2021 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e Review


The Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e is the one hybrid in its class that may give you extra traction in a winter climate, and the 2021 mannequin provides a bigger show, extra options, and an extended hybrid battery guarantee.

Value as Examined $31,629.00


  • All-wheel drive
  • Glorious gas effectivity
  • Extra options than earlier fashions
  • Longer hybrid battery guarantee


  • Smallest in-dash show within the phase
  • Awkwardly positioned instrument panel and cruise management


Physique SortWagon/Hatchback
Seating Capability5
Gas SortHybrid
Engine1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with magnetic synchronous motor

The last time we tested the Prius AWD-e in 2019, it was the most recent addition to Toyota’s thriving hybrid franchise—and the one car within the phase that might maintain all 4 tires planted on snow-covered asphalt through a second motor driving the rear wheels. The 2020 mannequin lastly added Apple CarPlay and a brand new 7-inch contact display screen on most trims and made Toyota’s complete Security Join suite of drive assists normal on all grades. A 2021 refresh sweetens the pot with Android Auto, an extended guarantee, and extra airbags, albeit with a slight improve in worth.

2021 Prius Options, Pricing, and Design

The 2021 Prius AWD-e is available in two trim ranges, LE and XLE, every outfitted with a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine augmented by a magnetic synchronous motor for a mixed 121 horsepower. A second magnet-less rear motor powers the wheels again via the constantly variable computerized transmission that lacks the belt-and-pulley {hardware} of a standard CVT for smoother operation.

A nickel-metal hydride battery (with a brand new 10-year guarantee), chosen over a conventional lithium battery to deal with colder climates, is tucked underneath the seats, permitting ample room via the hatchback for cargo. The nominal energy of the rear motor primarily helps the Prius speed up with a major 40.6-lb.-ft. Of torque when coping with winter ice and snow, and AWD kicks in at as much as 43mph when the car senses wheel slippage.

2021 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e engine

The LE AWD-e begins at $27,135 and contains 15-inch alloy wheels, computerized bi-LED headlights, LED taillights, LED daytime operating lights, lively grille shutters, and heated and energy outdoors mirrors. The inside comes with a six-way adjustable driver seat, a four-way adjustable entrance passenger seat, push-button begin, energy home windows and door locks, a matte black middle console with armrest and storage compartment, and a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat with a middle armrest.

The XLE trim begins at $29,575 and provides bi-LED projector headlights, a heated steering wheel, entrance seats, soft-touch inside supplies, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, a semi-gloss piano black console, rain-sensing windshield wipers, distant begin, and a wi-fi smartphone charging pad.

The 2020 Prius swapped the 2019 mannequin’s dated 6.1-inch touch-screen for a 7-inch model and added Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The 2021 mannequin provides Android Auto as normal. The up to date infotainment system additionally offers AM/FM HD Radio, a SiriusXM satellite tv for pc radio trial for 3 months, the app-based Scout GPS Hyperlink navigation system, and Toyota Linked Providers reminiscent of Security Join telematics free for 3 years, free in-cabin Wi-Fi as much as 2GB inside six months, a USB media port, a pair of USB charging ports, Bluetooth, and voice recognition.

Toyota’s Security Sense suite of driver assists offers forward-collision warnings with computerized emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane departure alerts. It helps with a brand new steering help function. It additionally contains highway signal recognition, computerized excessive beams, adaptive cruise management, clever parking help, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross site visitors alert, hill begin help management, and a backup digital camera show.

Just like the 2019 mannequin we final examined, our 2021 XLE AWD-e tester contains an $800 Superior Expertise choice with adaptive and auto-leveling headlights and a heads-up show displaying the speedometer navigation and hybrid system indicator. With $259 tacked on for carpeted flooring mats and a vacation spot cost of $993, the ultimate sticker worth got here to $31,629.

2021 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e steering wheel with driver assist controls

The 2019 mannequin redesign barely tweaked the Prius’ aerodynamic, however awkward exterior by elongating its trademark wedge-shaped exterior to look extra like a sedan whereas retaining the favored rear hatchback. The 2021 mannequin inside remains utilitarian by phase requirements, though the XLE trim’s semi-gloss piano-black console and soft-touch supplies gussies issues up a bit.

Prius Interface and Connectivity

With the inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, satellite tv for pc radio, and onboard navigation, the Prius’ in-cabin connectivity is aggressive with comparable hybrids we’ve examined, such because the Honda Insight, the Hyundai Ioniq, and the Kia Niro, though all of them supply bigger screens. The 2021 mannequin carries over the earlier era’s easy-to-use menus and shortcut buttons to customize the format. 

The 2021 mannequin additionally retains Toyota’s uncommon placement of the 4.2-inch show that homes the speedometer, varied system shows, and customizable hybrid-info screens within the middle dashboard above the contact display screen. We’re additionally disillusioned to see that Toyota has saved the cruise management awkwardly positioned on a stalk behind the steering wheel that’s tough to view when utilizing. Nonetheless, different driver help options are conveniently activated by pushing buttons positioned on the decrease proper of the steering wheel, and we discovered the heads-up show that’s a part of the Superior Expertise choice instrumental.

2021 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e infotainment display showing Apple CarPlay

An Unexciting However Gas-Environment friendly Journey

Whereas its driving dynamics are boring, the latest-generation Prius builds on its repute as a cost-effective and nice commuter automobile. When cruising on highways and floor streets throughout testing, it felt stable and comfy to drive. The engine complained that visitors could use extra oomph; however, we barely observed the transition from gasoline to electrical.

The car is lower than an inch greater than the usual Prius, and the all-wheel-drive system solely works underneath 43mph, primarily to permit it to deal with begins in slippery circumstances. Because solely connected to the entrance wheels are electrical, and it prompts independently when the system senses it is wanted, the AWD-e might add a stage of safety; however, you will not really feel any efficiency bump while driving.

The Prius stays essentially the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive automobile you should purchase. Our test automobile is rated at 50mpg mixed (52mpg metropolis, 48mpg freeway) and averaged 47mpg over native hills and freeway driving.

Wise for Snow

As the one hybrid at the moment providing AWD on this worth vary, the Toyota Prius is already a horny choice for a lot of drivers. With stable enhancements for the 2021 mannequin, together with a brand new 10-year hybrid battery guarantee, it is a smarter selection than ever for anybody within the Snowbelt, in addition to anybody who needs to avoid wasting on gas. If you happen to do not want all-wheel drive, nonetheless, the Honda Perception presents even larger gas effectivity for much less cash, making it a compelling various.

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