Read Caroline’s Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid review for everything you need to know about buying Toyota’s new hybrid car in Ireland.

The Toyota Prius is an icon of the Toyota range. Over 5 million have been sold worldwide. It’s where hybrid began for the Japanese car brand over 25 years ago.

Since then, Toyota has become synonymous with hybrid technology and its range of cars are among Ireland’s bestsellers like the Corolla, Yaris Cross and C-HR.

For a long time the Prius was the world’s most famous hybrid car. But it wasn’t always the prettiest.

Until now.

The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes
The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes

What’s so special about the Toyota Prius?

The new Prius goes on sale priced from €45,900 so it is more expensive to buy than before. However it’s now exclusively sold as a plug-in hybrid in Ireland with the ability to drive on electric power only for up to 71 kilometres, otherwise enjoyed as a fuel-sipping hybrid.

This is a gorgeous car. The Prius has been completely reimagined for this new fifth generation model. The iconic wedge shape is still apparent but it’s been honed and toned into something entirely beautiful and eye-catching.

Shorter and lower than the car it replaces but with a longer wheelbase, the design is hugely aerodynamic to boost efficiency. Finished in charming Tokyo Gold, the Prius can turn heads in appreciation.

19-inch alloy wheels come as standard with LED lighting adding a stylish flourish to the design. Hidden rear door handles give a coupé-like profile.

The cabin of the new Prius
The cabin of the new Prius

Inside the Prius

The new cabin is less futuristic than the previous version, with a more mature and upmarket feel.

There’s a new steering wheel, digital driver display and large touchscreen in the centre of the dash with over the air updates, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and voice control.

Ambient lighting adds a premium touch while there are good quality soft touch materials in the dashboard. The harder plastics in the doors and centre console let down the side a bit.

High-end features include heated and ventilated front seats, digital rear view camera and lots of standard safety equipment.

Three will fit across the rear bench with generous legroom though headroom is not the most generous due to the sloping roofline.

A powered tailgate comes as standard and opens to reveal 284 litres. That doesn’t sound like much but in reality it will swallow up a few suitcases but buyers looking for a bigger boot would best be looking at a Corolla Touring Sports, Corolla Cross or RAV4.

The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid can drive up to 71 kilometres on electric drive alone
The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid can drive up to 71 kilometres on electric drive alone

Driving the Prius Plug-in Hybrid

The new Prius is built on the second generation of Toyota’s GA-C platform of the Toyota New Global Architecture. It handles the road with some real elegance, feeling neat and well-balanced through bends. The steering is also well-weighted, keeping the driver connected to the driving experience.

The plug-in hybrid uses a new generation of Toyota hybrid with lighter and more compact parts. At its heart, there is a 2.0-litre petrol engine, a small capacity battery and an electric motor feeding power to the front wheels.

There is 223hp in this new model, which is considerably more than the previous Prius plug-in hybrid. 0-100 is just 6.8 seconds so there is plenty of power when you need it. The Prius is smooth and agile to drive though it’s not one that encourages you to drive quickly. The eCVT transmission gets a bit noisy during enthusiastic driving, even in the Sport mode.

It is much better enjoyed at a more relaxed pace where it proves exceptionally efficient. Even without plugging in to charge the battery, the new Prius can easily achieve 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres in fuel consumption. Truly exceptional.

Boot space in the new Prius
Boot space in the new Prius

Wind noise is relatively subdued but there is some persistent road noise.

There’s a 3.3 kW on-board charger, which can top up the battery in four hours from a wallbox or 6 hours from a socket at home.

Did you like it?

The new Toyota Prius is a truly desirable car for its good looks. It marks a new chapter for the Prius and a very good-looking one at that.

It’s also exceptionally efficient and the plug-in hybrid gives the driver the option to run this car on electricity alone for a limited range that may particularly suit urban dwellers.

However this is not a cheap car and cabin quality is a bit patchy in places, while for some it just may not be practical enough.

But if you’re enthralled by driving one of the world’s most iconic cars with  serious eye-catching good looks, then the Prius is a reliably efficient companion.

Model tested: Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
2.0-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 223 hp
Torque: 208 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.8 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The new Prius is a stunning hybrid hatchback
The Toyota Prius is a stunning hybrid hatchback