Toyota Prius Trim Names Changing For 2019

By

Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

Follow On: Google+ | Website

, Senior Pricing Analyst - October 19, 2018

Preliminary order guides indicate the 2019 Toyota Prius will ditch the trim names shoppers have become accustomed to seeing for the large part of the past decade. Interestingly, it appears the brand has also decided to turn the fuel-efficient Eco variant into the new base model.

When it begins production in December, the Prius will no longer use numbered names like One, Two, and Three. Instead, the car will adopt nomenclature consistent with other Toyotas like L, LE and XLE. Toyota made similar changes a few months ago with the 2019 Prius c.

Although we don't have full specs or pricing yet for the 2019 Prius, we do know that the most-efficient version, the Two Eco, will be renamed the L Eco and become the new base trim. Currently, the Eco is about $1,700 more expensive than the entry-level Prius One and offers a fuel economy advantage of 4 mpg.

Next up, the Prius Two will be renamed the LE. The Prius Three will become the XLE, while the range-topping Prius Four will be called the Prius Limited. "Touring" variants of the Prius Three and Four are being discontinued, although we're seeing evidence that the XLE will offer the option of an Advanced Technology Package.

Current names for the Prius have been around since the model's 2010 redesign, at which point roman numerals like "I," "II," and "III" were used. That changed for 2012 with the arrival of the larger Prius v, at which point Toyota began spelling out the trims to avoid confusion. The v was eventually discontinued in 2017.

Fuel economy estimates for the 2019 Prius haven't been posted yet on the EPA's website. For reference, the 2018 Eco is rated at 56 mpg overall, while other styles come in at 52 mpg. That makes the Prius considerably more efficient than the smaller Prius c, which gets 46 mpg in overall driving.

Having said that, competitors like the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid boast higher numbers. While most versions are rated at 55 mpg overall, the Ioniq Blue (akin to the Prius Eco) comes in at 58 mpg. Our analysis shows lease offers on the Ioniq here in Los Angeles have consistently undercut the Prius by at least $100/month.

Interestingly, we've seen no indications that the 2019 Prius will gain support for Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa. If that proves to be the case, it would represent a departure from the brand's approach of adding that feature to other 2019 models like the Camry, Highlander and Sienna.

We reached out to Toyota, but a spokesperson declined to confirm the brand's plans. We think it's worth noting that the 2019 Prius c, which went on sale just recently, did not gain this capability. Such a move could be disappointing to Prius shoppers given that competitors like the Ioniq already support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Toyota has undertaken steps to boost the Prius' value proposition. Last year, the brand brought back the entry-level Prius One with a $1,210 advantage in price compared to the Prius Two. In a mid-year change, the company also began offering a blind spot monitor with cross-traffic alert and parking sensors at no extra charge.

Factors like better incentives, greater fuel efficiency and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto availability have helped the Ioniq become an attractive alternative. Although the Prius offers a broader range of advanced safety features as standard equipment, one of the Ioniq's more noteworthy updates for 2019 is the addition of standard automatic emergency braking in the mid-level SEL trim.

Learn more about the current Prius on sale now »

Pictured: 2018 Prius

, Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

Follow On: Google+ | Website