- The 2023 Toyota Prius isn’t prettier than its predecessor; Its straight line performance is also quite good.
- The new front-wheel-drive Prius we tested hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, making it 3.4 seconds faster than its older equivalent.
- The Prius’ improved acceleration comes with an advanced hybrid powertrain that produces much more horsepower.
welcome Car and DriverIts testing hub, where we zoom in on test numbers We’ve been pushing vehicles to their limits since 1956 to provide objective data to bolster our subjective impressions (you can see how we test here). A more comprehensive review of the 2023 Toyota Prius can be found here.
In what world is a hybrid’s straight-line performance important? welcome Car and Driver! Thanks for stopping by. For those who haven’t heard, the new fifth-generation Toyota Prius is preparing to hit the roads, and we’ve already subjected it to our signature series of track tests. The results speak volumes: Toyota’s proverbial hybrid is not only much nicer, it’s also much faster. The 2023 Prius hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds—a significant 3.4 ticks from its predecessor, which took 10.5 seconds to hit the mark.
Prius Palate Cleanser
Before we compare the rest of the new Prius’ test numbers to the old ones, let’s reset the deck. The 2023 Toyota Prius kickstarts a new generation with a makeover that most people with two working eyes would call attractive and drop-dead gorgeous at worst. (The latter probably applies to one or more previous generation owners). While the hybrid hatchback’s visual shift from dark to sexy is a hot topic of discussion, here car and driver, We want to offset subjective musing with objective testing.
Underneath the Prius’ hot new body is an advanced hybrid powertrain. Like the outgoing versions, the incoming versions are still available with front- or all-wheel drive. In addition to switching from a nickel-metal-hydride battery to a lithium-ion pack, the Prius’ gas-fed engine moves from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder to a larger 2.0-liter four-pot.
An increase in engine displacement, along with a more powerful permanent-magnet synchronous traction motor, also brought a big bump in horsepower, with output rising from 121 total horses to 194 to 196 combined ponies for the front and all wheels. -drive model, respectively. There’s also a new plug-in-hybrid Prius Prime that’s headlined with 220 horsepower (also up from 121 hp), but we haven’t had a chance to test one yet.
The fastest Prius we’ve ever tested (so far)
The only 2023 Prius we strapped into our test gear was a top-spec Limited trim with front-wheel drive. For comparison’s sake, that setup most closely matches the 2017 Prius Three (same front-drive configuration) that we tested several years ago.
Despite the addition of some increased dimensions and upgraded equipment, the new Prius isn’t much heavier than before. The 2023 example tipped our scales at 3199 pounds, a reasonable 86 pounds more than the 3113-pound 2017 version. The new Prius still carries about 60 percent of its curb weight up front.
As we previously revealed, the new Prius hits 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. When taken out of context, this is an extraordinary time. However, compared to the 10.5 ticks the old Prius needed to reach the mile-per-minute mark, that 3.4-second improvement is cause for celebration—at least among people who cheer the joy of driving.
The new Prius proved remarkably quick in our other acceleration tests. Its quarter-mile time dropped by more than two seconds, from 17.8 seconds at 79 mph to 15.5 seconds at 92 mph. The 2023 model should also alleviate any lingering anxiety when driving passes on the highway, as the hybrid now accelerates from 50 to 70 mph in 5 seconds flat (2.1 seconds faster than before).
On the rare occasion a new Prius driver wants to find speed in triple-digit territory, it’s remarkable how quickly they can do it. We hit 100 mph in 18.8 seconds. That’s an incredible 11.7 seconds faster than its predecessor, which took 30.5 ticks. The old car also takes 43.2 seconds to reach 110 mph; The new one did the job in 24.4 seconds.
More Prius tests to come
The last all-wheel-drive Prius we tested was three-tenths slower to 60 mph (10.8 seconds) than its front-drive counterpart, suggesting the new all-wheel-drive version might not be faster. Then again, the rear-mounted electric motor in the new AWD Prius switches from an induction unit to a permanent-magnet synchronous setup, good for 40 horses versus the previous 7 ponies. Still, we’ll have to wait until we do an experiment to find out. The same goes for the new Prius Prime. The outgoing example we tested took 10.3 seconds to hit 60 mph.
For now, the new front-drive 2023 Prius is the fastest Prius we’ve tested. Only time will tell if the hybrid’s newfound speed will require sacrifices at the fuel pump. Toyota claims the new Prius is more efficient than the last, targeting an EPA-rated 57 mpg combined versus the previous high of 56 mpg combined. However, we’ll see if our real-world fuel-economy tests say otherwise. Stay tuned.
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