paint. The little shooting wedge Prius shares more than just the looks of the “full-size sedan” Crown. The Prius even looks like the Crown on the inside, and will also be built on the TNGA platform, though the size difference points to a different variant of the base each car will be built on.
Both the Crown and Prius will also use a similar drivetrain design, sharing new revisons of Toyota’s Series Parallel Hybrid System with a new “E-Four” system that grants both cars all-wheel drive. And even though the Crown’s available engine options are both more powerful than the 2.0-liter Hybrid and 2.0-liter Plug-in Hybrid system in the new Prius, the PHEV will make up to about 220 horsepower, which is pretty close to the 236 HP of the slower Crown.
And it’ll reportedly sprint from 0-60 miles per hour in 6.7 seconds, which is only one second slower than the 5.7 second sprint of the faster Crown. Of course, the upcoming Prius PHEV can’t compete with the performance of the Crown with Hybrid MAX overall, which makes a whopping 340 HP, but that’s not the point.
The flagship Crown Platinum will also have a more complex suspension tuned for spirited driving, and it favors its rear wheels when distributing power. So, while the new Prius will feel sportier than any Prius that’s come before, it probably won’t be the object of many comparisons against the Crown Platinum.
The lower-spec Crowns (XLE, Limited), on the other hand? Well, I’m not so sure. If you thought the Crown looked good, but haven’t warmed up to its tall stance or big size, or if you thought the Crown should’ve had a lift gate instead of a trunk, then maybe take a hard look at the 2023 Toyota Prius.