Toyota dropped a big hint last week about the 2019 Prius. A refresh of the car that popularized hybrid powertrains will arrive at 2018 AutoMobility LA. The short press release from Toyota stated the new Prius “performs on roads whether snowy or clear.”
The hint is that we’re finally getting all-wheel drive for the Prius. This option has been available in Japan since 2015. Rear wheels are driven by a separate electric motor, like what you see on all-wheel-drive Teslas. JDM models allow the driver to switch between front-wheel and all-wheel drive. The design doesn’t affect fuel efficiency at all, and it only adds slightly to the car’s curb weight. Expect at least something similar, if not the exact same setup, for North America.
A picture is worth a thousand words, apparently, so we also get the photo of a 2019 Toyota Prius driving quickly on a snowy road. Yes, it’s really like a light dusting, and driving fast on snowy roads even if you have all-wheel drive is a bad idea, but this is marketing glitz.
The snow kicked up by the speeding Prius obscures the view of the rear fascia. That strongly hints a refresh in styling, as well as the addition of all-wheel drive.
Maybe next time you brave your way through a snowstorm to enjoy fresh powder on the slopes, you’ll climb inside your Prius and not an SUV?