Toyota Prius A Touring Selection E-Four

Toyota Prius Review: “E-Four system long-awaited by drivers in snowy countries offers a different utility” by Naoki Aoyama

One of the greatest highlights in the all-new Prius is its first E-Four system. This implies that even though it has the same electric 4WD system as the Estima Hybrid, it is more compact than the latter.

Of course, it’s not a ‘hardcore’ 4WD, but drivers from snowy countries have long wanted this car.

Its front and rear driving power distribution is basically 4WD during departure; however, when I checked out the condition of its driving power on the Multi Information Display, the power in the rear wheel drive only lasted for a while. As for steady driving, the distribution of the front and rear wheel torque in the FF layout is basically 10:0. On snowy roads, however, its driving power distribution for front and rear wheels is at a maximum at 4:6 when it detects slipping friction on the tires.

I test drove the A Touring Selection; it was equipped with 17inch tires and its riding feel was a bit milder than that of the FF version because its weight increased by 70kg.

Its fuel efficiency in JC08 mode is 34km/L, compared to the FF version’s 37.2km/L. The slight improvement will make you think it actually has not become worse. We mustn’t forget that the best fuel efficiency of the previous generation model was 32.6km/L.

As I test drove this model in Minato Mirai, Yokohama, I was looking at the driving power’s condition on the monitor, but the 4WD was only effective during departure, as its actual fuel consumption remained at 20km/L. I don’t think it’s necessary for city dwellers to opt for this model, but for those who live in countries with snow, the all-new Prius’ astounding fuel consumption and comfort is certainly acceptable.

As for practicality, there’s actually an advantage that is unique to the 4WD version. It’s the luggage space. The previous generation model doesn’t have much height difference within its floor level from its opening up to its flat floor, including even when the back seat is folded down. But for the all-new Prius, it has a low overall height, and as a result of its lower luggage floor, its opening is 100mm higher than its floor level, and the back seat storage area is around 80mm higher with the FF layout for the Japanese version.

The 4WD version, however, has a higher luggage floor, so its opening is around 45mm higher and the back seat storage area is 30mm higher; thus, there isn’t much difference within the floor height. It is easier to pull off heavy luggage and store long items with the 4WD version. It is advantageous as you can let your pets embark from the rear door, and you can also store your luggage in one side of the backseat.

â–  5 Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★★
Interior / Comfort: ★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★★
Footwork: ★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★
Pet-friendliness: ★★★★

Naoki Aoyama | Motor Journalist/ Dog Life Journalist

He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started as a writer specializing on automotive magazines, and then of general news magazines and websites. He also worked on publication related to pet (dog) and overseas travel, pet and drive-related television program, as well as events. He is currently expanding his career as a dog life producer. He is a Japan Car of the Year Selection Committee member.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)