New Prius Shatters Expectations with Astounding Transformation
Beats Field of Heavyweights Including Tesla Model 3, Lucid Air, and Hyundai Ioniq 6
Hybrid Model Well-Positioned Amid EV Sales Growth Slump and
Consumer Charging Anxiety
LOS ANGELES, CA – November 16, 2023 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – MotorTrend announced today the Toyota Prius as the winner of its Golden Calipers as 2024 Car of the Year. Traditionally recognized for its commitment to efficiency and affordability over style and performance, the Toyota Prius has undergone an astounding transformation in its new incarnation. This latest model shatters expectations as the best-looking, best-driving, most powerful, and most efficient Prius yet. Moreover, the Prius handily beat a field of heavyweight contenders, including the newly revised and highly regarded Tesla Model 3 Highland, Lucid Air, and new Hyundai Ioniq 6, as well as many other hotly anticipated 2024 models. As a hybrid model, the Prius is well-positioned amid slumping EV sales growth and consumer charging anxiety. Boasting an eye-catching design, an athletic driving experience, and the same commitment to efficiency and affordability, the new Prius is set to appeal to a wide range of consumers in today’s car market.
“Toyota has fundamentally redefined the essence of a Prius with its new model, which represents a crowning achievement in its evolution,” said MotorTrend Group head of editorial Ed Loh. “The Prius succeeded in capturing the hearts and minds of MotorTrend judges by offering an undeniably attractive and engaging car—all while upholding its hallmark traits of efficiency, safety, and affordability. In an automotive landscape grappling with a scarcity of affordable EV options and inadequate charging infrastructure in the U.S., Toyota made the Prius hybrid the right car for this moment and rightfully earned MotorTrend’s 2024 Car of the Year award in the process.”
For the first time since 2004, Toyota designers and engineers were given total freedom to rethink the Prius. Whereas the previous-generation Prius gave the impression it was designed by a committee that never bothered to step back and look at the whole, the 2024 Prius features a refreshingly holistic—not to mention conventionally attractive—design. “This new Prius looks so sharp, cool, and interesting that I’m happy about driving the car before I even start rolling forward,” said MotorTrend executive editor Mac Morrison.
The new Prius is for those who might not traditionally consider a Prius. Longer, lower, and wider than the one it replaces, the new Prius melds its unquestionably stylish looks with a new hybrid system anchored by larger, more energy-dense batteries for up to 57 mpg for the Prius hybrid and up to 45 miles of electric range in the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid.
The cabin is also significantly improved without giving up on the practicality Priuses are famous for. The cabin is refreshingly cohesive, eliminating the hodgepodge of plastics, obtuse low-resolution infotainment and instrument displays, and questionable materials found on prior generations. Up front, all Priuses feature a futuristic-looking 7-inch LCD instrument cluster display and an 8-inch infotainment screen as standard, or a larger 12.3-inch format on midgrade models and up. Beneath, for the first time in generations, is a real center console. “I appreciate the conventional gearshift,” said Detroit editor Alisa Priddle. “It allows Toyota to place the cupholders horizontally so you know whose cup is whose, as well as leaving room for well-placed USB-Cs and a wireless charging slot for phones.”
The 2024 Car of the Year aced the safety tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Prius and Prius Prime its coveted “Top Safety Pick+” rating for both its crashworthiness and its crash-avoidance technology. That’s especially remarkable considering the vehicle’s reasonable price point. Base Prius LEs start at just $28,745 and include necessities such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The Prius XLE, at $32,190, adds style in the form of 19-inch wheels, safety with parking assist and automatic emergency braking, and convenience with heated front buckets.
The Prius sports a modern new 2.0-liter I-4 engine that produces 150 hp, a significant boost from the 95-hp unit found in previous models. The Prius Prime gets a more powerful 161-hp engine, bringing total system output up to 220 hp. When a manufacturer gives a vehicle more power, it naturally takes some efficiency away. It’s a tried and true paradigm—except the new Prius somehow shatters this expectation. Base Priuses net an EPA-rated 57/56/57 mpg city/highway/combined, improving on the 58/53/56 mpg rating of the most efficient previous-gen Prius.
Toyota also saw fit to revise the braking system, adding an active hydraulic booster to both improve brake pedal feel and smoothen the handoff between regenerative and friction brakes. With sharp, accurate steering and a composed chassis that takes to potholes as well as it does corners, the Prius is genuinely a fun car to drive. Morrison agreed: “What’s this? A chassis that isn’t deathly allergic to spirited driving? I was able to keep up with a Model 3 on our twisty road route with zero trouble. And I had a smile while doing so. Never before have I experienced this in a Prius.
The new Prius has undoubtedly broadened its appeal well beyond its traditional base. More attractive, more efficient, better to drive, and just as affordable as before. Sure, everyone’s got opinions on the Prius, but to us it’s unquestionably our 2024 Car of the Year.
For more in-depth analysis on why the Toyota Prius was named 2024 Car of the Year, please visit MotorTrend’s Car of the Year award story.
Becoming the MotorTrend Car, Truck, SUV, or Performance Vehicle of the Year is a crowning achievement in the automotive world, a testament to the unparalleled prestige and long-standing tradition of these awards. MotorTrend stands alone in its commitment to exhaustively evaluate and track-test vehicles for these coveted honors, a practice upheld with dedication since the Car of the Year award’s inception in 1949. The Truck of the Year award was added in 1978, SUV of the Year in 1999, and Performance Vehicle of the Year in 2022, in recognition of an ever-evolving market. MotorTrend’s iconic Golden Calipers trophy symbolizes excellence and serves as a powerful marketing tool, a testament to the awards’ impact on the automotive industry and consumers alike.
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Source: MotorTrend Group