Following a Defender through the woods is not something you’ll be doing in the 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e – not by any stretch of the imagination, but you will be able to free yourselves easier when things get a bit slippery or sticky.
Launched for the 2019MY as part of the facelifted iteration of the fourth-generation, the all-wheel drive Prius adds a tiny electric motor that powers the rear wheels. Between 0 and 6 mph (0-10 km/h), it’s always active, but it can kick in if it detects wheel slip from 6 to 43 mph (10-69 km/h) too.
The combined output is 121 horsepower, which is sufficient for driving around town. However, you’re going to notice the need for more oomph on the highway, according to RoadShow, as well as lots of wind and tire noise at high speeds as well. Fuel efficiency is only 2 mpg off compared to the 2WD Prius, with the official estimates being 52 and 48 mpg (4.5-4.9 l/100 km / 62-58 mpg UK) in city/highway, and 50 mpg combined (4.7 l/100 km / 60 mpg UK).
Nobody’s going to buy a Prius, all-wheel drive or not, for its sporty characteristics though – and Toyota doesn’t pretend otherwise. The steering is light and the ride quite comfortable which, combined with a roomy cabin, tons of head- and legroom at the back, good visibility, simple layout and easy-to-use controls, while, at almost 25 cu-ft (708 lt), boot space is better than in the Mazda3 Hatchback.
What Toyota did with this version of the extremely popular hybrid car was to provide peace of mind to customers living in cold climate states. We just wish they made it better looking and not more fashionable.