New Car Alert: 2019 Prius AWD-e

The iconic Prius hybrid gets a fully electronic AWD system that automatically kicks in when needed

November 28, 2018


Say hello to the newest member of Toyota’s family of iconic hybrids: the 2019 Prius AWD-e, introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show today.
 
Where does it fit in our lineup?
 
It extends the fourth-generation Prius lineup, with the benefits of all-wheel drive being offered on the LE and XLE grades. Toyota anticipates this new version could end up accounting for 25 percent of Prius sales in 2019.



How does it drive?
 
No surprise here: It gets great gas mileage. But it also gives you a boost when you need it.
 
  • It’s billed as America’s most fuel-efficient all-wheel drive passenger car, based on manufacturer-projected fuel economy estimates of 52 mpg in the city, 48 mpg on the highway and 50 mpg combined.
  • The key innovation is a fully electronic on-demand AWD system, available up to speeds of 43 mph. When sensors detect that the front-drive wheels are slipping, an independent electric motor automatically powers up the rear wheels to help improve traction. No need for a center differential or front-to-rear driveshaft.
  • The system draws on a more compact nickel metal hydride battery that fits under the rear seat area without affecting the Prius’ cavernous 65.5 cubic feet of cargo area (with rear seatbacks lowered) — more than some small SUVs.


But, how does it look?

 
That’s easy: just like the refreshed 2019 Prius, with its newly refined front and rear exterior styling and interior tweaks. That being said, you should know that:
 
  • The Prius AWD-e debuts a new two-tone 15-inch alloy wheel and two new colors: Supersonic Red and Electric Storm Blue.
  • Also, though the LE is well equipped, the XLE ups the amenity ante with such items as SofTex-trimmed front seats, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, Smart Key System, Toyota Safety Connect and available Adaptive Front Lighting System.
  • Both grades come standard with the latest version of Toyota Safety Sense P, a comprehensive bundle of active safety technologies.
Who’s going to buy them?
 
Environmentally and budget-conscious people who live in climates that present challenging driving conditions. Think rain, snow, mud and other assorted nastiness.
 


When does it go on sale?

 
January…just in time to take on winter.
 
Tell me something I don’t know.
 
SofTex synthetic leather-trimmed seats, standard on the XLE, features surface temperature-regulating properties. In plain English: The seats feel warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather. Nice.
 
Want to learn more?
 
Toyota USA Newsroom
Motor Trend
Autoblog
Green Car Reports
Consumer Reports
Automotive News

 
By Dan Miller

 

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