Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
The Prius v's interior was exceptionally comfortable and super functional. Toyota got it right when naming the v for versatility. This mom was happy with its multitude of handy storage compartments and five easily accessible cupholders. Where this five-seater really shined was in the second row. The 60/40-split seats can recline or slide back and forth.
With the v's increased space, my biggest complaint was the lack of vents for the second row. While there were vents routed under the first-row seats, the cooled air hardly reached my two little girls stuck (and sweating) in their child-safety seats.
Another irritant was the multitude of information available on the power gauge screen. Included with the speedometer were the fuel level, battery level, miles driven, miles left, time, power mode, power level and gear. It was poorly designed, convoluted and too difficult to find the information that I needed with just a glance.
On the other hand, Toyota's Entune multimedia system is sure to be a favorite among new Toyota owners. Using your smartphone's data plan and available Entune application, the touch-screen has access to useful apps such as Bing, Pandora and MovieTickets.com. Alongside these features is the usual navigation with real-time traffic and Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore
With two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats, the Prius v accommodated both of my children's car seats nicely. The anchors were easy to access after unzipping their enclosures. My husband was able to fit comfortably in the front passenger seat with a forward-facing car seat behind him. Unfortunately, he had to compromise on legroom when my younger daughter's rear-facing convertible was behind him. Older children in booster seats should be able to buckle themselves independently since the seat belt buckles are on stable bases.
The 2012 Prius v hasn't been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
The Prius v's standard safety features include front-wheel drive, an electronic stability system, traction control, antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, a brake override system, a backup camera and seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag and side curtains for both rows.
Starting MSRP $26,400–$29,990
98-hp, 1.8-liter I-4 (gas hybrid)
2-speed CVT w/OD
New or Notable
• New for 2012
• "Wagonized" Prius
• 40 mpg combined rating
• Separate model from regular Prius
• Lightweight panoramic roof
What We Like
• Backseat headroom/legroom
• Low cargo load-in height
• 40 mpg combined rating
What We Don't
• Center dashboard layout
• Outdated-looking dash graphics