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Toyota Prius V 2013 review

Prius v has extended the Toyota hybrid’s appeal with room for seven adults and their belongings.
EXPERT RATING
7

The ‘v’ in the title of this Toyota Prius people mover stands for versatility, this being the first family oriented hybrid with seats for up to seven people.

VALUE

Priced from a pretty reasonable $35,990, plus on-road costs, Toyota’s Prius v is longer, wider and taller than the standard Prius. It has a longer wheelbase to take in three rows of seats, plus a small amount of cargo at the rear. This is made possible by installing the compact lithium-ion battery pack under the centre console between the front seats.

Toyota Prius v has good quality materials and are matched by features including a 6.1-inch display-screen audio system, automatic air-conditioning, energy monitor, head-up display, keyless entry and ignition, daytime-sensing headlamps, electric power steering, cruise control and daytime running lights.

The six-speaker audio includes steering wheel-mounted controls, AM/FM tuner and MP3-compatible single CD player. On top of this is USB / iPod connectivity and  Bluetooth compatibility with audio streaming. It also shows fuel consumption information instantaneously or in historical format.

Prius v, like all new Toyota vehicles, is covered by the Toyota Service Advantage with a capped price of $130 for each of up to six scheduled logbook services in the first three years, or 60,000 km.

TECHNOLOGY

The powertrain makes use of the latest generation of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, which employs a 1.8-litre petrol engine and a powerful 60 kW electric motor for a combined system power output of up to 100 kW.

Add to this lightweight construction and aerodynamic design, and it’s easy to see why Prius v has officially measured fuel consumption of 4.4 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres on the combined urban / highway cycle and put out carbon dioxide emissions of 101 grams per km. We got this as low as 4.2 litres on a mixed motorway/city run, but heavy-duty around town work had it running in the six to seven litre range – quite a climb.

DESIGN

The vehicle is no rework of the flagship Prius hatchback. An extended roofline pays homage to the iconic Prius triangle silhouette but the ‘v’ has a unique profile that provides additional headroom and luggage space.

The three rows of quite firm seats are stadium style, each row is higher than the one in front giving occupants a panoramic view of surroundings. Notably headroom is far from compromised.

Legroom in the two rear rows ranges from reasonable to cramped depending on the height of the occupant in front, while access to the third row presents the usual case for contortions. In other words these seats are best left for the little-uns.

Folded, the 50:50 rear seat backs more than doubles a flat cargo area of 485 litres accessed through a high-lift rear door with low loading lip. 

SAFETY

On the safety side, seven airbags, a reversing camera, stability and traction control, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution are standard.

Although the ‘v’ is the largest of the Prius family, it still has a good coefficient of friction at Cd 0.29. This low aero drag assists in lowering fuel consumption and emissions.

DRIVING

The Prius v produces a benign drive, constantly giving the impression that there’s not much going on under the skin. That’s far from the truth. From the moment the power button on the dashboard is pressed, illuminating a ‘ready’ on the instrument panel, constantly monitored control systems keep the hybrid set-up giving of its best.

The dash-mounted transmission lever, which looks more to a joystick than a traditional gearshift, is the link to an electronically controlled infinitely variable transmission that seamlessly juggles ratios for best performance, driveability and economy.

Three switchable driving modes, selected by buttons on the centre console, act on the powertrain, with ‘EV’ mode producing ultra-quiet running on electric motor power alone for up to two kilometres. The result is zero fuel consumption and emissions.

‘Eco’ mode optimises fuel economy by curtailing throttle response and limiting power consumption from the air-conditioning system, while ‘power’ mode boosts system performance, the latter accompanied by an angry growl from the powertrain when pushed.

VERDICT

Prius v has extended the Toyota hybrid’s appeal with room for seven adults and their belongings.

Pricing guides

$21,490
Based on 7 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$14,960
Highest Price
$24,887

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Hybrid 1.8L, Hyb/ULP, CVT AUTO $14,600 – 20,570 2013 Toyota Prius V 2013 Hybrid Pricing and Specs
i-Tech 1.8L, Hyb/ULP, CVT AUTO $19,100 – 26,620 2013 Toyota Prius V 2013 i-Tech Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Pricing Guide

$14,960

Lowest price, based on 7 car listings in the last 6 months

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