Toyota updated their long-running hybrid and the 2019 Prius range does look fresher but more importantly has a new all-wheel drive. The Japanese carmaker reckons it could prove a bestseller in more adverse climates and the system uses an electric motor to power the rear-wheels independently.
Toyota praises the new drive as an expansion on their slogan and writes “let’s go more places, in more conditions” in the accompanying press release. A less catchy perhaps but more accurate manner to describe the AWD-e system for the 2019 Prius is to say: “The Prius AWD-e uses an independent electric, magnet-less rear motor to power the rear wheels from 0 to 6 mph, then when needed, up to 43 mph.”
This is not the only feature in which the new Prius differs from other hybrid models in the new range. The Prius AWD-e sees Toyota return to their nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) chemistry for the battery, yet in a newly designed housing. The battery pack sits under the rear seat and is said to perform better in cold weather conditions.
Again this goes back to Toyota tackling a little rougher terrain with the new model and colder climates. Moreover, all hybrid-related components, including the battery, have a 96 months/100,000 miles warranty.
Apart from the new system and battery, the 2019 Prius and Prius AWD-e continue to use the regular 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, electric motors and continuously variable transmission known from previous versions. The fourth-generation Prius is based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA).
In terms of labels, Toyota is adopting L Eco, LE, XLE and Limited to designate the various trim levels. The AWD-e will be available in LE and XLE trims.
The 2019 Prius gets some visual updates too, mostly reached by changing the shape of the lights and thus the “face” of the hybrid car. Finally, Toyota is has added two new colours, Supersonic Red and Electric Storm Blue.
In the press release Toyota estimate the new model could account for a quarter of all Prius sales in the USA. Fittingly, the hybrid is currently on display at the LA Auto Show.