Prius

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2019 Toyota Prius Overview

The Toyota Prius is perhaps the most recognizable hybrid on the market. The current fourth-generation model arrived for 2016, so 2019 brings a timely styling update, a revamped trim structure, and a new powertrain option.

The 2019 Prius sports a revised front end with a new bumper, grille openings, and headlights. At the rear, you’ll find redesigned taillights that stretch horizontally, instead of the previous vertical units. Supersonic Red and Electric Storm Blue are now available. Inside, Toyota swapped the car’s distinctive white accents for a gloss-black set. The Prius retains its spaciousness, with as much as 62.7 cubic feet with the standard 60/40 split-folding rear seat folded.

As before, every Prius gets a 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder engine, paired to an electric motor and battery through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), making 121 net horsepower. But, where all previous Prius models were front-wheel drive (FWD), Toyota added an impressive new all-wheel drive (AWD) system. Dubbed AWD-e, this consists of a separate electric motor assembly that powers the rear wheels. Whereas the FWD Prius utilizes a lithium-ion main battery, units equipped with AWD-e get a nickel-metal hydride battery. The EPA estimates maximum fuel economy of 54 mpg city, 50 highway, and 52 combined for FWD and 52, 48, and 50 for AWD.

The 2019 Prius ditches the numerical trim names in favor of Toyota’s traditional trim structure. You’ll now select from the L Eco, LE, XLE, and Limited trims. Standard equipment includes full LED headlights, heated power mirrors, 15-inch wheels, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a 4.2-inch instrument cluster display, keyless start, keyless access for the driver’s door, and two more USB ports than last year. The XLE and Limited trims also come with keyless entry. Finally, an adaptive front-lighting system is optional on the XLE grade and standard on the Limited. It’s worth noting that you’ll only find AWD-e offered on the LE and XLE trims.

Like most of Toyota’s current portfolio, the Prius comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense P suite of technologies. This includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and full-speed adaptive cruise control. All trims also emit a noise at low speed to alert pedestrians and cyclists when operating in full-electric mode, when hybrids are otherwise difficult to hear. There’s no doubt that this contributes to the Prius’s Top Safety Pick designation in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) 2018 tests.

The 2019 Prius shows that there’s always room to improve upon a good thing, between the superior fuel economy and subtle re-styling. What’s more, those who experience challenging weather can find a solution in the new AWD-e system. And while shoppers may have other options if they’re interested in buying a hybrid, like the Honda Insight, the Prius’ AWD makes it stand apart.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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