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2023 Toyota Prius Hybrid - Review By Larry Nutson

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2023 Toyota Prius
Hybrid Reborn

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

Toyota, like other automakers around the world, has committed to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible and as soon as possible. Toyota has committed that all of its products will be carbon neutral by 2050.

To accomplish this goal Toyota has committed to offer a full array of electrified vehicle options to give all of their customers the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint.

However, this does not mean Toyota will only offer pure battery-electric vehicles. As part of Toyota’s diverse approach to carbon neutrality, the Prius is an iconic player in Toyota’s effort to move “beyond zero.” With ten hybrid models, two plug-in hybrid models, the new bZ4X battery electric vehicle and the zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell Mirai, Toyota offers 14 electrified vehicles for customers to choose from.

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The 2023 Prius, now its fifth generation, with its sleek new exterior design, a new interior and an enhanced hybrid powertrain, provides style, performance and efficiency.

2023 Prius HEV features a 2.0-L engine and a revised hybrid system with 196 net hp on AWD equipped models, and 194 net hp on FWD equipped models. This is up from a previous 121-hp on both.

The 2023 Prius Prime PHEV shares the basic Prius gas engine, but it increases electric-motor output and battery capacity to enable an EV mode that will keep the engine off — even under heavy acceleration, until the battery is fully depleted. 

Toyota’s number one objective with the Prius is high MPGs, that is, low fuel consumption. The longer, lower and wider body design, which is now much more attractive, is a result of that objective.

The EPA fuel economy ratings for the new Prius HEV are as high as 57 mpg combined in the LE front-wheel drive configuration. Depending on trim and drive system ratings drop to 49 mpg combined.

The Prius Prime PHEV has an EPA rated 52 mpg combined, with an all-electric driving range of 44 miles. A full depleted battery can be charged in approximately 4 hours using a L2 240v charger.

Prior generation Prius were somewhat slow to accelerate. Now with increased engine output zero to 60 mph is in 7.0 seconds.

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The 2023 Prius will be offered in three grades: LE, XLE and Limited. The 2023 Prius Prime will be available in SE, XSE and XSE Premium grades.

Prius has a new multi-information display mounted directly in front of the driver to help keep eyes on the road and a standard 8-inch or available 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen is mounted within easy reach. Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 collision warning, collision intervention, and driving control assistance features are equipped on the new Prius.

Recently I was invited by Toyota to an in-person briefing as well as given the opportunity to drive the new Prius. Front seating area is plenty roomy. The rear seat headroom might be a bit tight for a tall person. However, I see the Prius more as a very good commuter car than as a highway family road tripper.

Acceleration is indeed quite adequate and much improved over prior models. The high-placed gauge cluster takes a bit of getting used to. It was fine for me once I realized I was seeing all I need to see. It might be blocked by the steering wheel for some body sizes.

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The Prius is nicely composed and balanced on the road. Ride is comfortable and handling confident. The steering feedback is light but with sharp turn-in it performs as it should.

Toyota Prius has a starting Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $27,450 for the Prius LE grade and Prius Prime SE grade starts at an MSRP of $32,350, plus the $1,095 Dealer Process and Handling fee. The Prius arrived at Toyota dealerships in early 2023 and the Prius Prime came along bit later.

More information and details on the 2023 Toyota Prius and Prius Prime can be found at KBB recently noted the base Prius Prime is the most affordable PHEV on sale in America today.

The hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains are a good choice for someone who wants to reduce their personal carbon footprint by moving away from a traditional pure ICE-powered car but is not afforded by their living arrangements to drive a plug-in electric vehicle that requires at-home battery charging for the best user experience.

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A PHEV might be the best interim step until such a time as the charging infrastructure in the US is fully developed and operational.

© 2023 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy