New 2019 Toyota Prius with intelligent all-wheel drive
Maintaining its distinguished reputation for introducing new technologies, the new Prius takes the next step in the hybrid driving experience as the first self-charging Toyota hybrid passenger car to feature all-wheel drive.
The Toyota Prius is the world’s original and best-selling self-charging hybrid car, with a heritage of technical innovation and leadership that spans more than 20 years. Since the introduction of the first model in 1997, it has taken self-charging hybrid power from the margins of the automotive world to the forefront of exceptionally efficient and cleaner mobility for the mass market.
Prius has been the pathfinder for Toyota’s introduction of hybrid across an extensive range of models, from the Yaris supermini to the RAV4 SUV in Europe. As the foundation for this successful strategy, it has also established new benchmarks for the hybrid technology in the wider automotive industry.
The current, fourth generation Prius marked further advances in refinement, driving pleasure and innovation and, as the first model built on a Toyota New Global Architecture platform, has realised significant benefits in terms of dynamic performance, driving rewards, distinctive design and improved safety.
Now Prius is taking the next step forward in the hybrid driving experience with introduction of an intelligent, electric all-wheel drive system. Optionally available on the new 2019 Prius, AWD-i is a compact and lightweight system that operates automatically to support the driver in common scenarios where extra grip is needed. The system automatically engages when pulling away from standstill, and at higher speeds when it detects a loss of traction, for example on snow, ice and wet roads. The result is a more secure drive in difficult conditions and added peace of mind for the driver.
Engineered specifically for Prius, the system’s light weight and electric operation have minimal impact on the car’s fuel efficiency and low emissions. Compact packaging also means little penalty in terms of load space.
Toyota has at the same time introduced new front and rear styling treatments that give Prius a fresh look that adds emphasis to its clean and dynamic appearance. New wheel designs and cabin trims have also been produced, while new equipment features include a larger wireless charging tray to accommodate the new generation of smartphones, more intuitive and faster operation of the Toyota Touch 2 system and added functionality for the head-up display.
All versions of the new Prius will be equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense, providing high level of active safety features as standard.
The new Prius with AWD-i will initially be launched in selected western Europe markets, including Scandinavia, Germany, , Belgium, , Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, the UK and Ireland. The roll-out will extend to other Central and Eastern European markets in the future.
AWD-i: INTELLIGENT ALL-WHEEL DRIVE – A FIRST FOR A TOYOTA SELF-CHARGING HYBRID
The new system, AWD-i (All-Wheel Drive -intelligent) has been engineered specifically for Prius, so its operation has minimal impact on the vehicle’s exceptional fuel efficiency and low emissions.
It is designed to automatically provide extra grip when pulling away from stationary and in slippery conditions, such as on snow, ice and wet road surfaces. The driver gains extra peace of mind and car controllability in more challenging driving conditions that are commonly encountered in Europe, such as wet cobbled roads, snowy mountain routes or snow-covered uphill driveways.
AWD-i equips the Prius with an additional, independent, magnet-less electric motor and inverter, located on the rear axle and powered by the hybrid battery. The system automatically engages to provide additional drive to the rear wheels when pulling away, at speeds up to 10 km/h. At higher speeds - between 10 and 70 km/h - it will come into play, adding torque to the rear axle when sensors detect a loss of grip. This provides both peace of mind and extra driving pleasure. Again, operation is automatic and on-demand; the driver does not have to select AWD. The system does not operate in normal driving conditions, or under braking.
Unlike mechanical AWD systems, there is no driveshaft between the front and rear axles and no centre differential. This saves weight, supporting Prius’ efficient performance, and takes up less space. Its installation only reduces boot space by a modest 45 litres, while retaining a flat floor for ease of use.
The electric motor is compact and efficient, producing a maximum 5.3 kW but delivering high wheel torque of 570 Nm with a 10.4 reduction ratio. Its performance does not diminish Prius’ status as Toyota’s leader in CO2 emissions, with WLTP figures as of 99 g/km (77 g/km correlated NEDC) translating to 4.4 l/100km fuel consumption. For markets which experience very cold conditions there is a new nickel-metal hydride battery available for use in the Prius with AWD-i.
Prius’ self-charging hybrid powertrain is unchanged, featuring a 1.8-litre, Atkinson cycle, four-cylinder 16-valve DOHC petrol engine with Dual VVT-i intelligent variable valve-timing, working together with two compact yet powerful motor-generators. The engine is an object lesson in efficient performance, achieving a thermal efficiency of 40 per cent through a series of engineering innovations and improvements, including a large-volume exhaust gas recirculation system, combustion optimisation and heat management and friction reduction measures. For 2019, Prius adopts a low viscosity engine oil to reduce the pistons’ sliding resistance and so help maintain excellent fuel efficiency. Emissions performance complies with the latest Euro 6d standards.
All versions of the new Prius feature a more rigid accelerator with a revised internal structure that gives enhanced response with less play. Its profile has been adjusted so that the surface is comfortable to use regardless of the driver’s height, and the stroke has been reduced so less ankle movement is required to fully depress the pedal.
EXTERIOR DESIGN ENHANCEMENTS
The fourth generation Prius introduced a striking new design, made possible by the car’s adoption of a Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform which gives the car lower lines overall and the design team greater opportunities to explore new styling opportunities. The design freedom produced a distinctive and athletic body silhouette that remains impressively aerodynamically efficient.
While Prius’ signature styling remains in place, detailed changes have been made that add emphasis to the cleanness of its lines, while engaging the senses more strongly. At the front, new, slimmer, sharper headlight units have been introduced, helping create a stronger horizontal line that broadcasts the car’s wide and planted stance. These feature bi-LEDs for high and low beam operation, LED clearance lights and LED daytime running lights. New socket-type round fog lights are located in the lower grille.
The front bumper has been re-profiled to create a strong pontoon shape, with the bottom edge below the lower grille given a floating effect, further expressing the car’s low centre of gravity. The peak point of the bonnet has been raised to generate a coherent, flowing line down the sides of the car, producing a more dynamic, flowing silhouette.
At the rear, new combination lamps again focus the eye on a strong horizontal line to emphasise the car’s low centre of gravity and are fitted with new-design light guides and lenses. Their arrangement contrasts with the vertical orientation of the previous units and the powerful visual effect they generate is given further emphasis by a new inverted trapezoid shape integrated in the tailgate around the licence plate.
The 2019 changes include the addition of two strong new colours to the range of eight available for Prius – Emotional Red 2 (more vivid than the previous Emotional Red) and Ice Blue metallic, a clean and highly chromatic shade of blue. The other choices are Super White, Grey, Silver and Steel Blonde metallic, Attitude Black mica and White Pearl pearlescent.
The entry level Prius adopts a new, more dynamic 15-inch wheelcap design with a contrasting silver and black finish. The five-spoke 17-inch wheel design has a new black and dark grey titanium-like metallic finish.
The new Prius AWD-i is distinguished by lighter rear privacy glass and a piano black finish to the centre pillar (these features for left-hand drive models only).
HARMONIOUS INTERIOR STYLING AND QUALITY
The interior of the Toyota Prius was conceived as a space that conveys peace of mind, being welcoming, quiet and comfortable. The “human tech” concept combines futuristic and stylish elements in a way that is rational and ingenious; the technology at work may be advanced, but when travelling in the Prius, driver and occupants are at their ease in a cabin that is comfortable and easy to use.
Toyota has further enhanced the quality of the interior, focusing on trim details and new, high-quality seat upholstery. The centre console has been given a cleaner, consistent look with a new piano black treatment. This extends also to the shift lever surround and matching inserts in the steering wheel. For convenience, switches for the heated front seats have been relocated to the centre console; on models without this feature, a small oddment tray has been added. The wireless smartphone charging tray in the console has been made larger (further details in the equipment features chapter).
The fourth generation Prius introduced a new front seat design that offers more comfort, yet weighs less and takes up less space. They provide a snug fit with excellent body holding, helping take the stress out of long journeys. For 2019, a new embossed upholstery fabric has been introduced for the mid-grade Prius, available in all-black, or a combination of cool grey with black accents. For added storage and convenience, the front seats have been fitted with seatback pockets with a fastener.
The attention to detail can be witnessed in a new module switch on the driver’s side of the instrument panel for control of the head-up display (where fitted) and the Automatic High Beam. By inserting a new separator between the two buttons, it is easier for the driver to select the right one while keeping their eyes on the road. It also helps prevent the controls being accidentally engaged when getting in and out of the car. The switches for the power windows and door mirror adjustment have also been change to improve their feel when used.
NEW EQUIPMENT FEATURES
Prius’ has a heritage of technology leadership for Toyota, responsible for introducing advanced equipment features that progress to become valued and popular features across the wider Toyota model range. The improvements introduced with the new 2019 Prius include equipment upgrades that keep pace with customers’ requirements for faster, smarter communication and access to information.
The Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system has been improved with the seven-inch touch screen now engineered to respond to pinch, flick and swipe gestures like those used on smartphones. The zoom level on maps can be change using pinch in/pinch out movements and the map can be moved with flick or swipe commands. Similarly, a flick gesture can be used to scroll through lists.
As well as being more intuitive to use, the system also responds more quickly and is now available with voice recognition for hands-free operation of key functions. Better sound reproduction can be enjoyed from the audio system with a new, more powerful amplifier and the use of Clari-Fi technology to maximise the sound quality from compressed music files.
Keeping pace with changes in portable device technology, the Qi wireless charging tray in the centre console in the new Prius has been increased in size so it can accommodate phones up to around 160 mm by 87 mm. This makes it suitable for use with the latest generation of smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone 8, Xr and Xs. In Prius versions without the charging tray, the area is replaced with a non-slip rubber mat.
The head-up display available on higher grade Prius models is an important element in safer driving, ensuring the driver can access important data and information while keeping their eyes on the road ahead. The system has been upgraded to include new turn-by-turn route guidance, providing the driver with navigation commands with clear and crisp graphics projected onto the base of the windscreen.
The entry-grade model gains the new-look 15-inch wheel caps, the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system and new high-quality cloth upholstery. Other standard features include dusk-sensing bi-LED headlights with Automatic High Beam, follow-me-home function and integrated fog lights, dual-zone automatic air conditioning and a reversing camera. The 2019 Prius features Toyota Safety Sense as standard with Pre-Collision System (including Pedestrian Recognition), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with steering control, Automatic High Beam and Road Sign Assist.
The new mid-grade Prius adopts the new 17-inch alloy wheel with contrast black and dark grey (titanium-like) finish and the head-up display gains turn-by-turn navigation directions. It also comes equipped with heated front seats, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, leather-covered steering wheel and soft-touch trim to the upper door sections.