The New Toyota Prius Will Drift

The Toyota Prius has acted as the punchline in most automotive jokes since its U.S. introduction in 2001, but the fifth-generation Prius has flipped the script. Jalopnik’s own Andy Kalmowitz even said he “immediately fell in love with it” on his first drive in December of 2022, and knowing Andy, that’s high praise. Though I haven’t gotten a chance to drive the fifth-generation Toyota Prius yet, the automotive media space has done a total 180 when it comes to the Prius. Car reviewers went from viewing it as the de facto choice for least favorite car, to a respected, fun to drive, and efficient option for buyers.

“Good for a Prius,” though, can be seen as a cop out. The first four generations of the Toyota Prius were the antithesis of driver’s cars; slow, uninspiring appliances used to ferry folks from home to the office and back with no mention of fun. Prius 0-60 times were always objectively slow, with most models requiring around 10 seconds to reach 60 mph, but there’s more to a car’s fun factor than outright acceleration. When roads got twisty, older Priusses had the chance to redeem their leisurely ways by being fun and engaging, but they offered nothing of the sort. They were hampered by hard, low rolling resistance eco tires and economy car suspension that sucked all the fun out of twisty roads.

FIRST DRIVE: New Toyota Prius + Stig Breaks Longest Uber Ride Record

Thankfully the fifth-generation Prius has righted the wrongs of its predecessors by adding both more power and more engaging driving dynamics. I knew the new Prius was a massive step forward for the little economy car, but I didn’t realize that it made the car genuinely fun and not just “fun for a Prius.”

In this Top Gear video review of the new Toyota Prius, The Stig slings a yellow Prius Prime plug-in hybrid around a race track, and I was floored to see the car rotating around corners and even kicking its tail out into some quick drifts. Previous generations of the Prius would have just understeered off the track, but the fifth generation car actually looks like fun to hoon around a track. Watch the video and see what you think, can the new Prius be genuinely fun?

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