The Toyota Prius isn’t exactly a car you would picture kicking up snow or eagerly gripping curvy mountain roads. Yet here we are now, heading into 2019 with the Japanese carmaker’s eco-firendly offering receiving an AWD performance boost in the US.
Yes, the Prius will now be running on all fours. The AWD version was recently launched in Los Angeles, and the hope is its added traction will encourage drivers to handle it with more confidence. Impressively, fuel efficiency is still projected to be at 21km/L in mixed city and highway driving. Power is generated by an independent electric, magnet-less rear motor—a first for the manufacturer.
AWD isn’t all this version has going for it, either. The AWD-e Prius gets a new and improved nickel-metal hydride battery that supposedly performs better under cold driving conditions than the old unit. The 2019 car also features improved seats, with the driver’s side getting eight-way power adjustment.
What’s more, Toyota has made a variety of accessories available. This includes roof racks for bikes, snowboards, or kayaks. The company is estimating that the AWD-e will account for as much as a quarter of annual Prius sales in the US—so yeah, there are a lot of eggs in this basket here.
With AWD capability and a host of adventurous new accessories at its disposal, can the Prius AWD-e change its nameplate’s vanilla reputation? What do you guys think?