The 2019 Toyota Prius adds all-wheel drive without much sacrifice
The car I'm driving today scarcely needs any introduction at all.
If you've driven anywhere, on any roads at all in the past couple of years, you've seen one of them.
It is the world's best-selling hybrid car, the Toyota Prius.
This generation of the Prius went on sale in 2016.
But this year, there's something new about it, it adds all wheel drive.
Up front, under the hood, things are still the same.
You get a 1.8 liter gas engine and an electric motor generator giving you a combined 121 horsepower.
But the Prius, a WDE, as it's called, has a different battery pack.
And then, back here there's a new electric motor with seven horsepower and 40 pound [UNKNOWN] feet of torque, and that's what makes this thing all wheel drive.
Now, you might be thinking, that doesn't sound like a whole lot of power for the rear And you're right.
The Prius isn't meant to be all-wheel drive all the time.
Rather the system is there to help get you unstuck on slippery surfaces, things like gravel, snow, ice, maybe on a rainy day like today.
But unfortunately we are failing on the one thing that in Michigan when it isn't snowing, so I can't really demonstrate to you how the all wheel drive system would work in the depths of winter, but hopefully this footage from Toyota will give you a better idea of how this car would cope with ice and snow.
The real motor is always active, helping out with acceleration at speeds between 0 and six miles per hour, and then from six to 43 miles per hour An hour it can kick in if necessary if the front wheel slip.
There is also a little mode in the trip computer where I can monitor the activity of all wheel drive system if I want to.
Now I do have to point out if you gonna be using your Prius in severe winter weather, you really would be well served to get proper winter tyres on it.
These Dunlop enasave tyres are really all about low.
[UNKNOWN] Rolling resistance rather than intense snow and ice performance.
But with all wheel drive this car is gonna get going a little more easily in the snow than a standard Prius.
Perhaps the most important question with a Prius though is how adding.
All Wheel Drive affects fuel economy.
And the good news is it doesn't make that big a difference.
This car is rated for 52 miles per gallon city and 48 mpg highway.
Those are different Increases of only 2 MPG Versus a standard car in each category.
And just to put it more bluntly, this is the most fuel efficient four wheel drive non plug in car you can buy today.
And those are just the window stickers.
In real world driving I've been amazed.
Pleased at the fuel economy numbers I've been able to get, up into the high 50s even into the mid 60s in just normal driving.
I'm not hyper miling, or driving ten miles an hour below the speed limit, even with all wheel drive the Prius is just incredibly fuel efficient.
No matter How you drive it.
Overall, this all wheel drive model drives just like any prius, and that's a good thing.
Now, I don't really love the vague and loose feeling steering, or the very floaty chassis, but this car is kind of ideally set up for everyday commuting in the suburbs.
The ride is comfortable, the steering is very [UNKNOWN] And you get great visibility in every direction, because you got a low belt line and big windows.
It's frankly a car that's very easy to just jump into and drive without paying too much attention to it.
Things aren't quite so great on the highway, you get a lot of wind and road noise, and while acceleration is adequate around town, the Prius feels pretty slow at highway speed And the gas engine, well, it sounds pretty [UNKNOWN] and strained when you really push it.
For 2019, the entire Toyota Prius line up got a very mild facelift.
But it still basically looks like a Prius, a little bit dorky, a little bit futuristic, only in name of reducing aerodynamic track Now I personally don't really like the looks of this car, but you have to remember that a lot of buyers really like having a car that instantly and unequivocally signals, yeah, this person is driving a hybrid.
As for changes on the inside, you get more piano black trim and two new USB ports for back seat passengers.
As ever, the inside of the Prius is very Functional and very simple to use.
I don't love the dorky little electric transmission shift or the center mounted instrument cluster.
But honestly, that's so simple to use that.
after a couple of miles of driving, I kind of forget to be annoyed by them really.
On the other hand, this car's $32,000 and it doesn't have satellite radio or power driver's seat, and that is annoying.
Overall, the cabin is so light, and airy and roomy.
There's tons of headroom and a good amount of legroom in the backseat.
And the hatchback is spacious too, with about 25 cubic feet of storage space with the seats up.
That's actually better than the new Mazda 3 hatchback.
So, how much extra do you pay to have all wheel drive in your Prius?
Well, actually not all that much, adding all wheel drive the prius LE costs only 1400 dollars extra, and adding it to the XLE trim, like the one I am driving is only 1000 dollars extra.
That puts the cheapest all wheel drive Drive a Prius at just over $27,000 with destination, which isn't that bad at all.
At first blush, a Toyota Prius that gets slightly worse fuel economy and costs a little bit more sounds like a bad deal.
But the truth is this car is still super fuel efficient, and you really can't put a price on the extra confidence of drive you might get from having all wheel driving [UNKNOWN] weather.
So for those reasons I think the all wheel drive [UNKNOWN] especially with buyers in the snow belt.