First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
The Prius's hybrid powertrain is not capable of delivering thrilling or even amusing acceleration. Its lethargy can't be given a free pass, as other competitors prove that acceptable performance need not be sacrificed in the pursuit of world-beating fuel economy. The all-wheel-drive versions feature an electric motor that functions separately from the hybrid system and powers the rear wheels.
Presented at the April 2003 New York International Auto Show, for the 2004 US model year, the NHW20 Prius was a complete redesign. It became a compact liftback, sized between the Corolla and the Camry, with redistributed mechanical and interior space significantly increasing rear-seat legroom and luggage room. The second generation Prius is more environmentally friendly than the previous model (according to the EPA), and is 6 inches (150 mm) longer than the previous version. Its more aerodynamic Kammback body balances length and wind resistance, resulting in a drag coefficient of Cd=0.26. The development effort, led by chief engineer Shigeyuki Hori, led to 530 patents for the vehicle.
But any Prius comes with a trade-off: performance. The Prius is neither quick nor engaging to drive. Additionally, its infotainment system isn't the easiest to use and lacks Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration. But for shoppers seeking the most return per gallon, that's easily forgivable. Along with the Honda Insight, the Prius is one of our top recommended hybrids for 2019.
All 2019 Prius models receive a slight styling refresh that replaces some polarizing body panels with more conventional ones. The unusual marker lights that used to drop below the main headlights are gone, as are the awkward creases in the front fascia directly below them. The same holds true for the taillights that now have a more horizontal orientation.
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Simply put, the Prius AWD-e is more sure-footed and capable on snow — precisely what the added mechanicals intended to deliver. We'd also like to point out that these vehicles were equipped with the standard low-rolling-resistance tires that are focused on fuel efficiency rather than traction. Switching to all-season or snow tires would likely yield even better results.
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Outstanding efficiency and ample "oomph" when you need it. Both come standard in the Malibu Hybrid with its 1.8L hybrid engine and powertrain. A host of hybrid-exclusive features like the Driver Efficiency Gauge let you monitor your fuel usage and regeneration. A larger 8-inch diagonal, reconfigurable Driver Information Center comes standard in 2019.
High gasoline prices in the US, approaching US$4 a gallon by March 2012, contributed to record monthly sales of the Prius family vehicles. A total of 28,711 units were sold in the United States during March 2012, becoming the one-month record for Prius sales ever. The third-generation Prius liftback accounted for 18,008 units (62.7%); the Prius v accounted for 4,937 units (17.2%); the Prius c, for 4,875 units (17.0%); and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, for 891 units (3.1%). Another record was set during the first-quarter of 2012, with Prius family sales of 60,859 units, it became the best selling quarter ever. Sales of Toyota Prius family vehicles in California represented 26% of all Prius purchases in the US during 2012. With 60,688 units sold during this year, the Prius became the best selling vehicle in California, ahead of the previous leader, the Honda Civic (57,124 units) and the third ranked, the Toyota Camry (50,250 units). The Prius nameplate was again in 2013 the best selling vehicle in California with 69,728 units sold in the state, ahead of the Honda Civic (66,982) and the Honda Accord (63,194).
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.
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.
In keeping with the Prius becoming more mainstream, the numeral-based trim levels have been replaced with a more familiar structure of names including L Eco, LE, XLE and Limited. Of these, the AWD-e will be offered only in the midgrade trims. As with the previous model, the 2019 Prius will continue to receive an ample list of standard advanced safety features bundled in the Toyota Safety Sense P suite.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) rate the Prius as among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States, based on smog-forming emissions. The 2018 model year Prius Eco ranks as the second most fuel efficient gasoline-powered car available in the US without plug-in capability, following the Hyundai Ioniq "Blue".
The Prius uses electric motors in the hybrid propulsion systems, powered by a high voltage battery in the rear of the car. There has been some public concern over whether the levels of electromagnetic field exposure within the cabin are higher than comparable cars, and what health effects those fields may present, popularized by a 2008 The New York Times article. However, Toyota and several independent studies have indicated that aside from a brief spike when accelerating, the electromagnetic fields within the Prius are no different from those of a conventional car and do not exceed the ICNIRP exposure guidelines.
As the Prius reached ten years of being available in the US market, in February 2011 Consumer Reports examined the lifetime and replacement cost of the Prius battery. The magazine tested a 2002 Toyota Prius with over 200,000 miles on it, and compared the results to the nearly identical 2001 Prius with 2,000 miles tested by Consumer Reports 10 years before. The comparison showed little difference in performance when tested for fuel economy and acceleration. Overall fuel economy of the 2001 model was 40.6 miles per US gallon (5.79 L/100 km; 48.8 mpg‑imp) while the 2002 Prius with high mileage delivered 40.4 miles per US gallon (5.82 L/100 km; 48.5 mpg‑imp). The magazine concluded that the effectiveness of the battery has not degraded over the long run. The cost of replacing the first generation battery varies between US$2,200 and US$2,600 from a Toyota dealer, but low-use units from salvage yards are available for around US$500. One study indicates it may be worthwhile to rebuild batteries using good blades from defective used batteries.
Despite the newly available all-wheel-drive system, we'd stick with the standard front-drive Prius. Still, those who live where there are more winter months than summer months may appreciate the improved all-weather capability. We prefer the eco-friendliest Prius, which is the entry-level L Eco. It lacks the fanciest options and creature comforts found on more expensive versions, but it has higher fuel-economy estimates from the EPA and solid standard features. These include two USB ports for the back seat, push-button start, passive entry on the driver's door, and numerous driver assists such as adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and automatic high-beam headlights.
In July 2007 The New York Times published an article using data from CNW Marketing Research finding that 57% of Prius buyers said their main reason for buying was that "it makes a statement about me", while just 37% cited fuel economy as a prime motivator. Shortly afterwards Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson coined the term "Prius politics" to describe a situation where the driver's desire to "show off" is a stronger motivator than the desire to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Some conservatives promote use of the Toyota Prius and other hybrid cars. For example, Jim Road from What Would Jesus Drive? encouraged people to drive hybrid cars because of the damage that large SUVs and faster cars can do to others.
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.
Do not imagine that the AWD-e system will be good for taking a Prius rock crawling or desert racing. All-wheel-drive cars come with only a 0.2-inch increase in ground clearance over the standard Prius, to just 5.3 inches, and the all-wheel-drive system is active only under 43 mph. Its purpose is merely to improve traction and allow the Prius to pull away from a stop during slippery conditions. Slowly, of course. After the car reaches 6 mph, drive to the rear wheels switches from full-time to part-time mode and the Prius experience becomes mostly indistinguishable from the front-drive car.
Along with the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord rewrote the American family sedan narrative, shifting it from the lumbering relics of the Jet Age to more compact and fuel-efficient transportation. Despite decades of success with the Accord, Honda hasn't rested on its laurels. With its sleek fastback design, today's Accord displays its sharpest style yet. Powerful yet fuel-efficient engines, a user-friendly infotainment system, and standard advanced safety features, including adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, make the Accord one of the best picks, even among this elite group. A hybrid, rated at 47 mpg, is also available. See the Accord in our Sedan rankings