New Toyota Prius 2019: facelifted hybrid gets optional four-wheel drive

An updated version of the Toyota Prius has made its European debut, with an all-wheel-drive version coming to the UK

The facelifted Toyota Prius has made its European debut at the Brussels Motor Show in Belgium, with a fresh new look and an all-wheel-drive version of the hybrid family car due to hit the UK in 2019. It’s the first time all-wheel-drive has been made available on the Prius outside of Japan.

The Hybrid AWD-i system fitted to the Prius features a compact electric motor that can provide extra power to the rear wheels when required. It kicks in automatically to aid pulling away at speeds of up to 7mph, and in low-grip conditions at speeds of up to 44mph.

Toyota says the compact packaging of the AWD model will have a minimal impact on boot space, and that the nickel-metal-hydride battery will improve performance in cold weather. Meanwhile, the front-wheel-drive version of the Prius will use a new lithium-ion battery.

Styling-wise, Toyota has gone for a cleaner appearance with the 2019 Prius, which features a new front bumper, coupled with new LED headlights that are slimmer and brighter than those found on the current model.

At the back, the taillights sport a new horizontal design, and the tailgate has been updated too. Customers will have two more colours to choose from when speccing the Prius (Scarlet Flare and Blue Crush), and new alloy-wheel options have also been added.

Inside, changes are much more subtle. The wireless charging pad for smartphones has increased in size, and the navigation system has been updated to provide step-by-step instructions on the head-up display. There's also what Toyota says is a more comfortable design of front seat, 

Toyota also claims that its Touch 2 infotainment system should be more responsive and intuitive than before. Toyota's second-generation Safety Sense package is standard across the range, incorporating a pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control, land departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, automatic high beams and road-sign assistance.

Price and on-sale date 

The new 2019 Prius is set to arrive in UK showrooms this spring. Exact pricing and specification data will be released closer to its debut, but we do know that the entry-level model will have 15-inch covered wheels, the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system, cloth upholstery. Toyota Safety Sense, dusk-sensing bi-LED headlights with automatic high beam, integrated fog lights, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning and a reversing camera.

The mid-range model will build on that with a new 17-inch alloy wheel design with contrasting black and light grey finish. It also comes with heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as a leather-covered steering wheel and soft-touch trim on the upper door sections.