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Sunday Drive: All-new Prius a fresh take on the iconic hybrid

By Craig and Deanne Conover - Daily Herald | Aug 12, 2023
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Deanne with the all-new 2023 Prius high in the Colorado Rockies in Winter Park, where we attended the Rocky Mountain Driving Experience.
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The Toyota Prius is all-new for 2023.
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The Toyota Prius is all-new for 2023.
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The Toyota Prius is all-new for 2023.
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The Toyota Prius is all-new for 2023.
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The Toyota Prius is all-new for 2023.
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The Toyota Prius is all-new for 2023.

This week, we had the privilege of experiencing the all-new Prius — an innovative vehicle that completely redefines the perception of what a Prius looks like, how it handles and how it drives.

Over the years, the Prius has sported a distinctive appearance that was instantly recognizable on the roads. However, with this latest iteration, Toyota has taken a bold step forward, presenting a design that leaves the traditional “Prius look” behind. We couldn’t help but notice the striking difference, and we anticipate that many will be curious about this new face on the hybrid scene.

The Prius has long been synonymous with the term “hybrid,” and it’s no surprise that expectations for improved fuel efficiency continue to grow as everyone’s budget continues to shrink. Well, Toyota has surpassed those expectations with remarkable advancements in miles-per-gallon performance — if that were possible from a vehicle that has set the mpg high mark over the past 26 years.

The LE trim of the all-new Prius is expected to achieve an astounding 57 miles per gallon, a substantial improvement over its predecessors. Our opportunity with the all-new Prius came in the limited trim, which has an EPA estimate of 52 mpg.

This is still a very high number when one is searching for a vehicle that will not need to hit a fuel pump every few days just to get to work and back. Our experience included using the Prius as an everyday driver with a couple of longer jaunts around Utah County.

After a week in the Prius, we were right at the 52-mpg mark and had not even used a half tank of fuel after 260 miles of driving, in fact the Prius indicated if we kept up the same driving habits, we could still go an additional 275 miles. Outstanding for a vehicle with only an 11.3-gallon tank. At $4 a gallon, the cost per mile in the Prius for us was right around 7.6 cents, rivaling even charging an all-electric vehicle.

We found that was not the end of improvements to the new Prius — the powertrain has also undergone significant enhancements. The latest model boasts an impressive 60% increase in horsepower, now delivering up to 194 horsepower compared to only 121 ponies from the previous model year. Acceleration is also vastly improved, getting to 60 in only 7.2 seconds compared to the previous model years’ 9.8-second dash.

As we delved deeper into the all-new Prius, we discovered that its interior is just as impressive as its exterior. One notable change is the removal of the center console driving display, which had always appeared peculiarly positioned in the middle of the console rather than directly in front of the driver.

In its place, a new 12.3-inch multimedia touch screen display now resides for easy use and provides a much better infotainment platform, now mimicking other new releases from Toyota. Furthermore, an LED screen now resides right in front of the driver to deliver speed, energy use and other pertinent information, allowing the driver to keep their eyes on the road instead of having to look to the side just to get updated speed information.

Again, the advancements did not stop there. Toyota has incorporated a host of cutting-edge technologies and features into the all-new Prius, elevating the driving experience to new heights. The integration of Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 — a suite of advanced safety systems — ensures peace of mind on every journey.

Pre-collision warning and avoidance, pedestrian detection, lane departure alert and adaptive cruise control are just a few of the safety features that come standard with the all-new Prius. Toyota’s commitment to safety is unwavering, and it’s refreshing to see these advanced technologies being included as standard across their lineup.

New this year to the Prius is what Toyota is calling “proactive driving assist.” When the Safety Sense package is operating, the system will provide gentle braking into curves, along with braking and gentle steering input to help support the drive. This is not a substitute for driving but a help along the way, as it will also help to recognize pedestrians and bicyclists.

Comfort and convenience are also paramount in the all-new Prius. The cabin offers ample space for both driver and passengers, ensuring a pleasant and relaxing ride. The latest technology features, such as an advanced infotainment system and seamless smartphone integration, kept us connected and entertained throughout our many trips out in the Prius. Whether it’s a quick commute or a long road trip, the all-new Prius provides an enjoyable and connected experience.

During our time with the all-new Prius, we couldn’t help but appreciate the strides Toyota has made in reinventing this iconic hybrid. The refreshed design, improved performance and advanced technologies truly make the Prius a standout choice in the hybrid segment. Gone is the traditional “Prius look” that was instantly recognizable, and in its place is a sleek and modern vehicle that will undoubtedly turn heads and spark curiosity.

As we navigated the streets in the all-new Prius, we relished the experience of driving a hybrid that truly stands out from the crowd. The blend of exceptional fuel efficiency, increased power and advanced features make the all-new Prius a remarkable choice for those seeking a greener and more engaging driving experience.

At the end of our week with the all-new Prius, it had exceeded our expectations in every way. Toyota has successfully transformed the iconic hybrid into a vehicle that not only leads the way in fuel efficiency but also captivates with its striking design and advanced technologies.

Base price: $34,465

Destination charge: $1,095

Price as driven: $37,494


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