It's been a bit of a shocker in the auto world since being revealed at the recent L.A. Auto Show -- the next- generation Toyota Prius is actually sleek and attractive.
"People have been calling it 'sexy' and we just love it. That's as intended," said Lisa Materazzo, V.P. of marketing for Toyota USA.
Over the past couple of decades, the Prius has become a sort of automotive legend. First, there was a somewhat frumpy 2001-2003 sedan to bring hybrid technology to the road, then the iconic slope-back shape that would really define the car for the 2004 model year. There was a smoothing of that basic shape in 2010, then another redesign with some interesting angles in 2016. Still, it was never really a car anyone would call "sexy."
Now, the 2023 Prius is boldly arriving as a head-turning design that loses the frumpiness once and for all.
"It's lower, it's wider, it's sleeker. It is definitely a vehicle that's focused on styling with a modern look," explained Materazzo.
But it's not just about the looks. Toyota has been able to refine the technology quite a bit. Horsepower is improved, as is acceleration. This new Prius is NOT a slowpoke, and handling is now somewhat athletic. At least for a Prius, that is.
Fuel efficiency has improved only a bit, at 57 mpg combined. But keep in mind, that figure is in conjunction with 60% more horsepower than the outgoing Prius.
We hear so much talk these days about fully-electric vehicles, and Toyota has those, with more on the way. But they also say that the hybrid vehicle is not done yet. The company is taking a holistic approach to the future.
"And the reason behind that is consumers have different wants and needs, so we want to offer the broadest possible range. Hybrids are a key part of that strategy. We think it's a seamless transition for consumers who really want to be part of that transition to electrification," Materazzo noted.
The Prius has had a long and illustrious life over the years, which seemed to put people in one camp or the other as to whether they'd want to own one. The striking new 2023 Prius may end up changing a lot of minds over to the "yes" side. It reaches dealerships next month, with models starting at $28,545 including shipping.