When the current Toyota Prius was announced 7 years ago, it was a huge disappointment. According to reports at the time, none other that Akio Toyoda put his oar into the design process and insisted the car should have vestigial tailfins like those found on Detroit iron from the 50s and 60s. Any readers who own a present generation Prius will probably be annoyed with me for saying so, but the cars are “Ouch, my poor eyes!” ugly. That’s what you get when some amateur who happens to be the grandson of the founder gets personally involved in things he knows nothing about.
The curtain falls and time passes, as they say. Toyota has taken the wraps off the next generation Prius and it is a breath of fresh air — clean, modern styling that attracts rather than repels. Here are a few comments from Car and Driver readers:
- I never thought I’d see the day, but it looks like Toyota is actually going to make a decent looking Prius. Despite keeping the classic Prius shape, the body lines and lighting designs look modern, sleek, and relatively attractive to my eyes.
- Welcome to 2023, where the new Prius looks better than half of BMWs lineup. Wow.
- The Prius looks… good…? I never thought I’d say that. Ever.
There’s more, but you get the point. The new Prius looks good and that’s a beautiful thing. My wife says it still looks like a Prius, but this one is smoother, more sculpted, and easy on the eyes. Previously, people bought a Prius despite the styling. Now they might buy one because of the styling. What a refreshing change.
But Wait — There’s More From Toyota
As good as the car looks, there’s a lot more to like with this next generation Toyota Prius. The current car makes do with a fairly wimpy 123 horsepower powertrain. The new car ditches the old 1.8-liter engine and replaces it with an all new 2.0-liter unit. Maximum power is now 193 horsepower for the home market car. US specs will be announced shortly, but aren’t expected to be significantly different. The Prius Prime plug-in hybrid now has 220 horsepower on tap.
Toyota says the new package is as fuel efficient as the current car, but acceleration now takes a quantum leap forward from around 0 to 60 in around 10 seconds to a more exhilarating 6.7 seconds for the Prius Prime. Whee! According to CNN, the new Prime will have 37.5 miles of electric-only range compared to 25 miles in the current car.
In a press release, the company says,
“The Prius has evolved under the Hybrid Reborn concept into an exhilarating package with stylish designs that users will fall in love with at first sight and captivating driving performance. Toyota’s aim was to create a car that owners will continue to love and drive.
“The new Prius inherits the unique monoform silhouette of the original and employs a wide and low stance with large diameter tires to create stylish designs that appeal to the senses. With the fifth generation hybrid system and second generation TNGA platform, the new Prius delivers comfortable driving performance that makes users want to keep driving.”
Prices were not included in the press release.
Hybrids For All
The Prius hybrid has been very, very good for Toyota. That press release contains some broad hints that the company is still committed to the gasoline engine for the long haul. Here’s more from the press release.
While the Prius has played a leading role in driving hybrid use, the current spread of HEVs through a wide range of models means it has reached a turning point.
The development team decided to start from scratch and look at what the Prius needs to remain popular for the next 25 years. Based on a desire to renew the Prius itself and communicate the appeal of hybrid cars to an even wider audience, the Hybrid Reborn concept was created.
The automotive industry is going through a once-in-a-century transformation, with a range of new next-generation powertrain options being developed. For the Prius HEV to continue as the vehicle of choice for the coming generation, the new Prius needed more than its core strength as an environmentally friendly car. Therefore, it was developed as an exhilarating package with, stylish designs that users will fall in love with at first sight and captivating driving performance.
The next generation Prius is here with great styling, more oomph, and longer range. What’s not to like? Toyota may have just hit this one out of the park.
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