2023 ushers in a new era for the Toyota Prius. Most obviously, this hybrid hero received a head-turning redesign, but we’ll come back to the dashing new looks; first, we need to talk about what’s underneath. 

The new Prius introduces a fifth-generation hybrid system: battery-driven motors coupled to a larger 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 194 horsepower on front-wheel drive models and 196 horsepower with available all-wheel drive. That’s a 60-percent increase over the outgoing generation. But even more impressive, a Toyota-estimated 57 MPG combined on the base front-wheel LE model– the best ever for a Prius.

But the improvements don’t stop there. It’s built on the second-generation TNGA-C platform, offering a lower center of gravity and more rigidity while reducing weight— noticeable and enjoyable during our California First Drive.

I love the amount of power this Prius has. It is more than enough to comfortably merge on the highway. And, yes, if you push it hard enough you’re going to hear the CVT whine but highway driving is very comfortable. These seats are very comfortable. I could really feel the lower center of gravity when I was driving on some of the back roads earlier and I was actually having a lot of fun managing on some twisty and curvy roads.

So, the new Prius feels as good as it looks; the redesign is modern and aerodynamic, including an aggressive windshield rake and a roofline that’s 2-inches lower than the previous model. 

All three grades– LE, XLE and Limited– benefit from an equally-progressive cabin. The gauge cluster now, for the first time, sits behind the steering wheel. The standard 8-inch and available 12.3-inch infotainment screens now sit high and horizontal, eliminating any gripes we had with last-gen’s vertical display. Overall, this interior is a solid step up.

Thankfully, the price is only a small step up, starting under $29,000 and maxing out near $37-K. The 2023 Prius will be available in January, and the plug-in Prius PRIME will return closer to the Spring 2023.

Stay tuned for our Road Test of the new Prius and plenty more Quick Spins… soon!