By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
The 2014 Toyota Prius V offers the fuel efficiency of a hybrid with the interior space of a compact SUV. Using the same powertrain as the Prius 4-door hatchback, and with the "V" standing for "versatility," the 5-passenger Prius V can haul lots of family gear without burning lots of gas while doing it. Compared to the "regular" Prius, the V is less sprightly but has a smoother ride, and the cleverly useful rear seats will slide fore and aft, fold over for hauling large items or recline for more comfort. Likely competitors might include the Ford C-Max and the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI. If fuel economy is paramount the Prius V delivers, with EPA numbers of 44 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 42 mpg combined.
This is simple: Want great fuel economy and the cargo space of something more like a compact SUV? See your local Toyota dealer and check out the 2014 Prius V.
Hybrids are not inexpensive so you have to carefully figure the long-term benefits compared to something else that doesn't offer the superb fuel economy but costs less to buy. And if you need to tow even a fairly small trailer, consider a compact or mid-size SUV.
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Changes to the 2014 Prius V are minimal. All trim levels are equipped with standard Daytime Running Lights, and the Panoramic View Moonroof will be offered as a stand-alone option on the Prius V Three.
Driving Impressions It's unlikely that many people buy a hybrid for the enthusiastic driving experience but, still, the 2014 Prius V deals more than just competently with city traffic and merges easily...... with freeways. If a little more is needed, there's the Power mode. The ride and handling qualify as comfortable, stable and predictable, but it's certainly not a corner-carver. If that's your goal, you obviously should be looking somewhere else. Hybrids have come a long way and the Prius V delivers a refined progression down the road, with the transitions between the electric motor and gasoline engine developed to a point of being near-seamless and, at least, not at all bothersome. If this is your first hybrid, there will be a slight adjustment period, but it's short and easy and absolutely worth the tremendous savings in fuel costs.
VERSATILE INTERIOR SPACE
Versatility is the name of the game for the Prius V's interior. The rear seats slide to create legroom for passengers or space in the cargo bay for gear. In addition to folding in a 60/40 split, the rear seats recline. Need to carry a surfboard? The front-passenger seat folds flat, too.
OUTSTANDING FUEL ECONOMY
If drastically reducing your fuel costs isn't the biggest reason for purchasing a hybrid, then what is? The Prius V certainly delivers, with EPA ratings of 44 mpg city, 40 highway and 42 combined. Toyota has been at this a long time, so the expected reliability should deliver lots of peace of mind.
The 2014 Toyota Prius V offers generous interior room and useful versatility for carrying people or hauling cargo with ease. The rear seat can slide fore and aft to increase legroom or cargo space behind the seat, and it also folds over for more cargo space or will recline to enhance comfort. In addition, the front-passenger seat folds flat for hauling long items. There are storage spots throughout the interior, including space under the rear seats for such as umbrellas. And, in front, the open center stack gives a feeling of expansion and roominess. The "V" for "versatility" is entirely appropriate.Exterior
There is no doubt the 2014 Toyota Prius V is a Prius, with the strong family resemblance from front to rear. One difference in the shape is that the rear of the Prius V is larger than that of the regular Prius, without the sloping hatch configuration, for the added cargo space. Clearly, this design is based on the combined functions of generous interior room and reduced aerodynamic drag for good fuel economy. Prius V Two and Three models have 16-inch alloy wheels and the upper-end Prius V Five has 17-inchers. There is no "One" or "Five" trim level.
The 2014 Prius V is offered in three trim levels: Two, Three and Five. A base model Two includes automatic climate control, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary input and 6.1-inch touch screen, rearview camera, remote keyless entry and five cup holders. Prius V Five models add the Entune infotainment system with navigation, heated front seats, LED headlights and integrated fog lights. For 2014 all models are equipped with Daytime Running Lights, electronic stability controls and driving aids as standard, and there is a comprehensive array of occupant-protection features.
The major option for the 2014 Prius V is the Advanced Technology Package, available only on the top-line Prius V Five. The package includes a Panoramic View Moonroof, premium JBL audio system, dynamic radar cruise control, 7-inch touch-screen display and a system to help with parallel parking. The Panoramic View Moonroof is available as a stand-alone option on the Prius V Three.
The 2014 Toyota Prius V 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 automatic transmission (CVT). Except for a slightly revised CVT to accommodate the added mass, the Prius V's powertrain is the same that of the Prius. The drivetrain is certainly not a tire-scorcher but it delivers reliable power for dealing with urban conditions or merging with freeway traffic. And Toyota has years of hybrid experience, so Prius V owners can do their motoring with the peace of mind that comes with proven reliability.
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 2014 Toyota Prius V has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $27,500. A top-trim version reaches over $36,000 with the Advanced Technology package. The Prius V's base price is higher than that of the slightly smaller Ford C-Max hybrid. The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI, meanwhile, can attain up to 42 mpg on diesel fuel and has a slightly lower starting price, although it also has a manual transmission. Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2014 Prius V. We expect the Prius V's resale value to hold up quite well over the years, roughly on par with both the Ford C-Max and VW Jetta SportWagen TDI.