It wasn’t that long ago when we got behind the wheel of the all-new Toyota Prius; a stylish, comfortable, and fun-to-drive take on the brand’s hallmark hybrid. And we’re back in San Diego, California, for our first taste of the 2023 Prius Prime.

Just like before, Prime denotes a plug-in powertrain. This time, Toyota’s fifth generation hybrid system, pairing a 2.0-liter engine with a bigger electric motor to drive the front wheels. Net horsepower is rated at 220– 100 more than the prior generation. Torque see’s smaller, but still noticeable gains from 105 lb-ft to 139.

And believe me– it is noticeable.

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 because 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, so the transition to EV mode to hybrid is really seamless. And just overall, this Prius drives so much better on the improved platform for the new generation.

Speaking of EV-driving, expect an all-electric range of up to 44 miles; another big increase, made possible by the larger 13.6-kilowatt hour battery. In hybrid mode, the Prime is looking at up to 52 MPG combined.

Most everything else is on par with our previous Prius experience– a low center of gravity, a robust safety suite, and the expected interior updates– this time sporting exclusive red accents.

The 2023 Toyota Prius Prime will start around $33,000 with delivery, with top trims around $40K. The Prius has rarely been described as “cool,” but the 2023 model is exactly that– and this all-new plug-in is primed to be equally popular when it hits dealer lots this May.