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2023 Prius Prime vs Tesla Model 3: Which One Is Better?

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2023 Prius Prime vs Tesla Model 3: Which One Is Better?

Key Points

  • The Tesla Model 3 offers an impressive electric range of 333 miles and 112 miles per gallon equivalent, while the Toyota Prius Prime has a 44-mile electric range and 52 miles per gallon.
  • The Model 3 features a powerful 455 horsepower electric engine and all-wheel drive, while the Prius Prime has a 196 horsepower hybrid engine and front-wheel drive.
  • Both vehicles offer advanced safety features, with the Model 3 including AutoPilot and the Prius Prime featuring lane-keep assist and pedestrian detection.

When it comes to electric vehicles, there are few EVs as prominent as the Tesla Model 3. Year after year, it has been the most popular choice for drivers looking to see what all the fuss around an EV is about. It certainly makes sense, as the Model 3 is a vehicle that has set the standard for range, usability, and an exemplary user experience.

The same applies to Toyota’s Prius Prime, which has been the hybrid of choice for close to two decades. When looking at these industry leaders, which one comes out on top?

If you’re in the market for an alternative fuel vehicle, there is a slew of options. As with any major purchase, it bears exploration and careful thought.

Whether you’re in the market for an EV, hybrid, or something else, it helps to know what you’re seeing. Let’s take a closer look at the Tesla Model 3 and the Toyota Prius Prime to see which one is the best choice for your household.

2023 Prius Prime vs Tesla Model 3: Side-by-Side Comparison

Tesla Model 3Toyota Prius Prime
Horsepower455 horsepower196 horsepower
Engine TypeElectricHybrid
DrivetrainAll-wheel driveFront-wheel drive
Miles Per Gallon112 miles per gallon equivalent52 miles per gallon
Electric Range333 miles44 miles
Height56.8 inches56.3 miles
Width72.8 inches70.2 inches
Length184.8 inches181.1 inches
Wheelbase113.2 inches108.3 inches
Cargo Volume15 cubic feet23.8 cubic feet
Front Headroom40.3 inches38 inches
Rear Headroom37.7 inches36.4 inches

Both vehicles are strikingly close dimension-wise. The powertrain and drivetrain are where differences really start to arise.

Tesla Model 3 vs 2023 Prius Prime: What’s the Difference?

Both vehicles occupy roughly the same niche, being crossover utility vehicles. But there are some distinct differences, as you might expect, between the two of them which merit some exploration.

Performance

The Model 3 has long been the perfect blend of affordability and performance for EVs, and the 2023 refresh is no different. Users get quite a bit of power on tap for a vehicle of this size, especially when coupled with the all-wheel drive transmission.

The operational range of the vehicle is, likewise, quite impressive, topping out well over 300 miles in testing. EPA estimations placed the range at around 333 miles, so seeing it stay within the same ballpark is great.

You won’t be competing in any major racing events, but you’ll have plenty of acceleration and power on tap for highway driving. The equivalent fuel efficiency is also exemplary, far surpassing any gasoline-powered car on the market.

2023 Prius Prime vs Ford Mustang Mach-E
The 2023 Toyota Prius Prime is available in three trim levels: SE, XSE, and XSE Premium.

©The Global Guy/Shutterstock.com

The Prius line of vehicles has been the top dog for fuel efficiency in hybrid vehicles, and the 2023 Prius Prime model is maintaining this standard. Users can expect stellar mileage, hovering around 50 miles per gallon in combined usage.

The electrical range is less than stellar, but the Prius Prime is a gasoline-powered vehicle first and foremost. Performance is somewhat lacking compared to the Model 3, with acceleration being more sluggish.

The difference in the drivetrain is also very prominent, being a cheaper front-wheel drive vehicle. If you’re a daily driver, it’ll suit your needs just fine, but be aware of its limitations.

Electronics

The electronics suite on board the Tesla Model 3 is something out of a science fiction story. You’ll find a host of entertainment features on the central infotainment panel. Games, streaming services, music, you name it, it is there.

The central infotainment panel acts as the overall brain behind the whole operation on the Model 3, and is where you can expect to maintain functions like climate control and shifting. Tesla also provides a digital key for the Model 3 in the event that you find yourself locked out of the vehicle.

It would be nice to see more traditional controls for putting the vehicle into gear, but it is a unique experience nonetheless.

The Toyota Prius Prime has a fairly decent electronics suite on board. A central infotainment panel controls streaming media, navigation, and other standard features. You can expect to see Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, on board but don’t expect to play your favorite games while waiting at the gas station.

Toyota has packed quite a bit of extra functionality into the infotainment panel, including wireless internet access, among other features. Much like Tesla, the Prius also comes with its own digital key app. That said, there aren’t any major complaints about the electronic functionality of the storied hybrid vehicle.

Safety Features

The Tesla Model 3 comes with AutoPilot, the autonomous driving platform, for navigating on highways. While this isn’t the best choice for constant driving, it does make for a smart safety feature. Also on board the Model 3 are standard features like automatic emergency braking.

Adaptive cruise control is present, which is further augmented by 360 degrees of coverage from sensors and cameras alike. There isn’t a lane-keep assist, but there is a lane-departure warning system. Tesla does have one of the best safety suites on the market, and the 2023 revision maintains this standard.

most popular EVs in Oregon
Since early 2020, the Model 3 has been the bestselling EV in the world.

©Grzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock.com

The Toyota Prius Prime is more readily featured when it comes to safety features. While it lacks the in-depth sensor and camera array you’ll find on the Tesla Model 3, it makes up for it with some other features. For example, you’ll find automated emergency braking and pedestrian detection as default.

The Prius also has automatic high beams, which is a handy feature for those nighttime country drives. Unlike the Model 3, the Prius does have a lane-keep assist in addition to lane-departure warning systems.

Warranty Information

The Tesla Model 3’s warranty coverage isn’t exemplary, but is fairly robust for what is on offer. The limited warranty covers up to 50,000 miles, or four years. The powertrain warranty is far more generous at eight years, or 100,000 miles.

Sadly, there’s no provision for corrosion protection, which is a common complaint against this particular EV. Complimentary scheduled maintenance isn’t provided during the warranty window, either, which is an unfortunate omission.

Toyota’s warranty for the 2023 Prius isn’t the top in class, but it is decent. You have three years, or 36,000 miles, for the limited warranty coverage. The powertrain is covered for five years, or 60,000 miles. Hybrid components, like the electric drivetrain and motor, are covered for eight years, or 100,000 miles.

Toyota does cover complimentary maintenance for the first two years, or 25,000 miles. That said, it is a solid offering for the warranty, and well worth considering when choosing between these two vehicles.

2023 Prius Prime vs Tesla Model 3: 6 Must-Know Facts

  1. The Tesla Model 3 has been the most popular EV since its introduction.
  2. The Tesla Model 3 is more prone to corrosion in saltier climates thanks to the body materials.
  3. The Tesla Model 3’s AutoPilot system isn’t intended for city driving use.
  4. The 2023 Toyota Prius Prime has less headroom compared to previous years, but better mileage.
  5. The 2023 Toyota Prius Prime has been the most popular hybrid vehicle for the past 20 years.
  6. The 2023 Toyota Prius Prime is a plugin hybrid vehicle.

2023 Prius Prime vs Tesla Model 3: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

If you’re in the market for an EV, it is hard to go wrong with the Tesla Model 3. It’s been the gold standard in its price range and vehicular niche for a number of years, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. You get an exemplary range, plenty of power, and a bevy of other great features.

If you’re in a city where EV charging infrastructure isn’t widely available, the Prius Prime is a solid choice. It is certainly one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. You will be looking at routine maintenance on a regular basis, however, as it is not a true electric vehicle.

Whatever choice you make, be sure to drive before you buy it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I charge the Model 3 at home?

Yes, provided you have a suitable home charger for it.

Can I charge the Prius Prime at home?

Yes, it uses a standard J1772 port for recharging the electric battery.

Is the Prius Prime fully electric?

No, it is a plugin hybrid vehicle.

Does the Model 3 need oil changes?

No, the Model 3 just needs tire and brake changes on a regular basis.

Can I play games on the Prius Prime's infotainment system?

No, but you can listen to music or use it for navigation purposes.

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