2023 Toyota Prius Prime
This Plug-In Improves in the Best Ways
Earlier this year the all-new 5th-generation Prius “wow-ed” us with improved styling, power, and driving dynamics—all while continuing to be a compact fuel-sipping hybrid. But it wasn’t long ago that we spent a year long-term testing a last-gen Prius Prime so we have been eager to know more about the new plug-in hybrid version. Well, that time has finally come! We recently visited San Diego, California to plug-in to the all-new 2023 Toyota Prius Prime.
As a refresher, “Prime” denotes Toyota’s plug-in hybrid of PHEV models.
The Prius Prime comes in three trim levels: SE, XSE, and XSE Premium.
To separate them from the standard hybrid Prius, they come with unique lower painted grille trim as well as Prime badging. SE models are standard with 17-inch wheels, while the other trims see 19-inchers.
Everything in the powertrain sees an update. Power comes from a larger 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor for a total system output of 220-horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. That’s an increase of 100-horsepower compared to the outgoing model! Toyota says that will help the PHEV to hit 0-60 in 6.6 seconds. The Prime is available in front-wheel drive only.
The battery pack increases too, from 8.8 to 13.6-kilowatt hours, bringing total all-electric driving range to 44 miles on the SE trim; up from 25 miles. XSE and XSE Premium models see 39 miles of range. And don’t worry if you run out of battery because the Prime can still see 52 miles-per-gallon combined in hybrid mode.
“One of my favorite parts about the last generation Prius Prime was driving in EV mode. I thought it was well executed last generation. It was honestly my favorite mode to drive in that vehicle but when you would switch from EV to the hybrid, the last gen was so underpowered that it was really disappointing. But now in the new Prius Prime you have much more power so while the EV mode is still very peppy and fast and quick and very smooth, the transition to EV mode to hybrid is really seamless. And just overall, this Prius drives so much better on the improved platform of the new generation. ”
A standard household outlet can recharge the Prime in about 11 hours but a level 2 charger can improve that time to 4 hours.
Inside is the same updated interior as the standard Prius hybrid, but with Prime exclusive red accents. And all Primes come with rain sensing windshield wipers, a heated steering wheel, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The battery has been relocated to underneath the rear seat, improving on one of our biggest complaints from the last-gen: a lack of cargo space.
Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 comes standard and, in the Prius, includes Proactive Driving Assist which can gently steer and brake to help control the distance between you and anything the vehicle senses. And the standard Traffic Jam Assist feature allows you to drive hands-free in traffic conditions under 25 miles-per-hour.
The all-new 2023 Toyota Prius Prime is expected to arrive in dealerships this May with a starting price of $32,350 before destination.
We’ll have more on the plug-in Prius coming up soon…on MotorWeek!