(Carlsbad, Calif.) Yes, Toyota persists and signs another Prius.

The last Prius looked like the idea of ​​a flying saucer in the 1950s or 1960s. The news? Not at all, but that’s not necessarily a compliment. By wanting it prettier, more efficient, more dynamic and more sober, Toyota has visibly turned its back on its loyal clientele.

As the industry shifts to all-electric, how will you welcome this fifth generation Prius which, visually at least, looks like a normal car? Pretty to look at, no doubt, but normal all the same. Worse still, it no longer embodies the vision we had of the car of tomorrow.

Toyota does not share this opinion and believes that hybrid technology, of which it was one of the instigators, has a bright future ahead of it. In its pitch, Toyota points out that the most effective way to quickly reduce greenhouse gases is to multiply the number of hybrid vehicles on our roads. Currently, the material resources required to build one battery from a Cadillac Lyriq or Tesla Model S are equivalent to building 90 Prius. Japan’s automotive leader further argues that these 90 Prius contribute to a carbon emission reduction similar to that of five electric vehicles.

Environmentalists raise eyebrows. Some of them remind us that with or without wires, a hybrid does not stop our dependence on fossil fuels. Others believe that this speech aims either to hide the delay of Toyota, or to ensure to maintain its production rate.

Whether you side with Toyota or the environmentalists, the fact remains that the Prius continues on its way and intends, this time, to please as many people as possible. Its more consensual lines will undoubtedly contribute to this.

At the same time, it becomes the most economical plug-in hybrid offered in the country with an average fuel consumption of less than 5 L/100 km, all versions combined.

Let’s go into more detail. The architecture of the Prius (TNGA-C) is an evolution of the previous one. It is stiffer, lighter, but above all, it allows you to reorganize the location of the battery (it now fits under the seat) in order to reduce the center of gravity and increase the volume of the trunk. Under the hood, Toyota ditches the 1.8L engine in favor of a 2.0L engine that combines two electric power units to produce 220 hp. A boost for the Prius, which now takes less than 7 seconds to reach 100 km/h after a standing start. A 40% gain over the previous generation. The gearbox remains continuously variable (CVT) and drives only the front wheels of the Prime version. The classic hybrid-powered Prius (read wirelessly) is exclusively offered with four-wheel drive.

The combination of all these elements makes this Prius a fun car to drive. Its direction transmits the work of the front axle more acutely and allows it to be entered with more aplomb than a Corolla in the turns. The suspension effortlessly smoothes out road imperfections while curbing the unwanted body movements that sometimes sap our confidence during quick lane changes.

The transition between petrol and electric is practically imperceptible to the ear. However, in an overtaking maneuver, for example, the thermal part (yes, the 2L engine) becomes particularly vocal as the CVT box throttles it. During this test, as long as we adopt a cast pipe, it is possible to reach the 72 kilometers of electric autonomy claimed by the manufacturer. And even more.

Unfortunately, the dynamic qualities and the frugality of its powertrain do not say everything about the Prius. Its advantageous profile has real consequences on the practicality of this vehicle. The curvature of its roof, for example, has detrimental effects on headroom. In fact, the interior volume regresses, as does that of the trunk. This provides more space under the rear window than before, but the loading surface is less than that of the previous model. Access and egress are also more problematic, both at the rear and at the front.

For its part, the instrumentation block appears much too small to integrate so much information. This leads to many distractions. The huge blind spot created by the C-pillars (near the tailgate) creates insecurity, as does the (very forward) positioning of the windscreen pillars. And the rear window doesn’t have a wiper. Reviews that might make you long for the days when the Prius looked like a flying saucer.

From $37,990 to $46,990

SE: 4.5 L/100 km and 72 km electric range


Prius means “the first”. True, but that was many years ago.

There’s the Prius Prime and there’s the Prius. The latter recharges while driving, especially during slowdown phases, but cannot travel very long distances without the intervention of the gasoline engine. Compared to the Prime version, the “classic” Prius does not qualify for any government subsidies, but has the advantage, however, of adopting a four-wheel drive mode. Never mind, the Prime has so far proven to be the most popular in Canada (24,054 units compared to 22,745). Toyota estimates that eight out of ten buyers will prefer the Prime in the coming years.

The first generation of Prius was revealed to the world a quarter of a century ago. At that time, the Toyota Hybrid System (THS) consisted of a 1.5L four-cylinder gasoline engine producing 58 hp and an electric unit rated at 30 kilowatts (40 hp). When it first hit the market, the Prius was offered as a sedan (our photo). It was not until the unveiling of the second generation (2003) that the Prius adopted a more functional body (five doors). More than 5 million Prius have found buyers since its launch.

I have owned a 2020 Prius Prime since October 2019. In the summer, on a full charge, the range ranges from 54 km to 58 km. I work 10 miles from home. I can easily go back and forth. In winter, that’s a maximum of 35 km on a full charge. With the heating, yes, it goes down a bit quickly. That said, it more than meets my needs. In hybrid mode, consumption is great. Like any hybrid car, city driving extends the range, thanks to low speed and frequent braking which recharges the battery. Otherwise, charging and hybrid mode management is done while driving the car as needed. I consider this car the best of both worlds. Practical and inexpensive to drive thanks to its batteries and no need to recharge on long journeys with its low fuel consumption. Yes, its trunk is limited in space, but it’s a very small flaw considering the rest. Comfortable and reliable, for the price difference between the Corolla Hybrid and the Prius Prime with government rebates (about $4000 at time of purchase), my choice quickly paid off. Totally satisfied.

I own a 2020 Toyota Prius Prime bought new in the summer of 2019. I have driven 60,000 km and my average consumption is 2.4 L/100 km since the beginning. I am extremely satisfied with my vehicle. In addition to its low consumption, maintenance costs and reliability are exceptional. The comfort is appreciable. The only downside would be the luggage compartment which is amputated by the battery. In the summer, I have 45 km to 50 km of electric range. In winter, it drops from 20 km to 30 km. I would buy another without hesitation.

I own a 2022 Prius Prime Update. I am happy with my vehicle with a battery range of 65 km in summer (0.9 L/100 km) and 35 km in winter (3 L/100 km). The infotainment screen is comprehensive and without any issues so far. The interior finish is rather low-end and the trunk is rather small. The exterior paint is very thin and fragile with multiple scratches on my vehicle with only 8000 km on the clock. The dealer had offered me protection for my paintwork which I should have accepted. For a couple without children, it is a vehicle to consider despite some flaws.

I have been driving a 2020 Toyota Prius Prime since 2019 which now has 33,000 km. It allows me to travel to the nearest town (16 km away) daily. Unfortunately, this trip is done with the gasoline engine for about the first seven kilometers on average (this varies according to the temperature) even if I do not use the air conditioning or the heating. Previously I owned a Chevy Volt and this allowed me to always be in electric mode as long as the battery had a charge. That’s why I don’t like my Prius so much and regret my purchase. Plus, it’s so low it practically scrapes the street. The only plus point over the Volt is that it allows me to take longer trips for less, as it has a range of over 900 km on only 40 L of gas.

La Presse will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Ford Mustang, GMC Canyon, Ioniq 6, Nissan Ariya and Toyota GR Corolla. If you own one of these vehicles or are considering one, we’d love to hear from you.