2023 Toyota Prius is a coupe-styled hybrid EV

  • Is lower, sportier & more aerodynamic than the previous model
  • The Elantra Hybrid, Civic Hybrid & perhaps even the Ioniq 6 are the challengers
  • Expected to begin arriving at U.S. dealers in early 2023
  • Could cost just over USD 25,500 in the base configuration

The 2023 Toyota Prius has made its world premiere in Japan, marking the arrival of the fifth generation of the company’s globally acclaimed eco-car nameplate. For the third time, the latest Prius line-up includes a hybrid variant and a plug-in hybrid variant, with the latter expected to be badged ‘Prime’ in the U.S. In this story, we detail the Hybrid variant, which would be the first in the launch order.

Design

2023 Toyota Prius front
The 2023 Toyota Prius features a hammerhead shark-like design at the front. Image Source: Toyota

For 25 years, the Toyota Prius has been unmistakable in terms of design. Its peculiarity makes it instantly recognizable, and it’s more aerodynamic than comparable mass-market compact cars. The new-generation Prius is a sporty coupe with a significantly improved desirability.

At the front, the 2023 Prius has a large hammerhead shark-like shape with C-shaped slim headlights, a slim upper grille, an angry-looking lower air intake, and a smooth bumper. This frontal shape communicates the car’s low and wide stance.

2023 Toyota Prius side profile
The 2023 Toyota Prius looks more appealing, thanks to the flatter and more coupe-like shape. Image Source: Toyota

On the sides, the 2023 Prius has a more streamlined design than the previous model. Toyota designers have lowered the A-pillar angle and the height of the roofline, making the car flatter and more aerodynamic. The hidden rear door handles, larger, 19-inch wheels that fill the wheel wells better, bulged-out and smoother body panels, and a new, leaf-shaped greenhouse make the side profile even more interesting. The simple yet toned body of the 2023 Prius with minimized character lines has a more emotional look. These changes could help the car’s aerodynamics, and contribute positively to its mpg.

At the rear, the 2023 Prius looks smoother and stubbier than the previous model and a little cleaner, too. The license plate is on the bumper instead of the liftgate. The free space on the liftgate features a new block-lettered model inscription with wide spacing to accentuate the wider stance and elevated sophistication of the fifth-gen Prius. A ducktail spoiler finishes off the sporty new exterior.

2023 Toyota Prius rear
The 2023 Toyota Prius’ shorter rear overhang and swoopy tail section give it a sportier styling. Image Source: Toyota

Color & upholstery options

The local media is reporting that the 2023 Toyota Prius will be available in Japan in eight exterior colors, including two new options:

  • Platinum White Pearl Mica
  • Attitude Black Mica
  • Emotional Red II
  • Dark Blue
  • Silver Metallic
  • Super White
  • Ash (New and confirmed)
  • Mustard (New and confirmed)
2023 Toyota Prius colors
In Japan, Toyota will sell the 2023 Prius in eight colors, including new Mustard and Ash options. Image Source: Toyota

As for interior colors and upholstery options, there are three options:

  • Active Gray (Fabric)
  • Gradient Black (Advanced Fabric)
  • Mature Red (Faux Leather)

Dimensions

The 2023 Toyota Prius is lower, sleeker, and even more aerodynamically efficient than the current car, which has a rating of 0.24 Cd. The Japanese model revealed during the world premiere measures 4,600 mm in length, 1,780 mm in width, and 1,430 mm in height and has a 2,750 mm wheelbase. The table below shows the changes from the previous model:

Dimension\MeasurementFifth-gen Toyota PriusFourth-gen Toyota PriusDifference
Length4,600 mm (181.1 in.)4,575 mm (180.1 in.)+25 mm (+1.0 in.)
Width1,780 mm (70.1 in.)1,760 mm (69.3 in.)+20 mm (+0.8 in.)
Height1,430 mm (56.3 in.)1,470 mm (57.9 in.)-40 mm (-1.6 in.)
Wheelbase2,750 mm (108.3 in.)2,700 mm (106.3 in.)+50 mm (+2.0 in.)
Front Overhang980 mm (38.6 in.)955 mm (37.6 in.)+25 mm (+1.0 in.)
Rear Overhang870 mm (34.3 in.)920 mm (36.2 in.)-50 mm (+2.0 in.)
2023 Toyota Prius vs. 2022 Toyota Prius – Dimensions (Japanese models compared)

Interior

The 2023 Toyota Prius’ sleek and futuristic styling extends to its interior. The new layout is more conventional, aimed at reducing the driver’s distraction and making operations more intuitive. The dashboard appears to float above an expansive interior landscape. It integrates an ambient light that doubles as a warning light for the Toyota Safety Sense’s functions. 

2023 Toyota Prius interior dashboard
The 2023 Toyota Prius features a more conventional interior layout than the previous model. Image Source: Toyota

The instrument cluster is a new, 7-inch TFT display. Positioned directly in the driver’s forward eye line, above the steering wheel, it allows the driver to view it with minimal eye movement. Also new is a stubby three-spoke multifunction steering wheel. It looks like Toyota lifted both of these elements straight from the bZ4X. Toyota will offer two infotainment systems in the 2023 Prius, one with a 12.3-inch screen as seen here, and one with an 8-inch screen.

The U.S. model should get the Toyota Audio Multimedia System designed and engineered by Toyota’s Texas-based Connected Technologies team. The new system offers OTA update capability, cloud-based built-in navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, dual Bluetooth phone connectivity, and more. We expect it to come with the same screen size options as the Japanese model.

Safety

As stated above, the 2023 Toyota Prius’ Toyota Safety Sense system flashes the cabin’s ambient lights before audio alerts, which makes warnings less scary. Also new on the safety front are a digital interior rearview mirror and a dashcam. More details will become available closer to the launch.

It’s almost certain to come with the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS 3.0) ADAS suite that debuted in Toyota bZ4X and is available in the 2023 Corolla family and the 2023 Crown.

The millimeter wave radar and monocular camera used in the redesigned model should have an expanded detection range, which is core to TSS 3.0’s improvements over TSS 2.0. Unlike TSS 2.0, TSS 3.0’s Pre-collision system offers Low-Light Cyclist Detection, Daytime Motorcyclist Detection, and Guardrail Detection. Lane recognition provides improved functionality while in Lane Tracing Assist mode. All the other carried-over functions probably also perform better compared to TSS 2.0.

Platform & Specifications

The 2023 Toyota Prius debuts the second-gen TNGA platform. It is because of the new platform that Toyota was able to give the 2023 Prius exhilarating styling, improved driving performance, a lower center of gravity, and larger wheels. Thanks to additional body reinforcement, the 2023 Prius has improved rigidity and quietness.

2023 Toyota Prius rear three quarter
Toyota will sell the 2023 Prius with two series parallel hybrid systems.

The 2023 Toyota Prius will be available with a 1.8-liter hybrid powertrain and a new 2.0-liter hybrid powertrain. Toyota says based on internal measurements that the 2.0-liter unit produces 144 kW (193 hp), which is 1.6 times higher than the output of the previous model’s 1.8-liter hybrid powertrain. A 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint in the 2023 Prius 2.0L takes 7.5 seconds.

The 1.8-liter unit of the 2023 Prius develops 103 kW (138 hp). Compared to the current model offered in the U.S., which produces 90 kW (121 hp), that’s a 14% bump in combined power. Accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in the 2023 Prius 1.8L takes 9.3 seconds.

The 2023 Prius comes with Toyota’s latest E-Four system, which offers enhanced uphill performance on low-friction road surfaces, like snow-clad roads, and more stability when turning. The company claims that the 2023 Prius is the world’s most efficient hybrid car in its class.

2023 Toyota Prius external power supply
An external electric power supply attachment is standard in the 2023 Toyota Prius in Japan. Image Source: Toyota

Toyota has equipped the 2023 Prius with two 100 VAC / 1,500 W accessory power outlets, one at the back of the center console and one in the cargo space. It is possible to power external equipment using the battery in the traction battery pack. If the charging in the traction battery pack is too low, the driver can recharge it in an HEV external power supply mode and power the external equipment. An external electric power supply attachment that gives a pass-through for the wire in the rear-right window is standard, which means the windows can be kept closed to prevent rain and insects from getting in the car.

Release Date

The 2023 Toyota Prius will go on sale in Japan this winter (December 2022-February 2023). It may begin arriving at U.S. dealers in early 2023. Toyota might be saving the U.S. launch announcement for the 2022 LA Auto Show (November 17-27, 2022).

Sales & Strategy

2021 and 2022 YTD sales

In its glory years, circa 2012, 200,000 units of the Prius were sold in the United States. In 2021, Toyota managed to sell 59,010 units of the Prius (incl. Prius Prime), a figure that was up by 35.6% over the pandemic-marred 2020, when the brand only managed 43,525 units. Toyota achieved new milestones in the first quarter of 2022 when 25.8% of total Toyota sales in the U.S. were electrified models.

2022 has not been the best year for the Prius family in America. Between January and September 2022, the company was able to sell just 27,008 units, which marked a 47.1% year-over-year decline. The Prius Prime particularly has seen a steep decline in 2022, registering just 7,469 units between January and September. Compared to the same period in 2021, that marks a 66.7% drop in sales. The Prius Hybrid’s alone recorded 19,539 units between January and September 2022, 31.8% lower than in January-September 2021 (28,631 units).

A new generation model may reignite the fire and possibly revive Prius sales. That said, the emergence of affordable and long-range electric vehicles is a rising threat to the brand that was once an innovator in the car industry.

History of the Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius Generations
The first and second-generation Toyota Prius hybrids triggered a radical shift toward electrification in the global automotive landscape. Images: Toyota Newsroom

1997

In the 1990s, the Toyota Prius was the beginning of a new era, not just for the Japanese carmaker but also for the automotive world. In 1997, the year it was launched, it became the world’s first mass-market strong hybrid vehicle. However, it faced criticism for its simple design, after which Toyota reimagined the model in 2003, bringing to life the now-famous wedge-shaped rear. An improved Toyota Hybrid System (THS II) improved fuel efficiency to 46 mpg combined, an impressive figure even today.

The 2000s

The second-generation Prius represented environmentalism and became a famous sight among celebrities who endorsed climate consciousness. It was owned by Hollywood celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Natalie Portman. Toyota also introduced the THS II with the second generation. The more advanced iterations of THS II are in use even today, with a variety of engine displacements in vehicles like the Camry, RAV4, Lexus models, etc. The third-generation Toyota Prius (2008) brought more innovations; it had a solar ventilation system, an electric water pump, and a more fuel-efficient 1.8-liter engine.

2015

The fourth-generation Prius (2015), based on the TNGA, brought along with it a paradigm shift. It had a more aerodynamic design, and its engine had a claimed thermal efficiency of 40%. Toyota’s pioneering hybrid technology prompted other carmakers to invest in the technology, and today customers have no shortage of options with brands offering multiple HEVs and PHEVs in their portfolio.

TopElectricSUV says

As the world increasingly turns to electric vehicles, there are still many limitations that prevent them from being a practical choice for everyone. Chief among these are the lack of charging infrastructure and the high cost of batteries.

A hybrid car like the Toyota Prius is a great choice for many drivers who want to reduce pollution and save money on gas. Though it’s not a fully-electric car, the Prius still has a lot to offer drivers in terms of efficiency and affordability. The all-new model with its sleek and aerodynamic design, more conventional and upscale interior, and more efficient powertrain is sure to appeal to customers who are not yet ready to go all-electric.

Also Read: Next-gen 2023 Toyota C-HR to get 1.8L Hybrid variant: Report

2023 Toyota Prius FAQs

What is the 2023 Toyota Prius release date?

The 2023 Toyota Prius should reach the U.S. in early 2023.

What is the expected 2023 Toyota Prius price?

Expect the 2023 Toyota Prius to start at a little over USD 25,500 in the United States.

Which are the competitors to the 2023 Toyota Prius?

The Prius will compete with hybrid and all-electric sedans, including the new Honda Civic Hybrid, Hyundai Elantra Hybrid & the VW Aero B EV.

Featured Image Source: Toyota