The original Prius spearheaded an automotive revolution, blending the every day practicality of a hatchback with the unprecedented fuel efficiency of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain. This fall, the next stage of the revolution begins when the all-new Toyota Prius v reaches showrooms, offering all the qualities environmentally conscious buyers expect from a Prius, plus a level of family-friendly versatility that puts the average small SUV to shame.
Now in its third generation, the Prius has surpassed the one-million mark in sales. Even with such phenomenal success, Toyota recognizes that there is room to broaden the range with a model that appeals to active young families looking for an eco-friendly midsize hauler. An increase in size may seem counter-intuitive given the classic Prius formula of light weight and high efficiency, but the all new 2012 Prius v (MSRP to be determined) is set to deliver better fuel economy than any station wagon, crossover or SUV, create 66 percent fewer smog-forming emissions than the typical new vehicle and do the job while offering more cargo room than the Ford Escape Hybrid or the Nissan Rogue.
Seat configuration is the key to the surprising spaciousness you’ll find in the Prius v. The 60/40-split second-row seats slide fore and aft for easy access. Rear-seat passengers looking to relax and enjoy the ride will appreciate the 45-degree seatback recline and 35.9 inches of legroom. Leaving the rear seats up and sliding them forward creates 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space while lowering the seats delivers a maximum cargo capacity of 67.3 cubic feet. Even the front passenger’s seat folds flat to help accommodate extra-long cargo.
Toyota will sell the Prius v in three trim levels, called “Two,” “Three” and “Five.” Motivating all three is the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system found in the original Prius hatchback. Making 134 hp, Hybrid Synergy Drive combines a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with two high-output electric motors and a Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack. A series-parallel system, Hybrid Synergy Drive can use either the engine, one of the electric motors or any mix of both to send power through the continuously variable transmission (CVT) to the front wheels.
The hybrid powertrain offers four driving modes: “Standard”; “Power,” which delivers stronger pull in the middle of the rev range; “EV,” which lets you drive on battery power alone for about one mile and “Eco,” which retunes the throttle and reduces the power drain from the air conditioning to help deliver best-in-class fuel economy ratings of 44 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
Proving that safety rates the same devotion to detail as powertrain efficiency, the Prius v comes equipped with a suite of advanced driver-assistance technology known as the Star Safety System™. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) makes the cut, as do Traction Control (TRAC), Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).
Seven airbags help to keep you safe in the event of a collision, after which the available Safety Connect™ system can contact a live operator who will notify police and emergency services of your accident. Pedestrian safety is also served by the new Vehicle Proximity Notification System, which emits a low warning sound when the Prius v runs solely on quiet electric power.
To help ensure safe handling and a comfortable ride, the suspension works in concert with the new Pitch and Bounce Control system, which manages torque distribution from the electric motor to suppress tossing motions and keep the vehicle in balance at speed.
Climb inside the Prius v and you’ll find an environment designed to keep you and your family comfortable and connected. Along with increased head-and-shoulder room, you get the convenience of such standard equipment as the Smart Key System with push button start, automatic climate control with air filter and pollen filtration mode and cruise control.
The Display Audio system boasts six speakers, an auxiliary audio jack for MP3/WMA playback, a USB port for connecting an iPod and hands-free phone and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology plus an integrated backup camera. The system is also available with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display navigation, HD Radio, iTunes Tagging, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with a complimentary 90-day subscription) and the Entune™ multimedia system – a brand new smartphone-based application system that premieres on the Prius v.
Linking your smartphone to the Entune system effectively transforms the touchscreen into a web browser so you can run mobile apps such as Bing, OpenTable and movietickets.com. On trips, you can use Entune to access live weather, traffic information and gas prices/station locations. You also get the largest selection of in-vehicle music options available including Pandora and iheartradio. To help keep you focused on the road, Entune also gives you best-in-class conversational voice recognition, as well as audio read back and replay of text messages.
Highline options on upper trim levels of the Prius v include a Panoramic View Moonroof with Power Sunshades, 17-inch alloy wheels (16-inch rims are standard), a Pre-Collision System (PCS), an Advanced Parking Guidance System (APGS) and heated front seats lined in lightweight, eco-friendly SofTex material. The top-of-the-line JBL GreenEdge sound system comes with a seven-inch touch/split-screen, Premium HDD Navigation, an eight-channel amplifier and full iPod video integration.
You can count peace of mind among the many comforts that come with the Prius v. The extensive warranty package from Toyota includes powertrain coverage for 60 months/60,000 miles, as well as coverage for all hybrid-related components for eight years/100,000 miles. Also standard is the Toyota Care complimentary factory maintenance plan with 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles.
For eco-conscious families looking for a midsize vehicle with top-tier hybrid fuel efficiency and versatility for the long haul, the choice is clear – the all new 2012 Toyota Prius v.