First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
The original Prius helped make hybrid vehicles mainstream back in the early 2000s, and it continues to be one of the most recognized hybrid nameplates. Its eccentric exterior styling and—ahem—untraditional interior design are unmistakable albeit polarizing. Still, the Toyota has always been about making the world a greener place by maximizing fuel economy and minimizing emissions. The compact hatchback is losing ground to newer hybrid alternatives such as the Hyundai Ioniq and the Kia Niro, but the Toyota brand maintains an unrivaled reputation for reliability. While the 2019 Prius is the polar opposite of driving enjoyment and high performance (or any type of performance, for that matter), its comfortable interior and trademark powertrain deliver what many consumers want.
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. Services are subject to User Terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell service and GPS signals. OnStar links to emergency services. Visit onstar.com for more details.
Stepping up to the XLE trim brings 17-inch wheels, automatic wipers, keyless entry for the front passenger door and rear hatch, SofTex simulated leather upholstery and wrapped steering wheel, a power-adjustable driver's seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a semi-gloss black center console and a wireless charging pad. It also reverts back to the tire inflation kit.
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.
A racing version of the Prius was unveiled by Toyota in 2013. This racing Prius replaces the 1.8-litre Atkinson-cycle engine with a 3.4-litre V8 RV8KLM engine which is mid-mounted in the car. The hybrid drive train of the car's production Hybrid Synergy Drive is retained but with a larger lithium ion battery. The RV8KLM is in fact the same engine featured in multiple Le Mans Prototypes such as the Lola B12/60 and Rebellion R-One. The car took class pole position and finished sixth at the 2012 Fuji GT 500km.
The large number of Prius-owning progressive celebrities in 2002 prompted The Washington Post to dub hybrids "Hollywood's latest politically correct status symbol". Conservatives called "Prius Patriots" also drive the cars because they want to contribute to reducing US dependence on foreign oil. A 2007 San Francisco Chronicle article said "Prius Progressives" were becoming an archetype, with American conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh opining that "these liberals think they're ahead of the game on these things, and they're just suckers".
Toyota unveiled the Prius c concept at the January 2011 North American International Auto Show. The Prius c has a lower list price and is smaller than the previous Prius hatchback. The production version was unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show as the Toyota Aqua, and was launched in Japan in December 2011. The Prius c was released in the US and Canada in March 2012, and in April 2012 in Australia and New Zealand. The Prius c is not available in Europe, where instead, Toyota is selling the Toyota Yaris Hybrid since June 2012. The Prius c and the Yaris Hybrid share the same powertrain. The Aqua ranked as the second best selling car in Japan in 2012 after the Prius brand, as Toyota reports together sales of the conventional Prius and the Prius α. When sales of these two Prius models are broken down, the Toyota Aqua ranked as the top selling model in Japan, including kei cars, with the Aqua leading monthly sales since February through December 2012. Thereafter, the Aqua has been the top selling new car in Japan for three years running, from 2013 to 2015, and it is considered the most successful nameplate launch in Japan in the last 20 years.
Styling is a matter of personal taste, but we think the Mazda 6 is one of the sharpest-looking sedans in the class. Its swooping lines and creases may not suit everyone's taste, but an anonymous box the Mazda 6 is not. It also backs up its bold looks with outstanding performance. We're not talking about pure speed — although the available turbocharged engine has ample shove — but rather a complete package of taut handling, prompt transmission response, and precise steering that adds gusto to virtually any driving scenario. A cool, modern interior and a dial-controlled infotainment system cap off the Mazda 6's all-around excellence. The lack of all-wheel drive or a hybrid version will keep the Mazda 6 out of contention for some buyers, and its relatively small trunk won't endear it to more practical sedan shoppers. But for drivers seeking a racier edge to the family sedan experience, the Mazda 6 is among the best. See the 6 in our Sedan rankings
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.
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
When the vehicle is turned on with the "Power" button, it is ready to drive immediately with the electric motor. In the North American second generation Prius, electric pumps warm the engine by pumping previously saved hot engine coolant from a coolant thermos before the internal combustion engine is started. The delay between powering the car on and starting the internal combustion engine is a few seconds. The third generation Prius does not have a coolant thermos. Instead, the engine is heated by recapturing exhaust heat. A button labelled "EV" maintains Electric Vehicle mode after being powered on and under most low-load conditions at less than 25 mph (40 km/h). This permits driving with low noise and no fuel consumption for journeys under 0.5 miles (0.80 km). Prior to the 2010 model, the North American model did not have the "EV" button, although one can be added to enable the "EV" mode supported internally by the Prius Hybrid Vehicle management computer. For the N.American market, the third generation can remain in EV mode until 70 km/h (43 mph) depending on throttle and road gradient.
A 2010 redesign retained similar styling but made the Prius slightly longer and more aerodynamic. A new 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine contributed to a total system output of 134 horsepower, yielding 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway. The interior was significantly improved, as was handling. Toyota also added new drive modes, extending electric-only operation and maximizing fuel economy. Five trims and three option packages were available, and seven airbags became standard.
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.
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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.
We also drove both cars on a flat but snow-covered road with an obstacle course that required a quick right-left S-turn. When we tried the maneuver in the front-drive Prius, its front tires were easily overwhelmed when we accelerated and steered at the same time. Because of that, it was hard to keep the car from running wide. With AWD-e, there was still some squirming through the course, but it was far more composed and easy to drive.
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.
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".