First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
Along with updated styling, the Prius grew for 2016, increasing cargo space. A new platform improved handling and ride. Though output from the carryover engine decreased slightly, thanks to lighter hybrid components fuel mileage estimates increased to 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway; an Eco version was even more efficient. Lithium-ion batteries are now used on some variations. Six trim levels are offered.
Model year 2018 and newer vehicles include: 1 month of OnStar Safety & Security Plan and 1 month of Chevrolet Connected Services which include navigation services, Remote Access Plan and 1 month or 3 gigabytes of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to user terms and limitations. Visit onstar.com for more details. Data plans offered by AT&T. Availability subject to change.
Consider that a larger-than-average chunk of the Prius's cost is directed to make possible its advanced powertrain, and the amount of plastic in the interior starts to make sense even as it left us wanting for better trimmings. It could be appointed in sumptuous leather and we'd still take issue with the center-mounted information gauges, which require the driver to take their eyes off the road too frequently. Passengers have plenty of room to spread out in the Prius—there's space for four six-footers thanks to upright seating—but several rivals offer even more legroom for back-seat passengers.
The Prius will be available with all-wheel drive — Toyota calls it AWD-e — in its midgrade trim levels. The hybrid system under the hood returns unchanged, but Toyota added another electric motor between the rear wheels. It provides additional traction upon initial acceleration and, when needed, up to 43 mph. In order to better cope with colder climates, Toyota also replaced the usual lithium-ion battery pack with a nickel-metal hydride unit on the AWD-e.
Standard features for the L Eco include 15-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED running lights and taillights, heated mirrors, keyless entry (driver door only) and ignition, automatic climate control, dual 4.2-inch driver information screens, adaptive cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver's seat and a 60/40-split folding rear seat.
For 2019, car shoppers have another reason to consider the Prius: available all-wheel drive. The new Prius AWD-e adds an electric motor to drive the rear wheels for better initial traction between 0 and 6 mph and re-engages when front tire slippage is detected at speeds up to 43 mph. If you live in an area that has snowy or icy roads during the winter, the AWD-e could provide extra traction. Fuel economy suffers only slightly with the Prius AWD-e.
Debuting in the U.S. as a compact sedan, the Prius had a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 70 hp, paired with a 44-hp electric motor with nickel metal hydride batteries. It was rated 52/45 mpg city/highway on the old EPA rating system, later revised to 42/41. The first Prius was criticized for its nonlinear brake feel, abnormal tire wear and subpar safety ratings.
For the first time, the 2019 Toyota Prius is available with all-wheel drive. Its outward appearance is also slightly revised in an attempt to attract more buyers. The updates include new front and rear bumpers, more paint colors and wheel designs, revised LED head- and taillights, and a fresh rear hatch. Inside, the cabin layout is unchanged but there are new trim options. The Prius lineup also receives a new naming structure that drops the numerical names of old. Instead, the models now have titles that are similar to other Toyota products.
But the Prius AWD-e isn't quite like other all-wheel-drive vehicles. Instead of drawing from the engine to power the rear wheels, this new Prius uses a separate electric motor to enhance initial traction from 0 to 6 mph. If wheel slippage is detected, the motor will re-engage at speeds up to 43 mph. That means the rear wheels are only powered when needed, minimizing the detrimental effects that traditional all-wheel-drive systems have on fuel economy. Toyota estimates this new Prius AWD-e will achieve 50 mpg combined (52 city/48 highway), which is still very impressive. By comparison, the standard Prius gets an EPA-estimated 52 mpg combined, while the Prius L Eco earns 56 mpg combined.
From 2005 to 2009, the second generation Prius had been built by FAW-Toyota in the city of Changchun for the Chinese market. It was reported that a total of 2,152 Priuses were sold in 2006 and 414 in 2007. The relatively low sales was blamed on high price, about US$15,000 higher than the equivalent in Japan or the US, caused by high duties on imported parts. In early March 2008, Toyota cut the price of Prius by up to eight percent or US$3,000 to CN¥259,800 (US$36,500). It was thought that the sales dropped as a result of both a lack of acceptance and increased competition. The Toyota Prius Hybrid was exported to China from 2007. Toyota sold about 1,192,000-second generation Priuses worldwide.
Connected Services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan, and 1 month/3 GB of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Data plan offered by AT&T. Services subject to user terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell service, and GPS signal. OnStar links to emergency services. Visit onstar.com for more details.
During a brief test drive on dry pavement, we were able to shake loose some rear-drive assistance during aggressive cornering, although this served more to confirm the existence of the rear motor than to improve handling. AWD-e does not bring with it any sort of performance-enhancing torque vectoring; the Prius is still happy to understeer. A few circles in a roundabout ("Big Ben! Parliament!") showed a narrow window of all-wheel-drive operation until stability control aggressively steps in. Given the sedate pace that most Prius drivers maintain, the rear wheels will rarely be powered, which is the way Toyota wants it, a necessity to maintain the Prius's fuel-sipping EPA numbers. On a short snow-covered course, however, the rear motor helped to get the car moving from a stop as promised and kept it moving through an inch or two of the white stuff.
The Prius offers Toyota's in-house Entune software for smartphone integration. Setup requires a lengthy app download and account creation process. Entune's app support is meager and less intuitive than CarPlay or Android Auto (neither of which is offered). The Bluetooth menu offers better control and search functionality than most other Bluetooth systems.