Toyota is offering an optional AWD-e system for the 2019 Prius. The on-demand system does not require a center differential or a front-to-rear driveshaft.
The “e” stands for electric, meaning the Prius AWD-e uses an independent electric, magnet-less rear motor – claimed to be a Toyota first, to power the rear wheels from 0 to 6 mph (10 km/h), and when needed, up to 43 mph (70 km/h). This system powers the rear wheels to pull away from a stop, and can shut off automatically when all-wheel-drive is not required.
It might not look very aerodynamic, but the Prius can cut through air rather easily, thanks to an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.24 Cd. An automatic grille shutter reduces the drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not required.
The Prius will also sport two new colors for 2019, Supersonic Red and Electric Storm Blue. The AWD-e model will be offered in LE and XLE grades and will debut a new two-tone 15-inch alloy wheels.
Besides the styling updates, the 2019 Prius comes standard with driver’s door Smart Key System, Push Button Start, remote illuminated entry, 4.2-inch color Dual Multi-Information Display with customizable screens, 6.1-inch touch-screen display, 6 speakers, and Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/ PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/ SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).
Standard Bi-LED headlamps and LED rear combination lamps reduce energy consumption compared to halogens. Also included as standard is a backup camera. The Limited trim comes standard with the Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite, with a large 11.6-inch HD multimedia display.
The Prius’ Hybrid Synergy Drive comprises of a 1.8-litre 4-cylinder gasoline engine (2ZR-FXE) and two motor/generators, paired to an electronically controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission (CVT). The system output seems to be the same 90 kW or about 121 bhp.
Toyota estimates the AWD-e variants to offer 52 mpg city / 48 mpg highway / 50 mpg combined. The company expects the model to account for as much as 25 percent of annual U.S. Prius sales.