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Los Angeles 2018: Toyota to present a Prius with four-wheel drive

With two weeks and change to go before the Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota has released a teaser image of the 2019 Prius it intends to present there.

The image shows the best-selling hybrid-powered car in history powering through the snow – a fairly clear indication the model headed to LA will be four-wheel drive. If that wasn’t obvious enough, the company tagged the photo with the following: "Fall is here, winter's near, but the 2019 Prius performs on roads whether snowy or clear."

Now, some people might be surprised that Toyota would produce a Prius that sends power to all four wheels. But those people likely don’t know that Toyota has already, in fact, developed such a Prius, and currently sells it in other markets. Known as the Prius E-Four, it uses a separate electric motor to power the rear wheels.

Now, an all-wheel drive system on a hybrid vehicle is designed to be efficient first and foremost, which means that it is not engaged at all times. The rear motor comes into play only when conditions demand it.

Toyota Prius E-Four
Photo: Toyota
Toyota Prius E-Four

We have no data yet on the energy or fuel consumption of the upcoming all-wheel-drive Prius, but Toyota has made the claim that the current E-Four is more efficient than the third-generation Prius with two-wheel drive.

All of that is interesting, of course, but it would be downright gripping news if we learned that the Canadian market were to get this AWD Prius. As of now, the only new market being talked about is the American one.

This, needless to say, makes zero sense when you consider our climate and driving needs, and our love of hybrid vehicles in general relative to the U.S. That said, we’ll have to wait and see if there are additional announcements in the coming days and weeks. By the time Los Angeles rolls around, we should know all.