With record-high U.S. gas prices, it's fitting that my review this week is of a hybrid. One that set the stage for all hybrids that came after it. I'm of course talking about the Toyota Prius, groundbreaking when it was introduced in 1997, becoming the world's first mass produced hybrid. Today, the Toyota Prius remains a vehicle first and foremost about fuel efficiency, something I expect people are thinking about more than ever in wake of the current fuel crisis. Fuel efficiency aside, it's nice to see it get some extra style this year by joining Toyota's Nightshade Edition family. It's Toyota's first dedicated hybrid model to do so. Also new for 2022, the Prius incorporates Rear Seat Reminder.
I think the Prius wears the Nightshade Edition well. It gives it a sporty, black-out look with black headlight accents, black mirror caps, a black shark fin antenna, door handles and badges. My FWD model rides on 17-inch five-spoke wheels. (The e-AWD version rides on 15-inch wheels) This model is Midnight Black Metallic but it's also available in Super White and Silver Metallic.
The Prius is equipped with integrated fog lights, BI-LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights, heated outside mirrors and rain sensing wipers.
The Prius' hybrid powertrain delivers 121-horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque which I feel is on the low side with hybrid technology advancing as it is, but drivers looking for an outstanding 52 combined mpg likely don't mind.
My Nightshade Edition features an all-black interior with glossy black and chrome accents, along with a soft-touch dash and upper door panels up front. The interior is roomy with plenty of headroom and of course its signature design feature is its familiar 4.2-inch center driver display. (I imagine when you sell more than 6 million of these worldwide you're hesitant to re-invent the wheel, but I'd love to be surprised with something completely different one day.)
You'll find the gear shift up in the center stack along with buttons for the parking brake, and drive modes. The console area hosts cupholders, a wireless charger, USB ports and heated seat controls.
The Nightshade Edition adds features from the XLE trim, including its wide SofTex-trimmed heated front seats and heated steering wheel. It keeps your hands toasty but I did find the heating element to be more centralized to where you place your hands as opposed to the entire steering wheel. You'll also find SofTex-trimmed door armrests and seat back pockets. The driver's seat is 8-way power adjustable. the passenger's is manually adjustable.
The back seat is roomy with a 60/40 rear split seat. There is plenty of cargo space and a retractable tonneau cargo area cover keeps valuables out of sight.
The Prius is outfitted with a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen that's responsive and compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It's also home to a backup camera. Advanced voice command works well. Connectivity includes one USB 2.0 iPod port, two 2.1-amp USB charge ports, a wireless phone charger and a 12-volt. It's equipped with a 6-speaker sound system. To step up to a Premium 10-speaker system you'll have to go with the Limited model.
Ride and Drive
The Toyota Prius isn't a thrill ride but it gets you comfortably from Point A to Point B. Sport mode ups its engagement and throttle responsiveness. It delivers a confident, smooth ride on the road with good visibility but you do have to get used to the unique liftback with two panes of glass. The ride is on the noisier side for me, but that's subjective.
The 2022 Prius is equipped with TSS 2.0 that includes Pre-Collision with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Rang Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, and Road Sign Assist. Additionally, all but the L ECO grade are also equipped with Blind Spot Monitor with Rear-Cross Traffic Alert along with Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Intelligent Park Assist.
This model has several options: Carpet Floor Mats/Cargo Mat ($259), Illuminated Door Sills ($299), Areo Side Splitter ($299) and Rear Bumper Applique ($69). This brings the total MSRP with destination to $31,296 which makes it a great value -- given the average new vehicle prices these days was $46,404 in January 2022, according to KBB.
The Toyota Prius Nightshade Edition adds drama to the Prius lineup while continuing to offer outstanding fuel efficiency at a great value -- even more so during these times.
- What I Liked Most: Nightshade looks. Outstanding fuel economy.
- What I would change: Update hybrid system for a power boost.
- MSRP: Base $29,445; as equipped $31,396 with transportation.
- Fuel Economy: 54 city/50 highway/52 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 965 miles.
- Weight: 3,075 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Tire Repair Kit.
- Length-Width-Height:180.0” long/69.3“ wide/57.9” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 11.3 gallons with the fuel filler on the driver’s side.
- Official Color: Midnight Black Metallic
- Towing Capacity: N/A
- 2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade in a few words: A stylish and welcome edition to the Prius lineup.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive; 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain; Hybrid battery warranty: 10 years from date of first use/150,000 miles, Hybrid-related components 8 years/100,000 miles.
- Final Assembly Location: Toyota, Aichi, Japan.
- Manufacturer's website: Toyota