Car Review: 2023 Toyota Prius Prime (2023)

The Toyota Prius Prime is the way of the future

Author of the article:

Clayton Seams

Published Aug 16, 2023Last updated 6days ago4 minute read

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The future is electric. At least that’s what our political leaders seem to believe. Politicians love to push EVs as the future of personal mobility because they get to kick up their heels and not worry about building high-speed-rail, or pedestrian-friendly cities. EVs take up the same space as a gas car, whether it’s on a road or in a parking spot, and they get stuck in the same traffic jams, as well as cause the pedestrian safety issues in downtown centres. But! They’reelectric, so it’s better.

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(Video) The 2023 Toyota Prius Prime Is The Ultimate Plug-In Hybrid For The EV Resistant Buyer

Toyota is one of a handful of manufacturers left that seems to think differently on the subject. And the new 2023 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV) may be the best ambassador for why EVs shouldn’t be the future — of cars.

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The Prius Prime is not all-electric

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  1. 2023 Toyota Prius Prime MSRP

It uses a 160-hp 2.0L gasoline engine in conjunction with two electric motors to produce a total system output of 220 hp. Those are big numbers for a Prius and it means this gas-sipper can nip to 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds. That’s V6 Mustang performance from just a couple of years ago. The previous generation set new standards for how ugly a vehicle could possibly be. But the new 2023 model is nothing short of a looker, especially in some of the bolder available paint colours. The new Prius looks trim and sporty like it never has before.

It also drives like no other Prius before. Hustling the Prius through turns, it conjures words like nimble, fun, and other adjectives never before associated with the Prius. The ride is supple and the attitude in cornering is neutral. It’s a wonderful car to drive.

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(Video) 2023 Toyota Prius Prime Review

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Interior features in the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime

Inside, things are still pretty Prius-y with the stand out feature being the gauge “cluster” that stands proud of the steering wheel. Despite not having a shade, glare never impeded its use and looking above the wheel for info rather than through it seems like such an obvious improvement that I wondered why it hasn’t been attempted like this before. The seats have attractive red accents on them and are comfortable on long journeys.

Toyota Prius Prime’s fuel economy and range

I drove the Prius on a 320 km trip to Port Colbourne and back and the fuel economy results were impressive. I started the trip in Toronto with a full charge, but the full EV experience lasted only about 50 km at highway speeds. I tracked my mileage on the return leg and even with an empty battery, the Prius Prime averaged an impressive 4.1 L/100 km across nearly four hours of driving.

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Car Review: 2023 Toyota Prius Prime (17)

Charging the Toyota Prius Prime

And this brings me to my larger point about why the Prius Prime, and PHEVs in general, are better than EVs. During the week I had the Prius Prime, I used it to get groceries, go to the gym, and scoot me to the various shoots I do for Driving. The average Canadian commute is just 8.7 km and thus I spent the entire week on battery power only, re-charging from my humble 110V wall socket at home overnight.

During the week, the Priuswas an EV. And then for the weekend on a longer trip, there was no range anxiety or need to map out charging stations. The Prius simply becomes an incredibly efficient gasoline powered vehicle. Basically, it’s an electric vehicle for five days of the week and a gas car with limitless range on the weekends.

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We also need to talk about the expensive spicy goo that goes inside a battery to make it zappy. The Prius Prime has a humble 13.6 kWh battery. It weighs about 265 pounds (120 kg). Conversely, Toyota’s own (terribly named) bZ4x has a 72.8 kWh battery. That means with the same amount of lithium and other rare earth minerals, you could make one bZ4x or 5.3 Prius Primes. To take this to the extreme, the recently announced but not yet on-sale Ram EV has one of the biggest battery packs around. Its monster-sized 229 kWh battery pack weighs 1,318 kg by itself! If you were to chop that battery into Prius-Prime-sized chunks you could power a fleet of nearly 17 Prii!

Because rare earth minerals are well… rare, I think there is a much stronger case for PHEV adoption over EVs. To be frank, the most efficient EV is a train that runs on rails and is powered by overhead lines. But short of that, I think PHEVs like the Prius Prime make the strongest case for the car of the future. The future is here, now.

(Video) Toyota Prius Prime 2nd take review // Prius or Prius Prime?

Car Review: 2023 Toyota Prius Prime (19)

Clayton Seams

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  1. (Video) How FAR can the New 2023 Toyota Prius Prime go on a Single Charge?? // Real-World EV Range Test!
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(Video) HUGE Upgrade: 2023 Toyota Prius Prime Interior & Tech Review


Car Review: 2023 Toyota Prius Prime? ›

Overall the 2023 Prius Prime drives pretty much like a regular car in electric mode. That's admirable. But it made the transition to engine-hybrid power more jarring after the 30-plus miles we covered solely on battery power. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime is comfortably quiet puttering around town.

What's the difference between the 2023 Prius in the 2023 Prius Prime? ›

The powertrain is, of course, the most notable difference between the two. The Prius is a standard hybrid with a four-cylinder gas engine that gets a fuel economy boost from electrification. On the other hand, the Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid that travels up to 44 miles using just electric power.

How long to wait for a 2023 Prius? ›

The waitlist in most areas for the standard 2023 Prius after its remarkable fifth-generation remake can be as much as 12 months—and Toyota's U.S. dealers are getting more than twice as many standard hybrid Priuses as Primes this year.

How far can a 2023 Prius Prime go on battery only? ›

According to EPA estimates, the Prius Prime offers up to 44 miles of electric range on its base SE trim, while bigger-tired XSE and XSE Touring models offer 39 miles. (Our tester was an XSE.)

How many miles does the 2023 Prius Prime get? ›

Range, Charging, and Battery Life

A new lithium-ion battery pack gives the Prius Prime more electric driving range from its outgoing 25 miles of EPA-rated range to as much as 44 miles.


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