Toyota makes numerous vehicles one would readily associate with the legendary Paris-Dakar rally, but the Prius might not come to mind as the first choice for the Sahara Desert. But that's the car a Japanese team chose for their 4,350-mile adventure.
Team ACP is a privateer team, which has taken part in the Paris-Dakar numerous times. In 1981, ACP's Kiichiro Yokota became the first Japanese driver to reach the Dakar finish line, driving a production Land Cruiser FJ60; in 1987, the team won the marathon class of modified diesel vehicles. It goes without saying the ACP drivers are no strangers to Dakar or the Sahara, and their Prius drive retraced the route they took to prepare themselves for the first rallies almost 40 years ago. The team has also tested Priuses on several continents in varying conditions starting all the way back in 1997, when the first generation was released.
As you can see from the photos above, yes, the team mostly kept the Prius Prime on the asphalt, and they did have a Land Cruiser as a support vehicle. But still, they (sometimes literally) pushed the Prius to places it was perhaps never designed to go to, yet it made it to its Dakar destination in one piece. And some of the car's features definitely came in handy, as the crew was able to use the Prius as a power source to heat up food and tea-making water.