By Don Fuller, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 9.0
The 2016 Toyota Prius V might be the most righteously practical and rational automotive purchase you can make. There’s no room for frivolity here. With its enviro-friendly hybrid powertrain, stingy fuel consumption, interior space rivaling many compact SUVs and Toyota reputation for reliability, this is the thoroughly sensible choice for the thoroughly sensible buyer. EPA fuel-economy numbers are 44 mpg city, 40 highway. Maximum cargo volume is over 67 cubic feet. The rear seat slides fore-and-aft to favor either cargo space or legroom, which is why the “V” stands for versatility. Competitors are few; perhaps the closest is Ford’s C-Max hybrid, which we also like, but it doesn’t match the Prius V in either fuel economy or interior room.
You are the person who never spends a dime without thoughtful research. You have stuff to carry, don’t like burning gas, want the peace of mind of reliability and care deeply about our planet – as we all should. We applaud your good will. We recommend the 2016 Toyota Prius V.
While the Prius V is not terribly pricey, it is a fact that hybrids are more expensive than non-hybrids of comparable cargo space, size and performance, so any hybrid fuel-economy advantage will cost money that may take years to recoup. Consider your purchase and check out some 4-cylinder compact SUVs.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2016 the Toyota Prius V continues unchanged from the 2015 model year. There are still four trim levels, labeled Two, Three, Four and Five.
The high-priced ends of the car world include Porsche, Ferrari and others using the hybrid concept to make cars faster, but marketable hybrids had their beginnings in interests of increasing...
... efficiency. Thus it is with Toyota’s Prius line; it is definitely not a sporty thing, but it drives entirely acceptably for its rationally intended purpose. It’s comfortable on city streets and highways, and the steering and handling are reassuringly controlled. There is more than enough power for safe merging onto freeways, and a driver-selectable Power mode gives up a little bit of fuel economy for an equally little bit more punch when needed. The Prius V is not the quietest highway ride, but the noise level is not necessarily obtrusive, either. Remember, though, the 2016 Prius V’s purpose is not exciting driving dynamics but exceptional fuel economy, and it delivers that efficiency in full.
VERSATILE INTERIOR SPACE
The “V” means versatility; there is surprisingly generous cargo space, the rear seat folds flat in a 60/40 split and slides fore-and-aft for enhanced passenger legroom, and the fold-flat front-passenger seat accommodates extra-long items. You might buy it for the hybrid benefits, but you’ll appreciate it for the versatility.
OUTSTANDING FUEL ECONOMY
Here are the important numbers for the 2016 Prius V: 44 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, 42 mpg combined. You’d have to drive pretty hard to use more gas than those numbers indicate. That’s why people buy it.
The aerodynamically sleek exterior of the 2016 Prius V hides an exceptionally roomy and versatile interior, with room for five people, lots of cargo or combinations of both. The rear seat can slide fore-and-aft for trade-offs between rear-seat legroom and behind-the-seat cargo space, and the backrests fold flat in a 60/40 split for no passengers but maximum cargo. The front-passenger seat also folds, handy for carrying long items. And there are storage spots for smaller items tucked here and there throughout the interior. Design-wise, it’s modern and clean, with the controls and instruments in the center of the instrument panel.
If you’re at all familiar with the Prius line there's no mistaking the 2016 Prius V’s familial links, characterized by the long roofline and sharply cut-off rear, both of which contribute to the generous cargo and passenger space and also enhance aerodynamic efficiency. Up front, there are LED headlights and a large signature Toyota grille, and out back is a big rear window and high-mounted taillights. Prius V Two, Three and Four models have 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, while the upper-end Prius V Five has 17-inchers.
The 2016 Toyota Prius V is available in four trim levels: Two, Three, Four and Five. The base Two model has automatic climate control, an Entune audio system with USB input and a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, a rearview camera, cruise control, Bluetooth and push-button start with remote entry. The Prius V Three adds an upgraded Entune system, power lumbar for the driver's seat, a 4.2-inch multi-information display in the gauges and Smart Key passive entry. The Prius Four and Five add faux-leather seats and an 8-way-power driver's seat, while the Five gets 17-inch alloy wheels.
Prius V options are, for the most part, included in the trim levels. The only major option, and available only on the top-line Prius V Five, is the Advanced Technology Package. It adds a Panoramic View Moonroof, premium JBL audio system, dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, an upgraded Entune system that includes navigation and some additional features and conveniences.
All models of the new Toyota Prius V are powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a 60-kilowatt electric motor, sending a combined 134 horsepower to the front wheels through a gearless, continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). It's essentially the same combination that's in the regular Prius, with the exception of an upgraded transmission. The Prius V is not exactly quick – which, after all, is not the point of a Prius – but it does offer enough power to deal with urban conditions or merging with freeway traffic. Furthermore, 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 + 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 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2016 Toyota Prius V Two is right around $27,500 with the destination charge of $835 included. A Prius V Three is a little less than $29,000 and the Prius V Four is just above $30,500. The top-line Prius V Five is almost $32,000 and, with the Advanced Technology Package, the price will be over $35,000. The base price for a Prius V is higher than the smaller Ford C-Max hybrid, but the Prius V has more interior room and better fuel-economy numbers. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2016 Prius V. The Prius V’s resale value should hold up well, perhaps slightly better than that of the Ford C-Max.