Yet another incarnation of Toyota’s legendary Prius hybrid graces us for 2012. The Prius V Five is the flagship trim of this debuting 5-passenger midsize wagon lineup. Besides boasting 67.3 cubic feet of total cargo area, this up-sized hauler flaunts 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and heated power-adjustable mirrors around its handsome profile, with leatherette upholstery and simulated alloy trim accents gracing the interior. A height-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support is complemented by heated front seats with a fold-down front passenger seatback, while the rear split-folding seat not only reclines, but also slides fore and aft.
Full power accessories, meantime, along with cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a trip computer all contribute to convenience, with the trip computer bolstered by a hybrid performance display. Climate control, Bluetooth hands-free calling, a universal remote garage door opener and a rear-view camera also come standard, as does Toyota’s Entune multimedia system with Bing search apps, Pandora and iHeart radio. And all of this comes across on the single-CD player with its 6 speakers, satellite radio, auxiliary iPod integration and USB connection.
Options-wise, this top-shelf Prius V can be delivered with an available Advanced Technology Package that features premium HDD navigation, a 7-inch touchscreen, premium audio components including 8 speakers, adaptive cruise control, parallel parking assist sensors and a power sunroof. The Preferred Accessory Package with floor mats and cargo organizers is also available, as are remote engine start and VIP Plus security technology.
A variable-valve-timed (VVT) 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) gasoline engine in the 2012 Prius V Five mates with 2 electric motors to put out 134 hp and 153 lb-ft of torque, all under the management of a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Look for an estimated 44 mpg city/40 highway from this penny-pinching hybrid wagon, with a driver-selectable Eco mode assuring efficient highway cruising, and an EV (electric only) mode allowing acceleration up to 25 mph on electric power alone for short distances. Should a sportier, if not particularly fuel-efficient driving experience be in order, selecting the Pwr mode results in a quicker throttle response. Regenerative braking, meantime, helps the I4 recharge the 650-volt nickel-metal hydride battery, which has been made cheaper and longer-lasting.
Standard safety equipment included with Toyota’s Star Safety System begin with 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), as well as traction and stability control. Front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection also come with Toyota’s vaunted safety system, as do standard front fog/driving lights and dusk-sensing, self-leveling LED headlights. With the optional Advanced Technology Package, a pre-collision safety system and Toyota’s Safety Connect post-crash alerts and stolen vehicle recovery assistance can be added to this hefty list of safety features.