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Toyota Prius 2023 Driving Experience Review: Provides An Ideal Journey With Comfort

Throughout the years, the Toyota Prius has been an unconventional looking hybrid lacking any thrill, but Toyota has made the decision to shake things up for the 2023 Prius. The outcome is a more fashionable hybrid with increased power under the bonnet and a considerably enhanced interior.

Toyota is branding the 2023 Prius as “Hybrid Reborn,” hinting at the changes. The new Prius not only has a more stylish appearance compared to its predecessors, but Toyota has also reinforced the hybrid powertrain.

Starting with the exterior, the 2023 Prius is 2 inches lower, 1 inch longer, and 1 inch wider than its forerunner. This means the Prius now presents a more athletic posture. During our drive around San Diego, the Prius garnered more attention than expected for a Prius. Several onlookers inquired about it and were pleasantly surprised upon learning about the new Prius. Credit goes to Toyota for ultimately developing a stylish Prius. Its sleek exterior has a 0.27 coefficient of drag.

Beneath the surface, the Prius is equipped with a larger 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with two motor-generators. The hybrid system delivers a combined 194 hp, a considerable increase from the 121 hp in the previous Prius. The torque rating has also risen from 120 pound-feet to 139 lb-ft. The Prius is now able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds, marking a 26% improvement over the 9.8 second time of the previous front-wheel drive Prius.

For those in need of all-wheel drive, the Prius offers an additional electric motor powering the rear wheels. The Prius AWD boasts a combined 196 hp and can go from 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds.

Despite the added power, the Prius continues to lead in fuel efficiency, with a combined rating of up to 57 mpg. The XLE and Limited trim levels achieve up to 52 MPG combined. The all-wheel drive variants are rated between 49 to 54 MPG. For those seeking higher efficiency, the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid is an option arriving in spring 2023.

During our drive on the less-traveled roads of San Diego, the additional power is noticeable. The Prius is now able to move from a standstill with a much greater sense of urgency than before. There are three driving modes: Eco, Normal, and Sport. For those desiring a more dynamic driving experience, the Normal and Sport modes are the way to go. The new, lighter, and more potent lithium-ion battery enables more electric-only driving, and the transition from the electric motor to the gas engine is smoother than before. In the previous Prius, the gas engine came on sooner and with a more clunky experience.

The all-wheel drive Prius is also equipped with a rear electric motor that not only engages when additional traction is required, but also energizes when extra power is needed on winding roads.

The increased power under the hood is just the beginning, as the suspension and steering have also been enhanced. The steering now provides more responsiveness, with further improvement when selecting the Sport driving mode. The previous Prius’s steering could be described as “loosey goosey” due to its lack of precision and numb feel. It’s hard to say that the updated steering makes the new Prius more enjoyable to drive, but it is undoubtedly a significant enhancement. The suspension improvements make the Prius feel more connected to the road, instilling a greater sense of confidence on challenging roads than its clumsy forerunner. Furthermore, the new Prius is lighter than the previous model.

Inside, the unconventional styling has been replaced with a more traditional cabin. The center-mounted speedometer in the previous generation has been substituted with a digital screen positioned directly in front of the driver. Those familiar with the bZ4X will notice a similar system in the Prius. The screen sits above the steering wheel, though it can be obstructed by the steering wheel depending on the driver’s height. The shifter has been relocated to the center console from its awkward placement in the previous Prius.

The Prius comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen, with a larger 12.3-inch screen available. The infotainment system operates on Toyota’s latest software, which is not only more user-friendly but also presents a more contemporary appearance. Toyota has also upgraded the materials, lending the cabin a slightly more sophisticated feel. The seats have a 1-inch-lower hip point, adding to the sportier driving experience. The lowered seats were necessary as the Prius’s roof has been lowered by two inches. The reduced height does encroach on the available headroom, particularly noticeable in the back. The optional fixed glass roof provides a more open feel.

In terms of safety, the 2023 Prius is equipped with the Toyota Sense 3.0 suite as standard, featuring a 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. The new Proactive Driving Assist system automatically decelerates the Prius when approaching a slower car or when entering a curve.

Pricing for the 2023 Toyota Prius starts at $28,545, including destination charges. All-wheel drive is available for an additional $1,500 on any of the three trim levels (LE, XLE, and Limited). The 2023 Prius will begin arriving at dealers in January.

In conclusion, the transformation of the Prius has arrived. The quirky styling and peculiar interior of the past are gone, and not only does the Prius now resemble a regular car, it also feels like one.

Image Source: Karolis Kavolelis / Shutterstock


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