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#2

in 2012 Wagons

Avg. Price Paid: $20,607 - $20,673
Original MSRP: $26,550 - $30,140
MPG: 44 City / 40 Hwy
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2012 Toyota Prius V Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers say that the 2012 Prius v does a decent job of balancing performance with fuel economy. While several reviewers say acceleration could be better and that handling is anything but fun, they also note that the kind of performance the Prius v offers is just what practically minded hybrid shoppers are looking for.

  • "In a 51.5-mile drive at mostly highway speeds, another driver and I averaged 43 mpg, according to the car's trip computer. That's well short of the regular Prius' 50-mpg combined rating, but it handily beats fuel-efficient haulers like the front-drive Ford Escape Hybrid (32 mpg) and the diesel Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI (33 mpg with an automatic) -- a testament to how far ahead of the pack the Prius is." -- Cars.com
  • "Sporty it is not, but the Prius V is remarkably capable and comfortable, improving on almost everything that made the original Prius a bit of a compromise for many drivers." -- Left Lane News
  • "The V isn't just a Prius-it's a Prius that's been made into a family car. So while the car's performance fulfills its mission, it's no performance machine. On our test drive on the Pacific Coast Highway south of San Francisco, the most satisfaction came from the gentle ride and watching the stellar fuel-economy readout." -- Popular Mechanics

Acceleration and Power

You’re probably not considering the 2012 Prius v because you need a hot car to take to the drag strip, which is a good thing because reviewers say it’s not a quick car. However, they also say that the gas-electric powertrain, which makes a total of 134 horsepower and 153 pound-feet of torque, is up to the task of getting around town and merging on highways. And, with an EPA-estimated 44 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, reviewers say giving up some acceleration is well worth it.

The Prius v has three hybrid driving modes: Normal, Power and Eco. Normal balances performance with fuel economy, while Power tips the balance in favor of performance. Eco mode prioritizes fuel economy, and a few reviewers say that while in Eco mode, the Prius v is simply too slow. The Prius v can be driven in electric-only mode over short distances at slow speeds.

  • "Initial full-throttle acceleration from a stop is mediocre, but the pace increases steadily.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Around town and on the freeway, the Prius V gets up to speed in an acceptable manner, provided it's in ‘Power’ or ‘Normal’ mode. Engaging ‘Eco’ mode ups the wagon's fuel efficiency by making it less responsive to throttle inputs. This setting is fine for city travel, but on the freeway, it easily turns lane-changing maneuvers into white-knuckle events." -- Edmunds
  • "Driving in Eco mode might be good for the planet but at times it makes the car feel underpowered. The Prius v strains to propel its 3,274 pounds forward. There was such a lag between pressing the accelerator and actually gaining speed from a dead stop that it felt a bit like driving a locomotive." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "With 134 net horsepower from the hybrid system, the Prius V isn't a rally car, but acceleration will be adequate for most of its economy-minded owners." -- New York Times
  • "The acceleration is, shall we say, leisurely.” -- Popular Mechanics
  • "I had to leave bigger gaps before pulling into traffic, but with two adults on board the V had little trouble maintaining 70 mph even on inclines." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

Though it’s not fun to drive, reviewers say the 2012 Prius v is smooth, stable and fine for everyday driving.

  • “There's decent heft in the steering, but it feels artificially weighted and isn't linear off-center. Still, it's easy to place the car in a corner, and after driving the Prius on a number of challenging roads at a pace that few drivers ever will, we'd say it ain't bad at all. Sure, there's the usual oddness to the brake pedal response, but that improves a bit if you move the gear lever into the B setting to engage more engine braking." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "With new tires aimed at a better balance of rolling resistance, comfort, grip and noise, the ride is quieter and handling feels a little more taut and responsive." -- AutoWeek
  • "Relative to the Prius, the V is a bit on the chunky side, with an additional 300 pounds or so of curb weight. This added heft gives it a more stable feel on the road than you get with the standard Prius; the wagon's ride quality is consistently smooth, with none of the occasional busyness that you can experience when piloting the sedan." -- Edmunds
  • "The Prius has never been fun to drive, and the V doesn't change that. Its electric power steering delivers artificial sensations at low speeds and becomes a soupy mess going into turns. But the car hunkers down on longer curves, resisting body roll well and delivering better midcorner steering corrections than the initial slop would have you expect. Back on the highway, the car tracks well; you don't need to make many corrections to stay on course." -- Cars.com
  • "Hybrids aren't typically happiest on the highway, but Toyota has taken steps to ensure that the Prius V is more livable over long distances. The new model is the first to incorporate Pitch and Bounce Control, which can sense the oscillating frequency of road surfaces and minutely induce and withdraw torque from the electric motor to counteract a vehicle's wave-like motion. The result is a very stable-feeling drive, especially over aged sections of concrete interstate and expansion joints." -- Autoblog

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