Toyota offers the industry’s largest family of hybrid vehicles, so it’s only natural that it would produce a hybrid that caters to the whole family. That’s the Prius v, the largest and roomiest of Toyota’s Prius models. The v stands for versatility in this highly efficient vehicle, which features more cargo room than most small SUVs and offers estimated EPA fuel economy ratings of 44 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 42 mpg combined.
Family Sized, Family Friendly
When it comes to room, comfort and versatility, the Prius v puts family first. The seating position is higher than in sedans, giving a better view of the road ahead. There’s ample head- and legroom for five, plus 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the 60/40 split folding rear seats. With the seatbacks lowered, the space expands to a generous 67.3 cubic feet. Augmenting the larger main luggage compartment, storage units built into the sides and under the cargo platform can hold smaller items. The fold-flat front passenger seat allows the vehicle to carry longer items.
Rear passengers will find it especially easy to get in and out of the Prius v and load its cargo area thanks to a sliding second seat row. Once seated, they’ll appreciate the ability to recline the seatbacks up to 45-degrees. And they’ll enjoy the comfort of an available seat material called SofTex, which parents will like for its spill resistance and ease of cleaning. Soft to the touch, SofTex is lighter than leather, and its manufacturing process generates 99 percent fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than conventional synthetic leather production.
Plentiful storage spaces include dual glove boxes, a center console storage box and utility tray and five cup holders in large and medium sizes. Bottle holders are built into the front and rear door pockets, and most models feature an overhead storage space suitable for sunglasses. There’s even a compartment under the rear seats designed to store umbrellas.
Safety and Security
The Prius v is designed to help protect its most precious cargo – people — with a force-absorbing body structure. Expansive use of high-strength steel is a key part of providing a strong body structure without increasing weight. Like all Toyota models, the Prius v features Toyota’s Star Safety System™, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST, a brake-override system.
There are seven airbags, including a knee airbag for the driver. The front seat design helps lessen the possibility of whiplash injury during certain types of severe rear end collisions. Because the Prius v can run in nearly silent EV mode, it’s equipped with a Vehicle Proximity Notification System to help alert pedestrians and cyclists as the vehicle approaches.
An available Pre-Collision System (PCS) retracts seatbelts and applies the brakes in certain conditions when it determines that a frontal crash is unavoidable. It’s paired with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Another available safety system, Safety Connect, can access a call center with a live operator who can dispatch police and emergency vehicles. The system offers automatic collision notification and a stolen vehicle locator feature, as well.
Hybrid Synergy Drive and Four Driving Modes
The Hybrid Synergy Drive system in the Prius v combines the output of a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, 4-cylinder gasoline engine with a 60kw (80 hp) electric motor that mainly works to power the compact transaxle and another smaller motor that mainly works as the electric power source. Maximum motor drive voltage is 650 volts DC, and energy is stored in a nickel-metal hydride battery pack.
Hybrid Synergy Drive’s 134 system horsepower feels even stronger to the driver due to the unique way the system combines the power of the gasoline engine and electric motor. This series-parallel hybrid system can provide power either from the gas engine alone, the electric motor alone, or a combination of both.
Regenerative braking recaptures electrical energy under deceleration and braking, which helps to reduce fuel consumption, and an automatic start/stop system also helps reduce fuel usage. The compact, lightweight gasoline engine operates very quietly and qualifies for SULEV and Tier2 Bin3 emissions standards.
The driver controls how the Prius v puts its power to use by choosing from a standard driving mode, ECO mode, EV mode, and POWER mode. In ECO mode, the engine management system prioritizes fuel economy, managing throttle response and limiting power consumption from the air conditioning. Switch to EV mode for driving on battery power alone under certain conditions, at lower speeds, for up to about a mile. That’s useful when hunting for a parking space at the mall, for example. Switching to POWER mode boosts mid-range response and is useful for driving in hilly areas.
The Prius v is an agile handler and smooth rider, thanks in part to a unique feature called Pitch and Bounce Control. Using the torque of the hybrid motor, the system helps to suppress bounce and toss motions, making any road seem smoother. The Prius v comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, with 17-inch alloy wheels available as an option.
Sleek, Aerodynamic and Efficient
Though larger than the standard Prius, the Prius v still shares the family resemblance. That’s by design, of course. People recognize the familiar Prius shape as a hybrid leader. It’s a look that’s functional, too, as the sleek profile of the Prius v contributes to a low 0.29 coefficient of drag. Even wheels and wheel covers are designed with aerodynamic efficiency in mind, and the measures for cheating the wind also rob it of its noise.
Even with its family-size capability, the Prius v hasn’t packed on the pounds. On the contrary, clever use of lightweight materials helps make the Prius v agile and easy to maneuver in day-to-day driving. The use of high-tensile grades of steel throughout the body, along with aluminum in key body panels and systems, allowed significantly lighter weight than if using conventional materials.
A Toyota-first, the resin Panoramic View Moonroof with power retractable sunshades provides an open feeling in the cabin and is 40-percent lighter than a conventional glass roof of similar size. The construction also provides excellent heat insulation, reducing the load on the vehicle’s climate control system. And speaking of the climate control system, its electric compressor allows the air conditioning to run even when the gasoline engine shuts off, as it does under certain conditions in normal driving. Available LED headlights enhance visibility while reducing electric draw and are designed to be virtually maintenance free.
Drive a Prius v and you can stay connected to what’s important in life and work. Bluetooth® wireless capability for compatible hands-free phones is standard, enhanced by advanced voice recognition and an automatic phone book transfer function. Connect an iPod® through the USB port and play music and video using the vehicle sound system and in-dash display screen.
The standard Display Audio System has a 6.1-inch screen and six speakers, and the screen handles multiple jobs: It also serves as a monitor for the car’s energy usage and fuel consumption data and as the monitor for the standard back-up camera. When equipped with available Integrated Navigation and Entune® App Suite, the screen is the user portal with a split-screen feature that allows for simultaneously displaying navigation and audio information. An available HD Radio system enables CD sound quality from digital FM broadcasts and enhances analog and AM broadcast sound quality. The system includes HD Radio with iTunes® tagging and SiriusXM Satellite Radio™.
The available premium JBL GreenEdge™ audio system combines an eight-channel amplifier and door-mounted “acoustic lens” speakers to provide high-quality sound. The GreenEdge amplifier is lighter and more efficient than other amplifiers of similar output, drawing less energy than conventional systems and speakers.
Entune App Suite
The Entune App Suite makes a smartphone more productive, providing access to navigation, entertainment and information services. Mobile apps include Destination Search, Facebook Places, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, Pandora®; Yelp® and Slacker Radio, as well as real-time info including weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price), stocks and sports.