Even with the huge improvements to its sheet metal, drivetrain, and suspension, the new Prius still falters in a few areas. Its shortcomings might not be deal-breakers for most buyers, but some flaws that could have been averted are particularly annoying.
First and foremost is how much engine, tire, and road noise invades the cabin—especially on rough pavement. The din makes longer trips at highway speeds unpleasant. A bit more insulation, please.
Related is the drone/roar from the engine and constant-velocity transmission (CVT) under hard acceleration, plus the familiar CVT “rubberbanding,” when the engine revs higher with no equivalent forward motion from the car. Drivers can minimize this phenomenon by driving in Sport mode.
A downside of the Prius’ sleek styling is reduced rear visibility due to the sloping roof, slanted rear window, and large rear roof supports. The roof angle also reduces rear headroom and, more importantly, cargo space, from 27 cubic feet (rear seats up) on the 2022 Prius to 24 cubic feet for the 2023 LE trim (and just 20 cubic feet on the XLE and Limited trims). Folks new to the Prius might not notice; previous Prius owners certainly will. Also missing for 2023 are a rear windshield wiper and rear air vents.
Finally, in keeping with a regrettable trend, Toyota has eliminated the Prius’ spare tire. All trim levels come with a tire-inflator kit; however, owners can purchase a spare tire from Toyota.