Toyota mid-November shared a Christmas-card-like teaser, depicting a Prius in the snow with the caption “Fall is here, winter’s near, but the 2019 Prius performs on roads whether snowy or clear.”
The message is properly cryptic, but we can’t imagine Toyota would share an image of a Prius with a roof rack barreling through a snowy pass in stock front-wheel-drive form.
That leads us to make the assumption the next-generation Prius will have power sent to all four wheels.
The Prius is due for a refresh and the next generation will most likely follow the Prius Prime’s styling. The models are slated to be revealed at the LA auto show at the end of November.
There has been an all-wheel-drive Prius in Japan for years, except they call it the E-Four. The E-Four has the same two-motor hybrid setup for the front wheels but has a third motor to power the rear ones, which also take advantage of regenerative braking.
AWD Priuses were never sold in the United States because the model saw its biggest markets in California and Southern states where it doesn’t snow.
The third motor in the E-Four provides only seven horsepower, but at least it’s something to give the rear end some control, and regenerative braking is also a nice addition. We’re not sure if fuel economy would be hurt by the additional power being put down, but we will find out once the car hits the auto show floor.
If front-wheel-drive isn’t cool, but rear-wheel-drive is cool, that makes an all-wheel-drive Prius at least half-cool. It’ll still be ugly though.
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