2019 Toyota Prius

Toyota has refreshed its fourth-generation Prius hybrid five-door hatch with a touch of the styling wand and stack of infotainment tech.

Toyota has refreshed its fourth-generation Prius hybrid five-door hatch with a touch of the styling wand and stack of infotainment tech.

The front and rear bumpers have been refashioned and overall the Prius is now 35mm longer. New combination rear LED lights mirror the shape of the redesigned slimline headlights with bi-beam LEDs. Inside, there’s fresh black cloth upholstery while the centre console has been functionally reconfigured to hold a pair of cupholders, seat heating switches and a wireless phone charge.

Toyota Prius interior

The 2019 Prius gains the latest generation Toyota multimedia system with 10-speaker JBL audio and seven-inch touchscreen that enables pinch, swipe and flick gestures. The new system features AM/FM/DAB+ radio, USB and Aux inputs, full Bluetooth connectivity, satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic alerts, voice recognition, and Toyota Link apps including weather, fuel finder and travel times.

Voice recognition now offers a broader range of commands, including the ability to set an address while driving and option to search through local points of interest by business name or category. Other new applications include Siri eyes-free mode for iPhones and Miracast, which can allow compatible smartphone screens to be duplicated onto the touchscreen.

Launched in early 2016, the current generation Prius was the first model in the Toyota range to feature the Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA) platform. We noted when we last drove it (2017) that the changes had made Prius a more engaging, responsive drive than before. It remains so.

Toyota Prius rear

The steering feels nicely weighted (not all Toyotas are), the brakes lack that woodenness of earlier hybrids, the ride is – for the most part – nicely compliant and road noise near null and void at speed on all but coarse-chip bitumen. And compared with earlier Prius, the latest gen shows some dynamic ability.

Performance-wise, it gets along well courtesy of the self-charging hybrid system that harnesses a 90kW, 1.8-litre petrol engine, twin electric motor-generators, nickel-metal hydride battery and CVT. When called on, the Prius is nippy off the mark, making good use of its 142Nm peak torque.

The cabin looks suitably hi-tech and feels light, spacy and comfy. Eco readouts on the dash-top touchscreen assist with optimising fuel economy.

Plenty of pluses then. On the minus side, scheduled service intervals are short at six month/10,000km (albeit capped at $140 each), and 15-inch aluminium wheels with spoked plastic covers are not befitting a car costing nearly $37,000.

Key stats

Price:

$36,590 (plus on-road costs)

Engine:

1.8-litre petrol/electric hybrid

ANCAP Safety Rating:

* * * * *

For:

Smoothness and quietness, all-round driving capability.

Against:

Short servicing intervals, plastic wheel covers.