By on December 14, 2018

While an inarguable success for Toyota, the Prius lost considerable clout through some odd styling decisions, a market trending toward crossovers, and smug owners who put a sour taste in everyone else’s mouth. I was never really a fan of the model, but I appreciated what it offered — outstanding economy, sufficient utility, and rather good comfort (especially in the current generation) for a reasonable price.

Hoping to reach new customers living in the snowbelt and restore some of its lost groove, Toyota has updated the Prius and will begin offering the model with all-wheel drive. Well, I say “all-wheel drive,” but things are a little more complicated than that.

The 2019 Prius AWD-e utilizes a small, magnetless motor to drive the rear wheels, while keeping the aft axle completely independent from the existing 1.8-liter hybrid system and its own pair of motor/generators. Fortunately, I had an opportunity to explore the new system in the wintry wilds of Wisconsin to see if it’s any good.

(Read More…)

By on November 28, 2018

While we’re not sure if consumers were ever really clamoring for an all-wheel drive Prius, Toyota has decided to grace North America with one for 2019. And it would have been a monumental surprise for the kissless virgins that make up the brunt of automotive journalism, had Toyota not already telegraphed its move by selling the model in Japan.

That’s alright, though. Average Joe had no clue such a vehicle already existed in Asia and we’d imagine most Prius fans will just be happy they’ll have an opportunity to buy one that can conquer snowy, mountainous terrain. Whether or not the 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e can traverse glaciers on a thimble of fuel remains to be seen, but this seems like a wise move. People are constantly coming up to us and explaining how they “have to have” all-wheel drive and Toyota’s premier hybrid could certainly use a sales boost right now.

Perhaps this mid-cycle makeover can help with that.  (Read More…)

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