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It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years since the Prius Plug-in Concept made its debut at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s even harder to believe that it’s been 22 years that the world’s first production hybrid car, the Toyota Prius, arrived at dealerships in the U.S. Now, the Prius Prime is one of the most popular plug-in hybrids on the road and nearly everyone knows what a Prius is. At the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota is starting a new era for the Prius and Prius Prime, debuting the all-new 2023 models with better fuel economy and all-electric range than ever before.
Both vehicles ride on the second-generation TNGA-C platform, which offers a low center of gravity, reduced weight, and increased rigidity compared to its predecessor. This allowed Toyota to give both the Prius and Prius Prime a wider stance and a lower driving position that’s sporty, yet comfortable. Along with more performance from their powertrains, this lower, wider, and longer vehicle should deliver a more exciting driving experience than past Prius models.
Starting with the Prius Prime, Toyota has said the plug-in hybrid will deliver over 50% more all-electric range than its predecessor, which was 25 miles. That should put it around the 38- to 40-mile range, although official figures and pricing won’t be announced until the first half of 2023. Compared to the standard Prius, the Prime will offer more performance, technology, and safety, and will be available in three trim levels: SE, XSE, and XSE Premium. The fifth-generation hybrid powertrain offers a combined system output of 220 horsepower to deliver a zero-to-60 time of 6.6 seconds.
As for the standard Prius hybrid, Toyota estimates that it’ll return 57-mpg combined, making it the most fuel-efficient Prius ever. It will be available in three trim levels, LE, XLE, and Limited, with pricing and on-sale date being announced later this year. Powered by a larger 2.0-liter engine and a newly-developed lithium-ion battery, the front-wheel-drive Prius hybrid delivers 194 hp and a zero-to-60 time of 7.2 seconds, a noticeable improvement compared to the previous model’s 9.8 mark. Buyers can opt for an all-wheel-drive version that has an Electronic On-Demand AWD system with slightly higher output at 196 hp, which is good for a zero-to-60 sprint in 7 seconds.
Both vehicles come standard with a traditional 8-inch multimedia touchscreen infotainment system, although a larger 12.3-inch is available. Owners will benefit from over-the-air (OTA) updates and voice activation controls. The new Toyota Audio Multimedia supports dual Bluetooth phone connectivity and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Prius and Prius Prime will also have an available Wi-Fi Connect 1-month trial that delivers 4G connectivity for up to five devices, making the vehicles a mobile AT&T Hotspot.
Standard on the 2023 Toyota Prius and Prius Prime is Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) 3.0. The suite of safety features includes pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, road sign assist, automatic high beams, and proactive driving assist. Proactive driving assist is new to both models and uses the vehicle’s camera and radar to provide gentle braking into curves or gentle braking and/or steering to help support driving tasks like distance control.
Despite the growing popularity of fully-electric vehicles, we expect the Prius and Prius Prime to continue being an attractive option for many car shoppers who aren’t ready to take the plunge into a BEV. Given the nameplate’s success over the last couple decades, we have little reason to believe this Prius and Prius Prime won’t also sell well. The real question is how much longer the Prius can remain a popular choice as more affordable BEVs enter the market.
Updated (2:06 pm EST, 11/17/2022): Added photos of the 2023 Toyota Prius from the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Updated (11:00 am EST, 11/17/2022): Added our YouTube video coverage of the reveal.