2022 Toyota Prius Review

2022 Toyota Prius - Prius AWD-e remains a competitive gas-electric hybrid


Price: $29,625

Pros—Thrifty. Roomy. Rakish stying. Supple ride. Sure handling. Decent acceleration. AWD. Safety features.

Cons—Not as rakish as it looks. Three adults a squeeze in back. Touchscreen can hard to see in sunlight.

Bottom Line—Proven economical hybrid with long history and respected nameplate.

The Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid has considerable history, being the world’s first mass production hybrid. Some 6 million have been sold, with nearly 2 million bought in the United States since its 1997 introduction. The  2021 version found found 59,010 U.S buyers in 2021, up from 43,525 in 2020, despite a lot more competition.

The 2022 four-door hatchback Prius model is little changed from its predecessor. This version comes in a variety of front-drive or AWD models ranging in price from $24,625 to $30,625, although a plug-in “Prime” model costs more.

I drove the non-plug-in Prius, a higher-line XLE AWD-e model that listed at $29,575. A few options brought the price to $32,084 that mainly consisted of an $800 Advanced Technology package with such items as a color head-up display with a hybrid system indicator. It’s O.K. and brightens the interior a bit but seems rather costly.

My test 108-inch-long XLE AWD-e had good room for four tall adults. A third could squeeze in the rear, but the rear-center seat is a little too firm for comfort.

The rather plain-looking interior is quiet, partly because the car has a very low .24 drag coefficient, except for some engine moan during hard acceleration.
There’s a push-button starter, and the digital gauges can be quickly read. The 7-inch touchscreen is fairly straightforward and gives information on such things as audio system and climate controls.  However, bright sunlight can make it difficult to read the screen. There’s a heated tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and ventilation vents are strategically placed on the dashboard.

The front SoftTex-trimmed heated front seats are supportive, and the driver’s seat is powered. Interior features include an audio system with 6 speakers, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Sirius with a 3-month trial, heated steering wheel, auxiliary power outlet and wireless Smartphone charger.

A deep covered console bin, door pockets and easily reached cupholders help make the Prius more friendly.   

The hatch opens to reveal a cargo floor with 27.4 cubic feet of space. Flipping the split folding rear seat backs forward allows an impressively roomy cargo area of 50.7 cubic feet.

The XLE AWD-e has 2.8-liter 121-horsepower four-cylinder gas engine, batteries and a generator. The XLE AWD-e adds an additional small motor to the rear axle to deliver better traction.

The switch between the gas engine and electric power is very smooth, working with a responsive CVT automatic transmission.

Despite its rakish body the Prius XLE AWD-e isn’t for drag racing—or any type of racing—as the 0-60 m.p.h. time is 10.5 seconds. But that’s a respectable time, and I found there’s decent power for in-town maneuvers and fast freeway driving. The brake pedal initially felt mushy but I soon learned to easily modulate its use. Generally, the Prius XLE AWD-e is rather fun to drive.

A driver use a console switch to select Eco, Normal or Power driving modes. I found Power mode made the car a little more lively, but there isn’t much difference between the three driving modes.  

The 3,210-pound Prius XLE AWD-e delivers an estimated 47 miles per gallon on the highway and 51 in the city. Only 87-octane gas is needed for its 10.6-gallon tank.

The steering is quick, and the ride is very supple for a 106-inch-wheelbase car. Getting in and out of tight spots wasn’t a problem.

Toyota didn’t skimp on safety features of the family oriented Prius. They include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar control, lane-departure alert with steering assist, road sign assist, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and intelligent clearance sonar with intelligent park assist.    

Also standard are automatic on/off headlights, heated power outside mirrors and rain-sensing wipers.

Some folks who are considering an all-electric car might stop and think, “Why not a Prius?”

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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