Sales of the Toyota Prius may be falling with the RAV4 Hybrid taking the crown of Toyota’s best-selling hybrid model in the United States, but we reckon it is popular enough to be renewed for another generation.
A 2023 Toyota Prius for fifth-generation is in the pipeline, as per a report from bestcarweb.jp that emerged in May. According to a more recent bestcarweb.jp report, Toyota will offer the next-gen Prius in a unique hydrogen variant. We’ve covered the details in-depth in the powertrain section.
Since its launch in 1997, the Toyota Prius has sported a peculiar design for distinction and achieve higher aerodynamic efficiency than comparable compact cars. The aim is to streamline it into a sporty coupe instead of a family vehicle in the fifth generation, says the Japanese report. It is safe to assume that Toyota engineers will aim for a coefficient of drag of 0.24 Cd or lower with the refined silhouette. As per Best Car, a futuristic interior will be a selling point of the 2023 Toyota Prius.
Citing a Mag-X report, an article on creative311.com has said that the next-gen Prius will measure 4,550 mm in length, 1,780 mm in width, 1,415 mm in height, and a 2,750 mm wheelbase. So, compared to the current-gen Prius, it could look sportier with shorter overhangs and at the same time offer more space in a smaller package. For reference, the current-gen Prius is 4,575 mm long, 1760 mm wide, and 1,470 mm tall, and it has a 2,700 mm wheelbase.
In January 2021, Mag-X presented a rendering of the 2023 Toyota Prius with an aggressive front-end that doesn’t look quirky like that of the fourth-gen model. It featured slim horizontal headlamps that formed a C-shape together with the DRLs and the turn indicators. The radiator grille and lower grille featured a sharper design, and the latter had a bigger footprint. The Japanese expect a compact and sporty design, which would be a radical change for many customers.
The fourth-gen Prius debuted Toyota’s high-strength TNGA platform, and it sits on the GA-C version. Like the third- and fourth-generation Prius, it should come available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants in most key markets like the USA, Japan, and European countries, and there’s more! The next-gen Prius should ride on an enhanced version of this modular architecture to meet future customer requirements and crash safety standards.
More efficient hybrid powertrain
Toyota will use the current 1.8-liter petrol engine in the hybrid system of the 2023 Prius. Though the displacement is unchanged, the gasoline engine will be discernably more efficient, it is reported. For reference, the current Prius’s maximum fuel economy is 32.1 km/l as per Japan’s WLTC test method. Best Car adds that the Prius also carries the current Lithium-ion battery pack into the next generation.
Hydrogen-powered engine variants
Perhaps, the Toyota Prius’ work isn’t done though the world has adopted hybrids at a mass level and is gradually moving on to pure EVs. Turning hydrogen-engine technology into a commercial reality could be the next challenge for the esteemed nameplate. Toyota’s relatively slower pace of electrification has indicated that it’s considering other, uncommon ways to achieve carbon-neutrality.
The rumored Toyota Prius hydrogen variant could turn out as an innovation. The Mirai and the Nexo use a fuel cell in which a chemical reaction of the contained hydrogen with oxygen generates electricity, which powers an electric motor. The next-gen Prius could come with a combustion engine that generates power through the combustion of hydrogen using modified fuel supply and injection systems of gasoline engines.
In April, Toyota announced the development of hydrogen-engine technology through motorsports. The company is testing a 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that runs on compressed hydrogen in a Toyota Corolla Sport-based racing vehicle.
According to the recent Best Car report, it is said that Toyota is working on commercializing hydrogen-engine technology in 3-4 years.
The 2023 Toyota Prius will be one of 70 electrified models, including HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs, and FCEVs, that Toyota plans in its line-up by 2025. Sales of the Toyota Prius slipped again in 2020, with 43,525 units sold in the United States, a drop of 38 percent compared to 2019, a shadow of its former self when you consider Toyota sold well over 200,000 units in 2012. A full redesign could help whip up enthusiasm for the Prius nameplate, but it is an uphill task as customers migrate to crossovers and SUVs. The emergence of affordable and long-range electric vehicles is another rising threat to the brand that was once an innovator for the car industry.
2022 Toyota Prius launched in the U.S.
2022 is likely the final model year for the fourth-gen Toyota Prius in the U.S market. The 2022 Toyota Prius range includes a new Nightshade Edition special edition model with a darkened exterior. The Prius Nightshade Edition sports headlight accents, mirror caps, door handles, 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, and shark fin antenna, all in black. The AWD-e version of the Prius Nightshade Edition has smaller, 15-inch alloy wheels with black lug nuts.
Also new for 2022 is a standard rear-seat reminder to ensure that the driver doesn’t leave behind a child or pet in the car. Moreover, the XLE and Limited grades now feature new integrated fog lights with LED accent lights. The 2022 Prius’ prices start at USD 24,525.
Look out for the debut of the next-generation Toyota Prius in the second half of 2022.
Featured Image Source: Toyota