Toyota Prius (2024) review: A Prius you’ll actually want to drive

Toyota Prius (2024) review: A Prius you’ll actually want to drive

► The Toyota Prius is now hybrid only
► Exciting new look and stronger performance
► Confirmed for sale in the UK in 2024

You may remember that the new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid wasn’t originally intended for these shores. Well, Toyota UK has had a change of heart, deciding to bring the UK’s fastest, funniest and most popular Prius after all to do battle with the best hybrids.

By pushing the top of the roof towards the rear of the car and lowering it significantly, a much sportier shape was created. Large 19-inch wheels and an extended wheelbase complete the look, distancing it from the Uber fodder we’re used to.

It remains to be seen whether that will be enough to build on the old car’s weak sales – with just 563 cars sold in 2022.

what’s new

Almost everything. Once again, the Prius is a pioneer for Toyota, being the first car to use a variety of bits and pieces that would be installed in other models. This includes the CH-R SUV driven elsewhere on this site, the next Corolla, and more.

The foundation of the Toyota Prius is the second generation of Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), in this case the new GA-C platform. It’s stiffer and lighter than the old car’s chassis, while the fuel tank and hybrid battery have been moved to lower the center of gravity.

The third-generation Prius benefits from Toyota’s plug-in hybrid system. There is a higher capacity battery that not only enhances electric driving range, but also allows more energy to be harvested by regenerative braking. And if that’s not enough, there’s also a new 2.0-litre petrol engine with more power and greater efficiency.

what are the specifications?

The headline here is that total power is up by 99 horsepower, bringing total system output to 220 horsepower. This reduces the 0-62mph acceleration time to 6.8 seconds, yet is still good for just 11g/km of CO2 and 564.9mpg on the WLTP test cycle.

This new battery has a capacity of 13.6 kWh but is smaller than the old car’s lower capacity pack. After a fairly slow four-hour charge thanks to the slow charging rate of 3.3 kW, the car will be able to travel up to 53 miles on electricity alone.

How does the Toyota Prius Plug-in Engine work?

If you’re expecting instant EV-style acceleration, you might be a little disappointed. Instead, there is a slow build of acceleration meaning wheel spin is unlikely to be an issue. Once the engine reaches peak power, the Prius is agile and a far cry from its predecessor’s near-0-62 mph time.

The new chassis is up to the task, with direct, precise steering that makes stringing together certain corners a much more enjoyable experience. Don’t expect much feel through the steering wheel rim.

Toyota Prius - front cornering

There’s not much lean even when you’re exploring the generous levels of grip, so a B-road blast isn’t the pointless exercise you might expect. You’re unlikely to squeal with joy, but the new agility and cross-country pace make it reasonably entertaining.

It even seems less annoying than before. In most situations, the engine note will still rise slightly when you finish accelerating, and it will sound noisier than before. Getting up to highway speed from a standstill as quickly as possible will cause the engine to keep its revs as abnormal as before, but we can live with that.

Larger 19-inch wheels and control-oriented settings mean it’s more stable than before, if not uncomfortable. Whether the Prius is livable on the UK’s patchwork road network is something we’ll find out when the first UK deliveries begin in 2024.

What about inside?

With the price rising above £40,000, it’s good to see an improvement in the interior quality of the new Toyota Prius. There’s a good mix of soft-touch materials where you regularly touch them, interestingly textured hard plastics where you regularly look at them, and only the lower parts of the cabin get rough black elephant skin.

Most functions are taken care of by a large, responsive infotainment system and touchscreen, though we were happy to see physical controls on the dash and steering wheel. There’s a large digital screen high up on the dashboard in Peugeot iCockpit style to display speed, hybrid information and everything else a driver might want. It’s sharp and easy to control through the steering wheel, while its location keeps your eyes closer to the road.

Toyota Prius - from the inside

Space up front is unlikely to be an issue, partly because you sit much lower than before. Rear legroom is good for a car of this size, with the roofline predictably limiting rear headroom. If Toyota wanted to stop minibuses, it has succeeded.

Before you buy: Trims and competitors

Three trim levels, Base, Executive and Advanced, are available in Europe, with only one powertrain. Prices range from around €45,000 to €52,000 in Germany, although at the time of writing, UK models and prices have yet to be confirmed.

Verdict: Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

While the Prius was often a welcome sight, it wasn’t just when an Uber arrived on a rainy night. The latest plug-in isn’t as practical as its predecessor, but we’d happily trade a little space for some real desire.

It looks great inside and out, is good to drive, devilishly efficient, and even reasonably fast. Even with a new CH-R on the way as well, we’ll be shocked if Toyota doesn’t sell a significant number of more than 563 cars in 2024.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: