By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
As the largest member of Toyota's family of Prius vehicles, the 2017 Prius V combines the eye-popping fuel economy for which these hybrids are known with cargo flexibility that puts some SUVs to shame. The numbers don't lie, and they all strengthen the Prius V's case as an excellent alternative to a small crossover SUV: up to 43 mpg, over 67 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seats folded, and a starting price around $27,500. Like a small SUV, the Prius V has a roomy hatchback design and seating for five. It isn't the swiftest thing on the road and its styling probably won't dazzle the neighborhood kids, but in terms of economics, efficiency and practicality, it's hard to beat the Prius V.
If you want the stellar fuel economy of a Prius but in a larger size and with more cargo space, the V was invented for you. Since it's based on the last-gen model, the Prius V's styling is also less out-there than the current Prius.
The Prius V may have the roominess of a small SUV, but unlike a sport-utility vehicle, this hybrid hatchback doesn't offer traction-enhancing all-wheel drive. If you need that combination, check out the new Toyota RAV4 hybrid SUV.
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Only minor changes are in store for the 2017 Toyota Prius V, including an upgraded Entune infotainment system with voice recognition and Siri Eyes Free capability. A new exterior color, Galactic Aqua Mica (we don't make this stuff up), is available.
It should be no surprise that a Prius V drives very much like a standard Prius. They both use a nearly seamless gasoline engine/electric motor powertrain and an electronically controlled...
... continuously variable transmission (ECVT). The regular Prius has never been a barn-burner, and neither is its larger sibling. That said, don't believe those hybrid stereotypes: If you put your foot into the accelerator, it will do just fine. If you need a little more oomph to get up a short freeway onramp -- and sometimes you will -- there is a "power" mode that helps. With its slightly longer wheelbase and larger dimensions, the Prius V in some respects is actually smoother than the smaller model on which it was based. The Prius V doesn't have the quietest highway ride and its engine can drone under hard acceleration -- still small trade-offs for excellent fuel economy.
The “V” in Prius V stands for 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 front-passenger seat even folds flat to accommodate longer items like lumber, a ladder or surfboard.
ACTIVE SAFETY FEATURES
While blind-spot monitoring still isn't available on the Prius V, this hybrid vehicle does offer other useful safety and driving aids. A package for top-line models includes lane-departure alert, a pre-collision alert and braking system, and radar cruise control, which automatically paces the vehicle in front.
While even a standard Prius hatchback is roomy, the Prius V goes bigger and better. It, too, has a 5-passenger setup, but its rear seat slides and folds. With the rear seat in place, there's 34.3 to 40.2 cubic feet of storage in back. Fold the rear seats, and there's 67.3 cubic feet of room. And the front-passenger seat also folds. The Prius V's cabin and controls still look futuristic with its 6.1-inch center display and buttons for everything from starting the car to putting it in park. Before driving for first time, learn how to operate the tiny transmission selector.
While the regular Prius went even more angular and spaceship-like in its rebirth for 2016, the Prius V is more conservative. Well, conservative for a Prius. The V's deeply sculpted front still looks open-mouthed to our eyes, while the rest of this hybrid's sheetmetal is polite housing for the generous space inside. The biggest difference between the Prius V and its standard counterpart is in the rear, where its hump hides all those extra cubic feet. As with the standard Prius and the baby Prius C, the Prius V has an upward-rising liftgate.
The 2017 Toyota Prius V remains available in four trims: Two, Three, Four and Five. The base Two model has automatic climate control, an Entune audio system with 6.1-inch touch-screen display, AM/FM/CD with USB input, Bluetooth and Siri Eyes Free system for Apple users, rearview camera, cruise control, and push-button start. The Three adds an upgraded Entune system with navigation and app suite, power lumbar for the driver's seat, a 4.2-inch multi-information display in the gauges and Smart Key entry. The Prius Four and Five add SofTex 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, and an upgraded Entune system that includes navigation.
All models of the 2017 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 (ECVT). An EV mode allows for lower-speed, short-distance driving on electricity alone, while an Eco mode furthers efficiency by taming throttle response and the air-conditioning system. A Power mode, conversely, wrings more juice out of the system for better acceleration. The Prius V is not exactly quick -- but it does offer enough power to deal with urban conditions or merging with freeway traffic. 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: 43/39 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Prius V has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $27,510 for a base model. Prices climb with trim levels, topping out at $31,770 for a Prius V Five. The sole option package, Advanced Technology that's available only on the top model, is another $3,335. The market isn't exactly brimming with hybrid hatchback or wagon-like vehicles, but one competitor is the Ford C-Max, which starts a few thousand less than the Prius V but doesn't match the Prius V's interior space or fuel economy. One interesting competitor that is set to arrive in coming months is the Hyundai Ioniq, which will be available as an all-electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid, or traditional hybrid. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Prius V is expected to maintain its value pretty well, with better resale value than the Ford C-Max.