The 2023 Toyota Prius Has Landed in LA, And It Looks Pretty Awesome

There are certain words I never thought I'd use to cover the Prius, but here we are

2023 Toyota Prius
(Images: Toyota)
  • The 2023 Toyota Prius has officially debuted in Japan and in the U.S., at the 2022 LA Auto Show.
  • Toyota revealed both the conventional hybrid Prius and the plug-in Prius Prime Wednesday, showing radically different new styling, greater efficiency and more power.
  • The 2023 Toyota Prius gets a significant performance boost, both for the 194-horsepower standard model and the 220-horsepower Prius Prime.
  • Pricing and availability for the standard 2023 Toyota Prius will be revealed later this year.
    • Pricing and the on-sale date for the Prius Prime will be announced next year.

Continuing its two-decade run in the U.S., the 2023 Toyota Prius brings a host of changes for its fifth generation.

While Toyota also revealed the bZ Compact SUV Concept as another step in its burgeoning EV lineup, Wednesday’s big reveal centers on one of the automaker’s cornerstone models. Enter the brand-new, fifth-generation 2023 Toyota Prius — a car that aims to shake up some of our preconceived notions and reassert the model’s efficiency dominance among Toyota’s expansive hybrid lineup.

Two flavors debuted at the 2022 LA Auto Show, including the conventional “Hybrid Reborn” Prius and the plug-in hybrid Prius Prime. Each car brings its own headline-making statement, but let’s discuss the elephant in the room first: the way it looks. You can spot some cues from Toyota’s other models here, including the all-electric bZ4x. In side profile and around the back, though, there’s a sleek aesthetic I wasn’t expecting (nor were many others, most likely).

As controversial as the last-gen model’s styling was, the general consensus around this one seems to be, “Hey, that actually looks pretty cool”. Toyota calls this shape its “one-motion silhouette” and says it set out to enhance the car’s emotional appeal. Its roofline is two inches lower than the previous model, which always enhances the sleekness factor, and at the rear the 2023 Toyota Prius is an inch wider.

“That’s great, but it’s still slow, isn’t it?”

Styling isn’t the only issue the 2023 Toyota Prius needs to address, however. Performance is another, both in terms of all-around zippiness and efficiency. There’s good news on both fronts there, as this car brings in a larger 2.0-liter engine with a newly developed lithium-ion battery. Yes, the old nickel metal battery pack is gone, and Toyota says this new unit offers up a smaller, lighter package that still offers a 15% boost in output from the previous battery setup. As before, an on-demand AWD system with a rear-mounted electric motor is available.

Overall, the 2023 Toyota Prius produces at least 194 horsepower (up from a miserable 121 hp), with the AWD version managing 196 horsepower. As you’d expect, that improvement has a dramatic effect on 0-60 acceleration. Toyota says the new Prius can make the 0-60 sprint in 7.2 seconds (down from nearly being in double digits, at 9.8 seconds). All-wheel drive models are 0.2 seconds quicker, for 7.0 seconds flat. That’s at least reasonable, but the Prius Prime manages even better figures — more on that below.

The fuel economy is better, too

Of course, folks don’t buy a car like the 2023 Toyota Prius because they want a sports car. While you do get a Sport mode, Toyota also touts this car as the most fuel-efficient Prius to date. In fact, the conventional hybrid model manages 57 Combined mpg in LE FWD trim, which is a decent 5 mpg improvement over the old LE model. According to Toyota’s official statement, LE is the base trim, followed by XLE and Limited. There is no L Eco this time around, at least at launch.

The 2023 Toyota Prius brings a bunch of tech updates (naturally)

Look inside the new version of Toyota’s signature hybrid hatchback, and you’ll still find a sensible-looking interior with a wide array of switchgear. This time around, though, the automaker moved the instrument cluster to a conventional location in front of the driver. With that, you get a 12.3-inch infotainment display, at least as an option on the XLE or standard on the Limited. As standard fare in the LE and XLE, you get an 8-inch touchscreen. The Prius uses the latest version of Toyota’s Audio Multimedia system, as seen in the new Tundra.

Apart from your expected quality-of-life features like USB-C ports, Qi wireless charging, Connected Services (on a 1-year trial, at least), standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, Toyota brought in its latest safety system for the new Prius. Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 includes the full range of driver assistance tech from lane departure alert to full-speed radar cruise control and lane keep assist.

For this generation, the automaker added “Proactive Driving Assist”, which can make subtle changes to braking and steering to support general driving tasks, like maintaining distance from the car in front or braking into curves. An “Emergency Driving Stop System” has also been added to the Lane Tracing Assist. That system monitors driver inputs to determine if they’re unresponsive due to a medical emergency. The car can then bring itself to a stop if the driver does not heed alerts to take control.

Pricing and on-sale date information for the 2023 Toyota Prius are coming later this year.

The Prius Prime brings even more power and all-electric driving range

For the most part, the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime follows its conventional hybrid counterpart in terms of appearance and features. As the sportier model, it adopts the SE -> XSE -> XSE Premium trim walk, and brings more power to boot. This time, the 2.0-liter engine, electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack boost the output to 220 horsepower, or a whopping 99 more than before.

Toyota says the new Prius Prime has more than 50% greater all-electric driving range than the previous generation model. While the automaker did not disclose the exact battery capacity, we assume it will manage somewhere around 37-38 miles on a charge, based on the old car’s 25-mile range estimate.

I never thought I’d use the word “quick” to describe a Prius. However, at least on paper, the Prime puts up a perfectly respectable 6.6 second 0-60 time. It’s no Golf GTI, granted, but that’s still nearly half the time the outgoing car takes to make the same run. Even just merging onto a freeway or making a passing maneuver — again, uncharted waters for a Prius — that extra oomph should make a big difference.

On the tech front, the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime gets a few features the normal hybrid doesn’t, even in its top trim level. That includes “Advanced Park”, a feature which will allow semi-autonomous parallel or perpendicular parking on the XSE Premium. Traffic Jam Assist and Lane Change Assist are a few other additions to the Prime plug-in hybrid model.

Availability and pricing information for the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime will be announced in the first half of next year.