The 2023 Toyota Prius looks great and we can't have it
The car that first got the world hooked on the hybrid, the Toyota Prius, hits Europe in this smooth and sleek new form on December 5.
The fifth generation of Toyota’s highly influential innovator, unveiled in Japan yesterday, will be sold in Europe solely as a plug-in hybrid, promising that it will be able to go further and faster in EV mode than ever before. A plug-in version has been available before but now will be the only option.
Big news then… but the bigger news may be the way the new model looks. Out go the jagged lines of the current model to be replaced by a far cleaner and more elegant design. It’s still a prominent wedge shape but now much less fussy with a pleasing teardrop glasshouse and stronger stance. Its secret? 50mm (2 inches) off the height, the same off the length and the same again added to the wheelbase.
Along with a 22mm wider girth, larger 19-inch wheels and the car’s tallest point moved aft of the B-pillar rather than in front of it, the result is now surely the prettiest Prius ever, with lots of cool EV-style LED lighting details.
Toyota also says it is more aerodynamic than the old Prius, though it remains to be seen if the new dimensions and lower seating position will make it as passenger friendly. If it’s not Toyota will have to answer to a generation of Uber drivers…
At the new car’s heart is the latest generation of Toyota’s plug-in hybrid tech with bigger (13.6kWh) lithium-ion battery and more powerful petrol and electric motor combo, now boasting total system power of 223PS (164kW) – almost double that of the outgoing PHEV version.
The 2.0-litre engine delivers 148PS (111kW) while the electric motor supplies the front transaxle with an additional 160PS (120kW). With 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds it will be the quickest Prius ever. The larger battery is claimed to be give 50 per cent longer electric running.
That’s the new Prius then: the best looking, most efficient, quickest and potentially best-handling version since it first arrived here as the world’s first series-production hybrid (along with the Honda Insight) in 2000.
It’s a very different sort of Prius…perhaps too different. For the biggest news of all is that while it goes on sale in mainland Europe early in 2023, this will be the first Prius NOT to be sold in the UK. Yep, it’s the end of the line for the Prius on our shores.
Why? Toyota told Autocar magazine: "With our evolving UK product strategy and changing market conditions, we have taken the decision not to introduce the new generation Prius in the UK as the new model represents a very different proposition to its predecessor, alongside a clear shift in UK consumer demand towards more SUV style vehicles.”