First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
The Prius picked up its trademark hatchback configuration for 2004, moving from a compact to a mid-size with improved backseat room. Horsepower from the gas engine and electric motor increased to 76 and 67 hp, respectively. First advertised at 60 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway, the numbers went to 48/45 with revised EPA ratings. A new gear shifter added a “B” for engine braking. Safety ratings improved, and side airbags were standard.
The EPA estimates the thriftiest Prius Eco will earn up to 58 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway. The other front-drive versions are EPA rated at 54 mpg city and 50 mpg on highway. Those who drive mostly highway miles and like to travel with the flow of fast-moving traffic might be disappointed to learn that the Prius delivered 46 mpg on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test (which we conduct at a steady 75 mph), undershooting its EPA rating by 4 mpg. While we haven't tested an all-wheel-drive model, the EPA estimates it will earn 52 mpg city and 48 highway.
Entering its seventh year of production for 2019, the Ford Fusion remains a midsize-car favorite thanks to its nicely trimmed interior, advanced Sync 3 infotainment system and spirited driving character. The Fusion isn't a performance sedan, but it corners with confidence and doesn't mind a sprint now and then. The V6-powered Sport model is a gem if you want swift acceleration, but most drivers will appreciate the fuel savings afforded by the trio of four-cylinder engines, particularly the turbocharged 1.5-liter version. To minimize fuel costs, consider the Fusion Hybrid (42 mpg combined) or the Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid that can cover about 20 miles on a full electric charge before the gas engine takes over. This is nearly the end of the Fusion as we know it; Ford is likely to phase out the sedan after 2020, possibly reusing the name for a new SUV. See the Fusion in our Sedan rankings
Low gasoline prices are partially to blame, but Toyota is also culpable. Redesigned fascias for the 2019 model are its admission that when the fourth-generation Prius debuted for 2016, it was an ugly baby. With less-angry headlights and a smoother, more conservative look, the new face and derriere can only be seen as an improvement, one applied to front-drive and all-wheel-drive cars alike. Some resurfacing inside replaces the blinding-white plastic trim that seemed dated from new with piano black, polishing the idea that after 20 years the Prius is still an aspirational product.
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.
There's nothing mysterious about the midsize-car formula: four doors, room for five passengers, big trunk, decent power, good fuel economy, and up-to-date technology. Most mainstream family sedans start at around $24,000 and try to match each other feature for feature, making this one of the most competitive car segments you'll find. There are a number of good sedans out there, but these are our top picks.