The Extraordinarily Clever Way the Prius Prime Conserves Fuel That Isn’t the Drivetrain
The all-new Toyota Prius Prime doesn’t cease to amaze. With surprisingly beautiful styling, mesmerizing performance, and six USB-C ports as standard, endless praise is warranted. But beneath the sophisticated exterior and synthetic leather touch points lies even more brilliance. The Prius Prime is so focused on fuel savings it’ll even learn how you drive to help with efficiency.
The Prius Prime is more instinctive than you think
Toyota’s 2023 Prius Prime is staffed with an intuitive system dubbed Predictive Efficient Drive with Predictive Deceleration Support. The system will help the Prime optimize its range—gas or electric—by learning the driver’s on-road habits. For instance, if the driver comes to a stop at a certain traffic condition or posted sign every morning on their commute, the car will recognize it. Every day, the Prius Prime will analyze points of deceleration and stopping.
It’s unclear how many miles must be driven until the system catches on. However, once it does, whenever the driver travels through a frequent location frequently stopped at or slowed, the system will let off the accelerator pedal. It can also engage assisted deceleration, thus employing the regenerative braking system to recharge the battery. That’s a handy trick to have when the all-electric range is 44 miles, or 39 miles in the mid-range XSE and top-tier XSE Premium.
Is the system new to the Prime?
The system isn’t new for the Prius Prime; it debuted on Toyota’s PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) in the 2020 model year. In the complete redesign for 2023, Toyota stocked the Prime well, which includes the deceleration support function on the base SE sedan. Unfortunately, it will only work in the lower 48 states—sorry, Alaska and Hawaii.
Does the 2023 Prius Prime have any other tricks up its sleeve?
New for 2023, the Prime, as well as other Toyotas, have a low-speed copilot function. Technically, two of them. First, a radar-based Traffic Jam Assist (TJA) system will operate the steering, gas, and brake pedals at speeds up to 25 mph. As part of the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 suite, it will ease the stress of stop-and-go traffic, but only in certain conditions on limited roadways.
Separate from TJA, Proactive Driving Assist will implement gentle braking and steering into curves, but also in certain conditions. Toyota says it will “help to support driving tasks such as distance control between a preceding vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist.”
With available cloud navigation—not in the base Prime SE—drivers have more destination assistance than you can shake a stick at. Toyota doesn’t use the word “autonomous” anywhere in its literature. Therefore, drivers shouldn’t think the Prime will drive itself by any means, but a copilot is a nice thing to have.