2023 Toyota Prius seems like an electrical sequel however matches the hybrid franchise

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Lately having a 2023 Toyota Prius for per week, for up-close scrutiny and drive time, jogged my memory of the large Hollywood film franchises that assist preserve us entertained throughout a long time and generations. 

Similar to all the flicks to return from Star Wars, James Bond, Marvel, or Quick and Livid, there could also be recent faces, a futuristic new look, some new twists. However beneath all of it it is a recognized amount, and it’s on a well-recognized trajectory. Whether or not we’re speaking about “Iron Man” or “Black Panther”—or right here, the Prius—you recognize the cues and precisely the place that is going; and you may virtually spell out what it’s going to ship if you step again and marvel on the backside line. 

My first half-hour with the brand new Prius, with its jaw-dropping beauty yielding shortly to pragmatism, jogged my memory a lot of these big-screen consolation views. The Prius is iconic and it’s a recognized amount. With the 2023 mannequin harking again, virtually nostalgically, to the wildly profitable 2004 mannequin that Hollywood’s elite needed to be seen in, it attracts folks in.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Very like these film franchises, the Prius has wandered off for a bit. It actually misplaced its approach round 2012 or so—when Toyota noticed it as a whole household and sub-brand of very appliance-like autos. Since then it’s returned to its senses, as a substitute going about spreading hybrid tech to all of the fashions within the lineup. 

Towards these odds it’s discovered a spot for the Prius, as a standalone hybrid, in 2023. It seems nice, and appears to point out an astounding degree of consciousness and perspective from Toyota in what it must be—with one huge asterisk: It’s not way more electrical than the hybrids earlier than it. 

With my assessment of the 2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade from November recent in thoughts, let me provide this: The outgoing Prius might need morphed into one thing extra inspiring to drive, but it surely’s the fabulous outer shell of this new 2023 Prius that may permit extra folks to find that. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

It’s stunning and polarizing and quicker-accelerating with out dropping official mpg—the proper Prius for some, a decade too late for others. 

Does the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime and its 44-mile EPA all-electric vary hit a candy spot? We’ll should reply that in a while with testing that really lets us stay with the Prime for some days. However within the meantime, right here’s a roundup of this yin and yang, the professionals and cons that I felt whereas driving the Prius hybrid—represented in what I see as a complete set of hits and misses.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

 

Professional: Head-turning Prius styling

The brand new Prius has jaw-dropping beauty that maintain good-looking from about any angle. From the profile to the main points, it tends to embody influences from the second-generation (2004-2009) Prius however with racy, curvaceous coupe-like splendor that carries effectively past its sub-$40,000 sticker value, even in absolutely loaded kind as examined. In my time with the Prius round Portland, I acquired stopped 4 occasions (really flagged down, in a single case) by drivers who needed to learn about it. None of those folks had been at the moment in a Prius—one was in a Tesla Mannequin 3, the opposite in a Polestar 2

Con: It’s not a Prius EV

Cue the just about unanimous disappointment. Whereas these curious drivers had been excited to see the Prius identify on this eye-catching automotive, all however one had been stunned this wasn’t an EV. That primarily reinforces my preliminary intestine feeling about this design: It’s a misplaced alternative, and this stunner of a design might have been the delineation between Prius the hybrid and Prius the electrical automobile. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Professional: Makes its Prius household proud on mpg

The Prius has all the time impressed in fuel mileage, and from what I might inform, this newest iteration is not any exception. Simply don’t count on this newest Prius to return increased mileage than the one you’re buying and selling in.

My check Prius Restricted got here with a 52-mpg EPA mixed (52 metropolis, 52 freeway) score, whereas different fashions within the lineup get a 57-mpg mixed score. With climate within the mid-40s to low 50s over the 5 days I had with the Prius, I averaged greater than 49 mpg in a 112-mile driving combine that included some light metropolis driving, some easygoing suburban journey, a couple of miles on a favourite backroad with Sport mode engaged, and about 30 miles of cruising at 70-75 mph. 

Individually, I switched the Prius to Eco mode and ran it on my 53-mile hybrid loop that actually tends to deliver out one of the best in hybrids and contains about 700 toes of elevation achieve and loss plus a mixture of under-65-mph freeway driving, suburban boulevards, and rolling-hill backroads. The Prius completed that check indicating a 57-mpg common. 

Whereas these outcomes are nice, they fell greater than 10% quick on each counts versus the 2022 Prius, which below nearly the identical circumstances and drive routes returned 55 mpg in mixed driving and 65 mpg on my hybrid loop. I checked the odometer for accuracy. 

What’s the reason for the decrease quantity? The scales could also be a part of it; the loaded Prius Restricted, with its glass roof, weighs 3,219 kilos, in response to Toyota—up about 150 kilos versus the outgoing mannequin. Regardless of my care to drive calmly on the effectivity loop, the temptation to make the most of this new mannequin’s peppier acceleration could also be a part of it too.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Con: The infotainment is a mishmash

Again within the day, the Prius acquired its personal particular interface geared towards those that needed to geek out over their vehicles just a little bit. Even within the final technology, a superb, 11.6-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen made its debut on the Prime and filtered down by the hybrid lineup. That show, with its vibrant distinction, easy movement, and layers, right now seems a step higher than what you get within the new 2023 Prius—which responds inconsistently and looks like a beta try, software-wise.

Criticisms deserve particulars, and past menu gadgets that aren’t as flat as they could possibly be or as logical as customers may guess, it comes all the way down to sensible use of the area. Few gadgets match on the display at a time as you scroll up and down—whether or not that be potential locations or satellite tv for pc radio channels, lists or icons—and meaning it’s a must to preserve your eyes on the display and away from the highway for longer treasured milliseconds. Voice instructions should be saved very primary and don’t depart loads of room for syntax or pure language; it wouldn’t perceive “tune satellite tv for pc radio channel 25” for example, and I lastly found out I wanted to name out the supply as SiriusXM and use the verb “play.” There’s no residence display that may show maps and radio info directly. And what seems to be a Toyota app is the one approach to exit CarPlay—to return and browse radio stations, for instance. It’s clumsy. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

My complaints in regards to the interface transcend the middle display, to the gauge cluster, which is borrowed from the bZ4X. As a taller driver, simply as in bZ4X, I’m left questioning whether or not I’m purported to have the steering wheel adjusted to look simply over the steering wheel rim or inside it. In what I’d choose to be my most pure driving place, the higher portion of the rim is correct smack in entrance of the gauge cluster. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Professional: This Prius performs!

Though it might need been laborious to maintain sight of because of its styling, the earlier Prius was a vastly higher automotive to drive versus earlier variations of the effectivity icon. With sporty, refined manners, it took on curvy backroads with relative ease—although it was in no way taut, and its mucky, sluggish powertrain couldn’t ship sufficient for the chassis.

Within the 2023 model, it’s all so completely different. The marginally decrease experience top makes it really feel racier, placing you nearer to the highway. Additional, its 194-hp (mixed) hybrid system makes 60% greater than final 12 months’s mannequin; it quantities to 0-60 mph acceleration in 7.2 seconds, and fairly the distinction in pep at American boulevard speeds. It nonetheless isn’t tuned for fast takeoffs like Hyundai’s system is within the Elantra Hybrid, but it surely strikes like no different Prius but.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Con: It lacks some end and poise

For all the fashionable exterior shell offers in a primary impression, and the efficiency it delivers, the 2023 Toyota Prius doesn’t carry itself alongside the highway with much more sophistication or poise. It feels engineered to a value, and noise, vibration, and harshness are what give. 

The brand new Prius booms with the feel of the highway at freeway speeds, and in comparison with the outgoing model it doesn’t observe markedly higher than the outgoing model regardless of feeling choppier on the pavement. The steering tends to require frequent small changes at freeway speeds, simply as I famous within the outgoing model. And I anticipated there to be virtually no wind noise given the modern profile however there’s a good quantity of it across the entrance pillars at 70 mph. 

The mix I had, with 195/50R19 Michelin Primacy tires on some sharp-looking alloys, really rode worse than the 2022 Prius Nightshade I drove some variety of weeks earlier. I took it on the identical stretch of curvy highway, and energy apart, the brand new automotive didn’t really feel any extra nimble in tight curves—though there was undoubtedly extra harshness transmitted into the cabin.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Professional: Usable again seat

I used to be ready to face tough entry and exit, a scarcity of headroom, and restricted rear visibility as a result of slope of the roofline. Whereas the visibility is difficult, rear headroom is simply wonderful, and this lanky 6-foot-6 matches OK supplied it’s not behind somebody as tall. Sure, duck your head when getting out and in, however for those who’ve been within the newest Toyota Corolla—or perhaps a Hyundai Elantra or Sonata—it’s actually not a lot completely different. I stepped out a number of occasions in disbelief and see some genius-level work with cushion positioning and contouring; it’s fairly a feat to design a again seat—and first rate cargo area—round that roofline.

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Con: Underwhelming entrance seats

For all of the packaging surprise of the again seat, the entrance seats—and actually, the entire front-seat space—left me underwhelmed. The seats don’t provide up a lot help to thighs or again, and people in my top-trim Restricted felt no higher than these from a Corolla. And anybody over common top had higher watch out getting in; the steep entrance pillar invitations you to face again getting in and the door cuts are unusually quick, leaving even these of common top to thoughts their tailbones. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Professional: This Prius’s value is correct

The 2023 Prius hybrid begins at $28,545, together with the $1,095 vacation spot price. Sure, that’s 1000’s greater than a Corolla, however the design makes all of the distinction. 

The highest Restricted mannequin I examined will get all of the active-safety items, a set glass roof, heated and cooled vinyl seats, an influence driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, bi-LED headlamps, an influence hatch, wi-fi smartphone charging, and digital key functionality. My check automotive added a digital rearview mirror, a complicated parking system, a panoramic rearview monitor, and heated rear seats, bringing the full to $37,494 with vacation spot. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Con: Lacks sensible energy fundamentals

As a lot as I count on electrified undertones, the Prius can’t appear to flee its gasoline-fueled overtones, and oddly this electrified trendsetter comes up lacking on among the ancillary items that make hybrids—and by extension, plug-in autos—thrilling. I am not speaking wi-fi smartphone charging; it has that. Particularly, it’s lacking any sort of 120-volt port or energy takeoff which may permit house owners to energy instruments, tenting gear, and even only a cellular workspace. There’s no wink-and-nod to the rising consideration to photo voltaic both (simply have a look at the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for the best way to do this). If something, it feels a bit like complacency shining by—that Toyota is ok letting in those that see this as attractive and pushing the geeky, electro-smart clients who used to flock to the Prius out the door. 

2023 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

Takeaway: A unique Prius, if solely on the surface

Generally seems go a great distance, and I lastly got here to phrases with why, regardless of its modest beneficial properties in lots of respects—all besides acceleration, the place it leaps forward—I nonetheless actually like this Prius. In all, it doesn’t carry out, experience, drive, or sip gasoline at a lot of a special price than its predecessor. However it seems fully completely different inside and outside—and that goes an extended approach to shade in how you find yourself feeling in regards to the automotive. 

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