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Hybrid Cars

Toyota Prius Gets Facelift And All-Wheel Drive For 2019

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2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e, in snow

The iconic hybrid car gains some off-road capabilities.

Toyota used the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show to unveil the updated 2019 Prius, which brings a refreshed exterior styling and, as a first, all-wheel drive.

According to the Japanese automaker, the Prius models with AWD-e technology is one of the most fuel efficient all-wheel-drive cars available in North America, with an estimated fuel economy rating of 52 mpg city, 48 mpg highway and 50 mpg combined that’s just two mpg lower across the board than the front-wheel-drive Prius.

The all-wheel drive system uses an independent magnet-less rear motor to drive the rear wheels when more traction is needed rather than an extra driveshaft and center differential, but only up to speeds of 43 mph (69 km/h). The system switches to front-wheel drive beyond that.

The Prius also benefits from a few styling tweak and interior upgrades for the 2019 model year, but not enough to make it less polarizing to look at. It comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense P safety suite, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist and dynamic cruise control.

The AWD Toyota Prius will be sold alongside the standard FWD Prius variant and Prius Eco model.

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e, in rain

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e, interior

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Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV Concept Previews Alfa’s First Electrified Vehicle

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Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV Concept, live

The Italian automaker is getting ready to enter the electric vehicle segment.

Alfa Romeo used the 2019 Geneva Motor show to debut the Tonale Concept, previewing its first plug-in hybrid.

Sharing a design language with the larger Stelvio, the sleek compact crossover stands out with a large lower grille flanked by LED-array headlights that are thinner than those on the Stelvio and retro design elements like Alfa Romeo’s characteristic phone-dial wheel, which as borrowed from the 33 Stradale of the 1960s.

Highlights of the interior include a 12.3-inch full digital instrument cluster, a large 10.25-inch touchscreen for the central head unit, and premium materials ranging from aluminum to Alcantara and leather.

Technical details or a launch window for the production Tonale were not revealed, but the model was envisioned with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Alfa Romeo plans to launch a total of six PHEVs by the end of 2022, and the Tonale will certainly be one of them.

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Hybrid Cars

Next Jeep Grand Cherokee Coming In 2021, Three-Row Jeep At End Of 2020

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2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Grille Logo

FCA is gearing up for a Jeep product blitz that includes the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and an unnamed three-row SUV.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has revealed plans to invest $4.5 billion in five of its Michigan plants to meet growing demand and introduce two new Jeep models.

Approximately $1.6 billion will go to converting the two plants that make up the Mack Avenue Engine Complex into an assembly site for the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, which will be based off the Alfa Romeo platform underpinning the Stelvio and is slated to arrive in the first half of 2020. It will also build an unnamed three-row full-size Jeep alongside the Grand Cheroke and several plug-in hybrid Jeep models.

Little is known about the new three-row full-size SUV, but it will be distinct from the Ram 1500–based Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer that start production in early 2021 and could very well be a longer wheelbase version of the Grand Cherokee.

FCA will introduce plug-in hybrid versions of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models first, followed by two more hybrid models. Fully electric Jeep battery electric vehicles are also planned.

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Hatchbacks

Toyota Kills The Prius C, Replaces It With Corolla Hybrid

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2018 Toyota Prius C Hybrid Hatchback

Buyers are encouraged to go for the new Corolla Hybrid instead.

Now that there is a hybrid version of the popular Corolla, Toyota figures it has one too many small hybrid vehicles in its lineup. It has quietly killed off the Prius C hybrid to give more breathing room for both the regular Prius and Corolla hybrid.

The Prius C debuted in 2011 as a smaller alternative to the Prius Liftback, but the Corolla Hybrid is bigger and more efficient, matching the standard Prius’s 52-mpg combined rating in the United States compared to the Prius C’s 46-mpg combined rating.

“You’re probably not going to see Prius C for long,” Toyota marketing vice president Ed Laukes told . “The Prius C has served its purpose well.”

The fuel-sipping Corolla is intended to maximize sales of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain platform by appealing to a broader group of customers who may be put off by the Prius’ polarizing looks but still want extremely good fuel efficiency.

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