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New 2019 Toyota Prius facelift arrives with all-wheel-drive version

The updated Toyota Prius has been revealed in LA with a new look and a new powertrain for Europe

The Toyota Prius has received a series of tweaks for 2019. Updated styling, small interior revisions and the option of four-wheel drive models give the hybrid fresh impetus in the face of increased competition from the Hyundai Ioniq.

The slightly quirky shape of the previous model has been toned down, with more conventional triangular units - complete with LED tech which gives a wider field of view than before - taking their place. The bumper shape is altered so that it blends into the car’s flanks more smoothly.

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The rear is also tidied up slightly, thanks to revised tail lights and a sharper lower bumper edge. Also included are a pair of new colours – Emotional Red and Aqua Breeze – and revised wheel designs.

The most noticeable change inside comes in the form of an improved infotainment system. Faster loading times and the ability to use smartphone-inspired pinch and flick motions on the touchscreen make the new system more intuitive to use.

Elsewhere, there’s a larger wireless charging tray for smartphones, new interior upholstery and an improved head-up display system which incorporates navigation instructions.

The Prius rides on the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-C platform as before. Power comes from a 1.8-litre petrol engine matched to an electric motor. However, new for 2019 is the option of a all-wheel drive model.

Known as the Prius Hybrid AWD-i, the new model’s rear wheels are driven by a second electric motor on the back axle. It’s permanently active at speeds under 7mph, while it can assist the front wheels if slip is detected between 7mph and 44mph.

The AWD-i also features a new nickel-metal hydride hybrid battery which is designed to cope well in cold conditions. Official luggage volumes haven’t yet been disclosed, but Toyota says that there’s only ‘minimal intrusion’ into the regular car’s 457-litre boot. Official WLTP economy figures are yet to be confirmed, but in American tests it’s the equivalent of 2.4mpg thirstier than the front-wheel drive car on the combined cycle.

Having appeared at the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show, the revised Toyota Prius is due to make its European debut at the 2019 Brussels Motor show on January 18.

Click here for all the latest from the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show...

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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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