2012 Toyota Prius v Review By John Heilig


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2012 Toyota Prius v

THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG
THE AUTO CHANNEL

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: 2012 Toyota Prius v
Engine: 1.8-liter DOHC I4
Horsepower/Torque: 98 hp @ 5,200 rpm/105 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm - plus 80 hp, 153 lb.-ft. electric motor
Transmission: CVT
Wheelbase: 109.4 in.
Length/Width/Height: 181.7 x 69.9 x 62.0 in.
Tires: P205/60R18 (temporary spare)
Cargo volume: 34.3/40.2/67.3 cu. fvt. (rear seat up/rear seat forward/rear seat folded)
Fuel economy: 44 mpg city/40 mpg highway/41.6 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 11.9 gal.
Curb weight: 3,274 lbs.
Sticker: $28,150 (includes $760 delivery charge and $225 in options for floor and trunk mats)

The Bottom Line: This "station wagon" member of the Prius family is still a Prius with regard to economy and styling, but with a comfortable increase in carrying capacity that makes it far more practical.

It's fairly easy to recognize the Prius v on the highway. While it retains the standard Prius profile up to the C-pillar, from there back the sloping rear window of the base Prius is "raised" about a foot to create an almost station wagon appearance. This is more than an appearance, as the cargo capacity of the Prius is now a large 34.3 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 67.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded forward. According to Toyota, the Prius v's cargo capacity exceeds that of 80 percent of small SUVs.

But the Prius v is more than just extra cargo space. At its heart it is a Prius, which means great fuel economy. While the Prius v is listed at 44 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, we were able to average 41.6 mpg during our test run. And that's nice in this era of exorbitant fuel prices to only need five or six gallons for a week's driving around.

Ride quality is very good, even on long trips. The ride is somewhat firm thanks to its relatively small stature and light weight, but it's far from uncomfortable.

Also, the power is decent. You don't' feel as if you're in a hybrid. Shifting is smooth with the CVT transmission. There's plenty of power. The combination of a 1.8-lityer four gasoline engine that's rated at 98 horsepower, and the electric motor that's rated at 80 hp gives you 178 hp combined, with 258 lb.-ft. of torque combined.

With the pushbutton start you get nothing on firing up. The engine doesn't wake up until it's needed. It shuts down at stop signs as well.

I like the unique shifter in the Prius. From where it sits, you move the dash-mounted lever to the left and down for D, to the left and up for R. To stop, you shift to the right and down into "S," then hit the "P" button to park and the power button to shut it off. Once you get the routine, it's easy.

There's a nice tray where the shifter is usually located. There's a slot in front to hold your iPod and there are USB and 12-volt outlets. the smart wheel has audio and phone controls on the left; HVAC, display and trip computer on the right. There's the standard Toyota cruise control stalk behind the wheel. and once again, I'll mention that I think Toyota's cruise control stalk is the best in the business.

The audio system itself is fairly standard, but the HVAC has a master knob that takes some getting used to.

There are dual glove boxes. The top one is empty, and the bottom one is filled with all the manuals.

Toyota claims three cupholders in front, but we could only find two, unless they're also counting the one at the rear of the center console. One is in the center of the console and the second pops out form the right side of the dash. There are water bottle holders in each of the doors.

The rear seats have very good leg and knee room. The rear seats slide forward and backward depending on whether you want leg room or cargo capacity. The rear seat backs fold easily to increase cargo capacity as well.

One feature I especially liked, even though it's a pain, is that when you're in reverse, the Prius v beeps, just like commercial trucks.

Overall, the Prius v is a big improvement over the standard Prius. It give you the extra cargo capacity you want in a smaller vehicle with all the advantages of the smaller Prius as regard fuel economy.

2012 The Auto Page


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