What does the world’s most famous hybrid do when almost every other car is now also a hybrid? We’re about to find out after Toyota reveals the all-new generation of the legendary Prius. The car will be shown in Japan around the end of the year, and if the rumors are to be believed, it will be sporty.
We know, a sporty Prius sounds completely crazy, but hold on. The first Prius came out all the way back in 1997 and after just a few years was becoming popular in America as well, mainly on the West coast. Currently, we’re on the 4th generation, which became the first Toyota to be based on the TNGA platform in 2015.
A replacement is obviously overdue, and we’ve been reading reports about the 5th-gen from Japanese media for the past couple of months. The latest article from scoop website Best Car Web paints an almost complete picture of the changes that are planned and the timeline.
According to them, the 2023 Toyota Prius will debut in Japan in late December 2022. This ties in with the country’s motor show schedule and probably means it will hit the market during the summer. The American model may be a little delayed, and some of the big powertrain changes are definitely not going to arrive early.
Several stories have claimed the new Prius will look like a coupe, not in the sense of a sports car, but streamlined. It’s developed on top of an updated TNGA platform and some dimensional changes have apparently been leaked. The new Prius will apparently be 55 mm (2.16 inches) lower while the wheelbase will grow 50 mm (2 inches) to improve the way it drives.
Renderings that are believed to be accurate of the Prius 5 also show a simple teardrop shape that’s more reminiscent of the 2nd and 3rd generations. All the fussy lines are gone, and your attention is immediately drawn to the crab claw headlights and wrap-around taillights.
As we’ve said, every other car is a hybrid of some kind these days. Despite that, the initial changes that Toyota plans to make aren’t going to blow the competition out of the water. The basic Prius hybrid will use a new generation of the familiar 1.8-liter engine, but this will be paired with a new lithium-ion battery pack. This is not a surprise, considering lithium packs are found in other efficient Toyotas such as the Corolla Hybrid.
However, the Prius Prime (known as the PHEV in some markets) will get a bigger 2-liter engine with a battery pack big enough for 62-mile pure EV trips. That’s more than the RAV4 Prime at 41 miles, though they could be using the same 18 kWh pack.
A little while after the launch (timeline not set), the regular Prius will also jump to a bigger 2-liter engine. Now, this isn’t pure speculation because Toyota has been using this system since 2018 with the European Corolla and the Lexus UX 250h. People want power and 181 hp sounds a bit more adequate, especially when considering the compact segment average.