First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
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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.
The Prius is all about fuel economy and the base L Eco's 56 mpg combined EPA estimate is difficult to ignore. Unfortunately, the L is a little light on features. As such, we recommend getting the LE. It comes with some useful upgrades, such as blind-spot monitoring, a rear wiper and a traditional spare tire, while keeping the price reasonable. The LE is also available with the Prius' new all-wheel-drive system.
More and more hybrid vehicles are coming out every year, yet the Toyota Prius, the granddaddy of them all, remains at the forefront. It provides high fuel economy (more than 50 mpg), a comfortable ride and a versatile cargo area. There's also the argument for peace of mind since Toyota certainly has a long history of making reliable hybrid vehicles.
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 Second Generation Prius contains a 1.310 kWh battery, composed of 28 modules. Each battery module is made of 6 individual 1.2 V 6.5 Ah Prismatic NiMH cells in series forming a 7.2 V 6.5 Ah module with 46 Wh/kg energy density and 1.3 kW/kg output power density. Each module contains an integrated charge controller and relay. These modules are connected 28 in series to form a 201.6 V 6.5 Ah battery (traction battery), also known as the energy storage system. The computer controlled charge controller and battery management computer systems keep this battery between 38% and 82% state of charge, with a tendency to keep the average state of charge around 60%. By shallow cycling the battery only a small portion of its net available energy storage capacity is available for use (approximately 400 Wh) by the hybrid drive system, but the shallow computer controlled cycling dramatically improves the cycle life, thermal management control, and net long term calendar life of the battery. Active cooling of this battery is achieved by a blower motor and air ducting, while passive thermal management was accomplished through the metal case design.
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.
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.
All of our picks are roomy, all can carry five passengers in comfort, and all offer advanced safety aids. Among our mainstream selections, pricing is another common thread, as only a few thousand dollars separate the starting prices of the main rivals. (The Buick Regal Sportback is an outlier here; it's more expensive than mainstream models, but not quite nice enough to join the luxury models.)
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.
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.
Unlike its predecessor, the Prime runs entirely on electricity in charge-depleting mode (EV mode). Toyota targeted the fuel economy in hybrid mode to be equal or better than regular fourth generation Prius liftback. The Prius Prime has an EPA-rated combined fuel economy in hybrid mode of 54 mpg‑US (4.4 L/100 km; 65 mpg‑imp), 55 mpg‑US (4.3 L/100 km; 66 mpg‑imp) in city driving, and 53 mpg‑US (4.4 L/100 km; 64 mpg‑imp) in highway. Only the Prius Eco has a higher EPA-rated fuel economy rating in hybrid mode. The 2017 model year Prime has a different exterior design than the fourth generation Prius. The interior design is also different. The Prime has a four-seat cabin layout, as Toyota decided to improve the car's efficiency to achieve its design goals.
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