There are so many technology upgrades and it’s a beauty to boot! Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Nov. 16, 2022 2023 Toyota Prius Los Angeles, CA -- With global and local Prius sales having seen their best days when the second gen was released back in late 2003, early 2004, the Prius’ obituary has been written more than once by well-known pundits and EV enthusiasts worldwide. US Prius sales of 19,539 through Q3 2022 were down 31.8% below the 28,361 sold through Q3 of 2021. US Prius Prime sales of 7,469 through Q3 2022 were down 66.7% below the 22,407 sold through Q3 of 2021. With the loss of the $4,509 Fed tax credit this fall, the Prime sales decline was almost a forgone conclusion. Although sales have faltered over the years, the underpinning hybrid technology has made its way into almost every product Toyota makes with huge success. Toyota is after all the number one automaker in the world and the Hybrid technology the Prius provided drives over 20-million vehicles that tens of millions of us in compacts to pickup trucks to and from wherever and to wherever each day. This fuel saving technology and the platforms that use it are not going to disappear anytime soon no matter how hard the push for pure electric is. That said, Toyota is not about to give up on this world changing nameplate and for 2023, the all-new 5th gen brings to the table some attributes that most would have never thought possible from the premiere fuel saver in the world. 2023 Toyota Prius The thin lamp line and grille opening is modern and sleek as hell. The profile is not much more than a wing if it were attached to a fighter jet. Which means a Cd of ~ 0.22 and with a smaller frontal area – 1” wider but 2” shorter, reducing overall total drag by maybe 15 percent below that of the current 4th gen Prius (0.24) and Prius Prime (0.25)? Even with the new larger 17” alloys tucked even deeper into the wheel wells, the extremely well equipped – more on that down the story, the FWD Prius LE is targeting a 57-mpg combined rating, 1 more mpg than the 4th gen LE Eco which is essentially a stripper, and few bothered to purchase. And it gets even more interesting… How about 196 HP driving the once diminutive Prius to 60 in just 7.2 seconds! This is down from high-9s in the current 4th gen. That is not rocket ship level compared to the AWD electrics but if you can do the 0 to 60 dance in 7-seconds, what the hell do you have to complain about? The price and on-sale date will be announced later this year. Fingers crossed on this one as the refreshed 23 Corolla experienced an honest to goodness price reduction despite including more std. safety and technology than at any time in its history. 2023 Toyota Prius Trims Available in LE, XLE and Limited trims, the 2023 Prius is built on a new second-generation TNGA-C platform, offering a lower center of gravity, lighter weight, and an even stiffer structure. If you have ever driven a 3rd gen to a 4th gen back-to-back – my sons 2013 Prius PHEV vs. my 2021 Prius Prime, the stability, cornering confidence, and just general driving comfort increased mightily. I expect an even better driving experience from the 2023 when it reaches US showrooms later this year. The trim breakout looks like this. 2023 Toyota Prius LE includes: 17” alloys with covers 8” central infotainment display 6 USB-C ports Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) <-- This beats the hell out of that EPB pedal in all of our Prius’ currently. SofTex leather wrapped wheel Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) LE Options Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking (PA w/AB) 2023 Toyota Prius XLE adds: 19” alloys Auto Dimming Rear-View w/ Home Link Two additional cup holders in back Driver and front passenger heated seats 8-way power driver’s seat SofTex seats Rain sensing wipers Smart Key <-- Not on the LE??? Qi wireless charger Direct light illumination Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking (PA w/AB) XLE Options 12.3” central infotainment display Fixed glass roof Digital Key Yeah, one of those too! 2023 Toyota Prius Limited adds: 12.3” central infotainment display JBL Premium Audio System with 8 speakers Fixed glass roof Heated wheel Driver and front passenger heated and ventilated Seats 8-way power driver’s seat with driver memory Digital Key Power hatch Limited Options Advanced Park Digital Rearview Mirror <-- Be careful with these. They give me instant nausea. Heated rear seats Panoramic View Monitor Notice the new instrument cluster “IN FRONT OF THE DRIVER” About those aerodynamics… The 5th gen Prius’ roofline is 2-inches lower than the current 4th gen. Ingress and egress is going to take a hit and especially into and out of the rear seats. A larger measure comes to the width which is almost 1” wider. I hope that it provides more shoulder and hip room to compensate. If we are allowed to sit in it tonight, I will let you know. About driver and passenger seating comfort… That lower roof height requires a lower seating hip point. Toyota dropped that metric by an inch. I am not sure this is good or bad so we will have to wait. Toyota lowered the Li-Ion battery placement under the rear seats for an even lower center of gravity. And with a smaller or better placed traction battery, Toyota states there is more total volume. The 1” longer length will surely help that spec too. The larger std. 17 and optional 19’s on the XLE and Limited trims do indeed look sharp as they fill those wells with alloy vs rubber. They will surely improve road holding capability at the limits as well. The downside is a higher expense at replacement time and possibly a harsher ride on rougher roads. This observation remains to be seen until we get out hands on one next month. 2023 Toyota Prius Drivetrain An enhanced 5th gen hybrid system provides both an efficiency increase and a huge jump in power. To begin, a heavily atkinsonized 2.0L replaces the 4th gens 1.8L. A new more powerful Li-Ion battery supplies the electrons while helping to keep the weight down. The available AWD system uses a single small motor out back just like the 4th gen AWD which improves traction on slick surfaces. It also ups performance a tad with 196 HP propelling it to 60 in just 7 seconds. Like Prius’ from the past, the 5th gen includes NORMAL, ECO and SPORT drive modes. I will try and get more detail on what they did to that engine to make it do what it does. Afterall, the 2.0L in the non-hybrid Corolla is not all that impressive but, in the Prius, it is! 2023 Toyota Prius Infotainment This is a huge upgrade… The head unit powering the 8” and 12.3” displays was designed and engineered by Toyota’s Texas-based Connected Technologies team. Our experience with this system in the bZ4X, Sequoia, Crown, RX and Corolla has shown it to be a solid wireless AA and ACP edition. This is an area where Toyota/Lexus was two generations behind competitors like Hyundai/Kia. That delta no longer exists and from my experience, Toyota nailed it with no BS like the high end fully electrics from the likes of both Tesla and Lucid. 1/2 to 1/4 the price and a more useable and user-friendly infotainment system that simply works. Just think about that. The new Multimedia system provides dual Bluetooth phone connectivity and an AT&T 4G Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices. Use your phone once the trail runs out as it more configurable, reliable, and less costly. HD Radio digital radio, USB data and a SiriusXM w/ a 3-month trial are also standard. A JBL Premium Audio system with 8-speakers is standard on the Limited but like most JBL systems, I am not expecting much from it. Yet. And just like the bZ4X, the 5th gen Prius includes some Over-the-Air (OTA) upgrade capability. What is upgradeable and what is not has yet to be disseminated. The std. Safety Connect includes an Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), 24/7 Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Locator and Collision Assistance with up to a 10-year trial. Service Connect provides drivers the ability to receive Vehicle Health Reports, Maintenance Alerts and reminders, also with up to a 10-year trial. With the Toyota app, LE trim buyers can order and XLE/Limited includes a 1-year trial of Remote Connect. With it, owners can activate headlights, lock/unlock the doors and remotely start the vehicle. Users can also check vehicle status, receive reminder notifications and set Guest Driver Alerts. Digital key is also available with Remote Connect for the XLE and Limited Grades – making it easy to lock and unlock doors, remote start from your smartphone. 2023 Toyota Prius Safety This is where the improvements are so useful! Having driven many Toyota vehicles with TSS 3.0, the 23 Prius will be a pleasant surprise vs the hodge podge of safety equipment we had and did not have in our 4th gen Prius’ and especially over the third gen. Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) is finally standard on all trims, not just later years or a Limited only for example. Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking is optional on all trims. A Panoramic View Monitor is available on Limited while Advanced parallel and back in Park system is available on Limited. TSS 3.0 adds to or improves upon the current 4th gen’s TSS 2.0 with the following: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection <-- Improved Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist <-- Improved Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control Lane Tracing Assist <-- Improved Road Sign Assist <-- Improved Auto High Beams Proactive Driving Assist <-- New Proactive Driving Assist uses the vehicle’s camera and radar to provide gentle braking into curves and/or gentle braking and/or steering to help support driving tasks such as distance control between a preceding vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist. The Toyota Safety Sense improvements include: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection improves intersection support with the ability to detect motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist can now detect 3D objects like guardrails Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control adds a fourth following distance setting and can now detect more than one preceding vehicle and those in adjacent lanes Lane Tracing Assist now provides more space between vehicles being passed in adjacent lanes Inattentive Emergency Driving Stop Shas been added to Lane Tracing Assist Road Sign Assist now detects and displays intersection and warning signs Early Conclusions With its more dynamic profile and upgrade in acceleration performance to match, this may change the minds of some of those thinking the Prius was never for them. Again, 0 to 60 in 7-seconds only gets you into an accident 3 seconds quicker than WOT in the current 4th gen. I am just happy to hear that the LE and possibly the XLE will be more efficient than the LE Eco that is the current world leader. The more std. interior with an actual driver display in front of the driver should take away the stigma of weirdness for difference’s sake. Did you notice there is no split rear window now too? Only the 4th gen Prius Prime had a good rear sightline. Let us see how the all-new 5th gen performs in that regard. An infotainment that works is not just a godsend for anyone that has owned and driven Toyota’s within the past 10-years, it is an essential tool to make navigation, taking calls, and voicing in and receiving texts safer. With this new system including wireless AA and ACP, Toyota has caught up and even surpassed many competitors. And the safety functionality. From the 3rd gens basic systems to the 4th gens TSS 2.0 on later year offerings was the beginning of Toyota’s advanced safety assist push. The all-new TSS 3.0 in every Toyota I have driven to date is good and its inclusion in the 5th gen just makes the 2023 Prius a better vehicle from a safety perspective. Let us hope the price does not get to far out of hand as I like this one. After tonight’s static reveal, we are heading to the Short lead in Del Mar early next month. That is when we will place that drivetrain’s promise to the test. And I cannot wait. 2023 Toyota Prius Prime Now that is a beautiful rear end. And the 2023 Prius Prime? I will writeup a separate post on that one. As a preview, how about a 50% increase in all-electric range, possibly a 6.6 KW onboard charger, a 0 to 60 time of just 6.6 seconds, and a solar roof that provides upwards of 500+ miles of range per year over a non-solar roof equipped Prime. It will not be available until possibly next spring but "Oh yeah!"