A silver 2023 Toyota Prius is shown from the side.

Bridging the Gap: The Toyota Prius

When the Toyota Prius first appeared in North America, it became inextricably linked with the future. The year 2000 saw many changes across a variety of industries, including the automotive industry. Care for the environment became an important topic, and people were looking for alternatives to only gas or only diesel-fueled vehicles. Toyota was the first giant in the industry to create a hybrid vehicle, one that paired a gasoline-powered engine with an electric motor. Being the first mass-produced hybrid car carried a lot of weight, but it remains one of North America’s most popular vehicles, even after two decades on the market. While many individuals have made the Prius the brunt of jokes regarding its design, the truth of the matter is that the Prius was the first successful hybrid car, and now, over twenty years later, it’s still running strong, with no signs of stopping, as evidenced by the introduction of the 2023 Toyota Prius.

Packed With Efficiency

The Prius is nothing if not efficient––pairing a gasoline-powered engine with an electric motor saves money on fuel while giving you more time between fill-ups. Who doesn’t love a time and money saver? With most things, one might assume that the first iteration was nothing more than a prototype and that it would not perform as well as later generations. Toyota, however, decided that they wanted the Prius to be able to keep being driven ten, even twenty years from the original purchase, without having to replace the battery. This adherence to quality and efficiency has only cemented the Prius’ popularity as the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered car in North America.

Comparisons between older models and newer models have astonished experts and enthusiasts alike. Consumer Reports, a non-profit, independent company that tests and investigates products so that information can be passed on to consumers, reported that in a test between an older battery and a newer battery. There was not much of a difference at all when it came to performance, meaning that even after a decade of use and a few hundred thousand miles, the battery was intact, ready to go further.

A silver 2023 Toyota Prius is shown from the rear at an angle.

The 2023 Toyota Prius continues this tradition with a lithium-ion battery, and the capability of reaching 57 MPG combined, the best MPG rating yet for the Prius. It has also upped its power output, now resting at 196 hp. Though this might seem like a low number, it’s higher than just about every other hybrid, which means it can quickly outmaneuver and pass its rivals, leaving them behind in the dust without sacrificing your fuel economy.

An Adapting Design

Early Prius models were loudly mocked for their design, and now that the dust has settled, Toyota is introducing the 2023 Prius with a redesign that focuses partly on efficiency and partially on style instead of just efficiency. This Prius is set lower and wider than its predecessors due to Toyota’s TNGA-C platform, which also allows for a more sleek look. The new models look powerful, futuristic, and fun to drive. No longer relegated to being the butt of every car design joke known to humankind, it has evolved from its pubescent looks into something resembling a more expensive, high-performance car.

The interior of the 2023 Prius also received an upgrade. Though it has always comfortably seated up to five individuals, there are some definite improvements, such as the gauge cluster being moved behind the wheel, which is now covered in faux leather in the base model. Climate control can now also filter out pollen, an excellent feature for those who need to avoid allergens at certain points in the year.

Due to its lower stance, the seats have also been lowered to allow the same amount of headspace as in previous years, and the difference is a mere two inches. Though that might make a difference to some, such as older individuals who find leaning down to get into a vehicle can be painful, or at least irritating, there are plenty who enjoy the feeling and those who prefer it over having to climb a ladder to get inside a gargantuan pickup.

Standard and Optional Tech

Even the base model of the 2023 Prius is loaded with features, like a larger infotainment screen, and all models are equipped to pair with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. There is also a multitude of trial subscriptions to services like Wi-Fi Connect, Drive Connect, Remote Connect, Safety Connect, and Service Connect. The last on that list, the Service Connect, monitors your vehicle so that it can alert you when your Prius needs maintenance or if there’s a new health report for your car. It’s offered as a ten-year trial subscription, which is both shocking and exciting.

If you’re looking at adding some optional features, there’s a 12.3-inch touchscreen available, and if you decide to go with the top trim level, you’ll get the bigger touchscreen as part of the deal. An eight-speaker stereo system is also available on the highest trim level. You can speak to your infotainment center and receive updates to it via the Cloud. On the highest trim level, there is also available Wi-Fi.

While this might not seem like much, the complete exterior redesign with the addition of a few potentially big changes on the inside, like the infotainment center size increase, movement of the digital gauge cluster, and subscriptions to some of the most comprehensive services on the market are going to make huge waves. Your vehicle should be a safe haven, protected from the elements and other cars on the road, and it seems as if Toyota is going full steam ahead with its plan for the Prius to be your all-in-one family home away from home.

The interior of a 2023 Toyota Prius is shown from the center console.

A Prius Waits for You

There weren’t many fans of the Prius early on, but subsequent years have shown just how much it has become beloved. With over 500 patents being filed, driving the Prius is a unique experience, and it doesn’t seem as if Toyota will pull on the reins any time soon. With more and more automotive companies attempting to put their own hybrids on the market, the Prius still shines above the rest as a beacon of innovative, creative problem-solving that furthers Toyota’s dedication to producing quality, eco-friendly vehicles. What’s not to love?

Now that the Prius has a new look, updated interior, and several bonus features not offered in other hybrids, it might be time to rethink that early judgment call and take one for a test drive to see what it feels like to visit the future. It’s ok to change your mind, especially when it comes to choosing a vehicle that works for you. The Prius’ long-lasting battery will support you and your loved ones over the years as you load it up with sports equipment or fishing gear, transport people to and from the airport, and load up the holiday presents for the trip to Grandma’s. If you’re looking for a car that can fit your whole family inside without yelling or struggling for room, or you’re looking for an eco-friendly vehicle as your daily commuter, then the 2023 Toyota Prius is one of the best choices you can make for yourself.