2012 Toyota Prius V: Up Close

I was a bit skeptical that the new, supposedly larger, family-oriented Toyota Prius V wouldn’t be much more spacious than the current Prius because its silhouette, juxtaposed with the existing Prius, doesn’t look significantly taller or longer. Hatchbacks like the Prius are known for their versatility and generous room in a small exterior package, how much could they really improve? Apparently, a lot.

I started my inspection of the Prius V in the cargo area, where it’s clear Toyota’s goal was to make the most room available. A wide, flat and usable floor stretches almost uninterrupted from one side to the other with little intrusion from the inner wells. Toyota didn’t resort to crossover-style designs and their typical higher ride heights to make extra room. This keeps the cargo’s load-in height low. I’m 6 feet tall, and the cargo floor is roughly at my kneecaps. Under the cargo floor is additional storage, but the compartments are narrow and probably couldn’t fit many standard-shaped cargo items.

Moving from the cargo area to the rear seats, once again I found more room here than in the regular Prius. Starting to see a trend? In the short time I spent in the backseat, I had plenty of legroom with the rear sliding seats all the way back, and I could stretch my legs comfortably. The rear row is a 60/40 split with each side sliding and reclining individually. Folding the rear seat requires just the pull of one strap.

Sitting up front doesn’t feel too different from the seating position and height of a regular Prius. There's good visibility looking rearward through the sides, but the C-pillar at the very back creates an unsightly blind spot.

There’s a large console area between the front seats with plenty of room for cell phones, wallets or a small purse. It’s a nice addition. What isn’t as nice is the new center stack controls and dashboard, which seems overpopulated with buttons and screens. There’s plenty of space in front of the driver for these items, and I’m surprised it isn’t used. This Prius V doesn’t waste space anywhere else except here. I must add, though, that I’m not a fan of center displays like the Prius, and the Prius V didn't alter that belief.

Comments 

Daniel

With this new Prius V on sale, what is the use for the regular Prius? Is the regular Prius going to be a sedan?

Rick

2 Thumbs Down!!!

JJ

Looks like a Mazda with a Toyota badge. Not terrible but not great either.

sheth

unfortunately, the cheap interior carries over to this model. Shiny plastics and vinyl trim are all over this car and its likely to be a few thousand more than the Prius. Toyota still misses the mark on interior materials- even Chrysler has gotten the memo.

Zack

This is a great looking vehicle. Though these pictures don't show it, the front end styling resembles the second generation Prius much more than the current one, and that's a good thing. This will be a great alternative to all the current gas guzzling crossovers, without the odd proportions of the Mazda 5 and other mini minivans of that ilk. Once again the big dog is at least one move ahead of everyone else.

Chris

How much of a mileage sacrifice is this extra room going to make?

Ken L.

The seat padding looks a tad bit thinner than in fast back sedan. Also, what's the MPG? It's a Prius, how come there's no mention of it?

H

Dashboard is as imaginative as a concrete block. Exterior is the second coming of the Corolla high roofed wagon from the 90's...it's not good.

Ira

We've been eyeing hybrids lately and this would fit our needs perfectly. Great idea Toyota.

kombi

I hope this means a nation-wide return to the station wagon!!! woot

Scott

I have to give Toyota credit for one thing, nobody could make a cheaper looking or more disconnected dash! God, once again they have outdone themselves, one look makes me want to hurl. OH, BTW Toyota, would it be too much to ask to actually place the important gauges/instruments in FRONT OF The Driver!!! Just a thought, because most normal people don't drive looking to the right for everything. But wait, that's right, geeky LCD watching Hybrid Drivers do! LOL

St.Viateur

One advice to Toyota: REDESIGN THE INTERIOR! I used to own a Nissan Quest with such alien centre-mounted instrument panel and simply never got accustomed to. Fortunately, Nissan redesigned the much-criticized interior by bringing the speedometer and tachometer where they should be: in front of the driver.

Uncle Sam

Calm down, Scotty-boy and the other smart asses here, Prius has an head-up display, if you know what i mean. So, problem solved!

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