The Toyota Prius hatchback turns over a new leaf—yes that’s a clever reference to Nissan’s electric vehicle—as it enters its fifth generation in 2023. After being possibly the ugliest car on the market the Prius has pupated into a gorgeous butterfly. The new car offers up to 196 horsepower, the most ever from a Prius. Toyota estimates the 194-hp front-wheel-drive model will get up to 57 mpg combined, also the best number a Prius has achieved. A completely redesigned cabin welcomes a more traditional approach to the driver’s-space layout, with bigger screens and a sweetened offering of features including available heated rear seats. The new Prius has a low roofline, a wide stance, and a low seating position that complete its transition into something that looks very much worth driving. The Toyota that started the hybrid movement finds that it’s rivals with a host of vehicles now, cars like the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid and Toyota’s own Corolla Hybrid, and several hybrid SUVs as well.
What’s New for 2023?
The 2023 Toyota Prius starts a new fifth-generation thoroughly redesigned and updated inside and out. Every Prius now rides on the next evolution of Toyota’s TNGA-C platform, which makes it a leaner but more rigid eco-friendly compact with a wider stance and lower driving position. A new 194-hp hybrid powertrain with available all-wheel drive has been added; Not only has the additional power made the Prius quicker than many of its hybrid rivals, but its newfound performance has also come without a cost to fuel economy. All-wheel-drive models get 196 horsepower thanks to the added high-output magnet inside the rear motor. A 220-hp plug-in hybrid Prius Prime model is also offered, but we review that model separately.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Known for its incredible fuel economy, the Toyota Prius delivers on its green promise. Its lineup of safety equipment and extra features is as strong as its disinclination to stop for gas. Base models come with 17-inch wheels, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a not-so-outrageous starting price.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
One powertrain commands the Toyota Prius lineup. This is a 194-hp hybrid setup that uses a 2.0-liter hybrid inline-four gasoline engine, borrowed from the Corolla Cross hybrid crossover, bolted to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard. For all-wheel-drive Priuses, Toyota adds a high-output permanent magnet electric motor to the rear axle, bumping total powertrain output to 196 horsepower, a 60 percent power increase. The launch to 60 mph, which took last year’s Prius an exhausting 10.5 seconds to reach, now takes just 7.1 seconds according to our testing of a front-drive Limited model. That’s quicker than both the Camry Hybrid and Elantra Hybrid. Thanks to larger front and rear brakes, the new Prius stops sooner from 70 mph than its last iteration too, doing so in just 171 feet versus 194 feet from a previous test.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Despite its larger engine and more powerful powertrain, the Toyota Prius gains better fuel economy for 2023. The EPA estimates the Prius is good for 57 mpg in the city and 56 mpg on the highway for the front-wheel drive model. That’s a 4- and 6-mpg improvement over the last-gen. All-wheel-drive Prius take a marginal hit to fuel economy, with an estimated 53 mpg city and 54 mpg on the highway. We’ll update this space after we’ve collected data for the Prius from our 75-mph highway fuel economy test. For more information about the Prius’ fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
While the new fifth-generation Prius takes on a new shape, the interior has played it more conservatively, now featuring a more traditional automotive cockpit. For the first time, the Prius now has a gauge cluster directly behind the steering wheel. The new design affects the interior with a roofline that’s lower by 2.0 inches, and to influence a lower center of gravity, front passengers also sit lower than before. Base models get a faux leather steering wheel, but upgrading to the XLE or higher trim will unlock heated front seats, more cup holders for rear passengers, and rear heated seats.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Both base and upper-level models get larger screens than the previous car had. A new 8.0-inch infotainment screen comes standard on LE and XLE, and Toyota has added a massive 12.3-inch touchscreen for the Limited (or as optional equipment for the XLE). This system includes “Hey Toyota” voice control and updates its infotainment over the cloud thanks to over-the-air updates. The larger screen comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability and available Wi-Fi.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Prius comes standard with driver-assistance technology that many competitors provide only via option packages and upper trim levels. For more information about its crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard automatic high-beams
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Toyota matches what its competitors offer, but it provides above-average coverage when it comes to included maintenance. Likewise, its hybrid-component warranty is an industry standard.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Hybrid components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for two years or 25,000 miles
2023 Toyota Prius Limited
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-motor, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
Base/As Tested: $35,560/$35,560
DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4, 150 hp, 139 lb-ft + 2 AC motors (combined output: 194 hp; 0.9-kWh lithium-ion battery pack)
Transmission: continuously variable automatic
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 11.1-in vented disc/11.0-in disc
Tires: Michelin Primacy All Season
195/50R-19 88H M+S
Wheelbase: 108.3 in
Length: 181.1 in
Width: 70.2 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger Volume: 91 ft3
Cargo Volume: 20 ft3
Curb Weight: 3199 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 7.1 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.5 sec @ 92 mph
100 mph: 18.8 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 8.1 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 4.0 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.0 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 115 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 171 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.87 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 45 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (MFR’S EST)
Combined/City/Highway: 52/52/52 mpg