First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
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In late November 2018, for the 2019 model year, the U.S. market Prius lineup introduced an all-wheel drive model featuring Toyota's E-Four system. This has been available for the Japanese market Prius since 2015 and the hybrid versions of the RAV4 and Lexus NX. Also, the Prius received a facelift with redesigned headlights and taillights, which was released in Japan on December 17, 2018.
Introduced to America in 1989, the Sonata has emerged as a major player within the past decade, fueled by confident design, a spacious cabin, and impressive standard features, all at an attractive price. Recent interior design changes have given the Sonata an even more upscale feel, and its infotainment system, while plain, is among the more user-friendly systems out there. A capacious trunk, numerous available trim levels, and a 42-mpg hybrid model also contribute to the Sonata's standing as one of the most compelling midsize car values. See the Sonata in our Sedan rankings
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.
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.
In August 2013, Toyota Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso, who was chief engineer for the Prius line, announced some of the improvements and key features of the next generation Prius. This was the first generation of the Prius to use the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) modular platform, which provides a lower center of gravity and increased structural rigidity. Ogiso also explained that the next-generation Prius plug-in hybrid, the Prius Prime, was developed in parallel with the standard Prius model.
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.