The Toyota Prius is the pioneer of hybrid cars, having debuted in 1997 and sold over 15 million units worldwide. But the automotive landscape has changed a lot since then, with more and more competitors offering hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles that challenge the Prius’ dominance in the green car segment. To stay ahead of the curve, Toyota has given the Prius a major makeover for 2023, introducing a new design, a new engine, and a new plug-in hybrid variant.
The 2023 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid promises to deliver the best of both worlds: the fuel efficiency and environmental benefits of an electric car with the range and convenience of a gas-powered car. But how does it compare to other options on the market? Here are some pros and cons of the new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
- Electric range: The 2023 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid has a larger lithium-ion battery pack than the previous model, which allows it to travel up to 44 miles on electricity alone. This is more than double the electric range of the previous Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, which could only go 25 miles on a charge. It is also more than most other plug-in hybrids in its class, such as the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid (29 miles), the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid (26 miles), and the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (47 miles). This means you can drive the Prius Plug-in Hybrid for most of your daily trips without using gas, saving money and reducing emissions.
- Fuel economy: When the battery runs out or when you need more power, the new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid switches to hybrid mode, using a combination of gas and electricity to propel the car. According to Toyota, the plug-in hybrid can achieve an EPA-estimated 94 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) when using both gas and electricity and 52 mpg when operating as a conventional hybrid. These impressive numbers make the Prius Plug-in Hybrid one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road. For comparison, the regular Prius hybrid gets up to 57 mpg combined, while the average compact car gets around 30 mpg combined.
- Performance: The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is efficient and powerful. It uses a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that produces a combined 220 horsepower. This is a significant increase from the previous Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, which had only 121 horsepower. It is also more than the regular Prius hybrid, which has 194 horsepower. The extra power makes the Prius Plug-in Hybrid quicker and more responsive than before. It can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds, which is faster than many other plug-in hybrids and even some electric cars.
- Features: The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid has many features that make it comfortable and convenient to drive. It has a different grille design, LED headlights and taillights, and exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels that give it a distinctive look. It offers a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, wireless charging, and a head-up display. It also comes with a suite of advanced safety and driver-assist technologies, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic emergency braking.
- Price: The 2023 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is costly. It starts at $32,350 for the base LE trim level and goes up to $39,170 for the top-of-the-line XSE Premium trim level. This is significantly more expensive than the regular Prius hybrid, which starts at $27,450. It is also more expensive than some other plug-in hybrids in its class, such as the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid (starting at $27,700), the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid (starting at $30,765), and the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (starting at $34,355). While you may be able to recoup some of the cost difference through fuel savings and tax credits or incentives depending on where you live, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is still a pricey proposition for many buyers.
- Cargo space: The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid has less cargo space than the regular Prius hybrid due to its larger battery pack. The plug-in hybrid offers 20.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats compared to 24.6 cubic feet in the regular Prius. This may seem like a small difference, but it could make a difference if you need to carry bulky items or luggage. The plug-in hybrid also has less cargo space than some of its rivals, such as the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid (23 cubic feet), the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid (19.4 cubic feet with a flat load floor), and the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid (15.5 cubic feet).
- Availability: The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is not widely available in the US. It is only sold in 14 states that follow California’s emissions standards: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. This means that if you live in any other state, you cannot buy or lease the Prius Plug-in Hybrid from your local Toyota dealer. You may be able to find one online or from a private seller, but that could be more difficult and expensive than buying a new car from a dealer.
The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid will arrive in dealerships soon. If you are looking for a car that can save you money on gas while reducing your carbon footprint without compromising on performance or comfort, the plug-in hybrid may be worth considering. But if you are not interested in plugging in your car or paying extra for features you don’t need or want, you may be better off with the regular Toyota Prius hybrid or one of its competitors.