2023 Prius First Look: Toyota’s Original Hybrid Grows Up

Share this via:
2023 Prius Prime in tunnel
The Prius gets a complete redesign for 2023 as Toyota’s first hybrid enters its 26th year.Toyota
  • All New for 2023
  • More Power
  • More Hybrid Efficiency
  • More PHEV Range
  • AWD available

It’s taken five generations – 25 years – but Toyota’s Prius finally looks like a real car. Along with new styling, the 2023 Prius – available later this year as a standard hybrid with the redesigned Prius Prime plug-in hybrid coming later in 2023 – gets big boosts in power, efficiency and, for the Prime, all-electric range.

Pricing isn’t available yet. It will come, along with on-sale dates, later this year for the standard hybrid, sometime in 2023 for the Prime PHEV.

Toyota showed off the U.S. version of its its grown-up firstborn hybrid at a special event this evening, following a global reveal Tuesday of the Asian and European versions and in advance of the Los Angeles auto show’s media preview day, providing a good look on the hatchback hybrid’s new styling but sharing little detail.

Efficiency boost

The Prius, which launched in Japan in 1997 and the U.S. in late 2000, has always sold primarily on its efficiency. For this re-do it also gets much-improved looks, but efficiency hasn’t been neglected.

EPA numbers aren’t out yet and Toyota provided only a few bits of info, but did say that the standard hybrid will have at least one version capable of delivering 57 mpg in combined city and highway driving and that the Prime will deliver at least 38 miles of all-electric range (“more than 50% over” the the 2022 model’s 25-mile rating is the exact wording).

The 57 mpg promise for the front-wheel drive Prius makes it the most efficient “regular” Prius ever. There won’t be a stripped-down “Eco” model for 2023, so the 57 mpg is apparently for the base LE – a trim level rated at 54 mpg for 2022. Other trims have more equipment so will be heavier and likely slightly less efficient.

2023 Prius Ltd on bridge
Ignore the fish-mouth lower grille and the new Prius is quite dashing. Toyota

Power hike

That’s not bad, considering both variants – with and without plug – get significant power improvements for 2023 and efficiency usually declines as power increases.

The 2022 hybrid and Prime versions both were rated at 121 hp , but for 2023 the standard hybrids get 194 hp for front-drive models and 196 for those with all-wheel drive. The Prime, available only with front-wheel drive, will come in at a hefty 220 hp, an 82% increase.

The fifth-generation Prius’ inline four-cylinder gas engine has been bumped up to 2 liters from the fourth-generation’s 1.8 liters, and on the electric side it gets a more powerful traction motor and battery – bigger and more powerful in the Prime than in the standard hybrid.

AWD versions of the conventional hybrid get a separate electric motor driving the rear axle. It’s electronically “connected” to the front mounted gas-electric system and operates as an on-demand system, delivering power to the rear wheels when the Prius’ computer decides more traction is needed.

Toyota says the standard front-drive system gives the Prius a 0-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds – a 26% improvement over the ’22 model’s 9.8 seconds. The AWD versions’ greater traction and launch power cuts that to 7.0 seconds. The front-drive only Prime’s beefier hybrid system can deliver a 6.6-second 0-60 sprint. Suffice it to say that while still no race car, the Prius will, finally, be able to get out of its own way.


Each variant of the Prius will be available in three trim levels.

The conventional hybrid starts with the LE – 17-inch wheels, steel roof, 8-inch infotainment screen – then graduates to the XLE, which adds 19-inch wheels, faux leather (SofTex) upholstery, wireless smartphone charging and a few other goodies plus the xtra-cost option of a 12.3-inch infotainment screen and/or a glass roof. The top-of-the-line Limited trim gets the 12.3-inch screen and glass roof as standard equipment, along with an 8-speaker JBL audio system, power lift for the hatch and heated and ventilated front seats, among other things.

The Prius Prime also has three trim levels and to make things fund they aren’t the same as for the conventional hybrid. The base trim is the Prime SE, which is equipped about the same as the LE. Mid-grade for the Prime is the XSE – same as the hybrid XLE including the optional glass roof and 12.3-inch screen – followed by the XSE Premium, equipped like the conventional Prius Limited but with an optional solar roof – it provides some charging power for the battery and helps reduce battery drain while the car’s running by powering accessories such as the air conditioning system.

2023 Prius Ltd profile
A nipped-in waist, fastback roofline, smooth sheet metal and hidden rear door handles (they are in the C pillar) help give the 2023 Prius a thoroughly modern look. Toyota


Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and a picture really can be worth a lot of words, so we’re providing as many photos as Toyota provided in advance of the preview event so readers can make up their own minds.

For those who care for TheGreenCarGuy’s perspective, though: The 2023 Prius finally looks like a real car and is far more stylish than past models – especially from the rear, which now looks as though it was designed to be part of the car, not stuck on as an afterthought and probably designed by someone who wasn’t in the same room as the other designers.

More TK

We’ll be able to provide more details about equipage, performance and size (we do know now that the new body is 2 inches lower and an inch wider than the ’22 model) after we get behind the wheel later this year.

Meantime, enjoy the 2023 Prius first look photos.

1 thought on “2023 Prius First Look: Toyota’s Original Hybrid Grows Up”

Comments are closed.