The 2023 Toyota Prius has finally been unveiled, and it’s the fifth generation of the pioneering hybrid. To say that this car is important for the brand is an understatement because without it, we wouldn’t have cars like the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid, Corolla Altis Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, or even the RAV4 Hybrid.
The first-generation Prius went on sale in 1997 as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). Since then, 5.05 million units have been sold, which accounts for 82 million tons of CO2 as of March 2022 that would have been otherwise emitted if an equivalent non-hybrid were to be sold. The Prius’s pioneering Toyota Hybrid System has eventually spread to the rest of the model range, which means that the new, fifth-generation Prius should once again set benchmarks among hybrids worldwide.
This starts with its second-generation TNGA platform. It’s the first model to ride on this highly-rigid and sportier platform, with its MacPherson struts at the front wheels and a double-wishbone suspension for the rear wheels. Speaking of those wheels, they’re now up to 19-inches in size for better proportions. Ultimately, Toyota’s goal was to make the Prius an HEV that will be loved not just for its efficiency, but also for its emotional aspects such as design and performance.
The Prius continues with its “monoform” silhouette that made it distinct in the first place. The longer wheelbase, wider track, lower center of gravity, and dynamic C-shaped LED headlights give the Prius a truly sporty look–one that was absent from past models. Likewise, the rear end’s full-width LED taillights give the Prius a distinct look at night. The side profile is then characterized by a rising kink from the rocker panel, while the C-pillar-mounted door handles give the Prius a coupe-like appearance.
Just like the exterior, the interior is also a significant departure from past models. The model’s signature center-mounted digital gauge cluster is now gone. Instead, information is now displayed through a driver-centric digital cluster, while most functions are controlled through the new Toyota Audio Multimedia 12.3-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The sporty interior also comes with premium materials and an ambient light that also responds to the car’s Toyota Safety Sense driver-assistance tech.
Of course, the main highlight of the 2023 Toyota Prius will be its powertrain. Surprisingly, however, the recipe for efficiency stays largely the same. An Atkinson cycle naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine is mated to an electric motor. Only this time, buyers can choose between a base 1.8-liter or a more powerful 2.0-liter Dynamic Force engine that has a total system output of 193 hp.
The Prius Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV) continues on for this generation, and it also uses a new 2.0-liter Dynamic Force gasoline engine. Total system output is an impressive 220 horses, and this is the model that can scoot from 0-100 kph in just 6 seconds–as fast as a Toyota GR 86. Being a PHEV, the Prius Prime offers a better electric range, which has been improved by 50 percent for this generation (though no numbers have been revealed yet).
In Japan, the 2023 Toyota Prius comes with a roof-mounted solar panel that generates enough power for up to 1,250 km of driving per year. In addition, the Prius also comes with two 500 W accessory power outlets, which can be drawn in two modes. The BEV mode uses power from the battery only while HEV also uses the gasoline engine if the battery charge becomes too low.
The 2023 Toyota Prius will head to Japan first, and then to global markets by next year.