Fifth-generation Toyota Prius hybrid unveiled

Lionel Kong

Sleek and dynamic, the new Toyota Prius presses home a point that new petrol-electric hybrid cars are still important amidst the rise of  electric vehicles


Toyota has taken the wraps off the all-new Toyota Prius, its original pioneering petrol-electric hybrid car that was first released to the world in 1997. The new car will mark the start of the fifth generation model range. What the brand did confirm at the announcement makes us think that the new car will have quite a different character to the outgoing fourth-generation version. 

2023 Toyota Prius launch international

For starters, while still a real petrol-electric hybrid, it has been branded as an ‘EV with an engine’. The car will have an electric-only range that promises to be 50 percent more than before, and the official statement claims that “in many average usage situations it is, to all intents and purposes, an EV.”

It has also thrown the conservative driving dynamics vibe straight out of the window. Besides the standard hybrid, a plug-in hybrid variant is also being offered. In a demonstration of how electric torque can punch harder than ‘old school’ turbochargers, the 0 to 100km/h sprint time of the new Prius PHEV has been given as a cool 6.7 seconds. That will allow it to keep pace with a Volkswagen Golf GTI, and is light years ahead of the almost 10 seconds that the old Prius took to accelerate to 100km/h.

2023 Toyota Prius launch international

The standard Prius hybrid and plug-in version will both get a 2.0-litre engines, combined with a new lithium ion battery. That is a step up from the workhorse nickel-metal hydride batteries of the older models. An entry level, 1.8-litre engine option will also be offered as a base level model, and likely serve in taxi fleets around the world.

The 2.0-litre standard hybrid delivers a combined power output of 193 hp, while the PHEV raises it to 223 hp.

It will be built around the TNGA platform, which is also the backbone of the Toyota bZ4X. The side profile of the new car is still familiar, but it’s more than just an evolutionary design. It’s been proven in countless wind tunnel tests that the shape is one of the most aerodynamically efficient which helps the car maintain its efficiency.

2023 Toyota Prius launch international

So how does Toyota’s hybrid drive system work? Watch this to find out!

It’s no coincidence that the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid and the Honda Insight also have similar silhouettes. 

Meanwhile, the new Toyota Prius has a lower centre of gravity, a more rigid chassis, and even the standard fitment wheels have been increased to 19 inches. Toyota stopped short of calling it a sporty car, but promised that it will be a captivating driving experience. 

A 12.3-inch centre control screen will form the focal point of the cabin. Toyota did not reveal what new tech will feature in the car, but promised that it will combine high quality materials with illumination to make the user experience a captivating one. This almost certainly means some sort of active ambient illumination, which the Mercedes-EQ EQS has demonstrated to the maximum of late. 

2023 Toyota Prius cabin launch international

Missed the CarBuyer Singapore EV Weekend 2022? Here it is in just 2.5 minutes!

Toyota states that the new Prius had to be designed to bridge a very large range of uses, from doing duty as a family car to high mileage taxi fleets. Not all countries will be completely EV-ready with charging infrastructures in place within the next decade, and the Toyota Prius will continue to serve as a comfortable, efficient, green driving solution. 

2023 Toyota Prius launch international
Simon Humphries, Toyota’s senior general manager of Global Toyota design, revealing the new Toyota Prius

Simon Humphries, Toyota’s senior general manager of Global Toyota design, states that since the launch of the first-generation Prius, Toyota has sold a total of 20.3 million hybrids globally, along the way reducing CO2 emissions by approximately 162 million tons.

However, Humphries claims that the Prius’ greatest achievement is that it opened up to a viable alternative to gasoline and diesel fuels, and also kick started the series production of petrol-electric hybrid vehicles from other carmakers.

Yet 2022 has been the Prius’ lowest selling year to date, on the account of the outgoing model’s ageing design and the big marketing push towards full electrification in developed countries. 

2023 Toyota Prius launch international

The new car may reverse this drop in interest, though it is not expected to begin rolling out from the factories until late 2023. Watch this space for updates of the new car’s expected sale dates in Singapore.


hybrid car prius Toyota

About the Author

Lionel Kong

An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.

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