The 2016 Toyota Prius can be equipped with an innovative E-Four all-wheel drive system in Japan but that particular variant won't be coming to the United States anytime soon.
According to Automotive News, Toyota doesn't see much demand for an all-wheel drive Prius and they haven't bothered to test it in the kind of cold conditions that drivers face in the northern Unites States. Of course, the real irony is, these are the types of places where consumers would probably want an all-wheel drive Prius.
In Japan, the E-Four all-wheel-drive system costs an additional $1,487 (180,000 yen) and adds a second electric motor. The system automatically detects snowy and slippery conditions and will send power to the rear wheels when needed.
Despite Toyota's belief that American consumers couldn't care less about an all-wheel drive Prius, E-Four engineer Yoshihiro Ikushima told Automotive News the company is still considering offering the system in the United States.
As a refresher, the Prius starts at $24,200 and features a 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a small battery pack. This setup enables the car to produce a combined maximum output of 121 hp (90 kW) and return an estimated 54 mpg city / 50 mpg highway / 52 mpg combined.
Source: Automotive News