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Prius AWD-e 2019: first glance: Thrifty Snowbird



Finally, the Prius family of gasoline hatchbacks offers an electric all-wheel drive variant of the traditional non-pluggable model, nicknamed the Prius AWD-e, adding a seamless pull to its list of snow-biker drivers' virtues. . And if you think: "A big deal, they just add the rear axle hardware of a RAV4 or a Highlander," think again.


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The engines needed for these big soft road people would have been exaggerated in a Prius and therefore would have delivered glass stickers unworthy of this sub-brand. The engine is new and uses induction technology without a magnet, just like the front engine of the new Tesla 3-engine twin engine. The advantage of this design is that when the motor is not used, there are no rotating magnets to generate parasitic current that could otherwise create a drag. In the Prius, the rear engine engages at launch up to 6 mph, and then as needed for traction at speeds up to 43 mph. At the time of writing, Toyota has not provided power, torque, or performance specifications for this engine.

Another bold departure from the rest of the Prius range is the battery. It still resides beneath the rear seat and gives the new Prius AWD-e 2019 an identical 65.5 cu. Ft. Cargo space, but it returns to a "new compact chemistry" based on hydride. nickel metal. Among the reasons for this change, Toyota cites excellent cold weather performance (the RAV4 and Highlander hybrid models still use nickel metal hydride, front-wheel drive models continue with lithium-ion technology). Again, Toyota has not yet revealed the capacity of the new battery at the time of printing.

A key Toyota statistic is the sharing is now the EPA's estimated fuel consumption for the Prius LE AWD-e and the XLE AWD-e: 48/41/45 mpg city / highway / combined. For reference, the L Eco model (formerly known as "Two Eco") gets a rating of 58/52/56 mpg, while LE, XLE and Limited front-drive models (formerly called One, Two, Three , Four and Three / Four Touring) get 54/50/52 mpg stickers. In our opinion, if you want to see higher glass sticker numbers on a AWD vehicle, you must use a fully electric system.


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Also new for 2019, a revised and refined front and rear styling that removes the strange hang down headlights and taillights. The look is considerably cleaner – some will say "more generic" – while remaining completely separate from the Prius Prime plug-in. Adaptive headlights are offered on the XLE and standard on the Limited model. Inside, there are also some revisions of colors and carvings. On the AWD-e models, the 4.2-inch dual-function dual-display offers displays describing elements such as front and rear torque distribution. Top Limited models benefit from Toyota Safety Connect, which offers emergency assistance, stolen vehicle tracking, collision notification and more, free for three years.

Toyota expects AWD-e to account for up to 25 percent of Prius sales in the United States.


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