Toyota: 2015 Prius v review

Toyota: 2015 Prius v review

If you love having kids but also caring for the environment, the Toyota Prius v is worth checking out. With seven seats and a fuel economy the envy of many much smaller cars (4.4 litres per 100km combined is quoted) it’s a practical and less guilty alternative to buying a lumbering SUV or even a large station wagon.

Toyota Prius V 2015 rear quarterNot that the Prius v isn’t slightly lumbering itself. The ride is on the soft side and the acceleration is what could best be described as ponderous. But that keeps it nice and comfortable for passengers, and nice and frugal on your wallet.

Its seven seats are good for 5 adults and two children. The middle row of Toyota Prius V 2015 rear seatsseats provides access to the rear two seats which are easy to put up in the back. If the seats are down there is a fair-sized boot area (505 litres) with removable cargo blind if needed. A hidden compartment in the rear adds quite a lot more storage under the floor. If the back row of seats is up the cargo blind stores in this compartment, still giving around 200 litres of storage. The boot doesn’t have Toyota Prius V 2015 front interiorbag hooks but does come with a 120V socket for plugging in electric devices to keep children amused.

For the driver there are ergonomic controls on the steering wheel, plus an easily accessible touchscreen for the media centre which doubles as reversing camera and satellite navigation display. Your phone can be connected either via Bluetooth or USB.

Toyota Prius V 2015 dashboardThere is a small, shallow central binnacle, but a huge double glovebox. As you are looking forward, the majority of the information you need to know is on the central instrument cluster, but there is a head-up display showing the speed that is projected onto the windscreen in front of you.

The 1.8-litre petrol engine delivers Toyota Prius V 2015 glovebox73kW and that’s backed up by an electric motor that, combined, provides 100kW of oomph through the front wheels. The 45-litre fuel tank is small, but you won’t be filling up that often as you should easily get 800km from a tank unless you’re in a very hilly environment and your five children are amateur sumo wrestlers.

The drivetrain is Toyota’s HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) which is two electric motors/generators, a high-voltage battery pack, the aforementioned petrol engine, and an ECVT (electronic continuously variable transmission) gearbox. It allows the Prius v to operate in electric-only mode, petrol-only mode or a combination of the two engines. Three buttons on the centre console allow you to switch to PWR (power), Eco and EV (electric-only) modes.

Outside, well, it looks like a Prius. It’s taller and wider than a regular Prius and shares no body panels with its sibling. It does share the underpinnings, though, which is why (with the added weight) that the overall performance is not as sharp. There’s a more aggressive front-end and new headlights and taillights. Two running lights are embedded wide on either side of the front bumper, giving the impression they are fangs. Overall, it’s well proportioned.

Apart from the annoying beeper when you’re in reverse gear, the only problem with the Prius is the brake feel. It’s difficult to get progressive braking and to sense what’s going on.

The brake system is called ECB-R (electronically controlled brake system with regenerative brake control – i.e. it charges the battery from the kinetic motion of braking). Also at the wheels, there is anti-lock braking, brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution, vehicle stability control, traction control and hill start assist.

There’s only one model available, so you’re taking it as it comes at $48,990.

Toyota says the v stands for versatile, which it is, to a point. You couldn’t really tow much with it as there’s not enough power, and it has negligible off-road capability as it has the ride height of a car and it’s only two-wheel drive. But, it does seat seven in relative comfort and there are no complaints about the fuel economy or driving comfort.

Price: $48,990

Pros

  • Economical while being practical

Cons

  • Brake feel wasn’t good


Words and photos:

Rating 3.5/5

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