2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e | All-Wheel Drive to Broaden Its Appeal | First Drive Review

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e | All-Wheel Drive to Broaden Its Appeal | First Drive Review


MARK TAKAHASHI: The Toyota
Prius has been the hybrid poster child for almost two decades. When it comes to
fuel economy, it’s really hard to beat the Prius. But it’s front-wheel
drive-only layout posed challenges for shoppers
in weather-prone areas. That’s all changed with
this, the 2019 Toyota Prius. Do me a favor and
hit Subscribe below. We have a lot more
reviews coming your way. Compared to the 2018
Prius, the 2019 models, including the all-wheel
drive, perform and behave much like its predecessor. They’re not particularly sporty,
but they get the job done, and that job is fuel economy. When it goes on sale
in January of 2019, prices are going to start
right around $27,000 for the all-wheel drive,
which is only about $1,400 more than the front-wheel drive. Another big difference
between the all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive Prius is
going to be the battery packs. They’ve switched from the
lithium ion for the front wheel drive to a nickel
metal hydride battery pack for the all-wheel drive. That’s because Toyota says the
nickel metal hydride battery pack does a lot better
with cold climates. When it comes to
styling differences, they’ve actually gone simple. They took out some of the more
complex and awkward shapes that were in the front
right under the headlights, and they even shaved
off the headlights to give it more of a
conventional wrap-around look. The same holds true
for the tail lights. There are a lot more
simpler and horizontal. Overall, you still get
all of the character that you’ve come to
expect from a Prius, for better or for worse. Like the exterior, of
the interior of the 2019 Prius sees some minor
changes here and there. The most obvious is
the white, glossy trim that kind of adorned
everything inside, that’s gone. They’ve replaced it with black. And, personally, I think
it looks a lot better. They’ve also moved the
seat heater switches from buried deep down
under here to right here in from the cup holders. Another addition. They’ve added two
USB ports right behind for the rear seats. Otherwise, a lot of
it remains unchanged, and that’s a good thing. The addition of the all-wheel
drive motor and the battery pack doesn’t affect cargo space
or rear passenger space at all. All right, so when it comes to
driving the new Prius all-wheel drive, there’s not
a big difference between this and the
regular front-wheel drive. To be honest, I don’t
feel a difference at all. They say that the power
output and efficiency is pretty much dead on. This gets two miles per gallon
less, so 50 miles per gallon combined, versus 52
for the regular Prius, and 56 miles per
gallon for their L Eco. The added electric motors
on the rear axle, those come into play under
initial acceleration from 0 to 6 miles an hour. And that’s really just to
help out on slippery surfaces. The motor will kick
in from time to time, up to 43 miles an
hour, when needed when slippage is detected. Unfortunately, they
didn’t get around to adding Apple CarPlay
for the 2019 model. They are saying it
will come eventually. If you ask me, it’ll probably
be in the next model year. And that’s too bad,
because the Toyota Entune system, in my opinion, is one of
the worst infotainment systems to use. It’s just
overcomplicated, and it’s lacking a lot of
features that are made up by the features on
your smartphone. So to give an indication
of how different or how much better the
all-wheel drive might be, they’ve set up this wonderful
little snowy course for us. This is the front-wheel
drive version. And we’ll see how much of
a handful it really is. Let’s go plowing and
see what happens. Oh, yeah. So it’s not a lot of
steering response. It’s really just– oh, it’s
kind of just struggling to get through. And there’s a lot
of work you can hear with the anti-locks
kicking in there. But it made it
through just fine. It didn’t need a whole lot
of steering correction. So we’ll see how the all-wheel
drive performs in comparison. All right, so there’s
one important difference, which is initial traction. The rear motors, they come into
play from 0 to 6 miles an hour just to get you going. So we’re going to go up this
gentle little incline here to get a real good indication
of if it really works or not. Here we go. OK, so a little bit of
crabbing here and there, but it left the line just fine. And that was pretty
deep snow, actually. And the front-wheel drive
Prius actually won’t even make it up that hill. So we are lined up onto
the chicane course. Here we go. Going in about the same
speed and same aggression. Oh, it’s tracking way better. Wow. Yeah, it’s not
bogging down at all. It’s just kind of kicking in. We had maybe 25
miles an hour there, and that was a
marked improvement. Good on you, Toyota. The 2019 Prius maintains its
advantage for fuel economy and keeps all of its character
that we’ve come to expect. The addition of the
all-wheel drive model? Well, that’s a
significant step forward. It really opens up
the Prius to shoppers who normally wouldn’t
consider it because they lived in snowy areas. After driving it
on this course, I can say it makes a difference. It makes a big difference,
especially when you’re just starting out from a dead stop. For more information
on the Prius, as well as its competition,
head on over to edmunds.com. To see more videos like
this, hit Subscribe. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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  1. Look up "Damning with faint praise" in the dictionary. This review is shown as an example. 🙂 Seriously though, this Prius "AWD" isn't meant to be a true AWD vehicle. It's meant for drivers living in northern climes who need to get out of a driveway on a icy, snowy morning and to drive moderately in a suburban environment. It should mean some additional Prius sales in places like Maine and Minnesota and that's what Toyota was aiming for.

  2. Ooooh… CD player stays! #Convenient Would rather have a 4WD Prius Prime with a lift kit.
    Or am I describing the next RAV4? I hope so. Hope the RAV4 loses that curved roof tho' so stuff fits in it again!

  3. Besides the fact that repeatedly stressing that it only works until 6mph is highly misleading. It just goes on ev only until 6mph and then up to 43mph combined. But I guess he didn't read that part.

  4. So I take it that this AWD version is not available to the Prius Prime?
    That's a shame. I have the Prime. Love the 25 mile EV range for everyday commuting. I find that in snow, if I put the car into POWER mode, I get more torque and do better in snow. AWD for the Prime would be great.

  5. I’m so happy Toyota redesigned the Prius tail lights because in the 2018 Prius, I can see a walking cane on the night lights… XD

  6. No chance to compete with Corolla Hybrid Sedan/Touring/Hatch.. with same fuel efficiency but much better looks and price. Only benefit will be AWD and much better transmission stick.

  7. i had the 2018 and i got back pain by driving it for around half an hour, is it the same in this one ? please help me.

  8. That is plain dumb giving awd to a low clearance prius? Maybe it might help with some scenarios..but deff not with your average typical snowfall.😐

  9. not bad but not a real AWD like subaru. just drive a prius if its summer or dry. get a used subaru if you really want to get out of a snow.

  10. The Prius needs the gauge cluster moved to the left behind the steering wheel like every other car. Not in the center of the dashboard. Why does Scion & Prius think this is cute? 🤦‍♂️

  11. I may have missed it, but did your test vehicle have snow tires or all seasons? Totally agree with your comment regarding Entune.

  12. And Toyota needs to bury the hatchet with Google and install Android Auto – wouldn't be caught dead with an Apple, myself.

  13. Leased one last week. I love it. Totally agree that a higher clearance would perfect it, but I am a Prius evangelist who lives in the NE and finally leased a different AWD vehicle because my FWD Prius didn't feel safe in the snow, but a RAV4 felt too big. Waited, and waited, and waited, and jumped on it as soon as it came out. Really enjoying it so far, but know that b/c it's so new, there are NO buying or leasing incentives on it yet.

  14. Prius is a frickin awesome car, but Toyota need to pull the price down and only then I'll delay my shift to a full EV.

  15. I’ve owned a couple of these in the previous generations. AWD is a great idea. One thing to note is that the Prius’ low rolling resistance tires are awful in the snow. I’d still get snow tires.

  16. Awesome. Now that the summer blend came in, all the SUV/Truck buying fever is gone. You kinda feel dumb getting 8-mpg

  17. I had an Prius II. I ever was waiting for an awd Prius. But now i would only buy it combined with plug in for at least 50 km. No, i would buy it as a station wagon, awd, plug in….

  18. AWD is nice but clearance improvements are needed for deep powder. Subaru's higher clearance sedans win in that regard.

  19. not everyone knows but good lsd nimh can do over 1500 cycles. and does not catch fire)) but yes its much havier. not like prius neeeds a lot of battery as its a hybrid made the wrong way

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