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

An updated version of the Toyota Prius is on sale in the UK, including with an all-wheel-drive version

The facelifted Toyota Prius has made its European debut at the Brussels Motor Show in Belgium in January, with the hybrid family car sporting a fresh new look and an all-wheel-drive option.

It’s the first time all-wheel-drive has been made available on the Prius outside of Japan, and it's now on sale in the UK.

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 has a minimal impact on boot space, and that the nickel-metal-hydride battery improves performance in cold weather. Meanwhile, the front-wheel-drive version of the Prius uses 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 take on a new horizontal design, and the tailgate has been updated too. Customers have two more colours to choose from (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 front seat design.

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 arrived in UK showrooms this spring. Prices for the entry-level model start at £24,345: it comes with 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 is builds 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.

The all-wheel drive version is available on Business Edition trim only, costing £28,970.