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Toyota Prius V


Ford Mondeo

Summary

Toyota Prius V

I could use three words to describe this car: Toyota, family, hybrid… A fourth word comes to mind, which begins with 'b' and ends in 'oring'…

That might seem harsh, but this isn’t what I’d describe as an aspirational purchase. If you do aspire to a Prius V, though, you’re probably either a hardcore Toyota fan, someone who has a large family, or someone who likes hybrids.

But then again, if you are a potential Toyota Prius V buyer, you could also be one of the smarter examples of our species. While only about 3000 Aussies have chosen a Prius V since it went on sale in 2012, it’s a very, very clever option for family buyers who want to do their bit for the environment, not to mention their own hip pocket.

The Prius V is the most affordable seven-seat hybrid vehicle on the market, and in terms of price, it competes with mainstream models like the Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan X-Trail. But what about space? Practicality? Performance? Let’s take a deeper look, shall we?

Safety rating
Engine Type1.8L
Fuel TypeHybrid with Regular Unleaded
Fuel Efficiency4.4L/100km
Seating7 seats

Ford Mondeo

Yes, this is a Ford Mondeo review in Anno Domini 2018.

This assumes, of course, that Ford even still sells the Mondeo, and despite the fact that it's the third best-selling car in the segment, Ford oddly doesn't seem keen to talk about it.

Why? Perhaps Ford doesn't want anybody to get overly attached to a sedan-y hatch that has a cloudy future in an ever-shrinking mid-size market. After all, there's still a rather vocal sect of the population feeling burned by the end of the Falcon dynasty.

You'd also be right to assume those numbers are padded out a fair bit by corporate leases. Salesmen in England were long referred to as Mondoe Men for a reason. I'll tell you this much, though, I'd be pretty stoked if I got one of these Mondeos as a lease.

As an FG Falcon owner, for most intents and purposes it would even be a half-way decent replacement for my large sedan. Stick with me as I explain why.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency5.1L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Toyota Prius V7.1/10

No, the Prius V isn’t exciting. But it does what it’s designed to do - move families in decent comfort without using much fuel. And if that’s what gets your (hybrid) motor running, then you really ought to take a closer look.

Would you consider a Toyota Prius V over a more conventional seven-seat SUV? Let us know in the comments section below.


Ford Mondeo7.5/10

The Mondeo creeps to the forefront as one of the best Fords with the smallest marketing budget.

Well equipped, reasonably fun to drive and semi-luxurious to be in for long periods, it's hard to remember why it's so forgettable.

Its certainly worth your consideration over its rivals, but then perhaps you don't want to fall in love with another Ford potentially headed for the chopping block in the near future.

Did you know Ford still sells the Mondeo, and would you ever consider it? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Design

Toyota Prius V

The world was a different place when the Toyota Prius V came out. Back then, the iPhone 4s was at the cutting-edge in phone design, Gangnam Style was smashing it on the charts, and car design was in a very different place.

There are some signature Prius elements, with a swept, aerodynamic looking roofline and sleek front-end styling. The facelift that was applied to the Prius V in 2015 saw sharper lines and more aggression, but it arguably doesn’t have a lot of aesthetic appeal given the way Toyota has evolved its design since then.

It isn’t a traditional people-mover, because it has regular doors at the back rather than sliding doors to allow simple access to the third-row seats. It’s more like a hatchback that’s been stung by a bee, looking a bit bloated. But as one pint-sized tester put it this week, it’s one very big little car.

The inside is a bit of a marvel in terms of space management. This car measures just 25mm longer than a Corolla sedan (4645mm long), and it's only 1775mm wide (the same as a Corolla sedan) and 1590mm tall, because it needs a bit more room to fit seven people in. And it can.


Ford Mondeo7/10

There's no doubt that the Mondeo is a chunky monkey. Just get a look at those proportions, it looks like a dense rectangle's worth of car, and that's before you line it up next to something else for perspective.

In this case I sat it next to my Falcon. Once the largest sedan on offer by Ford in Australia, in some ways it looks dwarfed. The Mondeo is taller and just as wide, but not quite as long. A quick comparison of spec sheets proves it's not much lighter either, despite the Falcon sporting a cast-iron engine that's literally twice the size.

The front three-quarter especially makes the Mondeo look tough. The big catfish-esque grille combined with the slimline headlight clusters and bonnet ripples make it look aggressive - like a rolling advertisement for the Mustang.

Head round to the rear three-quarter, however and things get a little… off. The raised dimensions and high rear light features make it look too tall. The 'liftback' roofline does no wonders for the car's proportions either.

It's a shame that after so many decades of Mondeo there is still apparently no way to make that rear-end appealing.

Inside there are also plenty of quirks. While there are some parts that really work, there are also some that don't.

The plush leather seats unique to the Titanium grade are lovely, but they're positioned so high up you'd be forgiven for thinking you were at the helm of an SUV. The sunroof is also so far back it's basically useless for front passengers, yet it eats their headroom (also, it's just a glass roof that doesn't open).

Then there's the switchgear, of which there is an overwhelming amount. You're presented with a sensory assault of buttons and displays, half of which could seemingly be easily offloaded onto the multimedia system. It's an approach that dates an otherwise modern-looking cabin.

Eerily similar to the Falcon, the fan speed and temperature controls aren't dials (a user experience nightmare) but the volume control is… go figure.

Those gripes aside there's plenty to like about the Mondoe cabin. There are soft-touch surfaces everywhere, helping the car live up to its luxury spec and price point, while all the switchgear and interactive parts are solid and tough, just like the Mondeo's big brother, the Ranger.

While the digital dash is way too busy, it presents the relevant information well, and is a good interactive design once you get used to it.

The back seat is a very nice place to be, making full use of that big glass roof, and the rear seats are just as plush as the front ones. If you spend lots of time ferrying friends or family around, it's a strong point for the Mondeo.

Practicality

Toyota Prius V

The cabin of the Prius V highlights the notion of versatility. There are two rows of seats at the back, with the middle row sliding and folding to allow easy third-row access. And I mean easy - even me, a 183cm-tall human - can clamber into the back seats without too much in the way of old-man noises.

The space in the back row is limited, though, particularly for knee room and foot space. It is best left for children, then. But the second row has three individually slide-able seats, meaning if you really need to fit seven adults in, you theoretically could.

That second row is nicely useable. The fact the seats are sculpted individually means they feel made for a proper family getaway, and even with them set as far forward as they can go (to allow maximum legroom in the third row) I could sit in the outboard seats without much discomfort. The sun-blinds that are built into the back doors are a really welcome touch for parents and adults alike.

What isn’t so great is the lack of rear air-vents - there aren’t any face-level vents in either the second or third rows, meaning things could get stuffy on a hot day.

But the practicality side of things is reasonably well sorted, with useable cup holders in the rear wheel arch moulds, plus there’s a 12-volt outlet in the third row, too. The middle row has bottle holders in the doors, and there are map pockets in the front seatbacks. 

Up front there is more smart storage; a pair (yep, two) of gloveboxes adorns the dashboard, and there’s a pop-out cupholder on the passenger side, too. Two more cupholders grace the centre console (which itself is very shallow, because the hybrid batteries sit inside it), plus a small storage box - presumably for your keys to sit. A small shelf sits at the bottom of the centre stack, and that’s where you’ll find a USB port to connect to the media screen above.

That 6.1-inch touchscreen is fine, but pretty ancient. It has some small menu buttons, won’t allow you to input phone numbers or connect to Bluetooth when the car is moving, and you (or your fellow front passenger) can’t manually enter sat nav details when you’re driving. There is voice control, but it’s painful. Forget Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, too - neither is available in the Prius V. 

While the boot space is pretty limited with seven seats in place - Toyota claims 180 litres of capacity in that configuration - there’s still enough room for a suitcase or two. 

But with five seats in play it makes quite a bit more sense, more easily fitting family things like prams with its 485L of cargo capacity. And remember, there are no batteries under the boot floor eating into space, and you get a space-saver spare wheel as well.


Ford Mondeo8/10

Do you like stowage spaces? Good, because the Mondeo has heaps of 'em. No longer content with just making one huge plastic fascia across the dash, there's a surprisingly large extra stowage space sitting below the air-conditioning controls. That joins a massive centre console box, with two USB ports and an extra tray layer for tidbits, as well as one of my favourite features, two truly massive cupholders. These show Ford's American influence as much as the aforementioned chunky switchgear.

The cupholders spent our weekend easily swallowing two phones, two wallets and two sets of keys with no problem at all. They'll fit your XL Coke no problems.

As I mentioned before, front passenger headroom is impacted by the glass roof, and there's a slightly claustrophobic feeling brought about by the huge swooping A-pillars, which also create a bit of a vision impairment for the driver. The SUV-like seating position can potentially be awkward, room-wise, for people with chunkier knees, or those that prefer sitting in a low, sporty position.

Up the back there's plenty of legroom and space for heads and arms and legs. I fit easily behind my own driving position, and there's the luxury of a fully leather-bound fold-down armrest with two big cupholders for rear passengers.

The keyless entry is also truly keyless, in that all four doors can lock or unlock the whole car at a touch. Another nice feature for when you're ferrying people around.

Boot space is also colossal, thanks to the liftback design. Ford states the size as 557 litres but as this seems to be a non-VDA-standard measurement it's hard to compare to competitors with numbers. Rest assured it will swallow a set of suitcases with ease, and the space is a practical rectangle with little intrusion from wheel arches.

Price and features

Toyota Prius V

Not only is the Prius V the most affordable seven-seat hybrid car on the market, it’s also the cheapest Toyota with seven seats. 

It undercuts the Tarago, Kluger and Land Cruiser Prado by a decent margin, with pricing starting at $37,590 for the base grade model and stretching to $45,380 for the top-of-two-tier i-Tech flagship. Should you bother spending up on that version? In short, no.

That’s because the regular Prius V has a pretty strong standard equipment list. Push-button start, keyless entry, sat nav with SUNA live traffic updates, a reversing camera, climate control and a head-up display are all standard. You also get 16-inch alloy wheels, which have a set of plastic wheel covers over the top (great for kerb touch-parkers).

The i-Tech sees the addition of Bi-LED headlights with auto-levelling (as opposed to the halogens with LED daytime running lights you see on the base model), plus fake leather seats (not cloth), heated front seats, a dual-pane panoramic glass roof (which doesn’t open), an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and a semi-automated parking system. 

Plus, whether you choose the entry grade or the high-spec, you get Toyota’s 'Safety Sense+' system - read the details in the safety section below.

Colour options for the Prius V are quite broad. There are nine rather sedate hues to choose from, with eight of them being 'premium colours' that attract an additional cost ($450). 

And, as with most Toyota models, there is a range of additional factory-backed accessories that you can choose, such as a bonnet protector, boot scuff guard and even door handle protective film (to stop rings from scratching them up), but things like roof racks/roof rails or a roof pod are unavailable.


Ford Mondeo8/10

Today's Mondeo has evolved to adapt to modern expectations for a mid-size sedan. It's a far cry from the budget Mondeo of the ‘90s and even approaches territory that once would have been restricted to cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. No, really.

Our top-spec Titanium, for example, is packed with heated and leather seats front and rear, a power tailgate, auto-leveling ‘dynamic' LED headlights (the ones that move where you're pointing the steering wheel.), a fixed panoramic sunroof, power tailgate (handy) and even an auto-dimming wing mirror on the passenger side. The Titanium also gets a different digital instrument cluster and a heated windscreen.

These join the regular suite of Mondeo features such as Ford's Sync3 multimedia system on the 8.0-inch screen (thankfully, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), rain-sensing wipers, Digital radio (DAB+) and adaptive cruise control (part of a rather excellent safety package).

It's an impressive features list, which means nothing if the price isn't right. Our Titanium EcoBoost comes in at $44,790 before on-roads, pitting it against the Holden Commodore RS-V sedan ($46,990), Mazda6 GT sedan ($43,990) and Toyota Camry ($43,990).

You may also want to consider the Hyundai Sonata Premium ($45,490) and, dare I say it, the $45,990 rear-wheel-drive Kia Stinger 200S

None of those rivals have the heated windscreen or fully digital dashboard, though, and only the Mazda6 GT has heated seats front & rear. The Commodore RS-V is the only car here than can match the 8.0-inch screen size, but it does come with the addition of wireless phone charging and a colour head-up display. Food for (value) thought.

Engine & trans

Toyota Prius V

Powering the Prius V is a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine, which uses a CVT auto and combines with a lithium-ion battery pack and two electric motors. It’s what’s known as a series parallel hybrid set-up.

The system can allow the car to run using both the battery and engine, or just the battery, or have the regenerative braking system feed the battery pack more juice. That tech isn’t necessarily cutting edge today, but it was when the car launched (waaaaay back in 2012).

The engine can produce 100kW of power and 142Nm of torque. The electric motor can produce 73kW on its own, but the maximum combined power output is still 100kW.


Ford Mondeo8/10

Ford offers two 2.0-litre turbocharged engines with the Mondeo, either a petrol EcoBoost engine or its diesel Duratorq equivalent.

The EcoBoost in our car is a bit of a gem. It produces an average sounding 177kW/345Nm when compared to the 220-plus-kW V6 engines in the equivalent Camry SL and Commodore RS-V, and it's even somehow out-played in the torque division by the Mazda6 GT, with its 170kW/420Nm.

As I'll explain in the driving section, however, it doesn't make the Mondeo feel any less powerful.

EcoBoost Mondeos can only be had with a six-speed traditional torque-converter automatic. Thankfully it doesn't carry 'PowerShift' branding either…

Fuel consumption

Toyota Prius V

Obviously if you are considering a hybrid, you’re looking to take advantage of excellent fuel consumption. And the Prius V doesn’t disappoint.

The claimed consumption is just 4.4 litres per 100km. In the real world, you can expect to use about 5.5L/100km if you’re light on the throttle, and 6.5L/100km if you thrash it. 

You can’t skimp on the fuel when you get to the bowser, though - the Prius V insists on running using 95 RON premium unleaded.


Ford Mondeo6/10

Due to the entertainment factor given by the EcoBoost engine I wasn't particularly light on the throttle.

Ford claims you'll use 8.5L/100km on the combined cycle, which is 1.9L/100km more than the Mazda6 but on par with the V6 Camry and Commodore. In reality I experienced about 12L/100km, which is a fair bit more than the claimed figure, but not unusual for a keen-to-go engine. More on that in the driving segment.

For a bit of perspective, I can extract similar, if not better, fuel figures from my 4.0-litre FG Falcon.

Driving

Toyota Prius V

If you’re a car geek like me, you likely find driving as efficiently as you can fun. If so, you'll love this. You can watch the car switching between EV mode - which it will use for up to about 30km/h, but only for a couple of minutes - and hybrid power. And honestly, if you’ve never driven a hybrid you might think it sounds dumb, but being a fuel miser can be fun!

But the fun factor is pretty much limited to being a cheapskate on fuel. It really isn’t that fun to drive otherwise, but that’s not what it’s designed for.

Still, the drivetrain does a decent enough job for most families - it builds pace pretty easily, and while the refinement and power could be better, if you’re not aiming to break records on the school run, you shouldn’t be too disappointed.

The ride is mostly good, though it can be a little sharp over patchy surfaces, and the steering is decent, if a little lifeless. My biggest issue is the brake pedal response, which takes some getting used to. Sometimes it feels like it won’t stop quick enough. 

That, and the adaptive cruise control doesn’t slow to a stop on the highway - it cuts out at about 30km/h, so you’ve gotta be on your toes if the traffic starts to build up.

If you want the latest and greatest in hybrid family friendliness, you really ought to wait for the new-generation RAV4, which - admittedly - mightn’t have seven seats, but it will have a hybrid drivetrain offered. And it’ll be much more modern inside and out.


Ford Mondeo7/10

The Mondeo is thankfully quite a bit more fun than it looks. As I've been leading up to, the EcoBoost engine absolutely hammers with little encouragement. It's a hoot. The downside to this is that the fuel figure suffers.

Channelling 345Nm from as little as 2300rpm through just the front wheels also has the side-effect of tearing the steering wheel out of your hands under heavier bouts of acceleration. It does wonders to suspend the initial impression from the SUV-like seating position that this Mondoe must be a heavy car.

It definitely isn't a sports car, though, more of a semi-luxe sedan, which is a good thing, because when you're not driving as hard it's a pleasure to be at the helm of.

The steering is direct and light, making it easy to point at any speed, and in terms of noise the Mondeo is impressively quiet. There's barely a peep out of the engine. Road noise is great around town but increases a lot at freeway speeds and on rough surfaces, likely due to the larger alloys and lower-profile rubber.

The suspension makes for a mostly luxurious ride as well, but frequent undulations cause it to become unsettled side-to-side. Heavier bumps and potholes also resonate through the cabin.

It's almost annoying how close to excellent the refinement is.

The six-speed auto transmission is fantastic for a daily driver because you'll never know its there. I failed to catch it off guard once during my week with it.

There's a Sport mode and paddle-shifters you can use to make it stay in gear a little longer, but with the amount of power seemingly available at a moment's notice I never felt like I needed it.

Safety

Toyota Prius V

Every Prius V still carries the same maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating that it was stamped with in 2015, even though the car was actually tested in 2012.

The range is covered with the safety systems you’d expect, including electronic stability control, ABS, electronic brake distribution, plus there’s a reversing camera, too. Rear parking sensors are a dealer-fit accessory.

There was a bit of back-and-forth between myself and Toyota Australia over airbag coverage. The company stated on its public site that the car had curtain airbag coverage all the way to the third row, but no image to support that. I’ve since had it confirmed by Toyota Australia that it does definitely have third-row airbag coverage, which is a great added piece of mind element for family buyers (plus there are dual front, driver knee and front side airbags, too).

Airbags are one thing, but what about the other safety kit? Well, every Prius V has Toyota’s Safety Sense plus system, with auto emergency braking (AEB), pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, auto high beam lights and lane-departure warning.


Ford Mondeo9/10

Once you get to Titanium level, the Mondeo's safety offering is truly expansive.

On the list is Auto Emergency Braking (AEB) with pre-collision warning, Lane Keep Assist (LKAS) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Driver Impairment monitoring and trailer-sway control.

There are also a standard set of airbags with a few sneaky extras like inflatable rear seat belts on the outer two rear seats,which join ISOFIX points in the same position. Since April 2016, every Mondeo has a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

These join the very welcome surround parking sensors, rear-view camera and auto-park, which make not nudging things in the Titanium a cinch.

And a boon for long-distance drivers is the fact that all Mondeo hatchbacks have a full-size steel spare.

Ownership

Toyota Prius V

It’s cheap to run a Prius V in terms of its fuel use, and it’s cheap to run in terms of its maintenance, too. Toyota lists its charges at just $140 per visit to the dealer under the Service Advantage offer, though you’ll need to take it in every six months or 10,000km.

The warranty cover is three years or 100,000km for the car, but the hybrid battery attracts an eight-year/160,000km cover of its own.


Ford Mondeo7/10

Ford has recently updated its warranty to five years/unlimited kilometres, which is a nice standard, although it is now matched by Holden and Mazda. Toyota lags behind with a three-year offering. The Kia Stinger starts to look very impressive here with its seven-year warranty.

At the time of writing, Ford's own service calculator tells us the Mondeo will cost a minimum of $370 per year or 15,000km (whichever comes first) service interval. Every fourth year that jumps to $615.