2012 Toyota Prius V at 2011 Detroit Auto Show

Priusv

  • Competes with: Ford Escape Hybrid
  • Looks like: The Prius swallowed the pill that makes you larger
  • Drivetrain: 134-hp hybrid with 1.8-liter four-cylinder, continuously variable automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Summer 2011

As much as people fawned over a hybrid racecar from Porsche earlier this morning, this is what everyone has been waiting for at this year’s Detroit auto show: a new Toyota Prius.

This isn't a new version of the Prius hatch or the plug-in electric Prius hybrid that will be sold in select markets a year or more from now. No, we were waiting on this: a crossover/wagon called the Prius V. It will go on sale this summer with impressive mileage figures.

Toyota estimates it will get 42/38/40 mpg city/highway/combined. That's impressive for a vehicle this large. With 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space, Toyota says it has 60% more cargo room than the current Prius hatch. That's just a few cubic feet short of a Toyota RAV4's or Honda CR-V's cargo areas. It’s now also big enough for dog lovers to cart around Fido in the back.

The V — for versatility — doesn’t ride on the current Prius’ platform; it's all-new from the ground up, Toyota says. The V is 181.7 inches long, which is a half inch longer than a RAV4 but 2 inches narrower. We've always wondered why the company didn’t convert the popular RAV4 into a hybrid, but now we see that they wanted similar cargo volume, which would have been eaten up by a hybrid battery in the RAV4.

A panoramic moonroof is made of a resin material instead of glass for weight savings and has a shade to help keep the cabin cool.

There’s an all-new interior that's paired with the familiar steering wheel of the Prius, but a new center stack of controls looks a bit dated compared to the snazzy graphics Chevy, Nissan and Ford are packing into their most efficient vehicles. It also seats five, not seven. This isn't an MPV as was rumpred before today.

At its core, the Prius V is simply a hybrid with a 98-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and 80-hp electric motor. Combined, they’re good for 134 horses, though a combined torque figure was not given. The battery is a nickel-metal-hydride one like what's found in the current Prius and not a lithium-ion pack that's used in the latest hybrids from Hyundai and Kia.

Like the Prius hatchback, 16-inch wheels are standard with 17-inchers optional.

The new Prius V goes on sale this summer. Its success will likely be determined by prices at the pump and families turned off by the lack of cargo in the Prius sedan.

Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v

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Toyota Prius v

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Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v

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Comments 

Bob

Only 2 rows of seats? No lithium-ion battery? Unless I'm missing something, this isn't much of a splash here. I suppose I should congratulate Toyota for finding a way to carve out a niche between the fuel-efficient non-hybrid RAV4 and the 3-row Highlander Hybrid...but I'm a little underwhelmed. Then again, maybe Toyota will look brilliant if gas is something like $6/gallon in 2 years.

Bob

Also, -1 to Toyota for naming confusion. "Prius V" is also a trim level of the standard Prius. (Although it's "V" as in "5," that doesn't make it less confusing in writing.)

Amuro Ray

I guess that many people are trying to find out if this can sit 7. If it can, then it's very likely to be my next purchase...unless C-Max hybrid has a 7 seater as well.

Can u confirm, D.T.?

Lee

Hmm. I don't understand the negative comments.

Lots of space...and way better mileage than a Highlander...or a Focus.

And "V" is different than 5...unless you are talking to an ancient Roman.

Amuro Ray

Nope, 5 seats only.

Bye bye - Prius V. :(

My search for a really great fuel mileage minivan (esp city mpg) continues...

Lee

I am wrong. There is a current "V"...and not a "5" model. So it looks like there will be a re-alignment of model names coming too.

Sheth

This is what everyone was waiting for? That's quite a stretch to say the least. Its not attractive and its time to dump the spaceship interior designs. How about a hybrid interior for adults? As usual toyotas displays and graphics look dated

Bob

@Amuro Ray: I was also hoping it had 3 rows, but the pictures don't seem to imply that. I'd like to hear from Dave Thomas about this, too.

@Lee: I don't think your mileage comparo is applicable. Highlander is in a different segment, as it has 3 rows (which this appears not to) and available AWD. Focus is probably in a different segment too, as the hatchback starts around $5,000 less than the cheapest Prius hatch--which is a substantial difference in this price range. (Also, I'm guessing the new Prius V will be even more expensive.)

Sources:

http://www.toyota.com/prius-hybrid/trims-prices.html

http://bp2.ford.com/2012-Ford-Focus#page=/Style/

Also, as I said in my original post, the use of "V" is confusing IN WRITING.

This seats 5!!!!!
Sorry guys. I'll add to text. The V stands for "Versatility" not a roman numeral. The C coupe etc. I'd guess when the current prius gets a 2012 model year it will either get its own designation or will just be Prius.

Troy S.

I think the rear seats look rather roomy and comfortable and the cargo room looks excellent as well.

Bob

@Lee: we must have posted at the same time about the "V" thing. No problem.

@Amuro Ray: I suppose there's always the Mazda5, but I agree the fuel-efficient 3-row segment could use some hybrid help...

JM

we waited that long for this? LOL

Amuro Ray

@ Bob,

That "split" in the carpet did speculate the possibility of a 3rd row prior, not to mention the extra rooms at the back...like seriously, all those rooms for cargo only? What a waste! As if u r hauling stuff from Home Depot using this...

C-Max, Mazda5 and the ex-Ronda are great 7 seats fuel efficient vehicles, but the "city" rating isn't really that impressive. I was so hoping that this is the solution for the "REAL WORLD" driving condition.

Daniel

Instead of having Scion as a brand, what about having "Prius" as a brand with all the models?

Ziggy

This is what everyone was waiting for? I think you mean this is what everyone in the press were waiting for. I think it's a nice start to the "Prius" line-up. I like the C and hope to see more.

Ziggy,
I don't think the public at large was really waiting on anything else. What do you think was the most interesting reveal? Civic concepts maybe (we're working on it!) because of sales impact, but this is probably the biggest deal unless Chevy has a surprise.

Dan

Personally, this new Prius will suit me perfectly. I don't want a third row mini seat that actually takes up too much space for cargo and could only seat tiny tots anyway.
But I will definitely check out the new Focus C-Max. I've been asking Ford to bring it in for over a year.

Ziggy

You really think this was high on the anticipation list for the general public. I don't think so. Defintely the civic. I think the general public were kinda anticipating more from Chrysler and GM. I would put the Hyundai veloster on the the list. I would put the new Hyundai concepts as a pleasant surprise.

Tim

The chipmunk cheeks look is not very flattering and the lift over height in the back appears pretty tall, but yeah it does look roomy and an actual flat glass hatch fixes one of the quirks with the normal Prius. Also, I hope the interior is better in person, because some of the graining looks really cheep in the pictures.

Will

Daniel: They're already there. Prius will be be a separate brand to include the current vehicles, this Vee, and 2 others, per the Wall Street Journal.
I can sympathize with people who want a 7-seater, but this is very close to what I've what I've been waiting for. I'll have to see the acceleration numbers 1st.

Tony

If you need the extra space get the Jetta / Golf Wagon TDI. I drive the Jetta TDI and I'm unable to get worse than 45MPG. Lots of power, more space than Prius. Plus it will last forever... will the Prius?

Jdel

Three years ago I dumped my TDI for a Prius and haven't looked back. The final straw was spending $4,000 one year fixing numerous issues and my car had a shade over 60,000 miles. Now I look at TDI drivers and I laugh. I'm not dumb enough to buy another VW but I'm sure there are thousands who will.

Ellen

I gave up my beloved 1996 Subaru Outback for a Gen III Prius and still miss the room, visibility and incredible user-friendly practicality of the Outback's interior design. Can't stand the distracting reading of distant and tiny letters halfway across the dash. Was hoping the new "v" would make more sense in that respect, as the puppy I got before buying the Prius is now 70 lbs and misses the Outback as much as I do!

Dan

it may be a good idea to wait until Ford starts to sell the C-Max hybrid and check specs. and pricing against the new line up of Prius models. But that'll be at least a year from now.
I may not be willing to wait that long. For those lamenting the lack of a third row seat, just consider, since the battery pack is underneath the rear floor, just how much space could there be for legs and feet?

April White

I have 90K on my Prius, I have been holding out for a 7 passenger Prius or the Estima. THIS ONLY SEATS 5!!!
That's it Toyota no 7 seater no more patronage.
What a disappointment!!!!
At least GIVE the US the ESTIMA!
VERY ANGRY about to be life long "X" Toyota consumer.

MVesseur

I'm not sure whether I like this car or not. We drive a Mazda 5, which looks similar, but is nicer and more practical. Much will depend on the price. Does this thing drive purely electrical if you want it to? How far?

Amuro Ray

@ Dan,

Think kids...

Dan

Wow...what an ungainly looking thing, it looks like one of the electric vehicle flops reminiscent of the late 80's...that look extends into the cabin for sure. Meet the Toyota 'Aztec'...another slipping point for a faltering car company.

Zack

Looks a lot like a mini Lexus RX for people who like to save gasoline. Should be a huge seller.

Geoff

Why is it so hard to build a small, hybrid SUV? Ford did it. What's wrong with Toyota and Honda?

Comparing it to a RAV4, this has less cargo area, much less ground clearance and no AWD. If I were to compare this to anything, it'd be a Mazda 5.

I've been waiting for the RAV4 hybrid to come out. Looks like it's time to give up on Toyota.

Randy

we are going back to 90s . watch movie " who killed electric car " ev1. I have 2005 prius and its better than new ( 55 MPG ) average . 4 G prius will make probably 35 MPG or less . i like the shape of new prius V, but 40 MPG ? regular engines can do that now.

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