When Toyota first introduced the Toyopet clear back in 1958, it was pretty much a joke. The first year only 288 were sold. Not many people know, and would probably not think that a massive company like Toyota had such a failure in the beginning. Failure does lay a foundation for success, and that is exactly what happened.
Toyota has become one of the largest car makers world wide. With the Prius, they have become a dominant figure in in shaping our future. Especially when it comes to alternative fueled vehicles.
Even though Prius has been such a great selling automobile, it still has a few things that could be improved on. Let's take a look at my list of Pros and Cons for the 2019 Toyota Prius.
New for 2019 Model Year
I would like to point out a few key things that Toyota has changed on the 2019 that have really made the Prius feel more like the rest of the Toyota lineup. The trim levels which used to be numbered, have gone in favor of the more popular L Eco, LE, XLE, and LImited. We still see the same basic Prius body shape (love it or hate it) and other features were changed on the interior as well, like interior trim changing from white to black.
The best change, in my opinion has been the shift to go all wheel drive. The AWD-e system is amazing, and it was high time Prius took advantage of it.
Toyota Prius Pros
Toyota had AWD-e back in 2005 with first generation Highlander Hybrid. It was known then, and still today as 4WD-i. This system is time tested and has proven to be durable enough to incorporate it into other vehicles. The system works at lower speeds aiding in providing more traction to the vehicle when conditions are not ideal. So for snow and ice, and maybe some light mud you have the advantage of all wheels gripping the surface.
It comes on and off automatically so you really do not even know it is there. That is until you realize you are safe at home in your warm bed and not stuck out on the side of the road in a storm. It only works at speeds below 43 miles an hour and after that Prius will function just like a normal front wheel drive hybrid. Pretty cool we can match safety and fuel economy in this day and age. For sure this is a Pro.
Fuel Economy, Prius' Bread and Butter
Every generation of Prius has always improved on fuel economy. For 2019 this still remains true. Even though the different trim levels fluctuate with mileage, you can still expect high 50's for in town and high 40's for highway driving. With well over 600 miles on a tank, this should have you passing most fuel stations and getting to the church on time. Prius has set the standard here for all hybrids in my opinion, and still continues doing it today. Nice work Toyota.
Space for Cargo and Plenty of it
I have seen people pack their Prius' with just about everything. I have seen water heaters, and used car engines loaded up. I have to say that for as small as the car is when hauling people, the space you can utilize is really quite nice. WIth over 66 cubic feet of space available, you can plan on folding the seats down on your next camping trip and sleeping inside. At least, that is what I would do.
Noise Cancelling Cabin
I have driven all generations of Prius. I am really happy that every generation has consistently become quieter. My 07 is a fabulous car, I love it alot. It is not a 19' though. When I sat in the XLE model and then drove it, I felt as if I was in a spaceship zipping about the cosmos. Oh, what a feeling. (little Toyota humor there)
Quietness of the cabin is something I have really come to enjoy more as I have become older. I just do not care for loud, annoying cars anymore. I like to drive in peace. I am glad the sound engineer showed up, because it really shows. I am impressed with the wind noise reduction. The ability to have a normal conversation in my car is priceless when speaking to my wife. I think for this reason alone I would buy one. Time will tell.
Bring on that Horizon
The pitch on the front window has more than one purpose. First, you can see far better, and second it is also helping with reduced drag on the car. I have found that Prius has always had great front visibility and in 19' this is no exception. people complain about the rear being hard to see out of, but I think once you get in and start driving it, you quickly find that this is rally not much of an issue. Also the pop up display is a neat feature. I feel that I can be a more attentive driver.
A typical economy car usually is not Lexus quality. Features such as shocks or seats, do not usually make it to the top priorities for commuter cars. Prius has overcome these past failures to bring us an updated smooth ride and comfortable seating arrangement. The car handles far better than previous generations. As technology advances engineers keep finding ways to tune and refine steering and suspension systems that make our cars perform brilliantly. I can say the for the 2019 Prius, it handles and drives very responsively. The electric power steering is effortless and the control does a fantastic job of keeping speed when on the ascent or descent of a hill. Way to go Prius, I am glad all those years of hard work and dedication have finally begun to pay off.
The Seats are Amazing
Did I mention seats? Toyota has suffered greatly from having uncomfortable seats. I am glad that they have put the past behind them and moved forward (another little Toyota humor there) The seats are much more comfortable and even have more room to sit. I feel that Prius may have gained a few inches, but filling out like this makes it feel sophisticated and strong. I love it.
Well-Equipped Trim Options
I feel as if Prius is the "gold standard" for hybrid trim options. I find myself not liking our family van. Mainly because I want to walk up and have the door just unlock with smart key entry. Even on base model 19' Prius we are seeing many standard features such as push button start (always been there since 04') LED lights, and others. When we jump up to the limited, this is where luxury and fuel economy meet. A stellar 11.6" screen with navigation beautifully accentuates the interior. As if those items were not enough, Toyota also added in adaptive front lighting that gives the driver the best view possible. Sign me up.
Toyota Safety Sense - A New Standard.
More automakers are rolling out new driver assistance features. What they are not telling you is that they are only available in upper trim packages. All levels of Prius come standard with Toyota Safety Sense. This includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, and Lane Departure Warning. Additionally, each Prius is equipped with eight airbags and the Star Safety System. These features have earned Prius, a NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) 5-Star Award. I feel great about sending my kid off to school in this car now, knowing it has such great accreditation and safety.
Speed and areo-matics (as 'mater would say)
Some consumers love the shape and design of Prius. Others think it is ugly. To each their own. Prius set a standard when it held the record for being the car with the lowest coefficient of drag at .25 COD. The shape, which some call teardrop, allow it to achieve this. All the panels underbody and even and active shutter grille, have improved the 19' Prius to have better airflow. Pretty darn cool what can be done these days.
Toyota Prius Cons
Prius is not out to win any races, not by a long shot. Prius was designed for and still is seen as a fuel miser. That being said, acceleration, while it has improved, still is pretty slow by today's standards. 9.8 seconds from 0 - 60 may not have a muscle car like feel, but for some this is all that matters.
Ridiculous Infotainment System
This is 2019. I loathe Entune. We live in an era of incredible electronics technology. For heaven's sake Toyota please come to terms with this and do something about it. The Prius infotainment system has been third world grade, forever. It has seen far too little improvements over time. I do hear that 2020 will finally have Apple Carplay and whatever Android has. Honestly, this should have been resolved years ago, like every other car maker. Maybe Toyota felt bad they were taking the whole market and so they just had to leave something out? Who knows.
Leg Room In The Rear Please
I am pretty sure you are not going to fit 4 point guards in a Prius. Even if the Prius V was still being made, it did not have enough leg room for taller rear passengers. I know the shape of the car is for efficiency, but it is also making it hard to haul around my all-star friends. More legroom please.
How it stacks up to the competition
Drivers looking in the market may also consider the Ford Fusion or Chevrolet Volt. As good as those vehicles are, they do not get the same fuel efficiency. The Fusion gets an EPA estimated 42 MPG combined, while the Volt gets 45 MPG. This is not nearly as good as the Prius's average of 52 MPG combined. Additionally, the Prius has a larger fuel tank than the Volt. It also has a much larger rear cargo area than the Fusion. The 2019 Toyota Prius edges out the competition in these key areas for consumers interested in a hybrid.
WIth really competitive hybrids on the market such as the Volt and Fusion, the Prius still gets better MPG. Prius also has a better range due to a larger fuel tank than the Volt, and also has more cargo space than the Fusion. Really, when it comes right down to it Prius overall still reigns in as king of the hybrids. I still think Prius will own the segment for as long as hybrids are on the roads.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about The Pros and Cons of the 2019 Toyota Prius. Check out my other story Why the first generation Prius is better than either generation Nissan Leaf.
See you in the next story where I am discussing why the Toyota Prius AWD-e is the best one yet and why car enthusiasts and average car guys loathe the Toyota Prius.
Also Watch New tech means more MPG from your Toyota Prius and Click to Subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for Daily Toyota Prius and Automotive News.
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He is an automotive technology instructor at Columbia Basin College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter.