Toyota revealed the fifth-generation dedicated hybrid compact car at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, and show a more revolutionary vehicle than any previous Prius.
A month after giving media the chance to experience the Toyota Crown—the Japanese mega brand’s new flagship sedan—we now see a similar swoopy shape in the all-new Prius. It’s a departure, a big one. Previous attempts to give the Prius more eye-appeal have, frankly, failed. But not here.
To start, its two-inches shorter than before, around 56-inches tall instead of 58, and one-inch wider, too. That gives the Prius a proper sedan stance, shedding off that tall and frumpy and gangly look all in one go. From there, it looks as if Toyota took the Crown’s shape and tightening and streamlined everything. It’s a massive improvement.
Built on the company’s global C-platform, same as the Corolla, its sized roughly the same as before. But all the changes to the body does give the driver a one-inch lower hip point. Moreover, Toyota claims to improved battery placement for a lower center of gravity height, a critical measurement when considering a car’s handling prowess on the road.
More good news awaits under the hood. Gone is the lethargic 1.8-liter hybrid, a much healthier 2.0-liter hybrid has stepped in with a new lithium-ion battery pack. That battery pack increase peak output by 15 percent and simultaneously weighs less.
Overall, Toyota claims a 60 percent increase in system power, from a meek 121 horsepower to 194 horsepower, which results in a 2.6 second improvement in 0-60 mph acceleration, from 9.8 to 7.2 seconds. That’s not quick in today’s world, but certainly respectable.
Yes, Toyota will build electric-motor driven, all-wheel-drive versions of the Prius. For 2023, you’ll get 196 horsepower from that system and a 0-60 mph time of seven seconds flat.
Oh, and fuel economy isn’t bad either. Toyota estimates 57 mpg combined in a front-wheel-drive LE trimmed Prius, which beats the 2022 L Eco model by 1 mpg and the other FWD 2022 trims by 5 mpg, respectively.
Inside, the new Prius also gets its own version of the audio multimedia system, which debuted on the 2022 Toyota Tundra.
An eight-inch center console touchscreen is where it operates in the base LE trim and standard equipment on the XLE Prius. However, a 12.3-inch wide screen version is an option on the XLE and standard equipment on the top Limited trim.
Going with the top trim also includes a fixed glass roof, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a lot of other luxuries you wouldn’t expect on a primarily fuel miserly machine. Speaking of, you roll on 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, too.
But even the base LE offers 17-inch alloy wheels and a bunch of usb-c ports to plug into. You also get the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 system of driving aids, which includes lane tracing assist, adaptive cruise control, road sign assist, and much more. But back to conveniences, the middle-of-the-road XLE adds heated front seats, a Qi wireless smartphone charger, and more.
The point is, you’re giving up a lot less than before to burn less fuel while traveling from point A to B. And that, perhaps, is the real achievement here. You can now edge towards 60 mpg in a car that’s comfortable and easily keeps up with traffic and is a lot easier on the eyes.
At least that’s all true on paper. The real test comes when I get the chance to drive it. Stay tuned.
Of course, there are more exciting Toyota’s out there, here’s one of my favorites: Toyota GR Corolla