It's not often we do the InsideEVs 70 mph range test on a plug-in hybrid, but make no mistake, the 2023 Toyota Prius Prime is no ordinary plug-in hybrid. So when we were presented the opportunity to attempt to see how far the totally redesigned new Prius Prime would go at 70 miles per hour on a full charge before the gasoline engine turned on, we jumped on it.
The range test happened at Toyota's first-drive event for the 2023 Prius Prime in Carlsbad, California, on a chilly, rainy afternoon. We typically cannot do range testing at media events like this, because the automakers have planned out routes for us to take, but we were able to pull this one off without causing any issues with our hosts for the event.
The 2023 Toyota Prius Prime has sleek, aggressive styling, a departure from previous Prius designs.
The 2023 Prius Prime is all new and completely redesigned. The funky angular design has been replaced by a sleek, wedge shape that, dare we say, is even sexy. This is the first Prius that actually looks good, in our opinion, and it's better than good; it actually looks great.
We would have loved to see Toyota offer a battery-electric version, but alas, it wasn't to be. We can't imagine the Prius line going another generation without offering an all-electric version, though. However, with the 2023 Prius Prime, we get an excellent plug-in hybrid that blends sporty styling, with class-leading fuel economy.
In addition to the great looks, the new Prius Prime has a much larger battery with a longer all-electric driving range. The 2022 Prius Prime came with an 8.8 kWh battery and an EPA range rating of 25 miles per charge. The 2023 version now has a 13.6 kWh battery and the Prius Prime SE, the most efficient version, is EPA range rated at 44 miles per charge.
The XSE and XSE Premium trims are EPA range rated at 39 miles per charge. The range differences can mostly be attributed to the fact that the SE has 17-inch wheels and the XSE and XSE Premium come standard with 19-inch wheels and are slightly heavier.
Gallery: 2023 Toyota Prius Prime: First Drive
After placing the Prius Prime in EV mode so the hybrid system wouldn't switch back from BEV to hybrid, we set the vehicle to ECO driving mode. Whenever we do our 70 mph range tests, we always place the vehicle in the most efficient driving mode offered and we also set the climate control to 70° Fahrenheit and on the lowest fan setting.
We were able to cover 34 miles before the vehicle turned on its combustion engine, five miles less than the EPA range rating for the XLE Premium we were driving. However, it was raining and the temperature was in the low 50s, so it was far from ideal range conditions. If it were a little warmer and not raining, we probably would have come very close to the 39-mile EPA range rating.
We also believe that it's likely drivers will be able to exceed 50 miles of driving range in all-electric mode when driving at lower speeds. The vehicle had an average consumption rate of 3.1 miles per kilowatt hour in the test which would lead us to believe Toyota only allows about 11 kilowatt-hour of the 13.6 kilowatt-hour battery pack to be accessed in EV mode.
Impressed or not so much? Let us know in the comment section below and check out our full first-drive review for the details on the all-new 2023 Toyota Prius Prime.