Roomy and capable people-movers don't have to be gas-guzzling beasts, and high-efficiency low-emissions green machines don't have to be designed down to a specific size. The Toyota Prius v combines the efficiency and very low emissions of Toyota's HSD hybrid system with a spacious -- and now rather attractive -- tall-wagon body.
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2017 Toyota Prius v Overview
What's New for 2017
After last year's refresh the Prius v receives only minor updates. The Entune infotainment system receives upgraded voice recognition capabilities; building off of that, Entune now also includes Apple's Siri Eyes Free function. And for those who prefer adventurous paint colors with J. Crew-style names, an intriguing indigo shade called Galactic Aqua Mica is available.
Choosing Your Toyota Prius v
The Toyota Prius v (reminder for when you visit the showroom: lower-case v, not V or five) is essentially a taller and more spacious body on top of Prius electrical and mechanical components which have been tuned for slightly more power to offset the extra weight and capacity. A 1.8-liter inline-4 works together with an electric motor to send up to 134 horsepower to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission.
Standard features include Bluetooth, a backup camera, automatic climate control, and a long list of safety features including whiplash-reducing seats. The one major available option is an Advanced Technology Package which contains a multitude of high-tech features (radar cruise control, lane departure alert, a heavily upgraded infotainment system) along with the simple pleasure of a sunroof; it is only available on the Five.
The Prius v is available in four trim levels:
With the exception of the bigger wheels on the Five, the four different Prius v trims are mechanically identical—the only differentiation is in interior fittings and electronics. If you don't require the Five's available Advanced Technology Package, our bet is with the Three; its standard navigation and satellite radio makes for more informed and enjoyable road trips without an undue price jump.
2017 Toyota Prius v Review
In 2012, Toyota built on the success of its Prius by inflating the body and creating the Prius v wagon. This niche hybrid took everything that made the Prius popular and just added more interior room.
Now that the Prius v has some competition—even from a fellow Toyota mode—is it still worth the extra cash or should buyers look elsewhere?
Pricing and Equipment
The Toyota Prius v starts at $27,540 (destination included) for its Two trim level. Unlike the regular Prius, there is no One trim. At this price point, buyers are getting:
- Keyless entry
- Automatic climate control
- Toyota’s Entune infotainment system
- Tilt and telescoping steering wheel
- Cruise control
- Rearview camera
Buyers looking for more premium features can opt for the Three, Four, or Five trim levels, which start at f$28,925, $30,560, and $31,800, respectively.
The Prius v exists for one reason: to give Prius buyers something with more cargo room. So, it offer all the benefits of the standard Prius. One of the model’s standout attributes is its fuel economy: 43 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 41 mpg combined.
- Outstanding fuel economy
- 1-mile, low-speed all-electric range
As with its pros, so come the negatives of being a swollen Prius. One of the big issues is the 134-horsepower engine’s ability to get the wagon up to highway speeds, which takes a whopping 10.3 seconds. We also noted heavy engine drone on moderate to heavy throttle.
- Scary-slow acceleration in EV mode
- Vastly underpowered
- Engine tends to drone under heavy throttle
Being a larger Prius means the Prius v is built to haul cargo. This is evidenced by its 67.3 cubic feet of max cargo-swallowing capabilities. It also has plenty of room in the front and rear for passengers of all sizes.
- Large cargo area perfect for long hauls
- Lots of room for people of all sizes
- Lots of storage cubbies
Like the previous-generation Prius to which it's related, the Prius v is a sea of hard, textured plastics inside. Over the years, we suspect this could get a little squeaky. We also found that the cabin has a lot more noise than some of its competitors, namely the Ford C-Max.
- Sea of hard plastic inside
- Confusing spread of icons and symbols on dash
- Louder than its competitors
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The Prius v’s ability to swallow passengers and cargo was not expected. It can handle a week’s worth of luggage and four adult passengers without issues.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
While it may be able to swallow those passengers and cargo, we wish you the best of luck getting it moving with this extra weight. The 134-horsepower engine struggles under the base weight of the Prius v, so this extra weight will likely make it exponentially more unbearable.
The Bottom Line
As if being a hybrid isn’t enough of a niche, the Prius v adds the wagon element to limit its potential clientele even more. But, the Prius v does what it’s supposed to do, and it does it well. With that said, there are a few competitors that are worth looking at before settling on the Prius v, including the Ford C-Max and even Toyota’s own RAV4 Hybrid.