It was more than 20 years ago that Toyota introduced to the market the first production car to mix a combustion engine with an electric motor, creating the now ubiquitous hybrid definition. After over 20 million units sold globally, the Prius has become a pop culture icon, and the Japanese make wants to keep this momentum going with an all-new fifth generation.
Riding on the company’s second-generation TNGA-C platform, the new hybrid is 50mm shorter and 25.4mm wider than the model it replaces. The hip point is also one inch lower, and having the batteries placed under the rear seats helps lower the car’s center of gravity and preserve its cargo space.
“As a company, we set our sights on developing a new Prius for the future, and our design and engineering teams really delivered,” said Toyota group vice president and general manager Dave Christ during the car’s debut on the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show. “The weight of the Prius name is heavy – it carries with it the identity of an entire category of vehicle powertrain. We’re confident the all-new 2023 Prius and Prius Prime will continue this important legacy.”
The new Prius packs a larger 2-litre engine with a newly developed lithium-ion battery pack that offers a 15% increased output of 142kW, which can send it from zero to 96 kilometres per hour in 7.2 seconds, a 26% improvement compared to the outgoing front-wheel-drive model, which needed 9.8 seconds.
AWD models get an Electronic On-Demand system which uses a motor to drive the rear wheels, enabling stable driving performance when starting off and when driving on slippery road surfaces such as snow. The newly developed lithium-ion battery pack offers a 15% increase in output compared to the previous generation Nickel Metal battery – reducing the size and the weight.
Fuel economy has always been one of the main triumphs of the Prius, and this generation manages to improve this indicator as well. Being the most efficient Prius to date, it has estimated figures of up to 4.1L/100km. The Prius is another key pillar of Toyota’s “Beyond Zero” approach to carbon neutrality, and havsprevented over 82 million tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere over the years.
There will also be a plug-in variant, the Prius Prime. Being the ‘sportiest’ of the bunch, it bumps power to 161 kW and drops the sprint to 100km/h to just 6.6 seconds. The new powertrain also increases the previous-generation model’s electric-only range of 40km to 60, and is also assisted by an optional solar roof panel.
On the technology front, buyers can expect the now familiar suite of driving assistance systems as standard, which brings adaptive cruise control, emergency braking systems, blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and lane keep assist. Other options are also available, always powered by the newly introduced 12.3 inch screen infotainment, which supports 4G and Wi-Fi connectivity and OTA updates.
Toyota will announce more details about the hybrid Prius later this year. We’ll have to wait until the first half of 2023 for Prius Prime details.
Press release and pictures – Toyota USA Press Room