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3 Ways the 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e Exceeds Expectations and One Way It Does Not

We try the updated 2019 Toyota Prius and find its still exceeds expectations in all but one way, particularly to those new to Prius.

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The updated 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e is new to the Prius line. Toyota delivered one to us to test in the dead of summer. No time to use the all-wheel drive system, or so we thought. During our two days with the updated 2019 Prius AWD-e XLE, we were struck by how much better it is in person than we remembered it. We found three ways that the 2019 Prius will exceed most buyers’ expectations and one area for improvement.

2019 Toyota Prius - Performance
The first way the Prius exceeds expectations is performance. Internet groups galore would have you believe that the Prius is pokey around town. It is not. It feels like any other mainstream, affordable, family/commuter car in town and on the highway. We know from having researched the independent test results that the Prius is just as quick to 60 MPH as mainstream, popular vehicles like the Subaru Crosstrek and Chevy Colorado Duramax. It feels quicker and is more fun to drive than either.

Prius Power

That is in normal mode. Power mode adds a bit more zing and the infotainment display can show you the AWD system in action. Spinning one of the eco-oriented tires when turning into traffic is easy to do, and the AWD system helps minimize that. Drive a Prius before you judge it. Many people who own performance vehicles also own a Prius for commuting. They wouldn't if it was a bummer to drive.

2019 Toyota Prius Fuel Economy
During our short time with the Prius we had to rely on the in-vehicle MPG display for our efficiency information. we trust it to a point. The car never dropped below 60 MPG when we had it. Given our local gas prices of about $2.70 and electricity costs over $.20/kWhr, that means there is no energy savings from electric vehicles compared to Prius in my neck of the woods. And my area is an affluent, ZEV-complaint decidedly Blue state (actually, we're a commonwealth in Mass.) The AWD Prius is still an efficiency standout with 50 MPG Combined. And you don't have to plug it in.

2019 Toyota Prius Size
The Prius is surprisingly large inside. It has almost identical interior passenger volume as a Hyundai Kona crossover and has 27 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, much more than the Kona's 19. The Prius is much larger inside than one would imagine if they have not yet tried it.

2019 Prius Infotainment System
If there is one area where Toyota lags the industry, it is infotainment. The Prius we tested had no SiriusXM radio and no Android Auto. We'll stop there, but add that in a car with a color head-up display in a package called "Advanced Technology," these omissions just seems weird to us. Toyota needs to up its game in this regard.

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e XLE Conclusion
With a consumer cost of $30,550, the 2019 Prius AWD-e XLE is an attractive all-wheel-drive green vehicle. There are very few affordable green vehicles with AWD. The Prius will impress any shopper with how it drives, its interior space, and how efficient it is for an all-wheel-drive vehicle. The infotainment is a bit of a letdown. Given its very high efficiency, very low emissions, hassle-free ownership, and 2 years of included maintenance, the Prius AWD-e is unique in the marketplace for those shopping for an affordable AWD green car.

You can reach John Goreham at @JohnGoreham

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Perry Trevithick (not verified)    July 18, 2019 - 8:39AM

Did you test a 2019, which have been out for almost a year, or a the soon to be released 2020?

John Goreham    July 18, 2019 - 9:11AM

In reply to by Perry Trevithick (not verified)

Excellent question. The media fleet vehicles are still 2019s at this point. We drove the 2019 Prius AWD-e version, which began shipping to U.S. dealers for the first time about 4 months ago. Unfortunately, after the winter driving season had ended.

Dan Hinich (not verified)    July 18, 2019 - 7:47PM

Every review, article or comments section I read about Toyota cars contains at least one or more opinion on the lack of Android or Apple support. A lot of people look elsewhere. Really wish Toyota would wake up. How many more lost sales? Absurd!!