It’s normal to expect a new car to become better than its predecessor. That’s progress after all, right? But what if a new generation of a car was so objectively and subjectively better in nearly every way? What if what once was a car I loathed for being slow, boring, ugly, and obsolete, suddenly transformed itself to become something completely different? I spent a week with the new 2023 Toyota Prius Prime and my world has changed. This car has reinvented itself in the modern automotive landscape. And the results are pretty wonderful.
Let’s get the technical specs out of the way. The 2023 Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid vehicle that combines a 2.0L 4-cylinder (150-hp) gas engine with an electric motor (160-hp) that creates a total system output of 220-hp. No word on total system torque but based on how unexpectedly this car hauls ass from a dead stop it is safe to say that figure starts with a two as well. The car weighs approximately 3,500 lbs and is built on the Toyota TNGA-C chassis architecture. The battery is a 13.6-kWh unit, however, a full charge from 0% indicated 11.6 kW of power added, which would indicate the usable battery capacity is somewhere under 12 kWh. The car can charge up to 3.5kW on a Level II charger which takes approximately 4 hours for a full charge from 0%, or roughly 12 hours plugged into a standard 120v outlet in your garage.
Did you know someone who used to get bullied in high school but grew up and when you see them again a decade later they became uncomfortably attractive? Well, that’s the story with the new Prius. It stole the headlight design from a Ferrari SF90. Its windshield is raked as steeply as an LC500’s. The design is smooth, uncluttered and is about the most attractive egg-shaped car I’ve ever seen in modern memory.
Luckily the car doesn’t just look good, it drives great too. I was surprised at just how well the car was not only damped daily driving but also how well the body roll was controlled. Steering isn’t communicative, but it is well-weighted with a good ratio that lets you turn to where you need to go precisely without much drama. The chassis feels solid, which lets the dampers and suspension sort out any bumps. It’s comfortable, and confidence-inspiring. I am dumb, so I took this car up to some canyon roads that I typically take sports cars to, and not surprisingly the 195-width all-season, low-rolling resistance tires don’t provide much grip. But the car didn’t fall flat on its face either. There’s a competent handling car, in there.
Odds are you aren’t buying a Prius for handling, though, so you’re focused on finding an efficient daily driver and the new Prius Prime is the king of efficient cars that still carry a gasoline engine under the hood. In pure hybrid driving, I saw an average of 45-50mpg for most of my driving. However, I did take the time to charge the car up each night and sometimes out around the city when level II chargers were available. As such, I averaged 80mpg over my time with the car. I used 10.4 gallons over 831 miles. With $56.88 spent on gas and $16 spent on 64kw of power taken from ChargePoint chargers taken throughout the city, that comes out to $0.08 per mile. That’s cheap. Mind you, I did take this car on a few longer road trips with two days of my week with the car driving over 200 miles in a day. These longer travel days dropped my fuel consumption average quite a bit as on the other days I barely used the gas motor at all.
I treated this car like an EV with training wheels. In the XSE Premium trim that I drove, the range is advertised at 39 miles with the 19” wheels, while the lower SE trim with lighter and smaller 17” wheels is advertised at 44 miles of EV range. During my drive, I averaged over 4 mi / kW, one day seeing as high as 5 mi / kW (though that was nearly all downhill). I found achieving 45 miles of EV range to be easy, even in the XSE Premium trim. On one occasion during a 44-mile trip from Ontario, CA to Pasadena, CA I made the trip with an indicated 14 miles of EV range left after I arrived which would indicate a total of 58 miles of EV range on that particular trip. That’s a wildly optimistic scenario with a 1000ft of elevation drop, but just goes to show the EV range on this car will easily get you above the advertised range and more than the average US daily commute of 41 miles total.
One very cool option available on the XSE Premium trim is the 850w solar panel roof for $650. At first, it seems like a gimmick. But I’m happy to report it might be useful to some. I found the solar panel on several days during my week with the car added nearly 1kW of power over the course of 6-8 hours while being outside on a beautiful sunny day. That’s 3-4 miles of range added each day. Completely free, doing absolutely nothing. While I wouldn’t say that’s exactly Earth-shattering if you can add several hundred miles of pure EV range that easily every year, that starts to add up. It may take over 6 years or more to break even on the money you spent on the option, but the added range from doing absolutely nothing is just some nice peace of mind. Think of it this way: In a post-apocalyptic world, this might be one of the few cars that can get you around assuming the tires are still working.
What good is all this solar charging and driving dynamics if the interior isn’t any good? I am happy to report the interior is for the most part fantastic for the price point with a few small caveats. Let’s start with what’s great: It is luxurious for the segment and filled with great tech. The new Prius is adorned with an assortment of soft-touch materials, great design, and in the XSE Premium, lots of leather too. The heated and cooled seats are comfortable, there is plenty of storage (a pair of sunglasses can fit in the #hiddencompartment), and despite the steeply raked A-pillars, visibility is great out front. While it might appear that rear visibility isn’t optimal, the digital rearview mirror available on upper trim levels is fantastic for situational awareness. The new 12.3” infotainment screen is snappy and effective. The only flaws that would prevent me from calling it “perfect” is the desire for a dedicated home screen and the placement of the volume knob over on the passenger side. The JBL sound system lacks bass but has a lot of clarity and great sound even with the volume turned up all the way with little distortion. The cabin is quiet, too. The experience makes it feel less like a Prius successor, and more like a new Lexus CT200h.
Plug-in Hybrids seem like a weird compromise between pure electric cars and a regular hybrid. For today’s current infrastructure, however, it has perks from the best of both. Here in California, you can get HOV exemption stickers for EVs that allow you to drive in the carpool lane even if you’re driving alone and this car qualifies for that. At many shopping centers and places of interest, EV charging stations are more commonly located in optimal spots close to the entrances. It’s like VIP parking. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) may be cutting edge but the state of the charging network in 2023 is still not up to par with the convenience offered by gas stations. Ask anyone how their experience has been with Electrify America chargers on a road trip, and I am willing to bet money they roll their eyes. The Tesla Supercharging network is still the standard to beat when it comes to fast charging a BEV, but despite how expansive the network has become, some stations are now frequently experiencing longer waits to gain access to a charger for 15-30 mins on a road trip.
What is so great about a Prius Prime? On a road trip, you can get in and just start driving without a second thought. No worries about route planning or dealing with charging stations that are still a deliberate thought for EV owners. Using almost exclusively electricity for daily driving but providing no hassle road trips make this a very versatile mode of personal transportation. Is gas $7.00 a gallon again when you’re trying to get to work? Just charge up, and you might still only see a gas station once every few months depending on how you drive. Regardless of what fuel is moving you down the road, the Prius Prime allows you to efficiently get you to where you need to go no matter what is cheaper or more convenient. You can make six Prius Primes for every average BEV when it comes to lithium usage and you’re burning about one-fifth the gas of an average car if you charge up enough. I would say this makes it a better car for the environment than a certain 9,000-lb EV with a 212-kWh battery.
As much as I have loved to talk about all of the reasons I fell in love with the Prius Prime, it wasn’t perfect and there were a few things about it where it really fell short. My biggest gripe with the car was the 3.5 kW charging speed. It’s slow, even by today’s standards when other PHEVs can accept 6-11 kW Level II AC charging speeds. At that standard, a simple trip to run errands or get dinner can turn into something that lends you enough EV range to cover a daily commute. This also helps free up charging stations if the car can top off in an hour rather than four. It would greatly expand the use of the EV mode on the car. As of now if you don’t have a charger installed in your garage, the case for the Prime over the regular Prius (that is nearly $4,000 cheaper) goes down significantly. My other big gripe with the car is interior space and packaging. Sure, it’s luxurious… but only for those under 6 feet tall and if you don’t have to carry much with you. I couldn’t even fit two checked bags in the trunk without first removing the cargo cover and then crushing one bag. If you’re an Uber driver, the deeper trunk of the regular Prius might fit the bill but I really don’t see where Toyota got the 19 cu-ft of trunk space that was quoted, it’s a shallow cargo space.
This car does have some stiff competition, too. For about the same price as a fully loaded XSE Premium, you can get a Tesla Model 3 as they are currently cratering in price and if you are willing to dip into getting a full EV and don’t mind the build quality of a dollar store toy or the reliability of a 737 Max, it will ultimately be a better buy once you factor in dollar per mile cost. If all you care about is cost and efficiency, you can get a fully loaded Corolla Hybrid for about $6,000 less than a base Prius Prime XE. The difference in fuel economy would probably take you nearly a decade to recover the difference in fuel-saving costs. With higher interest rates in 2023, the more you spend on a car has a bigger impact on your payment and for some, it might not be worth it. The last hurdle to me recommending this car to you: Dealer markups. Only 10,000 Prius Primes will make it to the US this year. I have already asked a few local southern California dealerships and you can expect to pay several thousand dollars over MSRP to buy some of the first few examples. If you pay a dealership over sticker price for a car that was designed to save you money at the pump, you are doing it wrong.
So, should you buy a 2023 Prius Prime? That depends. Do you commute under 40 miles a day? Do you have access to a Level II AC charger at home or at work every day? Do you hate traffic and want a nice comfortable commuter car? Do you hate frequent gas station visits but don’t want to worry about EV charging potentially making you late for work or ruining a road trip? Do you want to make a Civic SI owner feel insecure at a stoplight? Yes, buy the Prius Prime. It’s awesome for making your life easy and doing it in style. Hell, I’d even say the car is fun.
Should you lease a 2023 Prius Prime? Even better than buying. The new EV tax credits have a strange leasing loophole. Let me explain. There are a lot of new requirements for an EV to get the $7,500 tax credit many used to get, one being that it must be made in America. While this doesn’t meet that requirement (The final assembly is in Japan), any EV fleet vehicle will still receive this credit. It just so happens that leased vehicles fall under this fleet vehicle category. The $7,500 discount can be applied to your lease payment which may in fact make it closer to that of say, a Corolla lease payment. Factor in being able to buy the car at the end of your lease, and suddenly this becomes the deal of the decade. However, there is a time limit on this current credit as it stands and that could change in the near future.
Ultimately, I really loved this car. It merges the best of the EV and gas car world and gives you the best of both worlds to make a car that is truly right for the needs of most people in 2023. This is a Lexus PHEV gaslighting as a relatively affordable Toyota. It’s overbuilt and shares sports car-like qualities with a car that gets world-class efficiency. It’s a fun driver’s car that can also take all the stress out of traffic. Accelerating from a stop light will put a smile on your face. If you want to dip your toes into the EV experience, I would highly recommend this car. There are few cars that come to mind that bring about such a low dollar-per-mile cost while providing such a comfortable, fun, and luxurious driving experience. I wouldn’t just say it’s a great value, this car represents what one hundred years of innovation and progress in the auto industry can provide to you that you’ll be happy to own for decades to come.
The Prius is cool now. Automotive glow-up of the decade.
What changes in 2023 Prius Prime? ›
For 2023, the LE, XLE, and Limited trims are no more. Instead, the Prius Prime now comes in SE, XSE, and XSE Premium grades, all of which reflect the model's newfound athleticism. We'd pick the XSE, as it comes items such as keyless entry, an automatic tailgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and heated front seats.Is the 2023 Toyota Prius the best Normie car on the market? ›
The 2023 Toyota Prius Is the Best Normie Car on the Market. Always heroically practical, the Prius now has the style and performance to make it enjoyable, too. On a practical level, there's nothing new here. The new Toyota Prius is the most sensible car anyone can buy.What is the 0-100 of Prius Prime 2023? ›
The result is a zero-emission electric range increase of over 50 percent, a nearly 100 hp increase to 220 hp, and a 0-100 km/h time of 6.8 seconds. The all-new 2023 Toyota Prius Prime takes standard and available features to a whole new level.What is the Prius 2023 prime 0 to 60? ›
That extra power now means the Prime is claimed to hit 60 mph from a stop in just 6.6 seconds. This is no slouch of a figure, especially when you consider we measured the old Prime's 0-60 time at 10.0 seconds. What's most impressive, however, has to be the all-electric range.What makes a Prius Prime special? ›
Prius Prime works similarly to a standard Prius, but with an increased all-electric mode driving range, more powerful electric motors and enhanced fuel efficiency.What is special about the Prius Prime? ›
The redesigned 2023 Prius Prime shares the same low-slung design and straightforward interior as the regular Prius, but it adds a larger lithium-ion battery that can be plugged in for an impressive (for a PHEV), electric-only range between 39 and 44 miles depending on trim level, according to the automaker.Is Prius prime better than regular Prius? ›
With more power and usable all-electric range, the Prius Prime gains a lot of utility and efficiency without compromising interior space or driving enjoyment. That is to say, the Prius Prime is legitimately the prime choice for this generation.What is the best hybrid Toyota 2023? ›
Toyota Prius is back for 2023 with impressive drivetrains, advanced technology, and fuel-efficiency. There is a reason that the 2023 Toyota Prius is known as the definitive hybrid vehicle with up to 57 MPG on Mason drives.Is the 2023 Prius noisy? ›
Even if the 2023 Toyota Prius is a highly efficient and well-designed vehicle, it does suffer from some noise issues when the traditional gas engine is turned on.How to get 133 mpg on Prius Prime? ›
In order to maintain that 133 MPGe fuel economy rating, you must keep the plug-in hybrid Prius Prime charged. Otherwise, the Prime will maintain roughly the same fuel economy as the Prius hybrid. Plug-in hybrids are similar to EVs in that they must be charged if you want to experience their full capacity.
What is the 1 4 mile time for a 2023 Prius Prime? ›
Its quarter-mile time dropped more than two seconds, from 17.8 seconds at 79 mph to 15.5 seconds at 92 mph. The 2023 model should also reduce any lingering anxiety when executing passes on the highway, as the hybrid now accelerates from 50 to 70 mph in 5 seconds flat (2.1 seconds quicker than before).What is Prius Prime lifetime? ›
Toyota has deemed that some components, Prius included, are "lifetime." What Toyota means by this is anywhere from 120,000 to 150,000 miles.What is the top speed of a 2023 Toyota Prius? ›
|Trim Name||0-60 MPH||Top Speed|
|20th Anniversary Edition 5dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)||11.5 sec||113 mph|
|XLE 5dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)||10.3 sec||112 mph|
|LE 5dr Hatchback AWD (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)||10.5 sec||113 mph|
The new 2023 Prius Prime will have 220 hp and be capable of a 0-60 MPH sprint in 6.6 seconds, according to Toyota.What is the 0 100 time of Toyota Prius prime? ›
Unlike the traditional Prius, the Prime model is not available with all-wheel drive, with power being sent exclusively to the front wheels. It can now sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds. That's 40% quicker than the outgoing model!Will Prius Prime get more range? ›
Toyota also expects the plug-in Prime to be capable of up to 44 miles of electric range, a huge improvement over the 2022 model's 25-mile figure.Will the 2023 Prius Prime be redesigned? ›
The 2023 Toyota Prius Prime will arrive as a fully redesigned model for the upcoming year. The plug-in hybrid hatchback will feature a sportier design, a more traditional cabin, improved tech features, and a more powerful powertrain.How far can a Prius Prime go on a tank of gas? ›
|2021 Toyota Prius Prime|
|EPA Fuel Economy 1 gallon of gasoline=33.7 kWh Show electric charging stations near me||.0 gal/100mi of gas + 25 kWh/100mi 1.9 gal/100mi|
|25 miles Elec + Gas All Elec: 0-25 mi 640 miles Total Range|
|About Plug-in Hybrid Cars|
How frequently do I have to charge it? To maximize your savings and minimize your emissions, you should charge as often as possible to enjoy the most electric drive miles. If the charge does run out, Prius Prime has a gasoline hybrid system, so you can leave range anxiety behind and start looking ahead.What are the best years for Toyota Prius prime? ›
Many year models will satisfy these requirements reliably, but many won't. These are the Toyota Prius year models that we recommend. Although they're a bit older, you can't go wrong with the 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 Toyota Priuses. These have had almost no complaints, practically unheard of for such a popular car.
Is Corolla hybrid better than Prius Prime? ›
While the Prius offers an electric powertrain, it is limited on engine and transmission options. Whereas the Corolla offers a variety of options to choose from. On top of that, the Prius is slightly more expensive. Ultimately, you can't go wrong with a Toyota hybrid.What speed is Prius most efficient? ›
Drive at slower speed when possible. Try to take routes that have long stretches with few stops with speed limits of at least 30–35 mph (48–56 km/h). At speeds less than 45 mph (72 km/h), when you reach speed, remove your foot from the accelerator pedal, this turns off the gasoline engine.What is the most luxurious Toyota hybrid? ›
If you're looking for a more powerful and more capable luxury SUV, then you've found it in the new 2023 Toyota Sequoia. With an i-FORCE MAX Twin Turbo V6 hybrid engine, you'll have both speed and power while saving at the pump.Will hybrid car prices go down in 2023? ›
Many analysts believe the chip shortage will ease, and vehicle prices may come down in 2023. That might make waiting to buy the best move, not just for hybrid car shoppers but anyone looking for new transportation.Is A Prius Prime worth it? ›
Should I Buy the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime? The Prius Prime is definitely worth checking out if you want a practical, feature-packed and fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid. That said, you've got some other great options. The standard Toyota Prius is slightly less expensive, and it can be had with all-wheel drive.How far can a 2023 Prius go on a full tank? ›
As stated in the introduction, the 2023 Prius will have a best-to-date 57 combined MPG and is equipped with an 11.3-gallon fuel tank, giving owners just over 640 miles of range on a single tank.Where is the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime assembled? ›
Assembled in Japan, the 2023 Prius Prime is expected to begin arriving in U.S. showrooms in June.Does Prius Prime need premium gas? ›
You must only use unleaded gasoline. The engine is designed to operate at maximum performance using unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 93 (98 RON) or higher.How far can a Prius go on battery only? ›
When fully charged, Prius Prime is rated for an EPA-estimated driving range of 25 miles 38 in EV Mode 39 before converting to HV Mode. Prime will then continue in HV Mode until the battery is recharged.
The Toyota Prius Prime is not eligible for federal tax credits, as it does not meet the requirements of the Inflation Reduction Act of August 2022.
How many kWH battery does a Prius Prime 2023 have? ›
Thanks to battery capacity increased by over 50 percent, the new 2023 Toyota Prius Prime can travel much farther in all-electric mode than its predecessor. But with only Level 2 charging, replenishing this plug-in hybrid's 13.6 kWH lithium-ion cell takes hours—this ain't a Hyundai Ioniq 5.How many MPG does a Prius Prime 2024 get? ›
|EPA Fuel Economy||Driver MPG|
|Gas & Electric 133 MPGe combined city/hwy .0 gal/100 mi of gas + 25 kWh/100 mi Reg. Gas 54 MPG combined city/hwy 1.9 gal/100 mi||75.2|
|25 miles Elec + Gas All Elec: 0-25 mi 640 miles Total Range|
It's rated at 51 mpg combined in hybrid mode with a depleted battery for the SE model, 47 mpg for the XSE and XSE Premium—less than the conventional hybrid, which has ratings from 49 to 57 mpg.What happens when Prius Prime runs out of battery? ›
If the battery is fully charged, Prius Prime runs on the electric motors only. When the battery runs out, it operates like Prius, using both the gas engine and electric motors to drive the car as they are needed and available.How much is a battery for a Prius Prime? ›
The average cost for a Toyota Prius Prime Hybrid High Voltage Battery Replacement is between $10,262 and $10,335. Labor costs are estimated between $282 and $355 while parts are priced between $9,980 and $9,980.How much is a new Prius battery? ›
The Prius battery replacement cost ranges from $2,000 to $4,500. Even if you choose to install a used Prius battery, installation could cost an additional $1,500. Planning for this cost throughout a hybrid car's lifespan is important. Some factors increase or decrease the Toyota Prius battery replacement cost.How much is the 2023 Prius going to cost? ›
2023 Toyota Prius Pricing
The 2023 Toyota Prius starts at $27,450. At the other end of the pricing spectrum, the range-topping Prius Limited kicks off at $34,465. All-wheel drive is available with every trim, costing $1,400.
2023 Prius Prime
never saw coming. Thanks to its large battery pack, Prius Prime has a manufacturer-estimated all electric driving range rating up to 44 miles. And when the battery runs low, Prius Prime will continue to run on its hybrid engine.
The newfound electric power in the 2024 Prime means it's possible to drive around normally with zero emissions. This combined with the larger battery means the 2024 Prius Prime SE on 17-inch wheels will have a range of 44 miles per charge.What is the longest range of Prius Prime? ›
Toyota estimates that drivers can get up to 44 miles of electric-only range from a Prius Prime SE on a full charge, which should take about 11 hours using a standard 110-volt household outlet or 4 hours on a 240-volt charger. (The XSE and XSE Premium trims will get up to 39 miles.)
What is the L 100km for 2023 Prius Prime? ›
When the longer-haul calls, its fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain is ready to keep going, with a manufacturer-estimated combined fuel consumption of 4.5 L/100 km. Add in a sleek, sporty new look with a comfortable, tech-packed interior and it's an all-new Prius Prime that's ready for the road ahead.What is the B for in Prius Prime? ›
Simply put, the Prius B mode stands for “braking.” This position is for shifting into a lower gear and increases the engine's drag to help slow your vehicle down. But when would you need this mode?What is the update for the 2023 Prius? ›
The 2023 Prius Prime's battery has been improved as well. The new, larger lithium-ion battery is projected an all-electric estimated range increase of more than 50% over the previous estimated range of 25 miles. The EPA figures are expected to be available in Spring 2023.Will there be a new Prius in 2023? ›
The 2023 Prius is available in LE, XLE and Limited grades, and the 2023 Prius Prime will be available in SE, XSE and XSE Premium grades.Is the 2023 Prius a new design? ›
The 2023 Prius is simply handsome, clean, sleek, and the best design statement Toyota has made since embracing “design.” It's that good. And it's not difficult to understand what makes it so. Compared to the 2022 Prius, the new car is lower and wider, but the real story is in the profile.How far will the 2023 Prius Prime go? ›
Along with pricing, Toyota revealed estimates for the 2023 Prius Prime's all-electric range. Although Toyota's original estimate was 38 miles, Toyota now says the Prime's new battery pack—nearly double the size of the outgoing model's unit—will net a 44 mile range for the SE model.Where is 2023 Prius Prime assembled? ›
Assembled in Japan, the 2023 Prius Prime is expected to begin arriving in U.S. showrooms in June.Does 2023 Prius have remote start? ›
Digital key is also available with Remote Connect for the XLE and Limited Grades – making it easy to lock and unlock doors, remote start and more all from a smart phone. Ready to handle all your device charging needs, the Prius is equipped with six USB ports in the cabin.Does 2023 Prius have 360 camera? ›
Panoramic View Monitor
It uses four cameras, one on each side of the vehicle, to display a panoramic view on the touchscreen display. When you're parked and using the Moving View setting, Prius creates an animated virtual view from above to give you a bigger picture of what's around.
Its quarter-mile time dropped more than two seconds, from 17.8 seconds at 79 mph to 15.5 seconds at 92 mph. The 2023 model should also reduce any lingering anxiety when executing passes on the highway, as the hybrid now accelerates from 50 to 70 mph in 5 seconds flat (2.1 seconds quicker than before).
What are the colors for the 2023 Prius? ›
The all-new 2023 Prius will be available in a choice of six colors, including Wind Chill Pearl, Cutting Edge, Guardian Gray, Midnight Black Metallic, Supersonic Red or Reservoir Blue.Is the 2023 Prius bigger? ›
The 2023 Prius is actually larger than the earlier generations, but it is two inches lower than the 2022 model. This reduces some of the headspace, especially for the rear passengers.How fast is the 2023 Prius? ›
2023 Toyota Prius hybrid 0-60 and Quarter Mile Times
However, with a 1.8-liter Gas/Electric I4 making 300 hp @ 6400 rpm and 105 lb. -ft. @ 3600 rpm, that does not seem to be the case here. The 2023 Toyota Prius hybrid takes 11.1 seconds to propel from naught to 60mph and the quarter-mile run takes - seconds.
Interior features in the 2023 Prius include wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, an available internet hotspot, a JBL sound system, heated seats, and a panoramic sunroof.