New Car Review: 2012 Toyota Prius V

Front 3/4 view of blue 2012 Toyota Prius V
The 2012 Toyota Prius V.

Toyota's expansion of the Prius into a full family of cars begins here with the Toyota Prius V.

We can hear the puzzled readers now: "Prius V? What are Prius A through U like?" No, this is V as in roman numeral for the number 5. So it's "Toyota Prius 5". Why? Because it has five doors (okay, it also stands for "Versatility", according to Toyota).

Rear 3/4 view of 2012 Toyota Prius V
Rear view of the 2012 Toyota Prius V.

The fifth door is that big back one. It's called a door instead of a tailgate or liftgate because Toyota, like most manufacturers, can't quite bring itself to call this a "station wagon". But c'mon...look at that profile. In fact, look at that fifth door when it's open:

The "fifth door" of the 2012 Toyota Prius V in its open state.
That, folks, is a station wagon. And that, folks, is a good thing. Because station wagons, like their 90s replacement, the SUV, have rear seats that fold flat, resulting in some extremely useful cargo capability.

The Prius V comes extremely well equipped (17-inch alloy wheels, electronic braking and traction systems, airbags, smart keys, tire pressure monitors, LED headlamps, foglamps, power heated and folding outside miorrors, a display audio/navigation system with Toyota's terrific Entune entertainment system plus AM/FM/CD/mp3/SiriusXM/HD radio, Bluetooth, automatic climate control and more for $29,990.

Our tester had the Advanced Technology Package (Hard drive, JBL audio, backup camera, Advanced Voice Recognition, Text-to-speech, dynamic radar cruise control, panoramic moonroof and a batch more) for $5,580, floor mats and trunk mats for $225 and alloy wheel locks for $67. Delivery and processing was $760, for a bottom line of:


Yes, that is the most expensive Prius we've ever tested. But it's also the most loaded, the most practical and the one young eco-friendly families might be most likely to take on a long summer roadtrip, when all those bells and whistles will make things considerably more pleasant.

Now they just need DVD screens in the back of the front headrests...

2012 Toyota Prius V

Base price: $29,990.

As tested: $36,622.

Likes: The extra utility of the wagon style.

Dislikes: We're not that far from a $40,000 Prius.

EPA estimates: 44 mpg city/40 mpg highway.

1 comment:

tomservo56954 said...

There was a special promotional event at the mall where I got to take a V around the parking area--got a $10 gift card for doing so.

I liked it, and it is one I will seriously consider when I am fortunate enough to be in the market for a new vehicle. It's good having extra room when needed, without driving around in a tank by myself (the one thing my mother never liked about our 1970 Country Squire). I also like the way the gear selector is on the dashboard just like a 1955 Chrysler.

Paul Duca