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These are the best plug-in hybrids we’ve driven for 2024

Electric vehicles are a solid choice for buyers looking to cut their carbon footprint and stop paying for gas, but they’re not the best electrified vehicle choice for everyone. Plug-in hybrids help bridge the gap, offering electric range with the security of a gas engine when there is no option to charge. They’re slightly more expensive than regular hybrids, but they offer a fantastic compromise for people who aren’t ready to make the jump to full electric. Heck, the site’s founder even owns one!

That said, we’ve rounded up our favorite PHEVs for 2024 here, but if you want to see our monster list of best cars, head here. The models on this list offer great tech, upscale interiors, and solid performance. Care to take a look at the best plug-ins the market has to offer? Perfect. Then let’s get rolling.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Quarter View
Image: Chrysler
  • Starting price: $51,095
  • Horsepower: 260 hp
  • Torque: 262 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 30 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 82 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 16 kWh
  • EV range: 32 miles 

Laugh all you want at minivans, but the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is genuinely one for the books. Interestingly, it used to be the only hybrid van on the block, but that changed when Toyota introduced the latest Sienna. But Chrysler beats it out with plug-in functionality and a surprisingly stout 32-mile range estimate. On top of that, it returns 82 MPGe and up to 30 mpg with its gas powertrain. The Pacifica Hybrid also brings comfortable minivan handling and confident-but-numb steering. 

Though aging, especially compared to its more recently updated rivals, the Pacifica Hybrid’s interior offers fantastic comfort and solid space for people and gear. Leather upholstery and heated front seats come standard, and the second-row captain’s chairs bring good padding and support. Chrysler uses Stellantis’ Uconnect infotainment system, which is easily one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces on the market. Even if it’s not the newest system to date, it rewards buyers with rapid touch response and a brainless-to-navigate layout that even our new editor-in-chief can attest to, having experienced many modern Stellantis/FCA vehicles. It runs flawlessly on the standard 10.1-inch touchscreen and brings wireless smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth, USB inputs, and six speakers. 

Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV

Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in Front Quarter View
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Alexander Migl
  • Starting price: $42,410
  • Horsepower: 261 hp
  • Torque: 258 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 33 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 76 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 13.8 kWh
  • EV range: 32 miles

The Hyundai Santa Fe was an all-new model in 2021 and gained a frugal plug-in hybrid powertrain last year. While not a performance vehicle by any stretch of the imagination, the Santa Fe Hybrid offers brisk acceleration and reasonably athletic handling. At the same time, it maintains easy-going ride quality and offers a quiet cabin. 

With the recent overhaul, Hyundai moved the Santa Fe in a more premium direction, giving it an upscale interior with excellent materials quality and handsome design. Hyundai’s infotainment tech is less complicated than many other brands’ systems, and it runs smoothly on the Santa Fe PHEV’s standard 10.25-inch touchscreen. Other standard tech includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, wireless charging, and HD radio.

Hyundai Tucson PHEV

Hyundai Tucson PHEV front quarter view
Image: Hyundai
  • Starting Price: $38,475
  • Horsepower: 261 hp
  • Torque: 258 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 35 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 80 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 13.8 kWh
  • Range: 33 miles

The Hyundai Tucson was recently overhauled, which brought sharp style, updated hybrid functionality, and better tech. This SUV offers a smooth ride, solid acceleration, and a refined hybrid system that smoothly hands off between gas and electric components. All-wheel drive comes standard, and Hyundai opted for a six-speed automatic over a CVT here, which significantly improves drivability. At the same time, the SUV returns up to 80 MPGe combined and 38 mpg in gas mode. 

Regardless of trim, the Tucson offers a spacious, upscale interior with solid materials quality. There’s good head and legroom in both rows of seats, and passengers in the front enjoy comfortable buckets with good padding and support. An 8-inch touchscreen comes standard, bringing wireless smartphone mirroring. Wireless charging, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth, and dual-zone automatic climate controls are also standard. 

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV front quarter view
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Alexander Migl
  • Starting Price: $60,490
  • Horsepower: 375 hp
  • Torque: 470 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 23 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 56 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 17.3 kWh
  • Range: 26 miles

The Grand Cherokee 4xe was launched by Jeep following the success of the plug-in hybrid Wrangler. The SUV offers a decent all-electric range with energetic acceleration, though the transition between gas and electric powertrain elements can sometimes be awkward. Four-wheel drive is standard, and a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission helps the powertrain maintain smooth, quiet operation. And, okay, so it’s not the most efficient of this gathering at only 23 mpg and 56 mpge combined, but it sure packs a healthy wallop of power and torque, great for off-the-line jumps and highway passes.

The Grand Cherokee offers comfortable seating for up to five people. Jeep offers a range of upscale features, including leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, massaging seats, and a heated steering wheel. An 8.4-inch touchscreen comes standard, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six speakers, and a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster.

Jeep Wrangler 4xe

Jeep Wrangler Willys 4xe PHEV on rocks
Image: Stellantis
  • Price: $60,360
  • Horsepower: 375 hp
  • Torque: 470 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 20 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 49 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 17.3 kWh
  • Range: 22 miles

Surprised that this made it? Come on, now. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe has become America’s best-selling plug-in hybrid, and its powertrain delivers good acceleration with a reasonable all-electric range. However, like the Grand Cherokee, the Wrangler 4xe’s powertrain sometimes stumbles in the handoff between the electric motors and gas components. The Wrangler can also be a handful to manage on the highway, as its off-road suspension makes it feel busy and sometimes unsettled at higher speeds.

It must be noted that while the Wrangler 4xe is the least efficient member of this club, it may as well be a Prius among standard Wranglers, eking out a healthy 20 mpg and 49 mpge combined. Hey, after all, it’s still a big ol’ Wrangler, sculpted by a wind tunnel if the wind tunnel was out of service. But try going to Moab in a Corolla Cross.

The new Wrangler is much more luxurious and plusher than its predecessors, but this is still a rugged off-road SUV we’re talking about. Jeep did a good job at balancing materials quality throughout the Wrangler’s cabin, as there’s a mix of low-rent and upscale materials throughout. The SUV comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen running Uconnect infotainment software. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, along with eight speakers and Bluetooth. Higher trim levels get a larger 8.4-inch screen and navigation.

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime XSE PHEV rolling shot
Image: Toyota
  • Price: $32,975
  • Horsepower: 220 hp
  • Torque: 139 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 48 to 52 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 114 to 127 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 13.6 kWh
  • Range: 39 to 44 miles

Toyota redesigned the Prius and its Prime plug-in variant back in 2023, giving it a striking appearance overhaul that made it surprisingly attractive from a design standpoint. It doesn’t just look better, it’s also more engaging to drive, with more power and far better acceleration than the previous generation.

The plug-in powertrain provides solid acceleration and refined operation, and there are up to 44 miles of all-electric range on tap in the most efficient models (it varies on the wheel/tire package). Regardless of trim level and tires, Prius fans are in for one of the most efficient plug-ins by a vast margin and one of the most improved generations of Prius, period. And no better is that reflected than its cabin.

The Prius Prime’s interior feels more upscale and premium than in years past. Toyota implemented heavy updates to the infotainment system, making it easier to use and more intuitive. Front-seat space and comfort are both top-notch, but folks in the back seat may find a shortage of headroom because of the car’s sloping roof. An 8-inch touchscreen comes standard, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, and Amazon Alexa functionality. 

Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 PHEV

Volvo XC60 T8 PHEV
Image: Volvo
  • Price: $57,900
  • Horsepower: 455 hp
  • Torque: 523 lb-ft.
  • MPG combined: 28 MPG
  • MPGe combined: 63 MPGe
  • Battery capacity: 18.8kWh
  • Range: 35 miles

The Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 PHEV blends Volvo’s safety and luxury aesthetic with an advanced plug-in powertrain and great tech. The SUV delivers up to 35 miles of all-electric range, and acceleration isn’t wimpy by any measure. At the same time, the XC60 maintains a comfortable ride, though it’s not as athletic as some rivals. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends all that delicious, fiery power to all four wheels, and the stout powertrain operates smoothly in most situations.

Oh, did anyone mention this thing pushes 523 pound-feet? The Grand Cherokee 4xe sprints, but this is definitely a hard charger, with magazine-tested zero-to-60 runs in the low-four-second range and quarter-mile sprints in the high-twelves. For reference, that’s Mustang GT territory. But you’d never know from a mere glance at its opulent innards.

Volvo’s austere Scandinavian design gives the XC60 a calming, serene feel, and the materials are top-notch, no matter where you look. The front seats are supportive and generously padded, complementing a spacious back seating area that comfortably accommodates adults. Volvo moved to Google-based infotainment, which operates well on the 9-inch display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

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News

GM caves to dealer and market pressure in latest pivot from fully electric cars to plug-in hybrids

General Motors has been all-in on EVs, but recent changes in consumer demand have led to a backpedal on that decision. The automaker recently announced a move to introduce hybrids after saying they were a “half-step” that it felt it could skip. 

GM made the announcement after getting an earful from dealers that buyers want more hybrids and plug-in hybrids as lower-emissions options rather than only seeing EVs as alternatives to traditional gas vehicles on the showroom floor. The move gives the automaker more choices and could help balance out the never-ending movement in EV demand.

While it’s likely frustrating for GM to see its primary strategy need a significant recalibration, it does prove that automakers like Toyota have had the right approach all along. It has long resisted going to an all-electric strategy, saying that reducing emissions would take a multi-pronged approach, with hybrids and alternative fuels to supplement battery-electrics.

AutoForecast Solutions’ VP of global vehicle forecasting, Sam Fiorani, told Automotive News, “The whole idea that cleaner vehicles require EVs, at least in the short term, is not the be-all, end-all answer. EVs were going to be their path, and they’re ahead of the curve. The market’s just not ready to accept them, at least in the volumes GM needs.”

Dealers pressuring automakers to make changes to products and business processes is nothing new. Still, this move is a warning sign to any company eying a full EV catalog in the United States. GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, confirmed that it still planned to reach a zero-emissions fleet by 2035, but it’s unclear how this shift in focus might change that as time goes on. 

The government is also pushing for emissions reductions, requiring an average annual cut of 56 percent starting in 2026. That would mean that EVs could account for as much as two-thirds of new vehicle sales in the next eight years, a far cry from the modest gains they have seen in the last two years.

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Dodge Hornet R/T
FeaturesNew Car Reviews

The Dodge Hornet R/T is America’s little Italian hybrid hot hatch for better and worse

I never go into the world of crossovers expecting much in the way of creativity or differentiation. Small family crossovers are all mostly drawn from the same cookie-cutter template. But that’s also to say they all do their job commendably well. They’re all roomy. They’re all reasonably fuel-efficient. They’re all easy to drive, easy to live with, and easy to use for all your family, commuting, or household needs. They’re fine cars, and if you throw a dart at anything on the board, you’ll probably land on something you’ll enjoy. Maybe not as a driving enthusiast, obviously. But it’ll serve its purpose well. And that’s why I’m so excited to sample an oddity like the Dodge Hornet R/T.

Where have you been the whole time, you shifty little rat?

In a sea of dull but glaringly obvious choices in the market, here comes the Hornet R/T (and, by extension, the Alfa Romeo Tonale) to rule its only little corner of the kingdom and do it its own way. In R/T guise, it can be had with a spunky plug-in hybrid akin to the RAV4 Prime. Except, unlike that longtime favorite, this diminutive crossover has… wait, Brembo brakes? Wait, dual-valve Koni shocks? Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 tires? Metal paddle shifters? Hold up. Something’s special about this gold jellybean on stilts, and I’m going to get to the bottom of this.

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Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

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Price and specs

GTI and GR86 fans, read it and weep. The Hornet R/T is indeed a threat. 288 horsepower and a sports car-rivaling 383 pound-feet place it squarely within the realm of entry and mid-level performance cars, and the big kid magazines’ test teams have the test numbers to prove it. Thank the 1.3-liter turbo four-banger assisted by a plug-in hybrid system consisting of two AC motors (one more than Tonale, likely resulting in its higher torque figure) and a 15.5-kWh battery, with the latter half of the powertrain being capable of up to 32 miles of EV-only commuting up to 84 mph. However, that impressive spec sheet comes at a wince-inducing price tag for our tester, which stickers at a hefty $52,405.

Base price:$41,400
As-tested price:$52,405
Engine:1.3-liter turbocharged I4 + 2 AC motors, 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery
Transmission:6-speed automatic 
Drivetrain:All-wheel drive
Power:288 horsepower
Torque:383 pound-feet
Redline:7,000 rpm
Weight:4,200 pounds
Zero-to-60 mph:5.5 seconds
¼-mile:14.2 seconds @ 96 mph
MPG:29 combined
MPGe:77 combined
Observed MPG:29.2 MPG
EV Range:32 miles
Fuel Capacity:11.2 gallons
(Author’s Note: Performance numbers reflected in Car and Driver’s review from October 2023)

Hornet R/T exterior design

Oh, thank the car gods that Italy had the heaviest influence in designing this vehicle. Yes, this is still very much an Alfa Romeo Tonale underneath, from the shape to the glass and the rear fascia. The starkest change is really just that Dodge Charger-fied mug, which itself looks pretty damn decent, and the headlights are still very much Tonale, albeit with a different lighting pattern inside the lens.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

If you care not for family crossovers, then perhaps you’ll find nothing remarkable here. But one must admit it’s a refreshingly smooth and elegant way to do a RAV4 rival, with hardly any sharp creases aside from the questionably functional hood vents and Dodge grille. The smooth, paper-thin light bar streaking across the rear hatch is a fun Euro touch, as are the dual-exit exhausts that protrude through the bumper rather than beneath it. Oh, and there’s no denying how gorgeous Acapulco Gold is, and I don’t even like yellows on cars.

Cough, Tonale still looks better. Just by a bit.

Perhaps what is most enjoyable is that it’s not a diminutive two-row crossover pretending to be something sportier, bigger, or more “off-roady” than it really is from the outside. It looks small. It’s styled small. It is small. It’s honest without being drab, which should be enough to lure at least a few prospective car buyers away from Toyota or Honda lots.

What’s hot?– Intoxicating power for a family crossover
– Nimble, responsive chassis
– “Just right” damper tuning with many talents
– “Just right” size for urban excursions
– Useful EV range with commendable regen abilities
– Italian styling

Hornet R/T pricing breakdown

Before we dive into our specific tester, do note that you can get lower-rung GTs for a starting price of $31,400. Not bad! GT and more tech and luxury-laden GT Plus trims feature a Dodge-exclusive, all-ICE, non-hybrid 2.0-liter turbo powertrain not currently offered on U.S. Alfa Tonales. For a notable ten-grand discount off an optionless R/T, you score a comparable 268 horsepower and 295 pound-feet, with performance figures that are barely slower. Hmm, interesting. However, no paddle shifters are available for that powertrain’s 9-speed auto, and there are obviously no hybrid drive modes or EV-only capability.

Our R/T Plus starts at $46,400 and adds a sizeable moonroof, Harmon Kardon audio system, heated and ventilated power seats, and power liftgate. Acapulco Gold adds $595, although other colors can be had for $495 or free. The $2,345 Tech Package adds surround-view cameras, front, rear, and side parking assist, and Level 2 autonomy with adaptive cruise and lane centering. Lofty, sure. Worth it? We’ll discuss it momentarily. But get this.

What gimmicky bundle of ironic coolness has me rolling my eyes to the back of my skull while also screaming “HELL YEAH” is the availability of the (drum roll) Track Package. Track. Package. You can spec your hybrid family compact crossover with a $2,595 track pack. Although this pack features a severe lack of oil coolers, stupid wings, or carbon ceramic brakes, you do get 20-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 tires, red-painted four-piston Brembos, and adaptive twin-valve KONI shocks.

I iterate once more: Hell yeah.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Hornet R/T interior and tech

Inside is a standard Stellantis affair with a unique Italian flair, resulting in a cabin that’s practical and comfortable without being a boring hodgepodge of flat surfaces. The center console and transmission tunnel gradually rise to meet the climate controls on the dashboard, leaving an angled surface for your wireless charger. And the center console storage bin provides ample space for wallets, phones, garage clickers, or maybe four or five small hot dogs. Maybe.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Rear passenger space is ample, with a fold-down center armrest with cupholders and a rear cargo area passthrough, which may come in handy from time to time, as the rear cargo area doesn’t appear any more spacious than a large hatchback. With 22.9 cubic feet of cargo volume, it’s roughly on par with a Kia Niro but down on a RAV4 or Ford Escape by several cubic feet. At least rear-seat passengers get their own climate vents plus USB charging, but I suppose that’s expected in this era and at that lofty price point.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

The aforementioned Tech Package means our Hornet tester is graced with Level 2 autonomy in the form of lane centering and adaptive cruise. Surround-view cameras bunched with front and rear parking sensors and blind spot monitoring mean the Hornet should (theoretically) be uncrashable. Or so you’d hope. If any of these doo-dads bug you for whatever reason, they’re defeatable via hard buttons or through settings in the 10.25-inch uConnect touchscreen. The latter also houses wired and wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, built-in nav (hallelujah!), and readouts for performance gauges, electric charge, and more. The standard digital gauge cluster can also display accompanying readouts for fuel economy and which half of the powertrain, gas or electric, is using how much energy.

A different kind of commuter car

Fascinating. This two-row family crossover excels as a two-row family crossover. I never would’ve guessed.

Slap it in Hybrid or Electric via the drive mode button on the wheel, and let the Hornet R/T deliver you from your typical bland commuter car woes. The perforated suede seats are cozy. The heated steering wheel is toasty and fits beautifully in your hands. The uConnect touchscreen is fast, responsive, and immediately easy to learn in a matter of minutes. A vertical stack of shortcut buttons keeps CarPlay, music, or nav functions at a finger’s touch at all times.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Out on the open road, the Hornet is fairly quiet and comfortable. In fact, I’d argue it exceeds expectations for something with such a small stature and short wheelbase. Props to the Track Pack’s KONI dampers for excellently dispatching most of what Cali roads have to throw at it. Speed bumps, expansion joints, point holes? Pfft. The Hornet moseys on over all of them with little harshness sent through the cabin, only occasionally wallowing over large undulations as one would expect from a smaller car, like a tiny vessel over a large wave. But even over the largest lumps, it’s as composed and settled as can be. And to think its Tonale twin is even more refined, according to a little birdie who helped engineer it.

Don’t let the cutesy silhouette fool you into thinking it’s a cheap tinker toy. The Hornet is a genuinely well-mannered city car with an affinity for navigating the concrete jungle.

Most impressive was the commendable EV range afforded by the Hornet’s wee battery pack. An EPA rating of 32 miles places it near the upper echelon of plug-ins alongside other strong contenders such as the Alfa Romeo Tonale (33 miles), Ford Escape Plug-In (37 miles), and the Kia Niro Plug-In (33 miles). During my stint bouncing back and forth between Glendale and Redondo Beach, I found that best-case range to be easily believable, consistently getting 30 to 31 miles of EV range. The eSave and Sport modes prioritize gas operation to preserve and even assist with battery charge once you’re low on electrons, but oftentimes, the Hornet will always find that extra ounce in its cells for the occasional power boost off the line or on the freeway.

What’s less impressive is the total range, which could only ever be roughly 360 miles, including Electric mode. After reading the specs, you know instantly the R/T works best as your lifted city runabout. Fear no parking garage or tight back alley in the Hornet. But possibly fear interstate expeditions, as you have more frugal options. Ho-hum fuel economy in gas-only operation, further hurt by how the Hornet rarely operates as a “normal hybrid” like Toyotas, and a small fuel tank (a little over 11 gallons) means fill-ups are cheap but more frequent than you’d like if your commute sees a lot of freeway miles.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Don’t get me wrong, an EPA combined rating of 29 mpg and my 29.2 mpg average, even factoring in some hard canyon runs, aren’t bad at all! But a RAV4 Prime gets 38 combined, and its Ford Escape equivalent gets 40. What a shame this only functions as a normal hybrid a fraction of the time, heavily prioritizing gas-only or electric-only, even in Hybrid mode, because the Hornet saw mileage figures of 40 to 42 mpg in my hands when it does. Fail. Once more, at least fill-ups will be cheap.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Questionable hybrid operation paired with wonky lane-centering programming that struggles with cornering and a service warning that randomly appeared a thousand miles premature and never went away without tricking it with a specific start-up sequence makes for a crossover SUV that’s tough to recommend to the average consumer. Like seriously, this tech has been around for many years, yet it feels like an early adoption here.

I’ll write them off as hiccups in this early-build Hornet specifically, but still. Oh, Italy. Why are you like this? Oh, I can take a guess why. You must have had your priorities elsewhere, such as trying to turn the Hornet into…

A different breed of hot hatch

Gotcha, suckers! You thought this was a family car? Shut up and get to the pits. Monza beckons for a new champion.

Should anyone dare to take the R/T badge a little seriously and head for the hills with Sport mode engaged, the Hornet will oblige with the best driving experience a car of its size and class could possibly deliver. Make sure you sprung for the Track Package before you do. Trust.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

The 235-wide Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 tires are a godsend. They were great on a base C8 Corvette Gabe and I had previously sampled. They’re stellar here, enabling enough grip that you feel like you’re going to grip roll this golden egg down the hill, but thankfully, the KONI shocks do a commendable job at keeping body motions in check. They reportedly firm up in Sport mode. Frankly, the difference, if any, is negligible and still comfy enough for daily duty. You feel the body tilt in corners, but it takes a set and rotates right around with assistance from the torque-vectoring electric motors, almost never getting upset by mid-corner bumps and undulations despite the thin tire sidewalls and short wheelbase.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Steering was expectedly a tad numb and light, but there was just an ounce of feedback coming through to let you know there was a bump or the road surface had changed. A little more weight could do nicely, but at least it was reasonably quick and accurate for what’s ultimately still a family car. You can tackle most right-hand city streets and tight canyon bends without ever crossing arms, which is always nice.

Brakes? Effective. But a little wooden-feeling, needing a heavy foot to haul it down from the lofty speeds the plug-in powertrain is capable of. Which, by the way…

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Did I mention this thing was fast? Because it’s fast. Quite fast. The big kid magazines have consistently clocked sprints to 60 mph around five and a half seconds, mirroring some V6 and turbo-four pony cars and posing a serious threat to GR86s and Miatas everywhere. The 1.3-liter pushing damn-near 30 pounds of boost out of its itsy-bitsy turbo must surely lag like a Group B rally car, but thankfully, its hybrid half fills in the torque more than adequately enough. Engage PowerShot mode, and you get 15 seconds of electric overboost with an extra 30 horsepower. Because that’s just what I needed on the way to Trader Joe’s. Whether that 30 horsepower is on top of the 288 or if the 288 is with PowerShot is unclear. But quick is quick.

Best of all, Sport mode’s battery regen, whether from the brakes or the engine itself, is far more aggressive than in eSave. Basically, whenever you’re not asking for juice for full-throttle sprints, it’s juicing the battery instead. This effectively means you can enter your local canyon road with a near-dead battery and come out with it nearly fully charged!

No charger? No problem. Just run for the hills (or your nearby freeway on-ramp).

As for the six-speed auto, it’s definitely no ZF or DSG. But it gets the job done and is thankfully responsive-ish to the familiar Alfa Romeo metal shift paddles. Sure, there were a few slight, quarter-second delays on a few upshifts. But its relative lack of sporting intent is forgiven when the paddles are this damn fun to click-clack around, just like its distant corporate cousins costing multiples more.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco
What’s not?– Unremarkable mpg in gas-only mode plus small gas tank equals short range
– Rarely functions as a normal hybrid
– Brakes require a heavy foot for performance driving or emergency stops
– Somewhat small cargo area
– Italian electronic annoyances
– The Hornet GT and Alfa Romeo Tonale exist

Too lovable but too flawed

Could you tell I’m smitten? It’s got style! It’s got swagger! It’s got speed, handling, and real-world urban commuting chops! After only five days, I fell in love with the Hornet R/T. I just don’t know if I can ever recommend a Hornet R/T. Here’s why.

If you insist upon a plug-in for the handy all-electric capabilities, the Tonale exists. For a few grand more than the comparable R/T, you can nab the actual donor car that’s arguably far more attractive and, frankly, more authentic because it’s the original one. The performance, despite being down on torque, is nearly identical. And according to a former engineer behind the project, it’s quieter and more refined.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Back in Detroit, there’s the Hornet GT, which trades its plug-in powertrain for an all-ICE 2.0-liter powertrain with comparable performance, fuel economy, and total range for $10,000 less. A Hornet R/T could buy you one comparable GT without the worry of charging and with leftover dough for a decent Fiat 500e if that’s your jam. Both corporate cousins leave the R/T in an odd spot between, “You got to really want it,” and, “I could use that spare couple thousand bucks.”

But looking at the R/T for what it is. If you don’t mind drinking Dodge’s Kool-Aid and partaking in the Americanized Italian hybrid for all it gets right, and in spite of all it gets wrong, then be my guest. And for most urban commutes, it’ll be more than enough. You may never even feel the crunch of its comparatively unremarkable range if you never leave the asphalt grid. It’s just roomy enough for friends and their shopping if they’re not big spenders, and you have all the ground clearance and agility in the world to dart between lanes and around parking lots in total, all-electric comfort. And if you want to show them a party trick on the way to your favorite downtown bar, Sport mode and PowerShot ought to do the trick.

Dodge Hornet R/T
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

It’s hard to look at the Hornet R/T without seeing the sheer scope of its market and all with whom it competes. But on its own, it’s a rambunctious little RAV4 alternative with more charm and driving enjoyment than that cookie-cutter crossover will ever have. Hey. At the very least, I’m glad it exists.

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2024 EV tax credits
News

Here are the 14 vehicles that qualify for instant EV tax credits

It’s a new year, and the seemingly endless drumbeat of news around EV tax credit changes continues. New rules went into effect on January 1, changing the tax credit eligibility criteria yet again and drastically reducing the number of qualifying vehicles. At the same time, the updated rules now allow for a point-of-sale discount instead of waiting for a year-end credit. Here’s what you need to know.

First, the good news: The $3,750 and $7,500 EV tax credits can now be applied at the time of the sale rather than as a year-end tax credit. That will knock a significant chunk off the sticker price of a new EV purchase, including many 2024 Tesla models, and it alleviates the issue some people experience of not having enough of a tax burden to get the whole credit. 

The bad news is that the number of new EVs qualifying for tax credits in early 2024 is much smaller than it was last year. Changes in the rules prioritize battery materials and components from North America, and cars with battery materials from a “foreign entity of concern” won’t qualify. While there are likely many foreign entities the U.S. government is concerned with, in this case, we’re talking mainly about China.

The list of qualifying vehicles includes:

Dealers have to register with the IRS to issue instant discounts, so it’s a good idea to reach out to your local store if you’re interested in stacking that tantalizing lease deal with a respectable government kickback. Additionally, while the list of qualifying vehicles is short now, automakers have to file documentation that proves their vehicles’ eligibility, so the number of models will grow as more companies submit their paperwork.

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Right side of 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV at low front angle
New Car Reviews

Mazda CX-90 PHEV review: Mazda’s premier plug-in hybrid is a capital ‘S’ SUV

The year is 2003. You’re six years old, staring out the window in the backseat while the rest of your family piles into Mom’s Toyota Camry. As the car begins to leave the driveway, you overhear your parents workshopping what they’ll say when you arrive at the car dealership, where the plan is to ditch the cramped sedan for something with more space to stretch our legs, a larger vehicle that can seat five or six passengers instead of just four. Were it two decades later, maybe you’d soon find yourself in the second row of a 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV. But it’s the aughts – a time when gas is cheap and climate activisim is for tree huggers!

When your sister was born at the dawn of the millennium, your parents knew deep down it wouldn’t be long before cribs and diapers turned to pool parties, Scout meetings, dance lessons, and baseball games. Before highchairs and strollers became awkward first dates and driver’s tests. As such, your parents close their eyes, take a deep breath, and reluctantly agree: It’s time for a minivan. A sliding door, cheeto-stained, take-the-kids-to-soccer-practice minivan. In 2003, a minivan driver is that dilapidated lettuce wilting in the garden, scorched by the ultraviolet rays of a Ford Windstar.

As reality sets in, your parents are interrupted by a salesman pointing them in another direction. What’s this? He’s showing them a newer class of vehicle, one which can fit the same number of occupants as a minivan, but with sportier styling, raised suspension, and four-wheel drive. Of course, I’m talking about the family SUV. Little did we know it would fundamentally transform the automotive industry for the next 20-plus years. 

The PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) version of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 showcases not only how the SUV has changed since that day we drove off the lot in a new – ahem, Eddie Bauer Edition Ford Explorer, but how the rest of the world has changed around it. Shaped by pointless geopolitical conflict, the growing popularity of the climate movement, and phrases like “economic uncertainty” floating around as if the economy had ever been certain, the CX-90 is a reverse time capsule into an idealized version of the future, one in which younger generations can afford to have passengers, let alone a new third-row SUV to put them in.

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Pricing and specs overview

In Mazda’s defense, the CX-90 is far from the worst offender in the arms race upmarket, and it’s certainly not responsible for the financial misfortunes of the millennial generation nor its successors. When adjusted for inflation, the mild-hybrid Mazda CX-90 is more affordable to start than its predecessor, the CX-9, was 10 years ago. That means you can take home a no-frills base model CX-90 for $39,595 assuming your dealer has one in stock or you can wait months for a factory order to arrive. Meanwhile, the Mazda CX-90 PHEV starts at $49,945 – over $10K more! What gives?

While I haven’t driven the plugless hybrid Mazda CX-90, nor has anyone else at Acceleramota, it’s worth noting that the cheaper CX-90 packs an extra pair of pistons. Under the hood of this cordless commuter is an inline-six-cylinder, the first of its kind for Mazda, turbocharged to make 280 horsepower in the Turbo Select, Turbo Preferred, Turbo Preferred Plus, and Turbo Premium variants. Stick with me now, because, for some godforsaken reason, Mazda sells the CX-90 in 11 different trim levels. But to keep it simple, I like to think of the CX-90 as three separate models with each offered in a few vaguely distinct flavors. They are as follows: Mazda CX-90 Turbo (no, not that one), Mazda CX-90 Turbo S (not that one either), and Mazda CX-90 PHEV (yes, this one). Got it? Good!

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV side badge
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

Both the CX-90 Turbo ($39,595+) and the CX-90 Turbo S ($51,750+) use the same 3.3-liter turbocharged e-Skyactiv G engine. However! Whereas the five CX-90 Turbo trims make 280 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, the three CX-90 Turbo S make 340 horsepower and 369 pounds of torque through the magic of high-octane fuel tuning. The caveat is that while the Turbo models were designed to run on cheaper 87-octane gas, Mazda recommends 93-octane for the Turbo S. That’s an extra ten grand and some change for a slightly faster 0-60 time and shinier, machine-cut wheels. Barring the unlikely event that you’re hauling your oversized grocery getter to a racetrack, it’s safe to say the standard Turbo is the better value for most people. But it’s not necessarily the best. For some, the Mazda CX-90 PHEV is the answer.

Base price:$49,945
As-tested price:$51,795
Engine:2.5-liter e-Skyactiv G four-cylinder + 68kW electric motor
Transmission:8-speed automatic
Drivetrain:All-wheel drive
Power:323 hp @6,000 rpm
Torque:369 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Weight:5,243 lbs
0-60 mph:6.2 seconds
MPG:24 mpg city, 27 mpg highway,
MPGe:56 MPGe
Observed MPG:24.4 mpg
Fuel capacity:18.5 gallons
0-60 test results sourced from Motor Trend

From the outset of 2024, more than 7,000 dealerships registered with the IRS will offer point-of-sale tax rebates to EV buyers – and, yes, some plug-in hybrids count. Better yet, if you prefer to lease, Mazda will knock $7,500 off your bill without jumping through hoops to find a participating dealer. That brings the effective base price of a new Mazda CX-90 PHEV down from $49,945 to $42,225, making the PHEV a much more compelling proposition. To make up the remaining difference, only the CX-90 PHEV comes standard with a power moonroof and heated seats made from real leather. 
Now it’s a matter of which is more compatible with your lifestyle: a turbocharged straight-six with an e-assist mild hybrid system or a naturally aspirated four-cylinder backed by a 68-kW electric motor powered by a 17.8-kWh battery. I’ll let you decide.

Electric range and fuel economy

Straddling the fence between the lower fuel cost of the Turbo and the refined performance of the Turbo S, the plug-in hybrid Mazda CX-90 is for the crowd that wants fast and frugal. At least under the right conditions. Sure, you’ll still need to fill it up with premium to make the most of your ride, but the idea is to offset that cost by scarcely burning fuel at all. 

In EV mode, a small 17.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack located under the floor powers the 68-kilowatt electric motor found in the transmission tunnel for up to 26 miles without ever firing up the engine. In Normal mode, where the engine and electric motor work in tandem, that range is less predictable since it fluctuates based on road conditions and your own individual driving patterns and behaviors. In other words, no I cannot conclusively tell you for a fact you’ll see anything close to the equivalent of 56 mpg as the EPA’s MPGe estimate suggests because it’s entirely contingent on when, where, and how you drive.

In line with most plug-in hybrid SUVs of its stature, Mazda says it takes 11 hours with a standard 120-volt (Level 1) outlet or 2 hours and 20 minutes using a 240-volt (Level 2) electrical setup. I’m quoting Mazda on those figures because my best bet for EV charging was one of two dual-port FLO units a 20-minute drive from my apartment on a street that apparently served as the unofficial meetup spot for gas cars with their hazard lights on and ineptly parked Teslas keeping the second, unused cable at each station just enough out of reach to be infuriating.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV left side profile
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

For the record, I’m a recent convert to the philosophy popularized by Toyota that plug-in hybrids are a fast track to harm reduction. It’s just that the benefits – financial, environmental, or otherwise – only come into play for the owners who commit to a habitual charging routine. When the battery dies in a full BEV (battery-electric vehicle) like a Tesla Model Y or Ford Mach-E, the car won’t move. That a plug-in hybrid is drivable indefinitely without ever actually plugging it in is a double-edged sword. On one hand, range anxiety is all but assuaged. On the other, the Mazda CX-90 PHEV averaged 24.4 mpg during my weeklong excursion without charging access. That isn’t far off from the 25 mpg combined estimated by the EPA for ostensibly gas-guzzling sixer gets. Given the choice, without a home charging solution, I personally would go for the inline-six, if only because it sounds like this.

Curiously, you never really have to plug in a plug-in hybrid. That’s as true for the Mazda CX-90 PHEV as it is for our Alfa Romeo Tonale. Because the battery ran out of juice in our press car not long after escaping the city to take photos for this review, and I didn’t have 140 minutes of downtime to let it sip, the Mazda CX-90 PHEV averaged 24.4 mpg throughout my weeklong excursion. Meanwhile, the EPA rates its ostensibly gas-chugging, six-cylinder cousin at a commensurate 25 mpg combined. Go figure! Still, for the homeowner with a commute shorter than 26 miles and a place to charge while you’re at work, you could get away with never spending a dime on gas most days. Because it’s used in EV mode more than half the time, our Tonale averaged 84 mpg this month and it’s rated for 29 mpg or 77 MPGe combined. Whether or not the fuel savings justify the premium for the PHEV is on you.

Design, interior, and infotainment

For a full-size crossover SUV, the Mazda CX-90 carries an outstanding road presence. It sits high on your pick of 19- or 20-inch wheels with a wide, imposing stance. The roofline slopes back across an aerodynamic coupe-like frame. And its front fascia, characterized by angry headlights and a bold, assertive grille to match, lets you know it means business. I only wish our loaner came in that fierce artisan red Mazda uses in most of its marketing for the CX-90. The design is a subtle but effective step up from that of the CX-9.

When you open the door to the Mazda CX-90, the inside makes one hell of a first impression, regardless of spec. As you can see from the photos, the cabin emanates a level of ambient grandeur more impressive than that of a new BMW X7, if only because it defies expectations. For most, “upscale” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you bring up Mazda. But that perception is changing, in large part because its ostentatious interiors punch above their weight, presenting a clean minimalist aesthetic, complete with faux woodgrain accents, abundant LED lighting, ventilated seats with adjustable lumbar support, and the gratuitous touch of a leather-wrapped shift knob – because why the hell not?

Inside and out clear Mazda is reinventing itself as an entry-level luxury brand, and the CX-90 PHEV fills the space somewhere between the Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid and the Lexus TX. In fact, as far as plug-in hybrids go, until the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV drops this spring, the CX-90 PHEV’s closest rival might very well be the Chrysler Pacifica. That’s right, the minivan. But compared to the Pacifica, the Grand Highlander, or the Honda Pilot for that matter, one of the CX-90’s undeniable shortcomings is its cramped third row, and by extension, limited cargo space. With the second and third row folded down, its 75.2 cubic feet of space pales in comparison to the 140.5 cubic feet of the Chrysler Pacifica, and it doesn’t fare much better next to the Grand Highlander’s 97.5 cubic feet. Although I could fit plenty of gear in the back, I also don’t have kids or friends. At full occupancy, the 14.9 cubic feet left with all of the seats up won’t leave much room for luggage on family road trips.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV cargo area containing photo gear
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

Also polarizing, at least for anyone with a preference for touchscreens, is the Mazda Connect infotainment system you’ll find on the CX-90 PHEV’s modest 10.25-inch center display. As is the case for the rest of Mazda’s lineup, navigating the proprietary software involves twisting a rotary dial around in the center console instead of tapping the screen directly. My current car and the one before that both took the same approach, and both manufacturers abandoned the dial with subsequent models. Because they were wrong. I’m with Mazda on this one, the rotary dial is a safety feature more than anything, no matter what my friend Adam said. Once you get used to it, you’ll see how much easier it is to keep your eyes on the road while adjusting your music or setting a Google Maps destination in your periphery than trying to do so on a touchscreen. That said, if you insist on being wrong (like Adam), the top CX-90 PHEV Premium Plus trim has a larger 12.3-inch display that supports touch controls for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Overall, Mazda Connect as an operating system is mostly inoffensive, even if I do prefer Android Automotive and Stellantis’s Android-derived Uconnect. Other than Apple CarPlay, which took some time digging under several layers of submenus, I had no problems flipping through settings to customize driver assistance preferences, manage Bluetooth connections, and fine-tune my sound profile to make my “Music to Flex To” playlist go hard on the Bose Centerpoint audio system. Seriously, from the acoustics to the bass, the upgraded 12-speaker surround sound casts a wide soundstage that one-ups some cars I’ve driven that cost twice as much as the Mazda CX-90 PHEV (looking at you, Maserati Grecale Trofeo). 

Performance and powertrain

Apart from the charging logistics, which evidently isn’t one-size-fits-all, the Mazda CX-90 does straddle the fence between the cheaper fuel demands of the Mazda CX-90 Turbo trims and the speed advantage of the Turbo S. Even though its 323 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque fall short of the Turbo S and despite clocking in at over 5,000 pounds, the CX-90 PHEV’s impressive hybridized innards gave it the boost it needed to beat out the straight-six in every speed run conducted by Car and Driver. More horsepower and less weight don’t cut it when the PHEV’s electric motor pushes 199 pound-feet of torque at just 400 rpm.

The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is one of the finer examples of a company working within those parameters to make a truly great capital ‘S’ SUV – that is, a three-row unibody truck as suitable for hauling groceries as it is cornering on sharp turns or taking offroad, all from a four-cylinder engine married to a small electric motor. From what I’ve seen of the engineers who worked on it, there’s an unexpected sense of fervent passion for the project woven into the soul of the CX-90. As chunky as it is, it really does drive like a sports sedan. The steering is balanced – not too light nor too heavy – and somehow it feels nimble. As long as you don’t mind the bumpy ride that occasionally accompanies its raw sportscar-like suspension, the CX-90 can be a blast to drive, especially when thrown into sport mode.

Right side of 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV rear fascia at 3/4 angle
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

By flicking up and down the Mi-Drive switch in the center console, you can alternate between four drive modes, each with its own intended purpose: 

  • Sport mode combines the full power of the engine and electric motor for faster acceleration 
  • EV mode uses only the electric motor for zero-emission driving but greatly reduces performance
  • Normal mode offers a balanced mix of electric and gas as needed
  • Off-road mode improves traction so you don’t spin out or fall off a cliff
  • Towing mode adjust gearing and power delivery for pulling stuff

One glaring drawback to choosing the CX-90 PHEV is its inferior 3,500-pound tow limit. For comparison, the standard CX-90 can pull up to 5,000 pounds at most trim levels. Hamstrung towing capacities are a common, longstanding complaint among PHEV critics. When my dad and I were shopping around on CarGurus to replace his Ford Ranger with a more fuel-efficient SUV capable of towing at least 2.5 tons, I was aghast at how sparse the selection was with a budget in the $50K range, especially for third rows. Sadly, for that reason, the CX-90 PHEV didn’t make the cut. The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe did.

Final thoughts

As someone with no kids and no friends living in a city with convenient access to public transit, the Mazda CX-90 is excessive. As someone who appreciates any vehicle that’s quick around corners, the Mazda CX-90 is shockingly fun to drive. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced the person shopping for a third-row SUV cares as much about gear ratios and steering weight as they do cargo space and comfort. With the CX-90, Mazda took a series of bold risks, most of which no one asked for. As a three-row crossover SUV that looks more expensive than it is, it would have sold on that merit alone. 

The CX-90 is interesting, if imperfect, in a segment overrun with vehicles as indistinguishable on the outside as they are under the hood. Just as Mazda didn’t need to build a new six-cylinder architecture from the ground up for this, it also didn’t have to make that same vehicle its first mainstream plug-in hybrid. But I’m glad it did. Because while that third row of seats is as tight as the suspension, it makes good on the promise of the sport utility vehicle: to combine fun and function in a vehicle big enough to fit a family while being less boring than a minivan. You can’t make an SUV that handles like this without some trade-offs. Provided its aggressive styling and athletic performance are enough to sacrifice a few inches of legroom, the Mazda CX-90 is a strong contender for the best SUV in its class. 

Whether the straight-six or the plug-in hybrid is the more cost-effective option mostly comes down to your living situation. Unless you have access to home charging, the fuel savings will almost certainly not be worth the cost and inconvenience of public charging. When I’m getting around 25 mpg either way, I’d rather have a turbocharger and a guttural exhaust note. But maybe I’m just built different.

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New Car Reviews

Alfa Romeo Tonale plug-in hybrid review: Green looks good on you

As I drove the 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale over the past couple of weeks, I finally understood America’s infatuation with SUVs. I rode high on my steel throne, as my feet sat 6 inches from the ground and the tip of the brim on my cap hit the ceiling 5 feet in the air. My head was in the clouds, and no pothole in Queens was a match for my all-wheel drive (AWD) subcompact crossover. But unlike most vehicles in its class, the Alfa Romeo Tonale pops out like a peacock in a flock of pigeons.

In the last season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, there’s a scene where the Weissman family is sitting down at the table eating breakfast. Midge, reviewing color swatches for her new bathroom fixtures, decides she’s going to buy a pink toilet. Her father, Abe, isn’t having any of it though, insisting toilets should only ever be white. But Midge, being Midge, doesn’t back down. Mildly annoyed, she quips, “A pink toilet is still a toilet, just a little more fun!”

Growing up as a kid in the early aughts, the master bathroom in our house had a pink toilet with a matching shower, tub, and double vanities. The half bathroom near the kitchen was furnished with a toilet and sink in dark green. Around the time we stopped drinking skim milk with dinner, colorful bathrooms went out of fashion I guess, seeing as all our stuff was replaced with the same stuff but in a more neutral white. Soon thereafter, it seemed the world had turned monochromatic and sterile.

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2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale design

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As Frank Markus said for Motor Trend, the Alfa Romeo Tonale is “being pitched to women and millennials.” Not the enthusiast type, but the “taking your kids to soccer practice” type. Its goal is to steal market share from the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA-Class, and it may very well do that.

With every new BMW seemingly competing for the Most Repulsive Grille Award, its aversion to change works to Alfa’s benefit. The self-serious marketing copy on its website might be slightly hyperbolic (see the graphic I made below for the Greatest Hits), but the Alfa Romeo Tonale is a better-looking SUV than just about every other crossover on the market, not that it’s an especially high bar considering every car looks the same now.

A compilation of hyperbolic marketing quotes
Graphic: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

The tasteful V-shaped Scudetto (Italian for “little shield”) grille is unwavering, practically identical to the one on the 8C Competizione that brought Alfa back to the States in 2008. The appearance will differ slightly from trim to trim. It’s gloss black on our Veloce, whereas the midrange Ti sparkles silver, and the Sprint’s grille is a more subdued black than the Veloce’s, outlined in a more economical plastic material. As Top Gear said in its review of the U.K.-spec Alfa Romeo Tonale, the “elegant shield grille makes you wonder why rivals are making such a horlicks of their increasingly pugnacious frontal styling.” How very British of them.

The only substantial change to the front end from the Alfa models before it is the Marelli 12-zone adaptive headlight system. Rather than burning the retinas out from the skull of the driver in front of you, each zone responds independently to your outside driving conditions. When you’re cruising through town at low speeds, for instance, it reduces power consumption as well as glare by only utilizing the necessary lighting zones for optimal visibility. It kinda reminds me of how OLED TVs work, in a sense.

Don’t hold your breath for a Quadrifoglio like the Giulia and Stelvio before it, though. Because it’s PHEV (plug-in hybrid)-only in the United States, I doubt we’ll see a Tonale with a Ferrari-derived engine, as is the Alfa CEO. (Sorry, losers, no four-leaf clover this time!)

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale (left) parked next to a red 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Photo credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

More so than previous Alfa Romeo models, the 2024 Tonale won’t let you forget where its assembly plant is based. Three Italian flags brazenly appear throughout – two on the side mirrors and one prominently displayed below the gear shift. Perhaps it’s to distract you from the DNA it shares with red-blooded American muscle cars and 4x4s, thanks to its absorption into Stellantis, which also owns Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, and Dodge. Because found on the driver’s side window, brake calipers, and even in the engine bay are the obligatory Official Mopar® stamps of approval.

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale colors

Parked on the street, I was sitting in the car one morning queueing up music on CarPlay when I saw a teacher walk by chaperoning a group of young elementary school kids. “Wow, look at that car. What color is that?” she asked one student.

The child, who could not care less, ignored her question.

“Green, right! Emerald green. Can you say emerald?” The student did not respond.

More recently, I nearly pulverized a pedestrian as he was crossing the street while the traffic light was green. I slowed down, of course, so he could cross. He, too, complimented the car. It seems no matter who you are or how you drive, the Alfa Romeo Tonale will stop people in their tracks, pausing for a moment to stare in awe. Not because it’s an Alfa – New York has plenty of Giulias and Stelvios in black and white and gray. But because it’s green… excuse me, verde fangio.

It isn’t subtle either, calling to mind the shade Aston Martin uses for its Formula 1 cars and has since made its way to production vehicles including the DBX 707 SUV and the new DB12.

Alfa knew what it was doing when it exclusively showcased the green Tonale in just about all of its marketing. Because the green Tonale comes at a $2,000 premium. But even if you, like me, believe an eye-catching color is well worth the added cost, it’s no longer available to order from the Alfa Romeo site as of this writing. Instead, you’ll have to check in with a local dealer and see if they have any in stock.

Otherwise, you can be boring and get yours in Alfa White without spending another dime – or shell out a little more for a lot more visual appeal. Whatever you do, just don’t buy gray or Stellantis will dunk you in a vat of orange paint.

Exterior paint colors

  • Alfa White (white): $0
  • Alfa Rosso (red): $500
  • Alfa Black (black): $500
  • Grigio Ascari Metallic (gray): $660
  • Misano Blue Metallic: $2,200

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale price

Like most cars, the Alfa Romeo Tonale’s price isn’t one-size-fits-all. It comes in three different trim levels, each with its own packages and options. While it starts at $42,995, chances are slim you’ll find a vanilla Sprint model with no additional toppings sitting on the lot of the Maserati dealership near you (where most Alfa Romeos are sold). And, even if you do, there’s a $1,595 destination charge on top of the base price regardless of which configuration you choose.

Trim levels (before taxes and fees)

  • Sprint: $42,995
  • Ti: $44,995
  • Veloce: $47,495
Photo credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

With that in mind, I do recommend leasing a Tonale as opposed to financing, for a number of reasons. The first is that while the list of cars you can buy that qualify for the EV tax credit is getting smaller and smaller, it’s still the wild west for lessees. That’s one of the main reasons you may have noticed a sudden influx of lease deals, even in our own coverage. As long it can be driven using the electric powertrain by itself, at least some of the time, any leased car is eligible for the full $7,500.

In theory, leasing a V8-powered BMW XM could net you the credit, but the mild-hybrid Toyota Prius will not. (I haven’t tried it, but if you do, please report back to me). Ironic considering the XM gets an estimated 13 mpg in the city while the Prius can achieve upwards of 50 mpg. All because the BMW XM is a PHEV, which can travel a whole 30 miles on battery alone, and surely Americans will only use the gas engine as a backup in that ungodly gas guzzler.

Unfortunately, leasing a vehicle means the dealer still holds the title, so the tax credit goes straight to them. Gold Coast Maserati was kind enough to pass the savings on to us, lowering our monthly payment. That won’t always be the case, of course, so make sure you ask your salesperson about the tax credit before signing any paperwork. Remember, walking out is the best negotiation tactic when visiting any car dealership.

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale interior and tech

The interior of any Alfa Romeo is going to be divisive, and the Tonale is no exception. Starting with the high notes, the heated seats and heated leather steering wheel come standard, as do eight-way adjustable front seats, a 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster display, a 10.25-inch center touch display, a built-in universal garage door opener, and wireless phone charging.

In making the most of its subcompact frame, Alfa literally outdid itself with the Tonale’s interior. Despite its smaller dimensions on the outside, the Tonale beats the Stelvio when it comes to legroom in both the front and rear cabins. Of course, the Tonale falls short on headroom in comparison to its mid-sized sibling, but only by less than an inch in the back and just under 2 inches in the front. And while it lacks the cargo space of the Stelvio with the back seats down, the Tonale has 4.4 cubic-feet more storage when the seats are up. Yet, despite offering less space, the Stelvio is taller, wider, and longer than the Tonale, making the 2.0L Stelvio’s place in the market all the more confusing.

In addition to the standard interior and tech trappings, the 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale has a handful of premium options, but keep your expectations in check, especially if you go for the base trim.

For an extra $1,200, you can add a power moonroof with a matching black shade you can open or close using electronic overhead switches. We outfitted ours with the moonroof, and apart from getting it in a strong color, it’s the only other must-have on the list. Not that it’s a particularly special sunroof. Alfa calls it “semi-panoramic,” which I guess is semi-true. The shade can retract fully, but the moonroof itself stops about halfway. So while your rear-seat passengers can see the sky above them, they won’t be able to recreate this scene. For safety reasons, that’s for the best.

Speaking of safety, an optional $1,895 Active Assist package introduces a few more bells and whistles to reduce the chance of collision. The active driving assist system enables Level 2 autonomous driving, employing an array of sensors to accelerate and brake for you while maintaining your lane position in keeping with the traffic flow. Not self-driving, but certainly more robust than old-school cruise control. On top of the auto-dimming rear-view mirror inside the car, the Active Assist package also dims the side mirrors, an unfortunate necessity given the increasingly blinding headlights on newer cars.

While we did get the full suite of Active Assist features with our Tonale, in retrospect, it was mostly overkill. The main reason we wanted it was for the parking assist features. Living in NYC, as you can imagine, we have to pull into a lot of tight spaces, whether it’s on the street or in a garage. Sometimes those spaces are so tight we give up halfway through to find another spot. Even if we can pull off the tricky maneuver, the cost-benefit analysis we do in our heads advises us against it.

Again, using tiny cameras all around your car to create a 360-degree map of its exterior, the surround-view system eliminates the guesswork. And holy shit does it let you know when you’re too close to something! The incessant beeping drives me to madness, but it’s better than driving me to the body shop. Unless you do a lot of city parking, you can probably skip Active Assist. The standard features will be more than enough for most drivers.

Tech, safety & infotainment

  • Uconnect 5 navigation w/ 10.25-inch touch display
  • 12.3-inch full TFT LCD color display
  • 6-speaker audio
  • Universal garage door opener
  • Wireless charging pad
  • Alfa DNA drive mode system
  • Automatic e-brake
  • Blind spot and cross-path detection
  • Driver attention alert
  • Enhanced adaptive cruise control
  • Forward-collision warning + full stop
  • Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA)
  • Lane-keep assist
  • LED daytime running headlights
  • Front and rear park assist
  • ParkView backup camera
  • Passive speed-limiting device
  • Remote start
  • Tire pressure monitoring display
  • Traffic sign recognition

Comfort

  • Sport cloth heated seats
  • Heated leather sport steering wheel
  • Door panel bottle holders
  • Consoles and storage
  • Console with armrest
  • Overhead console
  • Sun visors with illuminated vanity mirror

Climate control

  • AC w/ dual-zone temperature control
  • Rear air vents
  • PTC heater

Windows and locks

  • Power front and rear windows with 1-touch up/down

Interior mirrors

  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Floor mats
  • Front floor mats

Interior design

  • Black headliner
  • MPH primary speedometer
  • Vinyl door trim panel
  • Vinyl instrument panel

Packages

  • High-performance driving: $1,500
    • Features: paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, Brembo brakes w/ Alfa Romeo script
  • Active assist advanced: $2,000
    • Features: intelligent speed control, traffic sign recognition, 360-degree camera, front, ParkSense park assist
  • Premium interior: $1,500
    • Features: leather-trimmed interior, ventilated front seats
  • Premium interior & sound: $2,500
    • Features: leather-trimmed interior, ventilated front seats, 12-speaker Harmon Kardon premium sound system

Interior options

  • Sport cloth seat with biscotto stitching: standard
  • Perforated black leather seat: $1,500 or $2,500 (depends on package)

2024 Alfa Rome Tonale design, performance and powertrain

Alright, here we go. The moment all you spec-heads have been waiting for. Lift the curtain and cue the drumroll, please! Commanding 285 horsepower (hp) and 350 lb-ft of torque, Alfa claims the Tonale can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6 seconds with both the gas engine and electric motors turned on. I haven’t timed it, but that sounds about right, anecdotally speaking. Apart from the AMG version of the Mercedes GLA, the Tonale really does pack the best performance in its class. It might weigh 4,150 pounds at the curb, but in 2023 where everything is built like a tank, that’s less than some sedans.

Powering the rear wheels are two electric motors making 44 and 121 hp as well as 39 and 184 lb-ft of torque for a combined 165 hp and 223 lb-ft of torque with the engine off. Located under the front hood is a 1.3-liter turbocharged inline-4-cylinder Fiat FireFly-based internal combustion engine (ICE). Originally introduced in the South American market for the regional Fiat Uno, the FireFly was engineered to scale across a range of Stellantis (formerly Fiat-Chrysler) vehicles. You’ll find naturally aspirated versions of it in the Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda while the turbo variant is used in the Jeep Compass and Jeep Renegade, albeit without the electrified bits, at least in the U.S.

On battery power alone, you can drive for 31 miles without recharging. Plugging it into a Level 2 charger will get you a full charge in about 2 hours and 30 minutes. However, by default, the Alfa Romeo Tonale won’t charge in full swing without adjusting the charge speed on the infotainment first. On the default setting, it takes about 5 and 30 minutes to reach a full charge. Still faster than the 8 hours it takes to fully charge the 15.5-kWh battery using the included 120-volt Level 1 cable.

Photo credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

If you’re in the city, good luck finding a charger that isn’t blocked by an ICE or a Tesla taking up two spots. If you own a house, suck it up and get a Level 2 charger installed. Fortunately, it being a PHEV means the 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale never really needs to be plugged in, unless you plan to drive full-time on battery power alone. The DNA drive mode system you’ll find in all modern Alfas lets you toggle between three modes. As far as the Tonale is concerned, Dynamic (D) means the engine and electric motors are on all the time, Natural (N) relies primarily on the electric motors but fires up the engine when the extra power is needed, and Advanced Efficiency (A) runs purely on electric until it runs out of juice.

Driving the Alfa Romeo Tonale in Dynamic Mode will recharge the battery relatively fast. For every mile I drove, I gained one mile back in electric range. Regardless of the mode, you’ll always recoup some power thanks to the Tonale’s regenerative braking capabilities. That’s good news considering the dealer forgot to charge ours until we arrived to pick it up. As a result, my wife had to putter from Long Island to Manhattan on gas alone.

Folks, let me tell you. This is a fun car. Not just fun for a mom car. It handles like an Alfa, which is to say it handles like a BMW or any other German car, only quirkier. I would argue it’s even more fun to drive in EV mode because, without the gas engine powering the front wheels, it’s effectively a rear-wheel drive (RWD) sportback. Although you’re losing horsepower, you can corner like you’re in your favorite racing game. The driving dynamics are astonishingly similar to that of my Giulia Quadrifoglio, and yes, you can disable traction control in any of the three drive modes.

But… BUT – and let me preface this by saying, the Veloce model’s dual sport exhaust note is phenomenal for a 4-cylinder hybrid (I had to double-check to make sure the sound wasn’t playing through the speaker). BUT! When the battery dies down, the excitement dies with it. The Alfa Romeo Tonale running on gas alone sounds like a marathoner gasping at the final mile, desperate for electrolytic replenishment. The dedicated gas-only mode called e-Drive, Alfa-speak for “Grandpa Mode,” turns the Tonale into a front-wheel drive (FWD) boat making 180 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque. If you derive any enjoyment from driving, I suggest you never turn it on.

Photo credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale vs 2024 Dodge Hornet

Oh, you thought I wouldn’t bring it up, as if it’s the insect who shall not be named?

Believe me, I am well aware the Dodge Hornet sits on the same Jeep Compass platform as the Alfa Romeo Tonale. That they share the same powertrain. And before you say anything, I know it costs nearly $10K less to start. However! Let’s set the record straight. The Alfa Romeo Tonale is not an up-badged Dodge Hornet. The Hornet is a down-badged Tonale. This isn’t a cheap shot at Dodge – Alfa employees have that covered.

In all earnest, they’re two different cars, particularly at the base level where the pricing is at its most disparate. In fact, the $32,330 Dodge Hornet GT isn’t even a hybrid. It’s a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo making 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s 6% less horsepower and 15% less torque than the Alfa Romeo Tonale Sprint. Premium features that come standard on the Tonale, like the heated steering wheel and seats, 18-inch wheels, as well as remote start are optional, so tacking them on the Hornet hikes up the price.

The Dodge equivalent of the $42,995 base model Tonale is the $42,530 Hornet R/T. Buying “American” saves you a whole $465. Congratulations, treat yourself to something nice for Prime Day.

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EVs ExplainedFeatures

EVs Explained: What is a kilowatt-hour, and while we’re on the subject, what is a kilowatt?

“Now presenting our brand-new (insert new EV here), with a 50-kWh battery pack and 300 kW motors,” exclaims some extravagant press release from yet another startup. While it’s quite nice of you to spill all the beans like that, I’m still left wondering what the heck some of these measurements mean, and I’m sure some of you are too.

Welcome to this blooming age in the automotive landscape, where electrified cars stand on as big a pedestal as traditional dinosaur-powered performance vehicles. So many newfangled machines. So much innovative tech. Yet, interestingly, there’s not much in the way of explanation behind some of the most basic terminology, and what few definitions do exist lie buried under mounds of glitzy press material and spec sheet drag racing.

We’ve all read the brochures and the magazine reviews, diving into the colorful world of fully electric cars and plug-in hybrids. They’ll toss around new terminology like it’s already in the common vernacular, ignoring the fact that this is still relatively fresh tech being drip-fed to the world. Therefore, many terms haven’t fully clicked in people’s minds. But hopefully, this new explainer series should clear the fog around these words that are becoming as household as “horsepower” or “miles per gallon.” 

Our inaugural lessons to kick off this series: what the heck even are “kilowatts,” how do they relate to electric cars, and how do they pair with the equally-tossed “kilowatt-hours?” Well, I’m glad I asked – and hopefully drove enough interest to entrap you here – because it’s time to get schooled in five minutes or less.

Rivian R1T Charging in the desert
Image credit: Rivian

What is a killowatt?

This frequently-spoken term is not exclusive to EVs or electricity and can trace its core components back to pretty much any of our high school science and math classes. Anyone who has ever stumbled across a German auto magazine will likely guess where this is going.

Kilowatts are merely a metric measurement of power output, just like horsepower. Plain and simple.

Renault Mitsubishi Alliance Exposed Motors
Image credit: Renault Group

A kilowatt (kW), which translates to 1,000 watts (W), is the alternate unit of measurement if you’re too cool for horsepower. If you want to click with your new friends from Frankfurt, talk about how many kilowatts the straight-six in their 1995 C36 AMG makes. There’s even a brainless, one-step formula for converting kilowatts into ponies. Simply multiply your kilowatts by 1.341. 

For instance, let’s say you stumble across aforeign auto magazine talking about how the E92 M3 GTS had a power output of 331 kW – again, metric, so 331,000 W if you wanted to break it down. Before you scroll another line down the spec sheet looking for a pre-calculated conversion, you can multiply that 331 by 1.341 to get 443.87, on par with the manufacturer-claimed 444 horsepower. 

Bingo! Easy, right?

Lucid Air Sapphire
Image credit: Lucid Motors

Shift over to electric cars. Just as horsepower has become the ubiquitous unit of power measurement for internal combustion engines, the kilowatt has achieved a similar status for electric motors and may be used to denote output before official horsepower and torque ratings are published. The methodology for translating power measurements remains unchanged from pistons and cylinders to stators and magnets. Imagine some gilded brochure for the Tesla Model S Plaid that states that its motors’ combined output equals 760 kW. Multiply that by 1.341, and bam! 1,019.16, in line with its 1,020 horsepower rating. 

Tracking? Heck yeah, you are!

But the way that kilowatts relate to EVs is only half the story. One must also understand their relation to battery packs.

What is a kilowatt-hour?

While electric motors measure power output by kilowatts, battery packs measure energy capacity by kilowatt-hours. If you’ve read this far and decided you can’t stand me, please consult this handy YouTube video below for its breakdown of what a watt hour is and how it’s calculated. However, should you despise video explainers more than my written words, then please bear with me, as there’s a bit more to it than what we’ve discussed so far.

“How battery capacity is measured and what is Wh? (Watt Hour)”

A kilowatt-hour (kWh) determines how much energy can be expended over a unit of time, which, in the context of EVs, directly relates to a vehicle’s maximum power output and range. While the kWh is now a standard unit for measuring EV battery capacity, it’s long been a common unit of measurement for energy consumption in homes and appliances.

Lucid Air Sapphire - Exposed Car Internals - Top View
Image credit: Lucid Motors

Back to the Model S Plaid, let’s say you’re flooring it down the highway at a perfectly legal speed. Your foot’s all the way down on the throttle, extracting every bit of that 760 kW output. Welp. Congrats. You’ve killed it. The car dies within seven to eight minutes or roughly 0.13 hours after starting with a full charge, as the Model S Plaid’s battery has a capacity of 100 kWh, meaning it can expel 100 kW of power over roughly an hour. 

Now, let’s switch things up and say you’re on your way home from doing Tesla owner things, such as hot yoga and overpaying for bread with avocado on it (this is satire, by the way, so relax.) You’re taking it easy and hypermiling every stretch of the way, probably only expending an average of 50 kW during your drive. You’ll likely see about two hours’ worth of use and be able to travel a significantly farther distance with that 100 kWh battery than if you were to demand maximum attack from the electric motors a majority of the time.

Humorously, if you build some Frankenstein bastard child of a project car using the Plaid motors hooked up to a base model Nissan Leaf’s 40 kWh battery and went flat out, the party would be over in less than three minutes. Do with that information as you will, project car YouTubers of the world. 

That’s perhaps the simplest way to explain its relevance to prospective consumers. Smaller battery packs with lower capacities will result in shorter overall ranges and limit how much power an EV can reasonably output, while larger battery packs flip the script, enabling longer distances and more kW of power.

Lucid Air Action Shot
Image credit: Lucid Motors

It’s why you often see the pricier, long-range variants of electric vehicles sport more powerful motor setups and longer overall ranges, thanks to their higher kWh rating. And it’s partly why some performance variants with even more powerful motors wired to the same batteries (or even slightly bigger) may have shorter ranges, as their elevated performance now demands more from the battery, in addition to other factors like stickier tires, thermal challenges, and aero changes.

“Watt do you mean it can’t charge any faster?”

Last tidbit! Before we go too deep down a rabbit hole that’d require another article, let’s discuss how kilowatts and kilowatt hours pertain to charging your EV. Yes, everyone’s least favorite part. 

Just as kilowatts measure the power coming out of your EV, kilowatts can very much be used to measure the power going back into your EV, hence why we also measure chargers’ outputs in kW.

For example, a 50 kW charger will theoretically fully replenish a 50 kWh battery from next to nada in roughly an hour. A 100 kWh “fast charger” should be able to do the deed on the same battery in approximately 30 minutes. Ever wonder how these fast chargers can get monstrous powerhouses like the Model S Plaid, Lucid Air, or Taycan Turbo S up and ready to rock in less than an hour? Because fast chargers can output anywhere between 150 to well over 300 kW.

Rivian R1S closeup
Image credit: Rivian

Note other limitations can hinder how quickly an electric car can charge, including the set kilowatts an EV can accept. For instance, the new Volvo EX30 only has a maximum charge rate of 153 kW, which is more than enough for its 64 kWh battery, but far behind the 350 kW max charge rate of a comparable Hyundai Ioniq 5.

Class dismissed… for now.

Of course, there are so many other smaller factors that feed into the performance, charging, and discharging of an electric vehicle, which we can spin into another piece. But that’s the basic jist of the relationship between the fat K-W and the new wave of electric chariots.

For now, remember that kilowatts measure the power the car uses and produces while kilowatt-hours represent the energy stored in the battery pack, which directly impacts the EV’s range and output. And to any prospective owners out there, I hope this lesson has better equipped you to shop with confidence – or at least read Euro auto mags without scratching your head at the power figures.

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Features

2023 Toyota Prius: Who’s laughing now?

“It’s not you, it’s me,” and “You’ve changed, Prius,” are phrases Toyota’s long-running fuel-saving car would hear if it could have human-like relationships. The car got a significant overhaul for 2023, which brought a striking styling update, improved powertrain and performance, and better tech across the board. Looking at the new and improved 2023 Prius, it’s a little frustrating that Toyota could have given us this car years ago, but we’ll have to settle for better late or never. 

Toyota offers the 2023 Prius as a traditional hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) or as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The PHEV variant, called the Prius Prime, has been a mainstay in the Prius lineup since it was first introduced in 2012. While it does have to be routinely connected to a charger, the 2023 Prius Prime delivers higher performance and up to 44 miles of purely electric range. In either case, depending on the configuration, the car brings up to 57 mpg in the city and 56 mpg on the highway when the engine and electric motor are both in use.

The 2024 Prius hasn’t hit the streets yet, but we expect minor updates to the line, including a potential high-performance variant. Toyota made enough improvements to the car’s powertrain and styling that it’s reasonable to expect an enthusiast model with slightly more power and a more aggressive look, especially given its newfound popularity with modders.

2023 Toyota Prius interior

2023 Prius price, trim levels, mpg, and 0-60 performance

Toyota offers the Prius in several configurations and with all-wheel drive. The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) Prius Prime comes in sportier trims with a higher starting price and no all-wheel drive option. The tradeoff is that Prime buyers get up to 44 miles of all-electric range, meaning there could be extended periods without stops for gas, depending on the driver. 

Making up to 220 horsepower, we know the 2023 Prius is no slouch. But real-world performance is about more than just horsepower. Weight and torque also play an important role. Pushing 139 lb-ft of torque and a curb weight between 3097-3571 lbs, the Prius Prime can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 6.6 seconds while the regular Prius still manages a decent 7.

While those aren’t record-shattering numbers, the 2023 Prius’s 0-60 performance is a far cry from the 10.3 seconds of the 2012 model our Editor-in-Chief mentioned owning in his interview with Mag-X.

2023 Toyota Prius LE

  • $27,450 (AWD +$1,400)
  • Up to 57 mpg combined
  • 194 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

2023 Toyota Prius XLE

  • $30,895 (AWD +$1,400)
  • Up to 52 mpg combined
  • 194 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

2023 Toyota Prius Limited

  • $34,465 (AWD +$1,400)
  • Up to 52 mpg combined
  • 194 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

2023 Toyota Prius Prime SE

  • $32,350 
  • 127 MPGe
  • 44mi all-electric range
  • 220 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

2023 Toyota Prius Prime XSE

  • $35,600 
  • 114 MPGe
  • 39mi all-electric range
  • 220 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

2023 Toyota Prius Prime Premium

  • $39,170 
  • 114 MPGe
  • 39mi all-electric range
  • 220 net horsepower
  • 139 lb-ft torque

The 2023 Prius is part of a sprawling car lineup from Toyota. The automaker also offers the Corolla as a sedan or hatchback with an optional hybrid powertrain. The Camry is also available as a gas or hybrid, and Toyota recently revived the Crown nameplate for use on a hybrid-only premium sedan. In terms of pricing, the Prius is more expensive than the Corolla and starts off a little below the Camry’s base price. 

Toyota has always done a decent job with value and offering a simple vehicle build process. With the 2023 Prius, buyers have a wide range of colors and options packages to choose from. Most popular features come with trim level selection, making the buying process much easier to navigate. The car also gets a load of standard safety equipment, including blind spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, and much more. 

2023 Toyota Prius dashboard

Toyota hybrids: 2023 Toyota Prius vs 2023 Toyota Corolla hybrid

The Prius’ move upmarket with power and styling made it more compelling than the Corolla on paper, though neither car is remarkably exciting nor quick. The 2023 Prius delivers 194 horsepower, while the Corolla is limited to 138 ponies. Both cars get a continuously variable transmission and are available with all-wheel drive. 

Most versions of the Prius outperform the Corolla Hybrid on fuel economy. The most efficient front-drive Prius LE delivers 57 mpg in the city, while the Corolla Hybrid tops out at 50 mpg city. The Prius offers ten more cubic feet of cargo space than the Corolla, although both leave much to be desired in this department. 

Toyota has massively improved its technology offerings in recent years, and the new 2023 Prius gets the full benefit of the automaker’s latest interface. It comes standard with a standard 7-inch display or an optional 12.3-inch display, and the new infotainment system runs flawlessly on both. The Corolla also got a new interface for 2023, but its largest display is an 8-inch touchscreen. Both cars get upscale tech features that were considered luxuries just a few years ago. These include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a digital gauge cluster, and more. 

2023 Prius news

Toyota just got a new CEO after long-time leader Akio Toyoda stepped down from the position earlier this year. The company has been a public skeptic of the move to electric vehicles for many years. This has led Toyota to push forward with the development of hybrids and other fuel sources, such as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The automaker’s first mass-market EV, the Toyota bZ4X, was plagued with delays and a recall early on but has reached the market with generally positive reviews.

The company has announced its plans to release ten new EV models by 2025 and said plug-in hybrids are the way forward with electrification. Toyota is working on new PHEV models with electric ranges of more than 124 miles, giving them several times the range of today’s most robust PHEVs. The automaker believes that PHEVs will be considered “practical BEVs” and hybrids will become the lower-cost alternatives while still saving fuel. 

At the same time, Toyota is in the middle of a modernization push with its truck and SUV line. The automaker overhauled its ancient Sequoia SUV and Tundra pickup truck last year and has begun releasing teaser images for the upcoming Tacoma refresh. 

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