It doesn’t happen often, but there are occasions in which a vehicle model goes through an impressive overhaul to the point where its fresh styling wholly and thoroughly erase sins (and jokes) of the past. Enter the new-for-’23 Toyota Prius, sheathed in slinky new bodywork whilst retaining the type of efficiency which made the car so popular in the first place – only now, you don’t have to be embarrassed if seen in one.
This year’s car is available in two trims, starting with the XLE. A 2.0L four-cylinder engine lives under the curvaceous new hood, tag-teamed with a hybrid powertrain to deliver a system total of 196 horsepower – roughly 60 percent more than last year. A brace of electric motors means even this sub-$40,000 XLE is equipped with all-wheel drive. This is good for an estimated 4.8L/100km in combined city and highway driving.
Toyota makes plenty of noise about their Safety Sense suite of driver aids, and version 3.0 is found on the new Prius. This means gear like pre-collision with pedestrian detection is on board plus lane tracing assist and dynamic radar cruise control. Lane departure alert with a steering assist now has enhanced lane recognition which includes detection of certain 3D objects such as guardrails that can be used to help define the lane. In other words, the council’s refusal to paint new lines shouldn’t be as much of an issue with this system.
All ’23 Prius trims get the same snazzy headlamps and 19-inch alloy wheels. A good-looking Reservoir Blue is available for $0 on the XLE, though we won’t begrudge anyone paying $255 for Supersonic Red. If you must, Wind Chill Pearl is on offer for those who want their new Prius to look like something from the Apple Store.
Inside the XLE is an 8-inch infotainment tablet featuring goodies like satellite radio capability, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and no fewer than six USB-C charging ports. Having more outlets in which to plug in than places to sit is a good thing these days. The front seats are heated, the driver’s perch is eight-way power adjustable, and the rear bench folds 60/40 for those times you have underestimated that IKEA purchase. Automatic climate control and a heated steering wheel should keep most occupants comfy.
What We'd Choose
One of the biggest, literally and figuratively, differences between the XLE and Limited is the latter’s 12.3-inch infotainment screen, a thoroughly modern unit packing wireless smartphone mirroring and an 8-speaker JBL sound system. The $4,500 walk also brings comforts like ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, wireless device charging, and a fixed glass roof panel. The price spread is not chump change – but at least the extra feature count seems worth the cash if
those items are important to you.
The rest of us should probably bank the $4,500 spread, a sum which will purchase approximately 2,800 litres of regular-grade gasoline as of this writing. At the Prius’ fuel-sipping rate, that’s enough to travel roughly 58,000 kilometres – or almost 3 years of average driving. Combined with its attractive new styling, choosing the XLE is the easiest decision Prius shoppers will ever make.
Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one - or the required options - which earns a passing grade.