We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering — would you buy one?
What is it?
This is Toyota's top of the range Prius — with all the bells and whistles. There are now about four variants of Prius kicking around the Toyota lot.
This one goes for $46,490
What are competitors?
Any number of medium size SUVs in particular the two wheel drive variants that are flooding onto the market. Possibly Honda's Odyssey, Kia Rondo though not on price.
What's under the bonnet?
Has a Hybrid Synergy Drive petrol 1.8 litre engine adapted from Corolla and an electric helper engine. Total output is 100kW and we couldn't ascertain torque. Transmission is a CVT through the front wheels. Battery is finally a lithium ion unit.
How does it go?
Slowly. Even in Sport mode. You have to exercise the right foot to get the Prius V up and running. Car has an annoying engine slur accompanying changes in "ratios". This dents fuel economy a tad. Handling is acceptable and ride quality is similar.
Is it economical?
We achieved 5.7-litres/100km with mostly highway driving—- a long way away from the 4.4-litres/100km claimed.
Is it green?
Doesn't make much carbon dioxide but vehicle manufacture wouldn't be too environmental, especially the battery.
Is it safe?
Yes, should rate five stars if crash tested. Has a useful pre-crash system like Mercedes-Benz that prepares the car for a collision if imminent. Has multiple air bags, stability control and strong chassis construction.
Is it comfortable?
Good in the front seats, pretty good in the middle row too which has individual fore/aft adjustment. No power seat adjustment though. Rear pews are tight and difficult to access — for small kids only. Minimal luggage space with all seats up. Plenty of luxury kit to while away the time — premium audio, climate control though we couldn't find any rear set vents, good connectivity, comfy ride and seats. Plenty of steering wheel controls, radar cruise.
What's it like to drive?
Is it value for money?
Not really when you can get into the lower spec' Prius V model for 11 grand less.
Would we buy one?
No we'd buy the new RAV4 every day.