2012 Toyota Prius V Review
For shoppers looking for the fuel economy of a Prius and the practicality of a wagon, the 2012 Prius v is the only game in town. Luckily, most test drivers say the Prius v is one game that’s worth playing.
There are a lot of car buyers who would like to own a hybrid like the 50 mpg Toyota Prius, but have lifestyles that demand a roomier car. For those shoppers, test drivers say the all-new 2012 Toyota Prius v is an excellent choice, combining a thrifty gas-electric powertrain with expansive cargo room and good passenger space. The Los Angeles Times writes that the Prius v “inspired more than a few approving looks from middle-aged drivers piloting Volvo wagons and other European imports. ‘Finally,’ their eye contact seemed to say, ‘a car that will let me carry my titanium mountain bike without the Hummer footprint. Hmm.’ That holy-grail combo is clearly in demand."
Just because the Prius v offers that “holy-grail” combination of fuel economy and interior space doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. Because it’s larger and heavier than the regular Prius, its gas mileage (44/40 mpg city highway) is a little worse. Test drivers also say that acceleration and handling are merely adequate. Finally, though the Prius v bests some compact SUVs when it comes to cargo space and has a cutting-edge infotainment system, the dash layout and rear seats get mixed reviews.
Despite these shortcomings, most reviewers agree that while the Prius v isn’t the perfect combination of practicality and gas mileage, it’s pretty darn close. If you’ve been looking to cut down on fuel consumption, but can’t fit your life into a regular Prius, the 2012 Toyota Prius v may be just what you’re after.
Other Cars to Consider
Since it’s essentially a station wagon with a hybrid powertrain, the 2012 Toyota Prius v doesn’t have a lot of direct competition. However, there are other cars on the market looking to provide that same combination of fuel efficiency and practicality. The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is available with a diesel engine that gets an EPA-estimated 32 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway. That beats the Prius v’s highway numbers by 4 mpg, but is 8 mpg less than what the Prius v gets in the city. Still, if you do most of your driving on the highway, the Jetta SportWagen may end up saving you some gas. Reviewers also don’t have the same complaints about the Jetta SportWagen’s interior or performance that they do with the Prius v.
Since the Prius v has the cargo capacity of a small SUV, it’s worth cross shopping it against some of the models in that class. When it comes to small SUVs though, hybrids are hard to find. The Ford Escape Hybrid is the lone gas-electric compact SUV on the market. The Escape Hybrid gets 34 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway in front-wheel drive, which is not nearly as good as the Prius v. However, the Escape Hybrid does have optional all-wheel drive. The Prius v has more cargo space behind its second row seats, but the Escape has about the same cargo space overall. If you need all-wheel drive more than you need fuel economy, the Ford Escape may be a better choice.
Details: Toyota Prius v
The 2012 Toyota Prius v is an all-new model that builds upon the iconic Toyota Prius hybrid by offering more passenger and cargo space. The Prius v is essentially an elongated Prius station wagon that seats up to five people and has as much cargo space as some small SUVs. The Prius v is available in three trims: Two, Three and Five. Two is the base trim and Five is the top-of-the line. Three and Five trims have features like Toyota’s new Entune infotainment system, which allows you to control some smartphone apps through the car’s touch screen. The Prius v is available only as a gas-electric hybrid. See full 2012 Toyota Prius v specs.
- "The 2012 Toyota Prius v is a larger and even more practical package than the ‘regular’ Prius hatchback. Hard to categorize, Prius v is much like a station wagon with better cargo room than some small SUVs in a car-like package. Though Prius v gives up some fuel economy compared to the original Prius, the family friendly packaging makes it an attractive option for families and active folks looking for better gas mileage than most SUVs can deliver." -- Consumer Guide
- "The 2012 Toyota Prius V is a perfect fit for those with small families who want a vehicle that's big enough to accommodate passengers in comfort, but frugal enough to do minimum damage at the pump. It's also a solid pick for those fuel-conscious drivers whose cargo needs call for a roomy wagon or crossover." -- Edmunds
- "Apart from giving you more cargo space, the Prius V doesn't do a whole lot that the Prius didn't, and the difference between the two essentially amounts to being able to go hog wild at Costco without folding the rear seats down. For that, the Prius V loses 8 mpg and could cost well over $2,000 more. The V represents a standout choice for fuel efficiency if you need the extra room -- just be sure you do." -- Cars.com
- “Its small fuel economy sacrifices are more than made up for by increased versatility and backseat comfort. We even think the taller roof line makes the model more becoming. For the first time, the Prius name stands for fuel economy and functionality." -- Autoblog
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