Is the Toyota Prius Starting to Turn Things Around After Stumbling out of the Gate?
The Toyota Prius may have been the first mass-market hybrid car, but it’s currently struggling to stay relevant in today’s market. In terms of sales, 2023 has been a mixed bag for the entire Prius family. July was its best month yet, but do these cars have what it takes to break sales records for 2023?
Where the Toyota Prius currently stands in the automotive market
The Toyota Prius had an excellent sales month this past July, selling nearly 4,000 units. That total includes both the standard Prius and the plug-in hybrid Prius Prime. Those numbers put it over 143% ahead of its sales total from July 2022.
Even with such a promising month, the Toyota Prius’s popularity is still decreasing. Consumers are buying about 9% fewer Prius models compared to last year. By the end of July, the Prius family had sold approximately 16,645 units so far.
Can the Toyota Prius keep up the pace?
The Prius has been one of Toyota’s least popular vehicles this year, largely outsold by the automaker’s pickup trucks and RAV4 SUV. The Prius had a nice start in January with almost 2,500 units sold, only to have an extremely poor sales month in February. GoodCarBadCar doesn’t show us Prius sales data for March.
The Prius redeemed itself in April with just over 3,000 units sold. Drivers bought 3,888 Prius units in May, but June was a slower sales month. Given these inconsistent numbers, it’s still too difficult to determine whether the Prius will finish out 2023 with a YTD sales increase.
Why are consumers gravitating toward the Toyota Prius family?
The 2023 Toyota Prius underwent a complete redesign, which included several improvements to increase its appeal. Toyota claims that this Prius has retuned handling and acceleration, both of which are comparable to an EV’s performance aspects. The new Prius also has better stability and a lower center of gravity now that it’s built on Toyota’s modern TNGA-C platform.
The 2023 Toyota Prius also features a much better powertrain consisting of a bigger four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. The single-motor models make 194 hp combined, while the dual-motor ones with all-wheel drive make 196 hp. With the base powertrain and front-wheel-drive equipped, the Prius gets 57 mpg combined city/highway.
Though the roots of this car’s controversial design are still somewhat noticeable, the new Prius is an inch wider and has a lowered roofline. These tweaks should make the Prius more aerodynamic. Despite its wider dimensions, this Prius actually has less cargo space compared to the outgoing model.
On the positive side, the 2023 Prius actually has an interior fit for the modern age. The two upper trims can be had with a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and every model features six USB ports. The Prius Prime’s new interior is just as nice, plus it can hold more cargo than a standard Prius. Both the Prius and Prius Prime have standard wireless smartphone integration.
The Prius Prime is powered by a four-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors, but all-wheel-drive surprisingly isn’t available. This powertrain is capable of 220 hp. The battery pack provides up to 44 miles of electric-only range for the base trim and 39 miles for every other model. In Hybrid mode, the Prius Prime still makes an excellent 54 mpg combined.
The 2023 Toyota Prius didn’t start appearing in dealerships until last January. Given that information, we might assume that some drivers weren’t aware that the Prius had received such a great makeover. Now that buyers are warming up to the new Prius family, its sales might continue to rise through the rest of this year.