2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Nov 29, 2018
FAST FACTS
  • New version of refreshed 2019 Prius
  • Adds a rear electric motor to assist acceleration from a stop and add traction in slippery conditions
  • Rated to get 50 mpg in combined driving (52-mpg city/48-mpg highway)
  • Available in XLE and Limited trim levels
  • Offered with new roof rack and attachment cross bars
  • Cargo space shrinks a bit from 65.5 cu.-ft. to 62.7 cu.-ft.
  • New paint colors: Supersonic Red, Electric Storm Blue

Introduction:

Toyota gives its 2019 Prius a freshening for 2019, updating the front and rear styling, adding a couple of new paint colors, installing new standard safety technologies, and dropping the car’s numerical trim level approach in favor of L Eco, LE, XLE, and Limited designations. Perhaps the most significant change, however, is an available all-wheel-drive system.

Exterior Features:

All 2019 Prius models have freshened styling. Mainly, the headlights and taillights are redesigned, along with the front and rear bumper covers, giving the car a less polarizing appearance. New paint colors include Supersonic Red and Electric Storm Blue, and the new Prius AWD-e model has unique wheel covers.

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e
2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e

Given that the Prius AWD-e offers better traction in the snow and on dirt, new roof rack attachment crossbars are ready to accommodate sporting equipment such as bikes and kayaks, as well as roof rack carriers. However, ground clearance remains modest, so don’t drive too deep into the white stuff or the woods.

An Adaptive Front Lighting System that helps to illuminate around dark curves and corners is standard for the Prius Limited, and available for the XLE.

Interior Features:

The Prius’s interior is basically the same as it was before. With the Prius AWD-e, when you upgrade from the LE trim to the XLE trim, the 5-door hatchback gets standard SofTex simulated leather upholstery with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

Cargo volume for the standard Prius measures 65.5 cu.-ft. with the rear seat backs folded down. In the Prius AWD-e, space drops a bit to a maximum of 62.7 cu.-ft.

Under the Hood:

Toyota restricts the new AWD-e drivetrain to LE and XLE trim. Essentially, the system is the same as the standard Prius but it adds an independent rear electric assist motor to power the rear wheels from a stop up to 6 mph. This helps to accelerate away from a stop sign or a traffic light with greater authority.

Furthermore, in slippery driving conditions, the electric motor engages at speeds up to 43 mph to provide an extra measure of traction in snow, in rain, on gravel, and on dirt.

The extra motor does make the Prius a little less efficient. Toyota says it is expected to get 50 mpg in combined driving (52-mpg city/48-mpg highway). Compare that to a standard Prius LE, XLE, or Limited, which is rated to get 52 mpg in combined driving (54-mpg city/50-mpg highway).

Despite the drop in efficiency and cargo space, Toyota says the AWD-e version of its popular hybrid hatch could represent 25% of all Prius sales.

Safety:

As was true last year, every 2019 Toyota Prius is equipped with standard Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P), a collection of important driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies. The package includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and full-speed-range adaptive cruise control.

Technology:

Safety Connect subscription services return to the Prius for 2019, and still include a free 3-year trial period. The difference this year is that the technology is standard with Limited trim rather than bundled into an option package.

Highlights include automatic collision notification and quick access to emergency assistance and roadside assistance. It also provides a stolen vehicle locator service.

 

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