Closer look at Toyota’s range-topping Prius 5-door with AWD

A long-running hybrid hatchback, can the Prius XLE trim compete with newcomers like the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback, Kia’s Niro wagon, and Honda Insight sedan?

Toyota added an electric AWD (or AWD-e) option to the fourth-generation Prius in 2019, marking the first time the well-known gas-electric hybrid could be had with four driven wheels.

It also made the Prius the first AWD Toyota hybrid that wasn’t a crossover utility vehicle. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the Prius AWD-e in the XLE trim offered in the United States and the Technology model that is the closest equivalent in Canada.

What kind of car is the Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e?

The Prius AWD-e is classified as a mid-size car, but it’s sized in between a compact and a mid-range family sedan. It has a liftback tailgate to access the trunk and offers seating for five people.

2020 Toyota Prius xle awd hatchback rear trunk space
2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e hatchback rear trunk space. Photo: Toyota

Under the Prius AWD-e’s hood is a 1.8L gasoline four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, which work with the motor mounted at the rear wheels to make a total of 120 hp.

How does AWD-e work?

Most all-wheel drive vehicles have a mechanical drive shaft that connects the engine and transmission to the front and rear axles. The Prius AWD-e system is different: it uses electricity alone to power the rear wheels, while the front wheels are driven by a combination of gas and electricity.

- Advertisement -

That rear motor primarily works to improve traction when accelerating from a stop, and any other time it’s needed, at speeds below 70 km/h. Otherwise, it disengages so that the car runs in front-wheel mode.

Fuel economy: what’s the Toyota Prius AWD-e’s MPG?

Toyota’s estimates for the Prius AWD-e’s fuel consumption are 4.5/4.9 L/100 km (city/highway) in Canada and 52/48 MPG (city/highway) in the US.

Can I plug the Prius in to charge?

The Prius AWD-e is not a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), so it can’t be plugged in. The only way to charge the battery is through efficient driving, which charges it automatically to help power the car.

Main features: Toyota Prius AWD-e XLE in the US

American buyers who choose the 2020 Toyota Prius AWD-e XLE get a car whose cabin is fitted with wireless smartphone charging, a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, artificial leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel finished in artificial leather, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and a six-speaker stereo with satellite radio.

2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e hatchback interior
2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e hatchback interior. Photo: Toyota

Outside, the Prius AWD-e XLE comes with rain-sensing wipers, fog lights, passive keyless entry, power door locks, clearance sonar, intelligent parking assist, and 15-inch alloy wheels.

The Toyota Safety Sense system is also included in the Prius AWD-e XLE, comprising automatic high beams, radar cruise control, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, and lane departure alert with steering assist. The US XLE model also comes with blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert.

- Advertisement -

American buyers can add the advanced technology package of a head-up display and auto-leveling adaptive headlights.

Main features: Toyota Prius AWD-e Technology in Canada?

In Canada, the 2020 Toyota Prius AWD-e Technology model’s cabin is equipped with wireless smartphone charging, navigation, an 11.6-inch infotainment touchscreen, artificial leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel finished in artificial leather, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Apple CarPlay, and a six-speaker stereo with satellite radio.

Outside, the Prius AWD-e Technology comes with rain-sensing wipers, fog lights, passive keyless entry, power door locks, and 15-inch alloy wheels.

The Toyota Safety Sense system is included in the Prius AWD-e Technology, comprising automatic high beams, radar cruise control, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, and lane departure alert with steering assist. Additionally, the Prius AWD-e comes with blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert.

2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e hatchback top view
2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e hatchback. Photo: Toyota

An optional advanced technology package adds a garage door opener, auto-leveling headlights, a head-up driver display, parking sensors, intelligent parking assist, and adaptive front lighting.

Price: how much is the 2020 Prius XLE AWD-e?

In the United States, the Prius AWD-e XLE costs $29,375, compared to $26,935 for the base AWD-e model, and $24,325 for the entry-level Prius without AWD-e.

In Canada, the Toyota Prius AWD-e Technology carries an MSRP of $32,990, which is $5,000 more than the base model, and $4,000 more than the standard AWD-e model.

Competitors: who is Toyota’s hybrid XLE hatch competing with?

The Toyota Prius’s direct competitors are the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback, Kia’s Niro wagon, and the Honda Insight sedan. All are gas-electric hybrids like the Prius, but none of them offer AWD.

2020 Toyota Prius XLE AWD Hatchback Photos:

UP NEXT