Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The Toyota Prius V joined the Prius family in May 2012 and with its arrival came the first ever seven-seater combined with a hybrid powertrain in Australia. Exterior wise the Prius V very much resembles its Toyota Prius sibling, however the Prius V sits a little higher off the road and has seven seats. From the front the Prius V takes design cues from the Prius, the front bumper features the same vertical side indicators and day-time running lamps. The large air dam under the front grille also features fog lamps much like the Prius. From there the front headlights and front windscreen are sharply raked for optimum aerodynamics. From the side the Prius V looks a little bulker than its Prius sibling due to the extra two seats. But even with the extra bulk the Prius V still looks kind of sleek. From the rear it isn’t hard to tell which family the seven-seater belongs to, featuring similar clear tail lights as the Prius.
Not so good The Toyota Prius V doesn’t look like your average seven-seat people mover which is a good thing because most are ugly. The Prius V has sleek and sharp lines but it just isn’t quite as sexy as say a Honda Odyssey. But styling is subjective so the Prius V might just be what you’re looking for.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Inside the Prius V is quite unique; instead of having your dials behind the steering wheel Toyota have broken convention and moved all your dials that display speed, average fuel, and battery levels etc. to the centre of the dash just below the bottom of the windscreen. This positioning of vital information is a good idea as it reduces the level that your eyes have to travel from the road to view this information. Key features of the Prius V’s interior include a sliding three-part second-row seat and fold-flat 50/50 split third-row seat. There is also automatic climate controlled air conditioning and a six-speaker audio system with 6.1-inch display screen, CD, Bluetooth and USB jack.
Not so good Interior plastics are hard and feel cheap, we also found that the plastics used on the centre armrest is very susceptible to scuffs and scratches.
Performance

Performance

Good Powering the Prius V is a 1.8-litre Atkinson Cycle petrol engine that produces 73kW of power and 142Nm of torque. Strapped to the petrol engine is a 650-volt electric motor that produces 60kW of power and 207Nm of torque, giving a maximum combined output of 100kW, same as the standard Prius. As a town car or city car the Prius V is excellent, if you can find the sweet spot on the accelerator you can happily cruise around on the electric motor. This is also quite useful during the daily commute when you’re stuck in stop/start traffic.
Not so good Get the Prius V out of the city and you begin to reveal the vehicles weaknesses. Out on the open road or cruising on the highway the Prius V is loud and noisy, there also isn’t that much torque on offer when you get into the midrange revs. This is where a diesel vehicle out shines most hybrids.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good For a seven-seater people mover the Prius V feels quite solid and flat on the road. This ‘flatter-feeling’ of the ride is due to something that Toyota like to call ‘body control with torque demand’. The system helps to reduce body movement, reduce irregularity in steering feedback due to the increased body stability and improved turn in response during steering input.
Not so good For the most part the Prius V does very well, but because of the extra weight of the battery packs the Prius V certainly isn’t a sports car and suffers from understeer when provoked.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Not only is the Prius V the first seven-seater with a hybrid powertrain in Australia, it’s also one of the cheapest. The Prius V is also packed with a raft of standard features that include head Up display (HUD), six-speaker audio system with 6.1-inch display screen, CD, Bluetooth and USB jack, reversing camera, automatic climate controlled air conditioning and a tonne of storage compartments.
Not so good As a city vehicle the Prius V performs great, low fuel consumption and plenty of torque down low when using the electric motor, however get the Prius V out on the open road and you might be wishing for a little bit more power like the Camry hybrid.