2019 Prius Review

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What’s new

Debut of AWD-e model
Styling refresh simplifies exterior appearance
New trim level names: L Eco, LE, XLE and Limited
Previously white interior elements are now black
Part of the fourth Prius generation introduced for 2016

The Prius is all about fuel economy and the base L Eco’s 56 mpg combined EPA estimate is difficult to ignore. Unfortunately, the L is a little light on features. As such, we recommend getting the LE. It comes with some useful upgrades, such as blind-spot monitoring, a rear wiper and a traditional spare tire, while keeping the price reasonable. The LE is also available with the Prius’ new all-wheel-drive system.


More and more hybrid vehicles are coming out every year, yet the Toyota Prius, the granddaddy of them all, remains at the forefront. It provides high fuel economy (more than 50 mpg), a comfortable ride and a versatile cargo area. There’s also the argument for peace of mind since Toyota certainly has a long history of making reliable hybrid vehicles.

For 2019, car shoppers have another reason to consider the Prius: available all-wheel drive. The new Prius AWD-e adds an electric motor to drive the rear wheels for better initial traction between 0 and 6 mph and re-engages when front tire slippage is detected at speeds up to 43 mph. If you live in an area that has snowy or icy roads during the winter, the AWD-e could provide extra traction. Fuel economy suffers only slightly with the Prius AWD-e.

But any Prius comes with a trade-off: performance. The Prius is neither quick nor engaging to drive. Additionally, its infotainment system isn’t the easiest to use and lacks Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration. But for shoppers seeking the most return per gallon, that’s easily forgivable. Along with the Honda Insight, the Prius is one of our top recommended hybrids for 2019.

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Toyota Prius models

The 2019 Toyota Prius is a four-door hatchback that seats five passengers. It’s available in four trim levels: L Eco, LE, XLE and Limited. A new AWD-e Prius debuts this year and is offered in the LE and XLE trims.

Power for the Prius comes from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors/generators. Their combined 121 horsepower is sent through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) to the front wheels. The AWD-e models add an electric motor for the rear axle.

The L Eco trim is equipped with ultra-low-rolling resistance tires, a lighter hybrid battery, and an inflation kit instead of a spare tire. Those features help contribute to the L Eco’s impressive 56 mpg combined rating. The other Prius trims are rated at 52 mpg or 50 mpg (AWD-e).

Standard features for the L Eco include 15-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED running lights and taillights, heated mirrors, keyless entry (driver door only) and ignition, automatic climate control, dual 4.2-inch driver information screens, adaptive cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a 60/40-split folding rear seat.

Also standard is a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a front USB port and two rear charge ports and a six-speaker audio. Standard safety features include automatic high beams, forward collision warning, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking and lane departure warning and intervention.

The LE trim adds a rear window wiper, front seatback pockets, a spare tire, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and an automated parallel parking system.

Stepping up to the XLE trim brings 17-inch wheels, automatic wipers, keyless entry for the front passenger door and rear hatch, SofTex simulated leather upholstery and wrapped steering wheel, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a semi-gloss black center console and a wireless charging pad. It also reverts back to the tire inflation kit.

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At the top of the Prius range is the Limited trim that adds adaptive headlights, a head-up display, Toyota’s Safety Connect emergency communications, a navigation system, an 11.6-inch touchscreen, and a 10-speaker premium JBL audio system with satellite radio.

Some features, including a sunroof, are available on supporting trims as options.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Toyota Prius Three Hatchback (1.8L inline-4 hybrid | CVT automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2016, the current Prius has received some revisions, including adjustments to trim-level features and names and expanded availability of active safety features. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year’s Toyota Prius, however.

22 Photos of the 2019 Prius Review

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