By Jason Allan
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
The powertrain is the same, the face is familiar, but a unique interior helps define the 2012 Toyota Prius V as something different than a Prius wagon. It's a tad slower than the Prius and a little smoother on the highway, but the driving experience is mostly similar. A sliding and reclining back seat provides luxury-size rear accommodations, and the cargo area is larger than that of the Chevy Equinox. While the Prius V's combined fuel economy rating of 42 mpg isn't as sexy as the Prius' 50 mpg, it handily out-economizes anything with similar interior volume.
Roomier than anything as efficient, and more efficient than anything as roomy, the Prius V is an unbeatable option for buyers seeking the ultimate balance of fuel economy and cargo capacity.
The 2012 Toyota Prius V's sophisticated gas-electric hybrid powertrain requires a price premium that can complicate the car's long-term value equation compared with many of the equally roomy alternatives. If cargo capacity is your key concern, there are more affordable, more powerful options.
The 2012 Toyota Prius V was the first extension in what's to become a 4-car Prius family in 2012. This plus-size Prius puts world-beating fuel economy in the hands of those with armfuls of cargo.
Driving Impressions Built on the same platform and using the same powertrain, it's no surprise the Prius V drives a lot like the Prius classic. Larger and a just tad slower, the...2012 Toyota Prius V nevertheless offers plenty of merging power. Its high-speed passing abilities are another matter, but overtaking is the kind of fuel-intensive maneuver that Prius V drivers might be happier to avoid. Heavier than other cars its size, the Prius V is perfectly comfortable on the highway, while responsive steering helps impart a lively feeling around town. The electric-to-gas power transitions and regenerative braking action are smoother and more refined than most hybrids, and while there may be a short adjustment period, it's hardly a compromise. Overall, the 2012 Toyota Prius V simply drives like the well-built, modestly powered car it is.
Connect a phone via Bluetooth wireless or USB cable, and Toyota's Entune system lets you use the vehicle's controls or even your voice to access features like iHeartRadio and Pandora internet radio, buy movie tickets, make a restaurant reservation, or get stock quotes, sports scores, traffic or weather info. You can even use it to find the cheapest gas in the area.
Sliding Rear Seat
The 2012 Toyota Prius V treats backseat drivers and passengers alike to more legroom – and headroom – than plenty of high-dollar luxury cars. Slide the seats forward and the Prius V makes room for an additional six cubic feet of cargo.
When the Prius V was unveiled, we weren't sure it was big enough to make a difference. But when we finally had the opportunity to open the door and sit inside, we got it. The sliding rear seat delivers more legroom than some luxury sedans, and the cargo area is bigger than that of a Chevy Equinox. The Prius V even feels roomier than the Prius up front, thanks to an open center stack design in place of the cockpit-like layout of the Prius. We also appreciate the Prius V's abundance of storage nooks.Exterior
The 2012 Toyota Prius V is instantly recognizable as a Prius relative, although the two don't share any sheet metal. The Prius V Two and Prius V Three ride on 16-inch covered steel wheels, while the Prius V Five rides on 17-inch alloy wheels (there are no "One" or "Four" trim levels in the Prius V lineup). The Prius V Five also features LED headlights and integrated fog lights, and is the only trim to offer the panoramic moonroof, which covers both rows but doesn't open.
At its starting sticker price of $27,160, the 2012 Toyota Prius V includes a robust, 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with backup camera, USB/iPod connectivity and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. Other standard-equipment highlights include auto climate control, a sliding and reclining rear seat, plus keyless entry and start.
A fully loaded Prius V can top $37,000 with leather-like SofTex seating, panoramic moonroof, dynamic cruise control and an upgraded infotainment system featuring a 7-inch, high-resolution touchscreen, navigation, JBL audio, and Toyota's new Entune system. With Entune you can buy movie tickets, reserve a table, listen to Internet radio and find the cheapest gas in the area. A loaded Prius V can also parallel park itself (while the driver mans the brakes).
The 2012 Toyota Prius V hybrid is powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine matched with a 60-kilowatt electric motor, sending power to the front wheels through a gearless, continuously variable transmission (CVT). But for a slightly revised CVT to accommodate the added mass, the Prius V's powertrain is the same that powers the Prius. And in terms of efficiency and refinement, it's the best hybrid powertrain on the planet. Toyota says compared to the smaller Prius, the Prius V loses five mpg from aerodynamics, three mpg from weight and one mpg from the slightly revised CVT.
4-cylinder hybrid (1.8-liter engine with 60-kilowatt electric motor)
134 net horsepower: 98 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm (gasoline engine) + 80 horsepower (electric motor)
105 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm (gasoline engine), 153 lb-ft of torque (electric motor)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 44/40 mpg
The 2012 Toyota Prius V sticker price ranges from about $27,000 to around $37,000, with Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Prices reflecting real-world transaction prices of around $1,000 less than the window sticker. The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI diesel – less efficient but similarly roomy and more fun – starts in the same neighborhood and tops out near $30,000 with a less robust infotainment offering. As for resale value, we expect the 2012 Toyota Prius V to perform above average.
By R (NY) on Monday, December 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Ride, Fuel economy"
Cons: "NO DRL no customer support"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Great ride and fuel economy. You must check before you buy if you want the Daytime Running Lights. Toyota does not place these in all models. A major safety flaw."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By TDMAC (MN) on Saturday, November 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG, Comfort, Storage, Technology"
Cons: "Not a jack rabbit"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Purchased new in mid-2012, I now have 35,000 miles on this great vehicle. Overall I average 43.5 MPG with a high of 51. I'm not a lead foot, but I'm also not driving Miss Daisy. I also love the significant rear storage room. At 6'3 250 I fit comfortably behind the wheel and find this vehicle extremely comfortable and quite on the open road. With multiple passengers, my 6'2 son fits comfortably in the rear seat due to the seat adjustment forward and tilt. The Nav system, blue tooth etc., is awesome. Because I drive a Prius V, I continue to take some ribbing from my friends who get 12-14 MPG from their big trucks and SUV's...but at the end the day, I am saving hundreds of dollars each month at the gas pump! Prius V...great vehicle all-around."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Lynn (Canada) on Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, comfort, storage, versatility"
Cons: "One dial controls fan, mode, temperature"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My family of 5 downsized from a mini-van. The Prius v is perfect for us. One family member who is 6'1" actually prefers to sit in the back seat as there is plenty of leg room and the rear seats recline. We've taken this car on vacations with our dog kennel and can fit all our luggage just fine. I laugh every time I fill up because I'm saving hundreds of dollars on fuel compared to our mini-van. As far as the rear back up beeping, you can ask the dealer to shut that off so it only beeps once, then stops. Field of vision in this car is great, no bad blind spots. We got the base model and it still has great features including bluetooth. It takes no time at all to get used to the features of a hybrid. I've owned this car for six months and I love it. I think everyone should drive a Prius v!"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By chow (CA) on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "nth to say when compare with the same money RAV4"
Cons: "more space can be had in this size"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I have own hilux, toyota light truck ,caldina and many generation of toyota corolla since 80s 90 ,97 , to 2007 corolla matrix. But for the prius I wish I had rather buy 2013 RAV 4. Before I bought the prius ,I had 2010 honda insight which is 42 mpg easy acheive and fun to drive .As i am toyota customer, i thought it would be much better than honda .So i bought prius V with panoramic roof.But after eagar to test my mpg i full the tank up to the top and reset the trip meter to zero. the mpg i get when i divide the mileage by gallan was only around 37.4 mpg from LA to San Diego (72 mph average) .In the city the active mpg changing dramatically down and up to around 30 to 99 (may be electric motor only working for 99Mpg)no matter how gently u press the pedal with avg mpg showing 39.8(in the city)which should get more for hybrid in city. need to turn off eco to keep with the traffic flow in the city and take so long to get to 30mph unlike honda insight with eco turn on all time. In the freeway with cruse the car used power bar to highest everytime encounter small upland and the active mpg is unstable even in the flat freeway 35mpg to 40+ changing all time which my honda never happen . it is hard to keep with 70 mph traffic as the mpg keep falling down and very slow, with avg mpg 37 heavily maintain not easy acheive .But i notice sth if i drive around (on the way to Las Vegas) 81 to 82 mph with the cruse ,the change in power struggle when encountering a small high land is unnoticeable the mpg i get was 40+.I thought this may be because of high temperature or 80mph is the critical point of the engine where power is readily available so no need to struggle for gas. In the morning when coming out of drive way i heard screeching sound ( some metal is rubbing against metal)come out from motor in EV mode as tire rotate round by round 2mph with no gas paddle press. And My car stop showing EV mode(the word EV inscribe in the car icon ) in instrumental penal and eco light stop lighting for ever. SO i am surprise when people said the mpg is higher the Posted EPA figure on the review. the worst toyota i ever had but i dont regret getting toyota since it will last upto 300k miles but i regret i dont choose RAV4 since prius has no power (even smaller engine honda is more agile then more hp and torque prius ) this prius stop me from buying a toyota hybrid (camry) again and made me wait for coming soon accord hybrid. the mpg never come to 38 when keeping with traffic flow on freeway"
5 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Kevin (CA) on Sunday, September 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "small suv,good value & space,reliable,comfortable"
Cons: "backup alarm"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I owned a 4Runner for 10 years (and 260,000+ miles) before buying my Prius V. I needed the storage space but did not want the price tag or gas mileage of a typical SUV. The Prius V offered many of the SUV features that I enjoyed over the years. My Prius V has taken the family camping to many places over the past 1 1/2 years, including a couple that were over 6 hours away. I added a hitch and bike rack for added flexibility. Even fully loaded with gear for a trip I can get about 40MPG out of it. I never got that out of my 4Runner. The only thing I lost from going to the Prius V from my 4Runner was a little space in the back, mostly in height. I gained much more leg room in the back seat, over 2X better gas mileage, better leg room for driver, and it can even climb hills with when fully loaded. I miss the daytime running lights that my 4Runner had but I just leave the lights on all the time and they auto shut off after 30 seconds so I treat it like daytime running lights. Overall, the car has great gas mileage, the reliable Toyota quality, ample space and is a fantastic value for a small SUV. After 32K+ miles I am still happy with my decision to replace my 4Runner with the Prius V rather than a RAV4."
12 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By MaggieMae (NC) on Friday, August 23, 2013
I owned and sold this car
Reason: MPG didn't compensate for undesirable features - My approximate mileage is 11,800
Pros: "drives well, good back seat leg room"
Cons: "GPS, seat leather, backup alarm, seats 4 not 5"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"side mirrors reflect air vents and dashboard thus obstructing view in heaving traffic, depending on the light (sun) you cannot read the GPS, car seats four not five adults, no sliding in/out on this leather, radio is difficult to use, no auto on headlights during daylight driving, front seats are difficult if not impossible to adjust to a comfortable setting backup alarm stays on when car is in reverse and does not change as you get close to another car or object..."
10 people out of 14 found this review helpful