The New 2019 Toyota Prius with AWD-i Intelligent All-Wheel Drive

5 March 2019
  • New Toyota Prius available with intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD-i) for the first time
  • The next step in the self-charging hybrid driving experience, providing added peace of mind and support for the driver
  • Available in the UK as an option for the 2019 Prius Business Edition Plus model
  • New Prius also adopts fresh styling elements, new interior trims and enhanced equipment features
  • Toyota Safety Sense provided as standard on all versions

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 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 forwards in the hybrid driving experience with introduction of an intelligent, electric all-wheel drive system. Optionally available in the UK on the new 2019 Prius Business Edition Plus model, 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 colour head-up display.

All versions of the new Prius are equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense, providing high level of active safety features as standard.


  • The next step in the Toyota hybrid driving experience
  • All-Wheel Drive – intelligent uses an additional, independent rear electric motor to automatically provide rear-wheel drive when pulling away, or when low-grip conditions are detected
  • Tailor-made for Prius, the system is compact and lightweight, with minimal impact on fuel efficiency, emissions and load space

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[1] to feature all-wheel drive. This 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 6mph. At higher speeds – between 6 and 44mph – it will come into play, transferring 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 5.3kW but delivering high wheel torque of 570Nm with a 10.4 reduction ratio. Its performance does not diminish Prius’s status as Toyota’s leader in CO2 emissions, NEDC correlated figures from 85g/km and combined cycle fuel consumption from 58.7 to 64.7mpg (WLTP data)*.For markets which experience very cold conditions there is a new nickel-metal hydride battery available for use in the Prius with AWD-i.

The system is available in the UK as an option for the 2019 Prius Business Edition Plus model.

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.

* CO2 from 75 to 84g/km (NEDC correlated) for the front-wheel drive Prius with 59.6 to 68.4mpg (WLTP).


  • New design details give Prius a cleaner look that engages the sense more strongly
  • Frontal look evolves with a reprofiled bumper and new, slimmer bi-LED headlight units
  • New rear combination lamps emphasise horizontal lines and the car’s wide, planted stance
  • New-design 15-inch wheelcaps and new finish for the 17-inch alloy wheel design

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 available for Prius – Scarlet Flare (more vivid than the previous red in the range) and Blue Crush metallic, a clean and highly chromatic shade of blue. The other choices are Pure White (solid), Hypersonic Red, Galactic Blue, Galaxy Black, Decuma Grey, Tyrol Silver and Autumn Silver metallic and Pearl White pearlescent.

The entry level Prius Active adopts a new 15-inch wheelcap design with a contrasting silver and black finish. The five-spoke 17-inch wheel design for higher grades has a new silver and dark grey metallic finish.


  • Quality, comfort and peace of mind expressed in Prius’ interior design
  • New piano black trim details create a more coherent look
  • Introduction of new seat upholstery design

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, 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.


  • Improved Toyota Touch 2 system with faster response, more intuitive operation and enhanced functions
  • Wireless charging tray increased in size to accommodate new generation smartphones
  • Head-up display functions extended to include turn-by-turn route guidance

Prius has a heritage of technology leadership for Toyota, responsible for introducing advanced equipment that has progressed 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. Where navigation is provided (standard on Business Edition Plus and Excel grades), the zoom level on maps can be changed 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 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 (standard on Business Edition grade and higher) has been increased in size so it can accommodate phones up to around 160mm by 87mm. 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 (standard on Business Edition grade and higher) 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 turn-by-turn route guidance, providing the driver with navigation commands with clear and crisp colour graphics projected onto the base of the windscreen.

The entry-grade Active 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 Prius Business Edition is equipped with heated front seats, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic wipers, smart entry, leather-covered steering wheel and soft-touch trim to the upper door sections. New options include Simple Intelligent Park Assist with front and rear parking sensors, with or without 17-inch alloy wheels.

The Business Edition Plus adopts the new 17-inch alloy wheel with contrast black and dark grey (titanium-like) finish and the colour head-up display gains turn-by-turn navigation directions. As standard, it comes with the parking assist system with front and rear sensors, a new JBL premium sound system. All-wheel drive is available as an option. Excel grade is unchanged, adding leather upholstery to the Business Edition Plus specification.


[1] Excluding SUVs

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The New 2019 Toyota Prius with AWD-i Intelligent All-Wheel Drive


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