2012 Toyota Prius v: The Bigger Hybrid
Toyota has not one but four different Prius models out now – the original Prius; the ‘Prius c,’ a smaller compact hatchback; and the soon to be released Prius Plug-in, an electric hybrid vehicle. The other model, which recently came my way is the ‘Prius v.’
The Prius v is a bigger extended version of the current Prius and is wider and longer with more capacity than the original Prius. With the front passenger seat folded down and the 60/40 split rear seats folded, you gain 971 liters of cargo space.
The interior is very smart with a plethora of electronic readouts to display the hybrid system’s functions and all the other data from the entertainment and HVAC systems. The Prius v comes in a single trim line with three available option packages.
Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, CD/MP3 stereo with 6.1-inch display, auxiliary input, USB port, Bluetooth connectivity, rearview camera, cloth seats, driver’s side height adjustment, 60/40 split-folding sliding and reclining rear seat, keyless entry with pushbutton start, auto up/down windows, exterior temperature gauge, Eco Drive Monitor with multi-information display, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio and climate controls, floor mats, cargo cover, cargo net, cruise control, digital clock, illuminated entry, front and rear splash guards, rear bumper protector, rear spoiler, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, intermittent rear washer/wiper, LED taillights, driver’s knee airbag and tire pressure monitoring system.
The Luxury Package adds leather-wrapped steering wheel, navigation system, heated SofTex-trimmed seats, XM satellite radio, garage door opener, lightweight resin panoramic sunroof, smart key system, auto-dimming rearview mirror and front footwell lighting.
The Touring Package adds to the Luxury Package with 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps and automatic auto-levelling LED headlamps with washers.
The Touring & Technology Package further adds a 7-inch display screen with navigation, JBL premium audio, pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control and intelligent parking assist. A panoramic sunroof is composed of a resin that’s 40 per cent lighter than glass.
The Prius v is also improved with a new e-CVT transmission that uses a single gear drive instead of the belt and pulley system in the transmissions. The cooling system is also uprated to cope with the extra power. The drive train layout is front engine with front-wheel drive powered by a 1.8-litre, inline-4 cylinder gas engine and an Atkinson Cycle electric motor. Net horsepower is 134. Fuel consumption in the city is 4.3L/100 km, while on the highways it is 4.8L/100 km.
Toyota engineers did all they could to keep the ‘v’ only 230 pounds heavier at 1,485 kg (3,273 lb) but you can feel the extra weight on steep hills, however it is not a major issue. The Prius remains a smooth comfortable and pleasant car to drive. The extra size does offer more cargo space and better interior room for occupants. If you found the previous Prius too small and narrow for your tastes, the Prius v may be just what the doctor ordered!
2012 Toyota Prius v priced from $27,200 – $36,875