It looks like some off-roading credentials are headed the Prius’s way, one of the least off-roadworthy vehicles in its lineup.

It was bound to happen, Toyota diversifying its Prius lineup and offering AWD as an option. As per Toyota in an official press release they dropped earlier today (Nov. 8, 2018) they teased a Toyota Prius straight booking it on some snowy roads which can only mean one thing, you can soon equip your Toyota Prius with some snow tires, if you already haven’t, and drive even more confidently on roads with low-traction (e.g. snow, dirt etc.)

Check out the teaser photo Toyota dropped for us below.

This particular AWD system isn’t something new and is actually already doing duty in Toyota’s US lineup underneath the 2019 Toyota Rav 4 AWD. Toyota E-Four is an all-wheel-drive system developed by Toyota specifically for hybrids. Toyota cleverly packages a dedicated electric motor with its own power unit, reduction gear, and rear differential between the two rear wheels.

Embed from Getty Images

It’s so small that it does not intrude on rear passenger space, rear cargo space or available trunk room.

According to Toyota, the control unit is constantly monitoring data from vehicle speed, accelerator angle and wheel speed in order to come up with the optimal torque. Up to 60 percent of the car’s total power can be sent to the rear wheels.

One added benefit to E-Four is increased towing capacity. In the Toyota Rav 4, regular Rav 4’s can only tow up to 1760 pounds but that towing capacity more than doubles to 3630 pounds with Toyota E-Four hybrid AWD equipped.

Unfortunately, that added towing capacity will not translate over to the Prius.

While Toyota of Europe has given the 2WD versions of the Prius an official tow rating of 1,598 pounds, AWD models are a different story. Toyota has not issued official tow ratings for the AWD Prius and recommends you don’t tow despite the added capability.

Below is a screenshot of the Toyota Prius’s towing capacity from its European manual, the listed towing capacity for 2WD Priuses only.

2020 Toyota Prius towing capacity

Here’s a screenshot of the Prius manual warning AWD Prius owners not to tow.

Prius AWD Towing Capacity

Power ratings stay the same at the current 121 HP and 120 lb-ft.

The Prius has come a long way from when it first came out and this isn’t even its final form.

I look forward to Prii clawing its way out of snowy parking lots, soon.

The Toyota Prius with AWD debuts at the L.A. Auto Show later this November.

Source: Toyota

*a previous version of this article speculated on the towing capacity for the AWD Prius. An official published manual lists the AWD Prius is not recommended as a tow vehicle and this post is updated to reflect that.


    • Hi Minh,
      I found out that Toyota, even in Europe, does not recommend you tow with the AWD Prius. I’ve updated the post accordingly and included screenshots of the Euro version of the owner’s manual. You can still technically tow up to 1,598 pounds with the 2WD Prius.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here