A new hook for Prius ownership

It’s the only Toyota not rated to tow … until now.


LOOK around and occasionally you’ll see one – a Prius with a towbar, that is.

Well, why not: Surely a small trailer of weekend garden off-cuts cannot hurt the world’s best-selling hybrid?

Actually, even something so humble might. Towing anything with the world’s favourite hybrid has always been a no-go.

So concerned has Toyota always been about how the added weight of any kind of load might effect the hybrid drive that no version during the 19 years of this nameplate has ever been rated to tow anything.  That’s why a tow kit has never been listed as an option.

Assuredly, then, if you’ve seen a Prius with a hook it has been altered against the brand’s wishes.

However, that might be about to change in New Zealand. It already has in some overseas markets, where Toyota has announced an official option tow pack for the latest, fourth generation hatch.

Now Toyota New Zealand is investigating its use here, though general manager of product Spencer Morris says nothing has been sorted.

“Yes, this is of interest to us and we are investigating with TMC (Toyota Motor Company, Japan). Nothing is resolved or decided as yet, though.”

The set-up is still no good for anything much more than the dump run, being rated for a maximum 726kg. So no caravans or boats, then.

Why the change? Toyota now claims the latest version has improved heat management measures that ensure the electric motor-generator and differential won’t overheat.

In Europe, the towing hitch and wiring system is now available as an official accessory through dealers.