A major event occurred with the introduction of the Toyota Prius. More than two decades ago, it set a new standard for fuel efficiency by achieving over 50 miles per gallon, and during the first decade of the 21st century, it was practically synonymous with the name of its manufacturer. Although it was the best-selling hybrid for a while, a tiny SUV named the RAV4 Hybrid has recently surpassed its in popularity.
The incredibly significant hatch may have been out of the limelight for a while, but it’s back in the spotlight again. Toyota has officially unveiled the fifth-generation Prius, a completely revamped model that lives true to the nameplate’s reputation for good fuel economy and a roomy cargo capacity while also featuring a sleek, futuristic design and enhanced performance. There’s no denying that the new Prius is an improvement over the old one, but would we choose one over the RAV4 Hybrid?
Size And Interior Dimensions: Advantage RAV4 Hybrid
A sport utility vehicle (SUV) is larger than a regular car, but not by as much as you may expect. The Prius’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches larger, and it’s a little longer overall. However, the RAV4 is a few inches bigger and about a foot taller. The crossover also offers more legroom in the back by 3.0 inches, but the Prius has much more legroom up front. The difference is probably quite little in practice.
Cargo capacity is the primary advantage of the SUV over the hatchback. The RAV4 Hybrid’s interior space is nearly double that of the Prius’s base model, the LE, however, the Prius’s base model still offers more space than the RAV4 Hybrid, at 23.8 cubic feet. About 500 fewer pounds are carried by the Prius.
|Wheelbase||108.3 inches||105.9 inches|
|Length x Width x Height||181.0 x 70.2 x 55.9-56.3 inches||180.9 x 73.0 x 67.0 inches|
|Legroom (front/rear)||43.2/34.8 inches||41.0/37.8 inches|
Performance And Fuel Economy: Advantage Prius
The two Toyota hybrids are remarkably comparable in terms of performance. Although the RAV4 Hybrid’s engine is larger in displacement and has a 25-horsepower advantage, we expect similar acceleration times given the 500-pound weight difference. The RAV4 has the higher ground clearance and is equipped with off-road settings and hill descent control for when you venture off the beaten path.
In most cases, a hybrid’s fuel economy will be better than that of a comparable gas-powered vehicle, but not all hybrids are created equal. The Prius is the preferable option because of its lower center of gravity, smaller gas engine, and better aerodynamics. Compared to the RAV4 Hybrid’s decent 40 mpg combined, Toyota’s legendary hybrid hatchback could return approximately 52 mpg, or up to 57 mpg if you go for the cheapest LE grade. An all-wheel drive is an option for both vehicles.
2023 Toyota Prius XLE 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid LE
|Base engine||2.0-liter I-4 plus electric motor||2.5-liter I-4 plus front and rear electric motors|
|Horsepower||194 hp||219 hp|
|Fuel economy (city/highway)||52/52 mpg||41/38 mpg|
Technology And Features: Advantage Prius
Both have Toyota’s 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is wirelessly compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. At the top of the line trim levels, the Prius offers Toyota’s new 12.3-inch touchscreen while the RAV4’s largest screen is only 10.5 inches. The SUV, however, has a higher audio ceiling; the highest-end RAV4s may be equipped with an 11-speaker JBL audio setup with a subwoofer, while the best-in-class Prius only has an eight-speaker system.
When compared to the base RAV4 Hybrid’s price, the Prius’s middle-tier trim is slightly more affordable. There are some initial upgrades to the Prius, including wider 19-inch wheels, LED taillights, a wireless charging pad, and a luggage cover. In comparison to the RAV4 Hybrid, which has cloth upholstery and a manually adjustable driver’s seat, this one stands out because of its faux leather upholstery and heated power driver’s seat. If you go with the hatchback, you’ll get twice as many USB ports (USB-C in this case).
Safety: Advantage Prius
Toyota is known for providing even their base models with a wide range of safety and convenience features for drivers. The Prius and the RAV4 share several safety features, including full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane centering, automatic high lights, and traffic sign assist when you need them.
However, be aware that the Prius, being a newer vehicle, is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (the RAV4 is compatible with TSS 2.5), which features upgraded radar and video sensors for enhanced low-light pedestrian detection and superior lane recognition. The Prius XLE comes standard with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while in the RAV4 Hybrid LE, these functions are extra-cost add-ons.
Despite being a 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick, the lowest LE variant of the RAV4 Hybrid lacks the appropriate upgraded LED headlights. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded it a perfect score of five stars for safety. Neither group has conducted a safety test on the Prius.
Pricing: Advantage Prius
That’s why we can draw parallels between them. These are the top two hybrids to look for at a Toyota dealership if you have a budget of a little over $30,000. The base model 2023 RAV4 Hybrid LE costs $31,560. Prius XLE purchasers can upgrade from the base model for the same starting price of $31,990.
2023 Toyota Prius Vs. 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: Which Is Better?
It’s impossible to find an argument against the new Prius unless you have an absolute requirement for the higher ride height and larger load capacity of the RAV4 Hybrid, or if you adore its higher seating position and harder appearance (OK, that Woodland Edition looks rad). More amenities, improved safety, higher fuel economy, leather seats instead of fabric, and virtually identical performance are all yours for the same price.
We can’t wait to compare our experiences driving these two vehicles side by side, but in the meanwhile, we’ll be purchasing a new Prius.