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

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 To see more videos like
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