First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
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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 are two principal battery packs, the High Voltage (HV) battery, also known as the traction battery, and a 12 volt battery known as the Low Voltage (LV) battery. The traction battery of the first generation Prius update (2000 onwards) was a sealed 38-module nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack providing 273.6 volt, 6.5 Ah capacity and weighing 53.3 kg (118 lb) and is supplied by Japan's Panasonic EV Energy Co. They are normally charged between 40–60% of maximum capacity to prolong battery life as well as allow headroom for regenerative braking. Each battery pack uses 10–15 kg (22–33 lb) of lanthanum, and each Prius electric motor contains 1 kg (2 lb) of neodymium; production of the car is described as "the biggest user of rare earths of any object in the world." The LV battery is essential to starting the car and providing initial power to the computer.
Among the new standard features of the Prius, Toyota introduced three optional user-selectable driving modes: EV mode for electric-only low-speed operation, Eco mode for best fuel efficiency, and Power mode for better performance. Optional features included the solar-PV roof panels to help cool the cabin interior in summer heat, Intelligent Parking Assist and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
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.
The HVAC system uses an AC induction motor to drive a sealed-system scroll compressor, a design principle not usually used in automotive applications. Using a scroll compressor increases the efficiency of the system, while driving it with an AC induction motor makes the system more flexible, so the AC can run while the engine is off. Because the oil used with the refrigerant gas also flows in the area of the high-voltage motor-windings, the fluid must be electrically insulating to avoid transmitting electric current to exposed metal parts of the system. Therefore, Toyota specifies a polyolester (POE) oil (designated ND11) is required for repairs. The system cannot be serviced with equipment normally employed for regular cars, which typically use polyalkylene glycol (PAG) oil, as the equipment would contaminate the ND11 oil with PAG oil. According to SAE J2843 the oil provided from maintenance equipment must contain less than 0.1% PAG when filling. One percent PAG oil may result in an electrical resistance drop by a factor of about 10.
In addition to being the Smart Way to Buy™, new and used car shoppers buy from Route 22 Toyota for a number of reasons. We pride ourselves on being an auto industry leader in innovation and provide customized sales, finance and maintenance assistance. We're also a dealership that stays actively involved in the communities we serve, like sponsoring the local Boys and Girls Club, so if you're looking to shop a car dealer that gives back to the community, contact Route 22 Toyota in Hillside, New Jersey today!
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.
We sampled both the standard front-wheel-drive Prius and the Prius AWD-e on a snow-covered course in Wisconsin to experience the differences firsthand. On a rather conservative uphill grade, the front-drive Prius was unable to find the traction to climb. The AWD-e, in contrast, was able to get up the hill. Its front wheels struggled briefly to pull the car upward until the rear wheels gave it the nudge they needed. There was a slight lateral creep when the front wheels spun freely, but the Prius never felt as though it would veer off the intended path.
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.
The Honda Accord Hybrid offers an EPA-estimated 48 mpg combined rating. It comes close to challenging the Prius and gets higher scores elsewhere to even things up. The Accord's interior is especially nice and there's plenty of adult-sized space in every seat. Counting against it: a throttle that can be touchy at high speeds and longer-than-average panic braking distances.
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.