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A Comprehensive Review of the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime: An Exceptional Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle

Image Source: The Global Guy / Shutterstock

The Toyota Prius has been in the market since 1997, but its image as a “trendy” car has been challenging to achieve until now. Toyota has now emphasized aesthetics over functionality, and the 2023 Prius exemplifies this transition, discarding its previous uncool appearance and evolving into a vehicle that you’ll take pride in driving. The 2023 Prius Prime plug-in hybrid elevates the Prius to a higher standard.

The 2023 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid enhances the standard Prius with an enlarged lithium-ion battery and modifications under the hood that increase its electric range to an impressive 44 miles. This marks a significant 76 percent rise compared to the previous Prius Prime, positioning it as an appealing option for buyers searching for an extended electric driving range without committing to a fully electric car.

Beneath the hood, the Prius Prime showcases enhanced power, now propelled by a 150 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a larger 161 hp electric motor generator. The hybrid system delivers a collective 220 horsepower, which is 100 more than the previous model, with an augmented torque rating of 139 lb-ft against the previous 105 lb-ft. This leads to a rapid 0-60 mph acceleration time of just 6.6 seconds, a noticeable advancement in speed for the Prius Prime.

In pure electric mode, the Prius Prime reaches a maximum speed of 84 mph, with the top XSE and XSE Premium trims offering a slightly reduced 39-mile EV range. Nevertheless, this represents a significant enhancement over the earlier Prius Prime, which had a mere 25-mile EV range. While the acceleration in electric mode may not be as substantial, the Prius Prime truly shines when both motors are in use.

The HV/EV Auto mode automatically triggers the engine when additional power is required, such as when driving uphill. Once the battery is drained, the Prius Prime smoothly transitions into a hybrid model, resembling the standard Prius but with added power. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime attains an outstanding 52 mpg combined.

Charging the Prius Prime using a 120-volt outlet requires 11 hours for a full recharge, whereas a 240-volt charger decreases the time to four hours. The top XSE Premium trim provides an optional 185W solar roof, capable of delivering a minor charge to the battery when parked under the sun, supporting auxiliary functions during journeys.

On the road, the Prius Prime furnishes a delightful driving experience, promptly accelerating from a standstill. However, its light steering lacks substantial responsiveness. The finely tuned suspension strikes a balance between comfort and minimal body roll, contributing to an enjoyable-to-drive plug-in hybrid, particularly in urban environments. The Prius Prime offers three driving modes: Normal, Eco, and Sport.

Externally, the Prius Prime retains a close semblance to the regular Prius, primarily distinguished by the Prime emblem at the rear and its distinctive 17- or 19-inch wheels. Internally, the dashboard and seats are accented with red highlights, enhancing the interior’s elegance. The SE features standard fabric seats, while the XSE and XSE Premium boast SofTex leatherette seats.

Safety features include the new Traffic Jam Assist system, enabling hands-free driving on highways at speeds below 25 mph. The system manages steering, braking, and acceleration, delivering a more relaxed driving experience in traffic, with a driver monitor camera ensuring attentiveness to the road. The Proactive Driving Assist system employs the vehicle’s camera and radar system to offer braking or steering assistance during curves or to uphold a safe following distance.

The base SE trim level is equipped with dark grey 17-inch alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen, fabric seats, rain-sensing wipers, and blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert. Front and rear parking assist with automatic braking can be added as a $35 option on the base model.

The XSE trim introduces 19-inch alloy wheels, a heated driver’s seat, a digital key, SofTex seats, and a wireless charger. Optional enhancements for the XSE include a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen ($735) and a panoramic glass roof ($1,000). The top-tier XSE Premium incorporates a JBL audio system, the 12.3-inch touchscreen, a panoramic glass roof, heated and ventilated front seats, a power liftback, and the digital key. Further options for the XSE Premium comprise the solar roof ($610), a digital rearview mirror ($200), heated rear seats ($350), and the Advanced Technology Package Park and Panoramic View Monitor ($1,085).

The 2023 Toyota Prius Prime SE commences at $33,445, inclusive of destination charges. The XSE Premium initiates at $40,265, and the XSE is priced at $36,695.

With its expanded electric driving range, enhanced power, and its more attractive exterior, the 2023 Prius Prime is poised to reshape perspectives of the Prius, establishing itself as a compelling option for individuals seeking a fusion of efficiency and style. Our admiration for the Prius Prime was so substantial that we introduced a 2024 Toyota Prius Prime to our long-term fleet.

Image Source: The Global Guy / Shutterstock

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