Driving report Toyota Prius 2023: Toyota’s eco bore continues to be an elegant sled

It took Toyota greater than a fast kiss to remodel the drained, boring hybrid Prius right into a automobile prince. However the brand new technology drives extra dynamically than ever and stays as economical as earlier than as a plug-in model.

The Toyota Prius has been available on the market for 25 years and the Japanese is undoubtedly the pioneer of the hybrid age worldwide. Within the USA and Japan particularly, it grew to become a financial savings legend over time, however its design and the engine-transmission mixture introduced it numerous criticism. This could lastly be over within the new, fifth technology, as a result of the Prius ought to nonetheless be an vital spearhead within the Toyota mannequin vary in opposition to the prevalence of the rising electrical automobiles and never simply a cost-effective dream of all taxi drivers.

“I used to be requested to construct a Prius that will erase the picture of a taxi and make individuals cry after they see it on the street,” says chief engineer Satoki Oya with a discreet smile. Whether or not that can work stays to be seen, however in comparison with the earlier model, the brand new mannequin is an actual beau.

The proportions of the 4.60 meter lengthy Toyota Prius usually are not solely extra pleasing than ever because of the 5 centimeter flatter roofline. 4.5 centimeters shorter and a wheelbase stretched by 5 centimeters are merely good for the frugal Japanese. The rear passengers particularly are completely satisfied in regards to the legroom gained within the second row.

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The house for the top, alternatively, is manageable and from 1.80 meters it will get tight for the coiffure as a result of barely raised rear seat. By way of operation, Toyota has improved with the brand new Prius. The central 12.3-inch show is far tidier than earlier than, whereas the air con could be operated utilizing a direct button. What’s disturbing, nonetheless, is the Prius’ arduous plastic appeal, which doesn’t wish to match into as we speak’s world, and the digital devices on the seven-inch small display screen, which with its outdated show don’t wish to match into as we speak’s world.

In relation to operation, there are weaknesses within the particulars: if you wish to change the energy of perform B’s braking power regeneration – which could be adjusted in three phases – you need to cease the automobile to take action. Shift paddles on the steering wheel can be the appropriate answer. The baggage compartment grew by 33 liters to 284 liters as a result of relocation of the battery pack from the bags compartment beneath the rear seat; however stays too small. In case you want extra space, fold down the rear seats.

The fifth technology of the hybrid system will increase the displacement of the earlier petrol engine from 1.8 to 2.0 liters, which allows a rise in output from 72 kW / 98 hp / 142 Nm to 11 kW / 152 hp / 190 Nm; on the similar time, the electrical motor is considerably extra highly effective (163 hp vs. 71 31 hp from the earlier technology generator), which explains why the overall output of the system has elevated from a slim 90 kW / 122 to a powerful 164 kW / 223 hp.

One other change is the elimination of the clutch between the electrical motor and generator, which was beforehand used to permit each engines to contribute to the car’s motion.

That is omitted as a result of the brand new drive is considerably extra highly effective than its predecessor. Extra vital, nonetheless, is the mixing of a brand new battery with a bigger capability, as a result of as an alternative of the 8.8 kWh, 13.6 kWh are actually obtainable, which makes a decisive contribution to pushing the electrical vary from 45 to 69 kilometers.

The brand new battery pack has 50 % extra capability and 30 % fewer cells with increased power density, takes up the identical house and weighs about the identical because the earlier smaller battery. The charging capability, alternatively, is getting drained, as a result of it simply grew from 3.3 to three.5 kilowatts. A full cost used to take a minimum of two hours, now will probably be 4. That’s lengthy – very lengthy when the Prius rolls onto European markets in the midst of the yr.

The brand new proportions, the broader monitor and the rise in wheelbase are rapidly noticeable on the street. Whereas there was slim 15-inch wheels, the check automobile is on the street with giant 19-inch wheels, which considerably improves the look and dynamics, however has disadvantages when it comes to consolation. In case you don’t wish to really feel the bumps, swap to 17 inches. The steering is easy and exact – the rolling actions are considerably lower than earlier than. The earlier Prius struggled from zero to 100 km/h in 11.1 seconds and the successor feels twice as quick at 6.8 seconds, even when the highest velocity of 177 km/h is a disappointment for the stately engine efficiency. However what’s most spectacular is the brand new drivability, as a result of even the in any other case annoying intermediate accelerations are a lot smoother and quieter than earlier than because of the brand new parallelism between engine noise and acceleration, regardless of the repeatedly variable transmission.

The underside line is that the brand new Toyota Prius, with a base worth of round 38,000 euros, is nearly fully freed from its previous and has shed the appeal of the drained senior mannequin each visually and when it comes to driving dynamics. On the similar time, he retains his best buyer benefit: actual consumption. With a full battery pack, Toyota guarantees the standard 0.8 liters of Tremendous per 100 kilometers – within the brisk check drive and quite a few velocity adjustments, it was in the end 3.9 liters. Now the client has to resolve whether or not the brand new, extra emotional Toyota Prius stands an opportunity in opposition to the mighty wave of electrical automobiles.