First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Prius first went on sale in Japan and other countries in 1997, and was available at all four Toyota Japan dealership chains, making it the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. It was subsequently introduced worldwide in 2000. The Prius is sold in over 90 markets, with Japan and the United States being its largest markets. Global cumulative Prius liftback sales reached the milestone 1 million vehicle mark in May 2008, 2 million in September 2010, and passed the 3 million mark in June 2013. Cumulative sales of one million were achieved in the U.S. by early April 2011, and Japan reached the 1 million mark in August 2011. As of January 2017, the Prius liftback is the world's top selling hybrid car with almost 4 million units sold.
Its new body design is more aerodynamic, with a reduced drag coefficient of Cd=0.25. This figure is disputed by General Motors which found the value for the model with 17-inch wheels to be around 0.30 based on tests in GM, Ford, and Chrysler wind tunnels. Car & Driver measured the third generation Prius at 0.26 in a privately arranged five-way wind-tunnel test of comparable cars. An underbody rear fin helps stabilize the vehicle at higher speeds.
MARK TAKAHASHI: The Toyota 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 edmunds.com. To see more videos like this, hit Subscribe. [MUSIC PLAYING]
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Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
The Prius offers little in the way of driving enjoyment and refinement. Still, the steering effort is pleasingly weighted, and responses to your inputs are accurate—making the handling feel almost lively. Feedback from the road is non-existent, though, and feels numb on-center. Braking is a common gremlin for hybrid vehicles, which use a mix of regenerative and friction braking. Inconsistent or numb feedback from the pedal, as we experienced in the Prius, is often the trade-off and, combined with the low-rolling-resistance tires that most hybrids wear, can make for longer braking distances in our testing than we would expect from other similar-size non-hybrid vehicles.
Toyota sold 223,905 Priuses among the various HEV family members in the US in 2012, representing together a market share of 51.5% of all hybrid sold in the country that year. In addition, a total of 12,750 Prius PHVs were sold in 2012, allowing the plug-in hybrid to rank as the second top selling plug-in electric car in the US after the Chevrolet Volt, and surpassing the Nissan Leaf. The Toyota Prius liftback, with 147,503 units sold, was the best selling hybrid in 2012, the Prius v ranked third with 40,669 units, and the Prius c was fourth with 35,733 units. Toyota USA estimated that sales of its hybrids models in 2012 would represent 14% of total Toyota sales in the country. Since their inception in 1999, a total of 1.5 million Prius family members have been sold in the US by mid October 2013, representing a 50.1% market share of total hybrid sales in the country. Of these, 1,356,318 are conventional Prius liftbacks sold through September 2013.
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.
What all-wheel drive won't do is help in the stopping department. Prius AWD-e models come shod with the same 15-inch, low-rolling-resistance Dunlop Enasave 01 all-season tires as front-drive Prius models. A good set of winter tires, even fitted to a front-drive Prius, would bring greater traction benefits to stopping as well as going. Mounted and balanced on a spare set of wheels, complete with TPMS sensors and wheel covers and shipped to your house from Tire Rack, these would run about $900. By comparison, the upcharge for all-wheel drive in a $25,900 Prius LE is $1400, and in the $28,740 XLE, it's $1000. Those are the two middle trims in Toyota's new Prius trim naming strategy; all-wheel drive is not available on the top-of-the-line Limited or the entry L Eco.