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The Toyota Prius AWD-e is equipped for inclement weather

Toyota has added all-wheel drive to the Prius, making it even more useful to buyers in the Snowbelt.

jake-holmes
jake-holmes
Jake Holmes
While studying traditional news journalism in college, Jake realized he was smitten by all things automotive and wound up with an internship at Car and Driver. That led to a career writing news, review and feature stories about all things automotive at Automobile Magazine, most recently at Motor1. When he's not driving, fixing or talking about cars, he's most often found on a bicycle.
Jake Holmes
2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e
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The Prius has a new option for 2019: all-wheel drive.

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The Prius AWD-e adds an extra motor, which powers the rear wheels with up to 7 horsepower and 40 pound-feet at low speeds.

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AWD is only available at speeds up to 43 miles per hour, but that should be plenty for getting drivers unstuck from snow, ice or dirt roads.

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The Prius AWD-e LE and XLE are EPA-rated for 52 miles per gallon city, 48 mpg highway and 50 mpg combined. That's only 2 mpg less, in each category, than an equivalent front-wheel-drive Prius.

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Otherwise, this car drives just like a standard Toyota Prius; though the AWD-e is 145 to 170 pounds heavier than an equivalent front-drive model, you won't feel much of a difference from the driver's seat.

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For infotainment, most models use a 6.1-inch touchscreen with AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, a CD player and aux and USB inputs. The system works well enough, with easy-to-use menus and physical shortcut buttons, though its graphics aren't especially fancy. There are also displays to show the car's fuel efficiency.

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The 2019 Prius is equipped as standard with pre-collision warning and braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. All but the base Prius L has parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring, too.

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Among the interior changes for the 2019 model year are extra piano-black plastic trim, which looks good but is prone to attracting fingerprints, and two extra 2.1-amp USB ports for rear-seat passengers to juice up their gadgets.

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Compared to front-wheel-drive models, the AWD-e costs only $1,400 extra in its LE trim level and $1,000 extra in XLE form. Including destination, the cars cost $27,310 and $29,750, respectively.

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