Toyota Prius 2.0 PHEV Design 5dr CVT

  • Automatic
  • Petrol Parallel PHEV
  • 5 door hatchback
  • 12 g/km CO2
  • 6.8 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 223 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

Toyota's Prius needed to reinvent itself for this new era. It has. It's now a Plug-in Hybrid, but a much more sophisticated one, with a smarter look, longer range and sharper handling. Still want that mid-sized EV? If you're considering that and don't want an SUV, check out one of these as well.

Background

As EV sales falter, Hybrid powertrains are elbowing their way back into the sales spotlight. An appropriate time then, for the return of the car that started the Hybrid revolution, the Toyota Prius. First launched in 1997 as 'the car for the 21st century', the Prius went on to find 5.05 million owners over four generations, pioneering the 'Synergy Drive' Hybrid tech that now underpins just about every Toyota you can now buy and forcing rival makers to get serious about electrified engines. By the end of the fourth generation model's production run though, hardly any private UK customers were choosing a Prius; in 2021, just 563 models were sold here (mostly to Uber drivers), compared to nearly 18,000 Toyota's C-HRs. So when the radical new fifth generation Prius model was launched at the 2022 LA Motor Show, the Japanese maker announced that it wouldn't be appearing in UK showrooms. But then came the hiccup in the EV market and a renewal of customer interest in the kind of Plug-in Hybrid powertrain that Toyota only offers in the priciest versions of its C-HR and RAV4 SUVs. Suddenly, that decision to can Prius sales was starting to look somewhat premature. Hence the brand's U-turn on the subject in early 2024 and the decision to sell this MK5 design here after all, though only (for the moment) in PHEV form. Let's take a closer look at it.

Driving Experience

This fifth generation Prius is exclusively a Plug-in Hybrid; for the time being, the 2.0-litre self charging Hybrid unit offered with the car outside Europe isn't available here, but as we've already seen with this model line, decisions like that can change very quickly with market conditions. The PHEV drivetrain's pricier of course, but it's the one you'd ideally pick with this car if you can afford it. We don't get the entry-level 191bhp Prius PHEV you can get in other countries; the UK is offered only the full-fat 220bhp version (99bhp more powerful than the previous generation Prius Plug-in). That's generated by a combination of a 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol engine and front-mounted twin electric motors energised by a 13.6kWh battery. Performance is far more rapid than anything a Prius driver will have experienced before, 62mph dispatched in 6.7s en route to 110mph. In other markets, Toyota offers a tuned-up '24h Le Mans Centennial GR Edition' sporty version. Handling should be also be a pleasant surprise for long-term fans of this model line. To that end, Toyota has widened the track and based this MK5 Prius on an evolved version of its well-regarded TNGA platform. The result is a car that's stiffer, more refined and more stable than before. Traction is aided by the 235/50 R18-inch tyres that ride on the larger aerodynamic wheels. Indulge this fifth generation model's newfound agility and you're probably make a sizeable dent in the available EV range, now rated at 53.4 miles. That's about 8 miles less than you get from a rival PHEV Golf, but it's about 10 miles more than was returned by the previous generation model.

Design and Build

As you can see from the pictures, this MK5 model is a very different kind of Prius. Yes, the familiar wedge shape remains but it's far more sleekly fashioned in this form with the roof height lowered by 50mm. Overall length is cut back by 46mm and the rakish profile is set off by big 17 or 19-inch wheels. A light bar runs the whole width of the front, emphasising a width increase of 22mm. The rear view is accentuated by a three-dimensional linear lighting element focusing attention on the Prius logo. You might not be quite as taken with the cabin, though it does offer a big step forward in perceived quality. Toyota has decided to replicate the design approach of its bZ4X EV by providing a 'Peugeot i-Cockpit'-like format, which incorporates a high-mounted driver's combimeter screen, a little binnacle display pushed a long way back almost to the windscreen. You're supposed to view this monitor over the top of the wheel rather than conventionally through it, hence that stitched tiller's correspondingly small size. The bZ4X lineage does at least mean you get a decently-sized 12.3-inch 'Smart Connect+' centre touchscreen with built-in cloud-based navigation. And in contrast to the dated monitor of the previous model, it comes with smart graphics and over-the-air updates. Despite the shorter overall front-to-rear dimension, a 50mm increase in length between the axles means more space at the rear, though you'll still struggle to comfortably accommodate more than a couple of adults. Toyota has moved the roof peak rearwards to preserve headroom. Out back, there's a decently-sized 502-litre boot, much the same as that of the previous model.

Market and Model

Prices for this PHEV-only 220bhp fifth generation model start from just over £37,000, which gets you base 'Design' trim; you'll need around £40,000 for the plusher 'Excel' version. Key equipment features on the 'Design' model include 17-inch alloy wheels, smart entry, rear privacy glass, the Toyota 'Smart Connect+' multimedia system with both cloud-based and embedded navigation, a fully-digital driver's combimeter, parking sensors with obstacle, vehicle and pedestrian detection and dual-zone air conditioning with a 'nanoe-X' air quality system. The plusher 'Excel' version rides on 19-inch wheels and comes with eight-way power adjustable front seats with memory settings and integrated heating and ventilation. A digital rear-view mirror and a powered tailgate are also included in the specification. As you'd expect, the latest generation 'Toyota Safety Sense' active safety and driver assistance systems are also provided as standard. These include the latest evolution of the autonomous braking 'Pre-Collision System' and Toyota's 'Proactive Driving Assist' set-up. 'Emergency Steering Assist' aids you with panic swerves. And 'Lane Trace Assist' helps keep the vehicle to its intended path. The system works with the standard full-range 'Adaptive Cruise Control' system, which also includes an added 'Overtake Prevention Support' feature, which automatically prevents unintentional undertaking on multi-lane highways. 'Turn Signal Linked Control' helps the driver join the traffic flow at a safe speed and distance from other vehicles. There's a 'Blind Spot Monitor' which alerts you to vehicles in your blind spot and links to a 'Safe Exit Assist' feature which warns if vehicles or cyclists are approaching from the rear when opening a door.

Cost of Ownership

Say what you like about the Prius but in the last quarter of a century, this model line's certainly done its bit for the ozone layer. Toyota claims that over this period, four generations of Prius have prevented more than 82 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Building on that, this fifth generation model is the cleanest yet, with a CO2 figure of just 12g/km. As with all PHEVs, a completely unrealistic 3-figure combined cycle fuel return is quoted - in this case nearly 300mpg. But you should easily be able to achieve the kind of regular fuel consumption you'd previously have got from a frugal diesel. These stats of course assume that you're maximising possible EV driving range from the car's 13.6kWh lithium-ion battery, which as we told you in our 'Driving' section is supposed to be able to take you up to 53.4 miles between charges. That claimed range figure puts the car in a very favourable 8% Benefit-in-Kind taxation bracket - which for many customers could be the clincher for purchase. On the move, you can select an EV mode or use a Hybrid setting that will work with the sat nav and uses Geofencing technology that will prioritise electric power in low-emission zones. The navigation system can also suggest a route that will take into account your state of charge and identify possible charging spots. In this Prius, you can also adjust the strength of the regenerative braking. The battery can use a 7kW charger for a home top-up that will take two and a half hours. And as usual with Toyotas these days, if you keep the car serviced at a franchised dealer, the warranty can be extended up to a maximum of 10 years.

Summary

This radical re-invention of what a Prius should be was developed as part of what Toyota calls its 'Hybrid Reborn' concept, based around what the brand thinks the car will need to remain popular for the next 25 years. And the result of all this effort is indeed very different from earlier much frumpier designs in this long-running model line. We're disappointed this MK5 version can't be had with the self-charging Hybrid powertrain that Toyota promotes so heavily with its other cars. But if you can afford it, the Plug-in Hybrid drivetrain we're restricted to instead might be a tempting alternative to that mid-sized EV you might have been considering. No longer need a Prius driver be dismissed as a slightly nerdy eco-warrior (or an Uber driver). This rejuvenated design is sharp to look at, sharp to drive and a really rather clever alternative to a compact PHEV crossover. We're reminded of the original advertising tagline for the first generation version of this model: "you look smart: you should drive a Prius". Maybe it still applies.

  • Push button start
  • Remote boot door release in cabin
  • Smart entry and push button start
  • Smart voice assist
  • 2 USB-C connectors front
  • 2 USB-C connectors rear
  • 2x USB sockets in front armrest
  • 6 speakers
  • DAB Radio (Digital Audio Broadcasting)
  • Road events
  • Black door moulding
  • Black rear bumper
  • Black surround on lower front grill
  • Black wheel arch mouldings
  • Boot door release with push button
  • E-switch operated rear door handles
  • Grille shutter
  • Manual front door handles
  • Rear side wing doors
  • Rear spoiler
  • Shark fin antenna
  • Silver lower front grille
  • 12v power outlet - front
  • 2 cup holders in front
  • 3 spoke premium animal friendly leather steering wheel
  • Assist grips front
  • Assist grips rear
  • Boot 230V power outlet
  • Boot underfloor storage
  • Charge cable bag
  • Foldable tonneau cover
  • Front and rear door pockets
  • Gloss black insert on centre pillar
  • Luggage floor board with protection mat
  • Manual telescopic steering wheel
  • Manual tilt steering wheel
  • Multimedia switches on steering wheel
  • Power window switches with satin chrome inserts
  • PVC gear shift knob
  • Rear cup holders
  • Satin chrome interior door handles
  • Soft-touch front door armrests
  • Soft-touch rear door armrests
  • Sports fabric upholstery
  • 3 point seatbelts on all seats
  • Acoustic vehicle alerting system
  • Child safety door lock
  • Driver and passenger central airbags
  • Driver and passenger front airbags
  • Driver and passenger side airbag
  • Driver knee airbag
  • Passenger airbag on/off switch
  • Pre-tensioners and force limiters
  • Rear seat reminder alert
  • Tyre pressure warning system
  • Driver power door lock
  • Glass-breaking alarm sensors
  • Immobiliser
  • Intrusion alarm
  • Intrusion sensor
  • Motion sensor alarm
  • Remote door lock
  • Smartphone remote door lock
  • Smartphone remote hazard lights system
  • Wheel Nuts
  • Battery Capacity in kWh: 13.6
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Charge Time (Mins): 352
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Power Supply - kW: 2.3
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Charge Time (Mins): 116
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Power Supply - kW: 7
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • Charging Port Location: Right Side Rear
  • Coupler/Connector Type: CCS Type 2
  • Maximum Charging Rate - kW: 7
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Years: 3
  • Usable Battery Capacity: N
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (km) - City: 111
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (km) - Comb: 86
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (miles) - City: 69
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (miles) - Comb: 53.4
  • CO: 0.153
  • HC: 0.014
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Noise Level dB(A): 65
  • NOx: 0.004
  • Particles: 0.0002
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 Weighted (g/km) - Comb: 12
  • WLTP - CO2 Weighted (g/km) - Comb - TEH: 14
  • WLTP - CO2 Weighted (g/km) - Comb - TEL: 12
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1987
  • Compression Ratio: 14.0:1
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 80.5
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 97.6
  • Engine Code: M20A-FXS
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Fuel Delivery: MULTI POINT FUEL INJECTION
  • Gears: 1 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Transmission: AUTO
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (l/100km) - Comb - TEH: 0.6
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (l/100km) - Comb - TEL: 0.5
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (mpg) - Comb - TEH: 470.8
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (mpg) - Comb - TEL: 564.9
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 2.0
  • Badge Power: 223
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: PHEV
  • Coin Series: Design
  • Generation Mark: 5
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 31P
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 6.8
  • Engine Power - BHP: 223
  • Engine Power - KW: 164
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 6000
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 140
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 19.4
  • Engine Torque - NM: 190
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 4400
  • Top Speed: 110
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 195/60 R17
  • Tyre Size Rear: 195/60 R17
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: 5 SPOKE
  • Wheel Type: 17" ALLOY
  • Height: 1420
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 4599
  • Wheelbase: 2750
  • Width: 1782
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 40
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1995
  • Max. Loading Weight: 450
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1545
  • No. of Seats: 5