2019 Toyota Prius Facelift Brings Optional AWD For The First Time

Toyota Prius sales are falling in the United States and the automaker is trying to reverse that trend by introducing the 2019 model at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The biggest change is the addition of an electric all-wheel drive system which used to be available in only a handful of markets such as Japan. When equipped, the car comes with an additional electric motor that powers the rear wheels at speeds up to 43 mph (69 km/h).

The electric motor is powered by a newly developed Nickel-Metal Hydride battery that has been designed to provide excellent performance in cold weather. The battery fits under the rear seat and doesn’t have any impact on the interior as the model still offers 65.5 cubic feet (1,854 liters) of cargo space.

Toyota says the Prius AWD-e should be one of the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive passenger cars in America. This seems possible as the company believes the model will have a fuel economy rating of 52 mpg city, 48 mpg highway and 50 mpg combined. For comparison, the front-wheel drive Prius L Eco is expected to have a fuel economy rating of 58 mpg city, 53 mpg highway and 56 mpg combined.

While Toyota was slow to offer the all-wheel drive Prius in the United States, the company has high hopes for the model. If their estimates are correct, up to 25 percent of Prius sales could come from all-wheel drive variants.

Besides the newly available all-wheel drive system, the 2019 Prius adopts a new front bumper and restyled headlights. The same changes are echoed out back as Prius fans will find more traditional taillights and a reworked bumper. The model also gains a revised steering wheel and two new exterior colors called Supersonic Red and Electric Storm Blue.

All 2019 Prius hatchbacks will come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense P suite of driver assistance systems. They include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beam headlights and full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control.

*This story has been updated with live images from LA

more photos...
  • Enoch Gabriel Gonzales

    there are two unforgivable sins. Blaspheming the holy spirit and the new toyota prius.

    • wait a minute

      It’s an improvement but you can’t polish a sh#t.

  • Dennis Scipio

    That looks much better now.

    • Enoch Gabriel Gonzales

      kinda reminds me of the sportage

    • wait a minute

      It’s not often a car model gets a facelift 24 months after launch. I wonder why?

      • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

        Actually 24months is exactly the standard time a generic car with a lifecycle of 4 years gets a facelift. Especially a Japanese one.

        • erly5

          Usually nearer to 3 years for a facelift as most cars have a lifecycle of around 6 years. Only the Japanese had 4 year lifecycles, but that was decades ago.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            The Japanese and the Koreans continue to work 4 year cycles for their most bread and butter models.

          • erly5

            Can’t think of any recent Japanese or Korean models that have only had a 4 year lifecycle, the minimum I reckon is 5 years, but most commonly 6.

          • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

            Corolla and Hyundai I 30 off the top of my head.

          • erly5

            1st gen i30 2007-2012, 2nd gen 2012-2017, 5 years each. Corolla E140 2007-2013 6 years and E170 2013-2018 5 years!

  • Merc1

    The Japanese and the Europeans just get better and better and continue to take market share from GM, Ford and FCA. Toyota is able to do both cars and suvs. Wait till they get around to redesigning their pickups. Meanwhile the domestics have just given up on cars. FCA doesn’t have any besides the Chrysler 300 and some hotrod Dodges. Ford will have the Mustang and GM will a few left after their latest hemorrhage. Meanwhile, Toyota, Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Nissan, Honda and the Koreans continue to slowly see the domestics to their demise. If it weren’t Jeep and pickups they’d already be gone. SHAME.


    • MarketAndChurch

      Toyota’s cars and SUV’s are not better than the ones offered by Ford. Toyota, like BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, have the most mindshare amongst the masses, so people will buy their products regardless of what they put out.

      • Merc1

        Trucks and SUVs no, but Toyota’s cars are miles better. They’re better in the most important areas to consumers. They reliable and they last. You can beat the sh out a Toyota for years and years with no problems. Ford? It’s almost junk by comparison. On the truck side yes Ford is superior to Toyota, no argument there. SUVs probably go to Ford too, but you’re not getting the big picture.

        That said, what you don’t seem to grasp is that people buy those brands you mentioned because of their reputation and that is where the Ford, GM and FCA all suck. For the past 35+ years up until like 5 mins ago, they built utter JUNK/TRAP cars and their reputations have been damaged forever because of it. That plus continued poor execution has them not giving up on cars.

        Those brands got that “mindshare” by getting it right more often than not. To say that is the reason why people buy is just a tired excuse and lame. If GM, Ford and Chrysler hadn’t built all that JUNK for so many years they would be in favor with buyers too. Now when their all truck/suv strategy fails then what? THEY’RE GONE.


    • Marty

      North Americans are starting to realize what the rest of the world has known for decades.

      If it wasn’t for a huge traditionalist home market, there would have been no American cars for the last 40 years.

      • Merc1

        That is a very sad fact.


    • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

      The no 1 issue is this: Toyota and VW are WORLD brands. That’s the bottom line. They sell in so many more markets than GM and Ford. How did this happen? Well, let’s leave that to the historians, but that is the no 1 reason why the domestics are cutting down on cars. They are not in enough markets to pick up the slack.

  • wait a minute

    IMO- Too little too late, no amount of facelifting can alter the side proportions. Luckily there’s the new Corolla hybrid so the gen 4 Prius can retire early.

  • karmat

    Looks really good, and 56mpg combined for the FWD model is impressive.

    • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

      Looks good ? rly? I mean the economy yeh is nice…but looks good?

  • MarketAndChurch

    Looks good. Gotta stop the migration to hybrid SUV’s, or else the next Prius will be a hybrid SUV.

  • Knotmyrealname

    …so you can spread your bad taste in more extreme places….

  • Gustavo Adriano
    • Tinky-Winky

      Close but i think Ferrari Portofino has more similar lights.

  • Ilbirs

    The main thing here is that Toyota indirectly stimulated other automakers to spread worldwide some solutions that were geographically restricted. Imagine if Nissan starts to create some e-Power or e-Power 4WD (the e-Power system plus a motor driving the rear wheels) versions of some non-JDM models and the thing starts to get interesting.

  • Floating… tail?

  • Stephen G

    Toyota shot themselves in the foot with this generation Prius design. The Honda Insight and Hyundai Ioniq are tremendously better looking vehicles. Shooting themselves in the other foot doesn’t seem to have helped. I don’t know what Toyota designers are thinking but the designs as of late have been horrible. The “Big Mouth Bass” grille theme has to go for sure. Apparently Mazda is the one to watch.

  • Honda NSX-R

    Insight still looks better 😛 and now there’s the Corolla Hybrid which looks better too

  • erly5

    Certainly toned-down and less distinctive styling than before. Pity.

  • Marty

    Actually, that is pretty much what the American car industry had.

    All car brands rely on a strong home market. The whole difference is that the Japanese, Korean, European and pretty soon the Chinese car makers managed to create products with a global demand. After the 60–70’s, American cars have mostly been interesting for Americans. With a few exeptions.

    • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

      They haven’t had that for nearly 50 years. Korea, China and japan continue to have protected markets.

      • Marty

        Still, the European brands sell their cars there in greater number than the American. It’s too simple to just blame trade barriers. It’s more about culture barriers that the American brands don’t realize they need to overlap.

        • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

          You’re making very generalised statements here. Which European brands sell what? As little as 3 years ago, the Chevrolet Cruze was like the 3rd best selling car in the world and the Focus was the 1st, beating the Golf. The market is changing dramatically and very quickly.

          You need to clarify what you mean about “culture barriers” because it’s just a meaningless statement at this point.

  • Mr. EP9

    And it’s still ugly.

  • diesel_vdub

    Nonsense… for the vast majority of car buyers, AWD is not needed. A good set of winter tires will do more good in an area the gets snow. I’ve lived in the South all my life and never owned an AWD vehicle. It’s not the desert, we get more rain than the Seattle area and I’ve never had an issue where I needed AWD to make driving possible.

  • man

    Ugly as sin.

  • SteersUright

    Where’s the sports car version already? Toyota invented the hybrid. For sure they can make an affordable sports car version.

  • Craig

    Never has the term ‘butt ugly’ been more appropriate.

  • Tinky-Winky

    Does anyone still believe that hybrids need to look ugly?

    • Six_Tymes

      apparently Toyota does.

  • TheBelltower

    Good gawd… why? WHY???


    I thought Toyota was going to make the Prius look a bit better. They made it even worst

  • Incog Nito

    Is there any option for prius like ” a better looking version from inside and out” instead of awd?

  • Six_Tymes

    the picture of this sitting in the rain doesn’t make it look any better. it’s design is UGLY in rain or shine.

  • getoffme

    Toyota killed the Prius today, by offering a Corolla Hybrid with 50+mpg.

    • Marty

      Best way to kill it. It should always have been a Corolla Hybrid.

  • ron98

    it’s a conspiracy theory, they intend to make it ugly, so peoples would buy gasoline car instead of hybridcar

  • Billy Lthr

    Man I didnt think the Prius could get any more ugly, I was wrong, It just did . Come on toyota, you made that nice new corolla, no good excuse for this thing

  • disqus_83g6mJmr6l

    Still remains a ‘horribly- bold’ designed vehicle..

  • no25

    I pray the new Insight puts this alien in its place.

  • SteersUright

    I understand the appeal, but is being so damn ugly a requirement?

  • Liam Paul

    lol still so ugly but that is cool about the awd, put that AWD in the Corolla hybrid

  • The Focus

    Where’s the ”Ugliest thing human kind has ever made” award?

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