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2023 Toyota Prius Review: Your Essential Guide

2023 Toyota Prius | Photo: Auto123
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Khatir Soltani
Here's what you need to know about the 2023 Toyota Prius AWD

•    Auto123 reviews the 2023 Toyota Prius. Here's what you need to know.

Toyota has just introduced the latest edition of its hybrid model. By consensus, the 2023 Toyota Prius is light years ahead of its predecessor. What was homely has become fetching. In fact, side by side, there's no resemblance between these two models. 

We spent a week behind the wheel of this new model, and here are the differences we found, beyond appearance. 

Red 2023 Toyota Prius
Red 2023 Toyota Prius | Photo: Auto123

2023 Toyota Prius: What's new?

The 2023 model is brand-new. We're not just talking about a styling and design revision, but a complete overhaul. 

See also: 2023 Toyota Prius First Drive: The Car That Democratized Electrification Gets a Beauty Makeover
See also: 2023 Toyota Prius Prime First Drive: From Ugly Duckling to Swan

Design of the 2023 Toyota Prius: 9/10

From the outside, you'd think the Prius had become a sports car. The front fascia is radically different from that of the previous version. The front end is much more streamlined, with sharp C-shaped LED headlights leading the way. The previous version had a much busier, fussy front end. 

At the rear, there's a slight resemblance, but even there, the new version is much prettier. The clean lines are reflected in the design of the headlamps. The light signature features a band running the length of the vehicle. 

The new 2023 Toyota Prius
The new 2023 Toyota Prius | Photo: Auto123

In profile, the differences continue. This 2023 Prius is much more streamlined. The shape is more aerodynamic, with a slanted windshield that extends to the middle of the car. The more rounded roofline ends with the same pronounced slope as the previous generation. 

Another major difference is in the rear doors. The vertical handles are now integrated into the door frame, giving the impression of a coupé. 

Last but not least, the wheel arches are much more imposing so they can cover the bigger wheels, which are – yes – also much prettier than those of the previous generation.

Interior of 2023 Toyota Prius
Interior of 2023 Toyota Prius | Photo: Toyota

Interior of the 2023 Toyota Prius: 7/10

The interior of the new Prius is just as radically transformed in comparison with its predecessor. 

The instrument cluster is now recessed behind the steering wheel. The multimedia system is accessed via a larger screen, and there are physical buttons to control the climate system. All in all, while all is not perfect, the revisions made to the cabin do create a more modern and dynamic environment.

In what way not perfect? Well, the interior is narrower than that of the previous version, and the positioning of the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel is problematic. Depending on your height and the position of the steering wheel, you won't see all the information displayed. For our part, we had to lower the steering wheel (more than was ideal) in order to see all the information on the screen. 

What's more, access to the front seats requires a bit of contortioning. The same applies to the rear. Even if there's a little more legroom, the head is harder to fit in. Indeed, the figures bear us out: there's 36.4 inches (92.5 cm) of clearance in this new Prius, compared with 37.4 (95 cm) in the old one. The same shrinkage applies to the trunk, where we find 575 litres of cargo space versus 697 litres in the previous version. 

That fetching new silhouette means the new Prius isn’t great for visibility. The side pillar is bulky, and every time you turn a corner you have to crane your neck to see in the blind spot. The rear window is very small. Fortunately, the Limited version comes with a camera-equipped rearview mirror. 

In short, while the interior of the Prius is comfortable enough, it’s not a particularly spacious cabin; we won't be seeing cab drivers throwing themselves at the model like in the past.

Glimpse of 2023 Toyota Prius
Glimpse of 2023 Toyota Prius | Photo: Auto123

Safety and technology in the 2023 Toyota Prius: 8.5/10

The new Prius is clearly more modern than its predecessor, a Gen Z compared to a Boomer. The layout of controls on the steering wheel, gearshift lever and seating position are more reminiscent of a sports car than a traditional hybrid. Technology is also extremely present. 

We can't ignore (that's the point, after all) the slim light bar integrated into the lower part of the dashboard, which not only adds a colourful touch, but has a practical purpose: to let the distracted driver know that the car in front has moved on.

Design of Toyota Prius 2023
Design of Toyota Prius 2023 | Photo: Auto123

The 2023 Prius comes with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS 3.0). This package of safety and driving assistance systems includes:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • An emergency stop function that can bring the car to a safe stop if the driver becomes unresponsive. 
  • Road sign recognition, capable of displaying stop signs or dangerous bends on the dashboard. 

The latter system works well, although it still can't read everything every time. 

TSS 3.0 uses a more advanced camera and radar that can detect objects at a greater distance and in difficult weather conditions. When driving, it can start to slow down the vehicle if the one in front of you is stopped or slowing down. We liked this feature.

Exterior design of 2023 Toyota Prius
Exterior design of 2023 Toyota Prius | Photo: Auto123

Driving the 2023 Toyota Prius: 8/10

The other major element of the model’s big transformation can be found under the hood. The engine used (a 2.0L 4-cylinder) increases power from 121 to 194 hp for this new generation, and torque climbs from 105 to 139 lb-ft. In both cases, this is an enormous progression; the difference in power is immediately apparent. 

We're still not talking about a speed demon here, but the new-generation Prius is less allergic to hard acceleration. Yes, driving and power management with the new powertrain are perfectly acceptable.

The other major factor is fuel consumption. Although engine power has increased by 62 percent, fuel consumption has been maintained at 4.1L/100 km in the city and 4.2L/100 km on the highway, compared with 4.0 city and 4.4 highway for the old version. 

For our part, we achieved a fuel consumption of 5.4L/100 km during our test week, in late-winter conditions where temperatures oscillated between 2 and 10 degrees. Most of our travels were in suburban driving conditions. 

Behind the wheel, we really enjoyed the experience offered by this car. Compared to the old version, the ride is firmer, quieter and much more comfortable. All-wheel drive is now standard on the only two versions offered in Canada.

The rear of Toyota Prius 2023
The rear of Toyota Prius 2023 | Photo: Auto123

The final word
Toyota Priuses are everywhere. The unglamorous looks of the old models didn't put off buyers who were primarily interested in fuel economy. And for good reason, as it was a champion in that discipline.
The new Prius is just as frugal, plus it’s now much prettier. Yes, that’s subjective and all that, but our red car turned a lot of heads during our week of testing.

If there’s a fly in the ointment for the new Prius, it may be the presence of a model right next to it in the lineup. The Prius Prime plug-in model is priced at $41,279, but it’s eligible for government EV incentives; for Quebecers, for example, that’s a cool $7,500 off the price, which brings the price down to $33,779. It's hard then to justify going for a non-plug-in Prius at $39,524, unless you’re really bent on having on all-wheel drive.

Strong points
Exterior design
Interior finish
Fuel consumption
All-wheel drive

Weak points
A little low to the ground
Space on board
The REVs can climb

Logo of 2023 Toyota Prius
Logo of 2023 Toyota Prius | Photo: Auto123

Here are a few of your questions about the 2023 Toyota Prius:

What are the differences between the Prius and the Prius Prime?
The two cars are very similar. You can recognize the Prius Prime by its second charging hatch. Otherwise, if we compare a few key elements of the two models, here are our preferences:

Fuel consumption: Prius Prime
Power: Prius Prime
AWD: Prius

Competitors of the 2023 Toyota Prius

  • Hyundai Elantra hybrid
  • Kia Niro hybrid
  • Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid
  • Toyota Corolla hybrid
  • Toyota Prius Prime

Specifications sheet of 2023 Toyota Prius XLE

Specifications sheet of 2023 Toyota Prius Limited

Rear view of 2023 Toyota Prius
Rear view of 2023 Toyota Prius | Photo: Auto123
Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada