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2023 Prius Prime vs. 2023 Prius: Which Is Better?

2023 Prius Prime vs 2023 Prius

2023 Prius Prime vs. 2023 Prius: Which Is Better?

Key Points

When evaluating Prius vs. Prius Prime, it’s helpful to consider the following:

  • 2023 Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid while 2023 Prius is a pure Hybrid car.
  • Both sedans came out in 2023 and cost between $27,000 to $32,000.
  • The 2023 Prius Prime is milliseconds faster than its sibling, but have the same cargo capacity.

With a combination of gas and electric power, hybrid cars are perfect for those who want the operational range of gas with increased fuel economy. However, not all hybrid vehicles were created equal. Plug-in hybrids allow drivers to switch between gas and electric power. Conventional hybrid vehicles balance the power use autonomously, but they depend on the gas engine. Comparing two similar models from the same automaker might help you understand the exact differences between the two. With Toyota being a pioneer in the hybrid car world, here’s how the 2023 Prius Prime vs. 2023 Prius compares.

2023 Prius Prime vs. 2023 Prius: Side-by-Side Comparison

2023 Prius Prime2023 Prius
Year of release20232023
Vehicle typePlug-in hybridHybrid
ClassSedanSedan
Powertrain220hp196hp
Top speed116mph (est.)113mph
RangeUp to 640 miles on a full tankUp to 640 miles on a full tank
Acceleration (0 to 60mph)6.6 seconds7.1 seconds
DrivetrainFWDFWD; on-demand AWD
Number of seats55
Cargo capacity20.3 cu. ft.20.3 cu. ft.
Wheel size17”-19”17”-19”
AutomakerToyotaToyota
Starting price$32,350$27,450

2023 Prius Prime Vs. 2023 Prius: What’s the Difference?

evs in connecticut
The 2023 Prius Prime starts at $32,350 without destination.

Hybrid cars may seem revolutionary, but the concept is rather old. Ferdinand Porsche’s brainchild, the first-ever hybrid car, was unveiled as a prototype in 1900. The first mass-produced hybrid car from Porsche, the Cayenne S Hybrid, was released 110 years later in 2010.

However, while Porsche may have designed the first hybrid vehicle, Toyota was actually the one who launched the first mass-produced hybrid car in the world – the Toyota Prius. The original Prius model was first released in 1995 on the Japanese market. Two years later, an upgraded version of the Generation I Prius was launched on the Western markets. Now in its fifth generation, the Prius impresses with design and performance upgrades that are hard not to like.

Younger than its sister, Toyota Prius Prime was first launched in 2012. This car caught up fast and also features a fifth-generation hybrid powertrain. It also features a plug-in battery pack that can be charged via a charging station or wall outlet. This feature gives the 2023 Prius Prime an edge over the conventional Prius.

Vehicle Type

The main difference between the 2023 Prius Prime and the 2023 Prius is the type of hybrid engine. Toyota Prius is a conventional hybrid. These hybrid vehicles feature batteries and an electric motor designed to enhance the fuel efficiency of the gas engine. The batteries are charged automatically as you’re driving. Part of the charge comes from the gas engine, while another from regenerative braking.

Apart from this aspect, conventional hybrid cars work in the same way gas-fueled cars do. You don’t have to plug in the car to charge the batteries. All you’ll ever have to worry about is having enough gas in your tank.

On the downside, you can’t turn off the gas engine and run on battery alone. While the batteries maximize fuel efficiency and may be able to take you to a gas station in case your tank runs empty, more often than not, the vehicle will simply stop.

The 2023 Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid. Basically a part-time EV, this car allows you to choose the power to use. Running on battery only is usually ideal in the city, while a combination of electric and gas boost fuel economy on long journeys. Running on gas only increases fuel consumption, but in this mode, you can recharge the battery pack while driving.

In hybrid mode, Prius Prime doesn’t use both engines simultaneously. The car runs on electric power until it’s depleted, then it switches to gas. In such a setup, the gas engine is a sort of backup for the electric motor and not the other way around, as it happens in the Prius.

Performance

Both cars use power differently, impacting their performance. Prius Prime has the upper hand. While the 2023 Prius is the most powerful conventional hybrid in the line (194 horsepower for the front-wheel drive and 196 horsepower for the AWD), the 2023 Prius Prime features a 220hp powertrain. The extra power translates into higher top speeds – up to 116 miles per hour compared to 113mph in the conventional version.

While the difference isn’t jaw-dropping, it does add extra security in situations where an extra boost of speed would come in handy like when overtaking. Prius Prime accelerates faster, going from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.6 seconds, while 2023 Prius in 7.1 seconds.

The plug-in design also increases fuel economy. As a standard hybrid, the 2023 Prius returns an impressive 57 miles per gallon in the city and 56 miles per gallon on the highway. However, the 2023 Prius Prime claims 53mpg in the city and 51mpg on the highway. For both car types, these returns refer to the entry-level trims (LE and SE, respectively). The premium trims of both vehicle types have even higher fuel efficiency.

Moreover, Prius Prime takes things to the next level with an operational range of about 44 miles on battery alone. That said, Prius Prime has a smaller fuel tank than the Prius, and both cars have about the same operational range before you have to refuel.

Another difference between the 2023 Prius and Prius Prime is the presence of a solar roof on the latter. When the vehicle is parked, the roof reveals a system of electrodes that draw energy from the sun and recharge the battery. Toyota’s clever engineers implemented a design that conceals the electrodes when the car is in use, giving the roof an attractive glossy appearance.

Design

Blue Toyota Prius vehicle
The 2022 Toyota Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

At first glance, the 2023 Prius Prime and the 2023 Prius look identical. The two models have the same exterior and interior dimensions; thus, they offer the same amount of passenger and cargo capacity. Both models feature a new, streamlined design with sleek curves and a spacecraft-looking allure.

However, at a closer look, Prius Prime comes with details that differentiate it from the conventional Prius. The clear taillights, black exterior trim, and different wheel designs give Prime a sportier character. Inside, the main difference is represented by red accents on the seats and dashboard.

The entry-level trims of Prius and Prius Prime feature an 8-inch Toyota Audio Multimedia infotainment center. In the 2023 Prime, a 12.3-inch infotainment console comes as standard in the premium trim (Limited). You can also upgrade from the small to the big one if you like the XLE trim. However, in the Prius Prime, the 12.3-inch screen comes as standard in both XSE and XSE Premium trims.

Regardless of the infotainment console in your car, all systems are Android-based and compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. For both Prius and Prius Prime, the entry and mid-range trims come with a 6-speaker audio system. The premium variants feature an 8-speaker JBL audio system, including an amplifier.

Safety and Traction

From a safety standpoint, both the Prius and the Prius Prime feature a variety of sensors, cameras, and driver-assist functions developed to reduce the risk of accidents. Surprisingly, though, the Prius has more safety features as standard on the entry-level model.

In fact, the 2023 Prius features the automaker’s Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, a system that includes a variety of alerts and cruise control functions. The car also features a blind spot monitor and rear traffic control alert, as well as vehicle proximity notification and an engine immobilizer.

New drivers can benefit from hill start assist control, as well as front and rear parking assist with automatic braking (as an optional on the LE and standard on the XLE and Limited trims).

Prius Prime comes with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, too, but it has fewer safety and convenience options on the entry and mid-range trims. Advanced Park, for instance, is only available on the XSE Premium, and you can’t even get it as optional on the SE and XSE.

Beyond safety sensors, the 2023 Prius is a better choice if you want better traction in difficult conditions. The conventional hybrid comes in front-wheel and all-wheel drive variants. The all-wheel drive option is not a standard all-terrain vehicle, but the AWD can be activated on demand.

This function is dependent on the electric motor, so you can expect an increased fuel consumption when using it. However, when activated, you’ll get incredible traction on slippery surfaces. Due to differences in the car’s engine system, the 2023 Prius Prime doesn’t support all-wheel drive.

Price

Another difference between Prius and Prius Prime is the price, with the former featuring a more attractive price tag. Currently, the 2023 Prius LE has a starting price of $27,450. The Limited trim, which includes most features and add-ons as standard, costs $34,465 with no further customizations.

Toyota announced its 2023 Prius Prime prices in April 2023. The car is more affordable compared to other hybrids but more expensive than the Prime. For instance, the entry-level (2023 Prius Prime SE) has a starting price of $32,350. The XSE Premium trim costs $39,170 or more if you want to customize anything.

Both the 2023 Prius and the 2023 Prius Prime are eligible for Toyota loans, or you could lease them. Lease options are available directly from the automaker or authorized dealers.

2023 Prius Prime Vs. 2023 Prius: 6 Must-Known Facts

  • The 2023 Prius is a conventional hybrid vehicle. You cannot plug it in to charge the batteries, but it offers a greater fuel efficiency compared to gas vehicles.
  • Toyota Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid. It allows you to switch from electric to gas power as you wish. The hybrid mode mimics a conventional hybrid system, alternating between power modes to reduce fuel consumption.
  • Prius is a better choice for people living in areas where an all-terrain vehicle might be necessary. The eAWD mode increases traction on slippery terrains.
  • Prius Prime comes with a solar roof that charges the battery when the car is parked, even if you haven’t plugged it in. The 2023 Prius XLE and Limited feature a fixed glass roof instead.
  • The 2023 Prius Prime brings more performance, but the conventional Prius might be a better choice for new drivers.
  • Toyota Prius is a better choice for budget-conscious individuals. You can save between $4,700 and $11,720, depending on the preferred trim and extra add-ons.

2023 Prius Prime Vs. 2023 Prius: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Get?

Of the two cars, the 2023 Prius Prime is better than the 2023 Prius. The Prime is more powerful, boasts improved performance, and comes with innovative features that are lacking in the Prius, such as the solar roof. Perhaps the only true advantage point of the Prius is the all-wheel drive, a feature available on demand.

However, this doesn’t mean that Prius Prime is better. While it is true that it has better performance, the difference is minimal. If you want a new Prius without going over the top, the conventional hybrid will save you some bucks. However, if you want to switch between power modes independently and drive a part-time EV, then Prius Prime is the best choice.

Prius vs. Prius Prime in the News

If you’re still on the fence about Prius vs. Prius Prime, you may be interested to know that both of these Toyotas have been in the news recently. Cars.com pointed out that while the Prius Prime is more expensive than the Prius, it is also more fuel efficient and has a range of up to 44 miles on electric power alone. The article also mentioned that the Prius Prime is eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, which will undoubtedly be a key selling point for many consumers. Gear Patrol reviewed the Prius Prime and praised the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, luxury interior, and comfortable ride.

2023 Prius Prime vs 2023 Prius

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between the 2023 Prius in the 2023 Prius Prime?

The main difference between the 2023 Prius and the 2023 Prius Prime is the type of vehicle. Toyota Prius is a conventional hybrid car in which you can’t use the electric motor independently from the fuel engine. Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid vehicle in which you can use only the electric motor, only the gas engine, or a combination of both.

What changes in 2023 Prius Prime?

Compared to the previous Prius Prime versions, the 2023 Prius Prime features a larger engine and a bigger electric motor. The system generates 220 horsepower, which is about 100 horsepower more than the previous generation.

Is the 2023 Prius changing?

Toyota Prius was not famous for its looks, but this changed in 2023. The new Prius generation features a complete makeover, including attractive lines and a sleek appearance.

How far can a 2023 Prius Prime go on battery only?

The 2023 Prius Prime has an operational range of 44 miles on battery only. That’s an improvement compared to earlier generations, in which the battery range didn’t exceed 25 miles.

Is 2023 Prius smaller?

The 2023 Prius is actually larger than the earlier generations, but it is two inches lower than the 2022 model. This reduces some of the headspace, especially for the rear passengers.

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