SUPER SIZE ME
The extra-large Toyota Prius V for 2012
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, Nov 27, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Roy Nakano Despite its popularity, the Toyota Prius is too small for many Americans. Never mind that it’s classified as a mid-size car by the EPA. According the Center for Disease Control, 34 percent of the population is obese—not just overweight (that’s 68 percent). Factor in the borderline population, and you’ve got a big chuck of car buyers that won’t fit comfortably into a regular Prius. Enter the Prius V. It’s a super-sized Prius. More hip room, elbow room, leg room, head room, and trunk room. It’s got more of everything for big Americans.
Toyota gave LA CAR a pre-production Prius V for review. After tooling around in the car for a week, we conclude that the company has accomplished what it set out to do. The Prius V is like fitting into a size 44 after making do with a 40 for too long. It’s like trying on a queen-size bed after living with a twin-size. Or ordering a large Coke and getting an extra-large—with free refills. There’s also a larger bootie to boot. Now Prius owners can put more junk in their trunk. Amazingly, Toyota has managed to do all this is a body that is both attractive and easily recognizable as a Prius. Unlike some other large versions of existing vehicles (the MINI Countryman comes to mind), the Prius V actually looks better in some ways than the original—the extra length does well to get rid of some of the guppie-like quality of the regular Prius.
Some of our colleagues in the automotive press have praised the suspension tuning improvements in the Prius V, calling it the first Prius that borders on being fun to drive on the twisties. We won’t go that far, but it’s good to know that Toyota is paying attention to the departments of handling and cornering. These are the biggest gripes we’ve have about the regular Prius. As for the get-up-and-go department, the Prius V is no muscle car. On the other hand, the Power mode on the Prius V provides a good sense of passing power capability. If there’s downside to the added girth of the Prius V (aside from taking up more space in your garage), it’s in the EPA ratings. 44 miles per gallon in the city and 40 on the highway. That’s exceptional, but it pales in comparison to the regular Prius’ stellar 51/48. Chalk it up to the extra weight and wind resistance of the bigger body.
If you are part of the population that can use the extra girth of the V, Toyota has done its homework for this vehicle. On the other hand, if the regular Prius is big enough (it’s plenty big enough in Japan, where the obesity rate is only 3 percent), it remains the best show in town. AT $23,520, it still delivers the best fuel economy of any hybrid vehicle. However, that may change when Toyota introduces a smaller, lighter Prius C later this model year. The choices are becoming more plentiful than ever before. SUMMARY JUDGMENT The Priustivus for the rest of US. For more information about Toyota products, go to www.toyota.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Toyota Prius V Price: $26,400 (base) $26,400 (as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 44 city/40 highway (miles per gallon) Engine: 1.8-liter double overhead cam (DOHC) inline 4 with 16 valves and variable valve timing and two electric high output motors Horsepower: 134 @ 5200 rpm Torque: 105 pound-feet @ 4000 rpm Transmission: Continuously variable automatic (CVT) Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive Steering: Electric power assisted rack-and-pinion Suspension: MacPherson strut front independent suspension with stabilizer bar Torsion beam rear suspension Wheels and tires: 16 x 6.5 inch Alloy wheels and P205/60R16 all-season tires Dimensions Width: 69.9 inches Height: 62.0 inches Length: 181.7 inches Curb weight: 3274 pounds