All Toyota Prius models use a gasoline 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that's augmented by a pair of electric batteries. The system utilizes an electronically controlled continuouly variable transmission and is good for a combined 121 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque.
Front-wheel drive is standard on every trim, but the LE and XLE are also offered with all-wheel drive for $1,400 (LE) or $1,000 (XLE).
Fuel economy varies by trim. L Eco models stretch a gallon of fuel the farthest with their EPA-estimated 58 miles per gallon city, 53 mpg highway, and 56 combined. Other models achieve 54/50/52 mpg (city/highway/combined), or 52/48/50 mpg with AWD.
Hypermilers should stick with one of the front-wheel-drive models to avoid the fuel economy penalty that comes with sending power to all four wheels. Winter tires can mitigate the ill effects of snowy climes quite well, and any drop in fuel economy from the meatier rubber will only last a season, unlike the mileage penalty incurred with all-wheel drive.