Pictured at the Dunnville Autodrome in Canada, the Prius Prime lacks a bit in terms of torque: 139 pound-feet or 188 Nm if you prefer the metric system. It's also quite heavy, tipping the scales at 3,571 pounds (1,620 kilograms). By comparison, the Mazda3 Sport GT Turbo and VB-generation Subaru WRX weigh 3,392 lbs (1,539 kgs) and 3,435 lbs (1,558 kgs).
Exclusively hatchback, automatic, and all-wheel drive, the Mazda3 Turbo cranks out a respectable 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet (434 Nm) from a displacement of 2.5 liters on premium dinosaur juice. As for the lighter WRX, make that 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet (350 Nm) of twist on full song.
Also available with a chain-type continuously variable transmission, the Scooby takes the win from a rolling start, but only just. That Mazda is seriously quick in the quarter mile. From a dig, it easily keeps the WRX at bay. On both occasions, the Prius Prime finished dead last. What is particularly surprising about the Prius Prime in this context is that it hung in there with the turbocharged hatchback and sedan.
We also have to remember that both the Mazda3 Turbo and Subaru WRX were developed from the outset to be rewarding in the twisties and on the straightaways. The Prius Prime? Emphasis on efficiency to the detriment of go-faster credentials.
As Thomas Holland from Throttle House puts it, it's no longer the laughingstock it used to be prior to the introduction of the 2023 model. Available to configure at $32,350 (excluding destination charge) at press time, the Prius Prime can do 60 mph (97 kph) in 6.6 seconds while also averaging 52 miles for every gallon of gas (4.5 liters per 100 kilometers).
Although CVTs are supposed to be more efficient than manuals, the CVT-equipped WRX fares one mile per gallon worse than the six-speed manual. At $30,605 right off the bat, it's the most affordable of the trio raced by Throttle House in the video below.
Last but certainly not least, $36,650 gets you the Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus, the best-equipped trim level currently on sale in the US market. As per the EPA, its engine averages 26 mpg (9 l/100 km).