Remember when Toyota released a teaser of what appeared to be a Prius driving in the snow? Apparently, the hybrid was set to get an all-wheel drive (AWD) upgrade for its upcoming refresh.
We can now confirm to you that this is the case as Toyota officially revealed the 2019 Prius with AWD-e. Unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the updated Prius gets a helping hand thanks to an additional electric motor that powers the rear wheels.
According to Toyota, the rear motor is not connected to the engine via a driveshaft or clutch pack. Instead, the rear motor runs on electricity and helps in delivering more grip from 0 – 9 km/h. In case the roads are slippery or uneven, the rear electric motor can provide additional traction up to speeds of 70 km/h. Its unique setup allows the system to recognize when to use the electric motor, and when to deactivate it to save on energy.
Speaking of energy, the 2019 Prius still gets its power from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that is helped along by an electric motor. The engine produces 99 PS along with 142 Nm of torque. The electric motor, on the other hand, generates an additional 72 PS and 163 Nm of torque. The hybrid system is then mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Apart from the additional electric motor driving the rear wheels, the 2019 refresh also includes updated styling for the Prius. Starting with the front fascia, the headlights have been redesigned and are not as aggressive-looking as before. Same goes for the front bumper design which now has a milder appearance.
Around the back, the taillights have been given a once over as well. No longer do they extend all the way towards the rear bumper as they now only occupy a small section of the car's rear. The side profile carries over as before but the hybrid now has a new set of alloy wheels which give it additional flair.
The refreshed Prius is expected to go on sale in Q2 of 2019 in the US. Other markets will follow soon after.