The new 2023 Toyota Prius boasts solid acceleration figures for a commuter hybrid, and it even outpaces the previous-generation Toyota 86.
Thanks to Toyota's new hybrid powertrains, the new-generation Prius makes a significant leap forward in performance compared to its predecessor. Front-wheel-drive models boast 194 horsepower from a 2.0-liter engine and hybrid system, and can hit 60 mph in just 7.2 seconds. The all-wheel-drive models can make the same sprint in 7.0 seconds flat, thanks to 196 horsepower and an electric motor driving the rear wheels.
For comparison's sake, the outgoing Prius could only muster a zero-to-60 mph time of 9.8 seconds in front-wheel-drive trim. The new Prius compares favorably to the previous-generation Toyota 86, too. The lightweight sports car hit 60 mph in 7.0 seconds with a manual transmission, with auto models a full second slower.
Toyota achieved power gains by upgrading the Prius's engine and battery alike. The outgoing powertrain was only good for 121 horsepower, a significant deficit to the new models. The new engine is a 2.0-liter compared to the previous model's 1.8-liter inline-four. Additionally, the old nickel-metal hydride battery has been replaced with a lithium-ion pack instead. Lithium-ion batteries are far more common in EVs and hybrids due to their lighter weight and greater power delivery. In this case, the new battery can deliver 15% more power than the previous unit.
Prius owners will still be dropped at the lights by the latest-generation Toyota GR 86, though. It hits 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds thanks to its more powerful engine that eliminates the torque dip of its predecessor. Similarly, while the Prius would beat a 1982 Ferrari 308 GTSi (7.6 seconds), Magnum P.I. would make an easy getaway in the faster Quattrovalvole model (5.7 seconds).
The new Prius is by no means a performance car. However, the latest hybrid besting the earlier sports car indicates just how performance continually marches on, even down to commuter vehicles like the Prius. Alternatively, perhaps it just highlights how slow the original Toyota 86 really was. Share your own controversial take in the comments.
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