New for 2019, the Toyota Prius adds all-wheel drive as an option on its two middle trims. Called AWD-e, this proven all-wheel-drive system has been available on Asian market Prius cars now for years and has developed a bit of a cult following. Adding all-weather and all-road capability to the Prius throws a bit of a monkey wrench into the shopping list of those who have in the past looked first to Subaru for affordable, efficient, and spacious hatchbacks that have all-wheel drive. We thought it would be interesting to see how the two compare. What we found was surprising to us, particularly with regard to the interior volume, so we will start there.
2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e vs. Subaru Impreza - Cargo and Passenger Volume
The Subaru Impreza comes in two versions - sedan and five-door hatchback. We are comparing the hatchback to the Prius since it has more passenger volume and seems to be more like the Prius than the sedan. The Impreza offers 100.9 cubic feet of passenger volume. The Prius offers 93.1 cubic feet of passenger space. The Impreza sedan is about one cubic foot smaller than the hatchback. We knew the Impreza was a bit larger and this confirmed our expectations.
However, with regard to cargo volume, the Prius surprised us. The Prius offers 24.6 cubic feet of cargo volume with its rear seats up and 62.7 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded. The Impreza is actually smaller with regard to cargo areas. With the seats up it offers 20.8 cu ft of volume and with the rear seats folded only 55.3 cu ft.
Related Story: 2019 Subaru Impreza Gets Small Price Bump; 4 New Upgrades
2019 Toyota Prius vs. Subaru Impreza - Safety
Both the Impreza and the Prius were tested in 2018 by IIHS for safety. The Prius earns a Top Safety Pick Rating and the Impreza a Top Safety Pick Plus rating. The Impreza scored higher on headlights and also passenger-side small frontal overlap crash testing.
Impreza vs. Prius - Pricing
Two trims of the Prius will offer AWD-e. Expect the LE trim will have a starting price of about $27,300 including destination and the XLE to have a price of about $29,500. As a comparison, we priced out a Subaru Impreza 5-door hatchback Premium trim with the added Eyesight safety package and moonroof. This is comparable in content to the Prius LE and XLE and the price with destination is $25,375. The Impreza is slightly less expensive is our take on this comparison.
2019 Toyota Prius vs. Subaru Impreza - Ground Clearance
The Toyota Prius offers 5.5 inches of minimum ground clearance and the Impreza has 5.1 inches. Those who need more should consider a Toyota RAV4 hybrid or a Subaru Crosstrek.
2019 Toyota Prius vs. Subaru Impreza - Fuel Economy - Performance
The Subaru Impreza offers an impressive 32 MPG combined. However, the Prius will offer 50 MPG Combined according to Toyota's best estimate. That means that over ten years the fuel cost for the Prius is about $5,000 lower than for the Impreza. Motor Trend tested the current Impreza and found that it had a 9-second 0-60 MPH time. The Prius has a similar time of about 9.6 seconds.
Conclusion - 2019 Toyota Prius vs. Subaru Impreza
There is no clear "winner" here and definitely no loser. What we think we have illustrated is for shoppers with a budget under $30K who want a roomy, safe all-wheel drive 5-passenger car, both the Prius and the Impreza are worth considering. The Impreza does offer a lower initial cost, but the Prius makes up that difference over five to ten years when fuel costs are considered. Would you have guessed the Prius would have the larger cargo area and more ground clearance than the Subaru?