The Toyota Prius is a revolutionary car that put hybrid vehicles on the map when it first debuted in 1997. It is an icon when the word hybrid is mentioned as it has become one of the best-selling hybrids in America. As trends towards electric vehicles (EV) continue to take off and hybrids are becoming standard in all models, Toyota gave the Prius one of the most extreme makeovers for 2023. The new Prius shocked media and enthusiasts all over as it was a well-kept secret by Toyota. It is now in its fifth generation as it rolls into 2024 as a carryover from 2023.
The Prius is once again offered as both a hybrid and as a plug-in hybrid (Prius Prime). The Prius Prime is available exclusively as a front-wheel drive model in three trims known as SE, XSE, and XSE Premium. Prime models combine an electric motor with a 2.0L 4-cylinder to deliver 220 horsepower, 44 miles of all-electric driving and an estimated 52 MPG or 127 MPGe.
The standard hybrid model is available in either front or all-wheel drive and comes in three primary trim levels known as LE, XLE, and Limited. Under the hood, the 2024 Prius is powered by the fifth generation Toyota Hybrid System and a 2.0L engine, delivering up to 196 net horsepower on Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (e-AWD) equipped models and 194 net horsepower on Front-Wheel Drive equipped models.
Prius prices start at $27,950 for a FWD LE model and climb to $36,365 for a Limited AWD model. Prime models range from $32,975 to $39,670. Overall prices see a significant jump over the previous generation which started around $3,500 less... but this is a completely different car and worth the increase. Competition includes cars such as the Honda Civic Hybrid, Hyundai Elantra Hybrid, Kia Niro hybrid, and the Nissan Leaf. After a week in a Prius Limited FWD, here's what stood out...Exterior
Aside from the Toyota emblem, there isn't much (if any) similarity of this new Prius to the previous generation. The new design is sleek, sporty, and sexy. Even my 8-year son who tends to love sports cars a la Fast & Furious was excited when I pulled up in this new Prius. This new athletic look is aerodynamic with a .27 coefficient of drag, lower roof line (by 2 inches), wider stance, and available 19" wheels. Completing the low-slung feel is a hip point that is about one inch lower than the previous generation Prius. Up front, it features slim c-shaped LED lights that are sculpted into the sleek hood with a slim grille at the center. Available LED fog lights sit low on the bumper.
Its side silhouette is an evolution of the former model with a smooth, continuous line that stretches from front to back. It has a more aggressive, lower profile that is simple, yet exciting. An angled character line stretches up from the front doors to align with the rear bumper / tail light assembly giving the Prius a very forward moving feel. Around back, the style is now rounded compared to the harsh, edgy lines of the previous model. Across the top of the hatch is black panel that surrounds the LED lighting that stretches from one side to the other. P-R-I-U-S is spelled out across the hatch in a new, modern font and the license plate is dropped to the lower bumper, again surrounded in a different finish.
For the first time ever, Toyota also offers the Prius with larger 19" wheels which add to its athletic style. It's a huge change for the once quirky looking Prius that is not just more mainstream, but on the other end of the style spectrum looking clean and advanced. Powertrain / Performance
There are two primary powertrains available in the Prius Hybrid plus the more powerful Prius Prime plug-in option. I spent time in the 194 horsepower 2.0L 4-cylinder base model that works with an electric motor and front wheel drive. While it's not intended to be performance-oriented, it does have a peppy feel to it. It gets a boost of 70 horsepower over the 2022 model which is definitely noticeable. 0-60MPH times are estimated at 7.2 seconds which again is a decent jump from the 2022 model's 9.8 seconds. Having gotten rid of the sluggish feeling, the new Prius finally feels much more engaging to drive. With decent acceleration and a nice build in power on the highway, it will prove more than capable of keeping up with competitors and easing stress as you merge onto the faster roadways.
Along with more power comes better handling. The Prius is easy to drive with responsive steering and nimble handling. The change in proportions with a wider stance makes it feel more stable and connected to the road. It delivers a composed and comfortable ride suitable for the city or highway. It absorbs the road well and minimizes exterior noise with a more solid structure.
There are a few drive mode choices including power, ECO, and normal to shift the dynamics for the type of driving desired. Whether its sharper acceleration, fuel economy, or just a well-balanced ride, each mode delivers with a purpose. Prius also offers EV mode, which allows the vehicle to be operated as a pure electric vehicle for short distances, depending upon certain conditions, such as battery charge level and vehicle speed. This mode is useful for operating the vehicle in parking lots or indoor parking garages, for example. The Vehicle Proximity Notification feature alerts pedestrians of the vehicle's presence when running in battery mode. Overall, it's safe to say the new Prius is far more engaging than the last and in addition to being the most powerful Prius to date, it's actually quite fun to toss around. Available AWD
The 2024 Prius also has an available e-AWD system that gives it the capability to deliver added traction when needed - while retaining Prius' stellar fuel economy. The e-AWD system uses a motor to drive the rear wheels, enabling stable driving performance when starting off, when driving on slippery road surfaces, and to assist while cornering. As on other Toyota Hybrids with e-AWD, like Highlander, RAV4 and Corolla, it employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. AWD-equipped Prius models have a 196 combined system horsepower and a manufacturer-estimated 0-60 time of 7.0 seconds.Fuel Economy
When it arrived with a full 10.5-gallon fuel tank, it offered a driving range of around 500 miles. My Limited FWD model was rated at 52 MPG city, highway, and combined. LE models get slightly better at up to 57/56 MPG city/highway while the XLE and Limited AWD models slightly worse at 49/50 MPG city/highway. Overall, the Prius offers great fuel economy as it always has. And for even more efficiency, the Prius Prime plug-in adds an electric range into the mix. Interior
Hopping inside, the Prius has become more traditional, yet modern. The prior generation tried too hard and came off over stylized whereas this new one is functional and contemporary. Materials are class-appropriate, well-built, and improved despite some harder plastics in use. Drivers face a 7" digital gauge cluster set back from the steering wheel closer to the windshield. For the first time since the Prius' launch it is in front of the steering wheel instead of at the center of the dash. The new positioning could be a problem though, depending on your seating position as at times, the top of the steering wheel was directly blocking my vision of the speedometer. Thankfully the available head up display countered that issue. At the center of the dash is the infotainment screen with physical controls underneath and a volume knob on the right side (which is a bit of a stretch). Placement for wireless device charging is good along with two cup holders and an electronic gear shifter in the center console. The gear shifter takes some acclimation time as it's a short joystick like handle that just taps forward or back to select the gears. Rounding out the interior vibe is the available panoramic glass roof which lets in natural light to highlight the openness of the cabin. Technology
The Prius comes standard with an 8" infotainment touchscreen, but optional is a large 12.3" touchscreen. My test model had a larger screen which has a clean and functional display. It is responsive, intuitive, and easy to navigate through the screens. It integrates wirelessly with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Operation is smooth, even in colder climates. Also standard is a WiFi hotspot, six USB-C ports, satellite radio, and a six speaker stereo. Available upgrades include navigation, an eight-speaker JBL stereo, wireless device charging, an auto dimming rear view mirror and a digital key. Your Prius will also stay up to date thanks to over-the-air updates.
Users can interact with the system through intuitive touch and voice activation controls. With the available Drive Connect* Connected Service, drivers and passengers have access to Intelligent Assistant, Cloud Navigation and Destination Assist. With Intelligent Assistant, simple phrases like "Hey Toyota" awaken the system for voice activated commands to search for directions, find Points of Interest, adjust audio controls, change the cabin temperatures and more. Seating
Drivers and passengers alike will enjoy the comfort offered by Prius' seating construction. Designers have maximized the area that comes in contact with the body on the seat bottom, creating a shape that disperses weight across the seats to reduce sitting pressure. For added comfort, the XLE grade includes standard heated seats, and the Limited grade adds standard heated and cooled seats, with optional heated rear seats.
There is seating for five passengers with cloth upholstery and manually adjustable seats coming standard. Synthetic leather, power-adjustable seats, and a heated steering wheel are all available. There is a lot of head, leg, and shoulder room up front with its open cabin design. Rear seats will be a little tighter for adults as even my three kids were closer than they would prefer to be in the back. Rear passengers will enjoy the available heated rear seats in colder climates. The limited rear seats are primarily due to the change in the slope of the rear window which (subjectively) gives the Prius a much better appearance, and worth the sacrifice. In addition to limiting rear headroom, visibility is also slightly compromised with the new design, but the backup cameras more than make up for it. Cargo
With the change in design, the Prius lost some cargo space from the previous generation. LE models provide 23.8 cubic feet of room, while the XLE and Limited models have 20.3 cubic feet. Both are still good for the class of hybrid sedans. The rear seats also fold down for expanded space and a power hatch make it easy to load in and out. Safety / Driver Assistance
The 2024 Toyota Prius
will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense generation 3.0 standard.
This suite of safety and driver assistance technologies includes:
* Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
* Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
* Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
* Lane Tracing Assist
* Road Sign Assist
* Automatic High Beams
* Proactive Driving Assist
Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert is standard on all grades. Convenience features are aplenty for Prius too, like Safe Exit Assist, that detects if a vehicle or bicyclist is approaching from the rear and alert an occupant when they exit the vehicle or when the vehicle is stopped, helping to avoid or mitigate collisions if a door were opened. Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking is standard on XLE and Limited grades, and available on the LE. A Panoramic View Monitor is available on the Limited grade and provides a live 360-degree view around the vehicle. Despite its small size, you'll feel safe behind the wheel.
The new Prius has the WOW factor that's been missing for a while now. It looks sporty with fresh proportions including new, larger 19" wheels, a sleek silhouette, and eye-catching LED lighting. Going along with its new looks are major powertrain improvements that give it more power, better handling, and stronger braking all while continuing to deliver impressive fuel economy. As always, Toyota includes an impressive list of standard safety features and prices are still reasonable despite the extreme makeover.
And for a bit of fun, Toyota's design team has placed Easter eggs both inside and outside the vehicle. Secret locations with the Prius name, and other phrases, add a unique bit of detail to this new generation car.Pros:
Fresh new look, more powerful powertrain, fuel-efficiency, easy to use technologyCons:
Tighter rear head room, visibility challengesTest Vehicle:
2023 Toyota Prius Limited FWD* Exterior Color:
Cutting Edge* Interior:
Black Leather* Notable Options:
Digital Rearview Mirror ($200), Limited Premium Package ($1,085), heated rear seats ($350), dash cam ($299), mudguards ($395)* Price as tested:
$38,019 (with destination & delivery)