Judging by how usually we go for it, Canadians and all-wheel drive are a match made in heaven. And hybrid followers aren’t unnoticed: Toyota provides the Prius with it, known as AWD-e, as a result of the magic is made with electrical motors.
It’s an attention-grabbing setup, however it works a bit otherwise than most standard programs. Be certain you realize what you’re getting — and, in fact, extra on that in a bit.
The Prius begins at $28,550, whereas the AWD-e begins at $29,500 for the bottom trim. The subsequent step up is the AWD-e Know-how, at $33,450. There’s a sole choice bundle, the Know-how Superior, which provides $1,800 and put my tester’s sticker to $35,250 earlier than freight and taxes.
Crunch the numbers between the Prius and different inexpensive hybrids
Just like the common Prius, the AWD-e self-charges its battery, largely by means of regenerative braking. There is a Prius that plugs in to supply a spread of fuel-free driving, the Prius Prime, however it’s strictly front-wheel drive.
The Prius makes use of a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine that makes 96 horsepower by itself. When the electrical motor runs alongside, they make a mixed 121 horsepower. The system runs on gasoline, electrical energy, or a mixture, switching between them robotically and virtually seamlessly, relying on driving situations.
On standard gasoline automobiles, all-wheel drive is achieved with a central driveshaft, which transmits energy mechanically to the rear wheels. On the Prius, there’s an electrical motor on the rear. It’s impartial of the entrance engine/motor mixture, and it powers the rear wheels.
You don’t get all 4 working on a regular basis. As an alternative, the rear wheels kick in everytime you take off from a cease, and so they keep powered till you attain 10 km/h. After that, they arrive on at any time when they’re wanted for further traction on slippery surfaces, as much as a most of 70 km/h. Go above that, and also you’re again to the entrance wheels solely. Nonetheless, there’s no swipe in opposition to it: acceleration or altering lanes on greasy roads at reasonable velocity is when many drivers are probably to wish that further traction from the rear wheels. (And, in fact, when the climate turns chilly once more, you’ll need to put winter tires on all 4 wheels.)
The Prius drives and handles nicely, and it feels strong however not heavy. A really sharp turning circle makes it straightforward to spin round in tight quarters, too. The additional weight of the all-wheel system has a minimal impact on gas consumption: the AWD-e model is rated at 4.7 L/100 kilometres in mixed metropolis/freeway driving, whereas the common Prius charges at 4.5.
The gearshift lever is an odd little nubbin that you simply flip up or down for Reverse or Drive. I don’t like all system the place you should push a separate button for Park, however in its favour, it’s straightforward to faucet the shifter down into Brake, which will increase the speed of regenerative braking for battery recharging. It slows the automobile down whereas decelerating, though it’s not sturdy sufficient for the “one-pedal” driving accessible on some electrical automobiles, which may carry you to a cease with out utilizing the brake pedal.
There’s an “EV” mode button for pure electrical driving, however it’s not fairly because it sounds. It will preserve the Prius on battery-only, however solely at low speeds and really reasonable throttle – and in the event you’re driving like that anyway, the system robotically goes to electrical energy. Exceed the velocity or push your foot too onerous, and EV mode shuts off.
One factor that’s all the time pushed me nuts in regards to the Prius is that it beeps in Reverse. Not exterior the automobile, the place it’d warn pedestrians that it’s going to silently again up, however inside, the place it beeps incessantly in that gear. Does Toyota suppose its drivers are so absent-minded that they immediately overlook they’ve chosen the go-backwards perform?
Whereas I preferred driving my tester, I positively didn’t like accessing most of its controls. For no matter motive, at any time when an automaker builds a high-tech automobile, it in some way thinks it should embody a high-tech interface to make issues work. You get a couple of onerous buttons and toggles, however on the AWD-e Know-how trim degree, the bottom Prius’ far less complicated and button-heavier 7-inch touchscreen is changed with an 11.6-inch display screen, with most capabilities stuffed in behind its glass.
Every thing requires steps. You faucet the display screen to carry up the menu, after which faucet it to entry the perform you need, which is distracting. You must tap-tap-tap or maintain the temperature or quantity switches, as a substitute of rapidly spinning a dial. And as annoying as it’s to work by means of these steps, it’s even worse when the solar shines, as a result of that huge hunk of glass could be very prone to glare. It washes out, and also you merely can’t see the backup digital camera or display screen capabilities. You’ll be able to alter a few of the capabilities utilizing the steering wheel buttons as a substitute, however actually — even with redundant controls, all the pieces must be fast and easy to function.
General, the Prius AWD-e takes a good and confirmed hybrid performer, and provides that Canadian favorite of rear-wheel assist to it. However earlier than you progress all the way in which up the choices ladder, take a protracted have a look at that capabilities display screen. With all that’s occurring today, distraction is perhaps a very good factor at dwelling, however by no means in your automobile.
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