Better In Some Ways, Worse In Others

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  • Toyota has released more detailed specifications of the new 2023 Prius hybrid.
  • The dimensions have changed significantly, meaning that there is less interior space than before.
  • The new powertrain with the 2.0 liter petrol engine means more power and better fuel efficiency than before.

Now that we’ve all reacted to the surprising new design of the 2023 Toyota Prius hybrid, it’s finally time to dig into the details of what lies beneath the redesigned body. Toyota has released a full specification that includes the powertrain, dimensions, interior space, and—perhaps most importantly—the fuel economy rating.

More MPGs

The most efficient version of the new Prius is the front-wheel drive LE, with a combined 57 mpg. Adding all-wheel drive brings that figure down to 54 mpg, and opting for the higher-end XLE and Limited trim levels — with bigger wheels and tires and additional equipment — pushes the combined figure down to 52 mpg with front-wheel drive and 49 mpg with all-drive wheel.

This figure is not much different from the older model, which has a rating of 56 mpg combined for the Eco trim, 52 mpg combined for the FWD model, and 49 mpg combined for the AWD model. In our 75 mph real-world highway fuel economy test, we previously achieved results of 46 mpg for the 2017 Prius FWD and 47 mpg for the 2019 Prius AWD. We look forward to testing the new model in these same tests to see what it can do.

Extra Power

The new larger-displacement inline-four petrol engine is largely the reason for the new Prius’ greatly increased power output. The engine alone produces 150 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque, while the old Prius’ petrol engine couldn’t even reach the 100-hp mark, with a 96 hp rating. The main electric motor that functions as a motor generator and drives the front wheels is also more powerful than before, namely 111 hp, and an additional rear electric motor that drives the rear wheels on AWD models now produces 40 hp.

The combined drivetrain output sits at 194 hp for the FWD model and 196 hp for the AWD model. (The plug-in-hybrid Prius Prime is even more powerful, with 220 hp, but we don’t have full specs on that model yet.)

Interior and Exterior Dimensions

If you’re wondering whether the Prius’ low-slung shape will negatively affect interior space, you may be disappointed — or justified — to learn that the new model has less passenger and cargo volume than before. Toyota claims 91 cubic feet of passenger space, down from 93 cubic feet for the older model, and just 20 cubic feet of cargo space with seats on the XLE and Limited models. The LE has a bit more space back there, but even its 24 cubic feet is less than the old car’s 27 cubic feet. We’ll have to see how much carry-on luggage we can fit inside the new model, but it’s safe to assume that it will hold less than the 6 suitcases we fit in the old Prius with the seats up.

Perhaps surprisingly, the new Prius isn’t any more aerodynamic than the old one. Toyota claims a drag coefficient of 0.27 compared to the old car’s 0.24. Dimensionally, it’s 1.1 inches longer, 0.9 inches wider and between 1.8–2 inches lower than before, depending on trim level. The wheelbase has increased by 2 inches, which helps increase rear legroom by an inch. But headroom is down for front and rear seat passengers. The Prius isn’t meant for off-roading, but those with treacherous driveways will be pleased to know that ground clearance goes up between 0.5 and 0.7 inches.

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