In Toyota's efforts to expand its Prius model into a new hybrid line-up, it is launching the Prius V, with increased interior space. The Prius V uses the same hybrid system and engine as the Prius hatchback, but it is tuned for more torque to move the heavier vehicle. The extra size means mileage suffers a bit, but the Prius V still outshines the competition.
Toyota, capitalizing on the success of the Prius, plans to offer multiple different models carrying the Prius name. The first of these to hit the market is the Prius V, a slightly larger car using the same hybrid drive system as the standard Prius.
From the front, the Prius V looks very similar to the hatchback Prius. As the V is a little taller, the fascia underneath the grille gains a little height. Toyota will offer LED headlights as an option, which should improve fuel economy slightly.
The Prius V's difference is most apparent from the side, where the roofline retains its height all the way towards the back of the car. This accommodation for more cargo space worsens the aerodynamics, giving the V a .29 coefficient of drag versus the standard Prius' .25.
The cargo area is 50 percent greater than that of the standard Prius. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split, maximizing cargo area. The rear seats also slide forward and back, and recline, offering a variety of space and comfort configurations.
One intriguing feature is integrated email. The system will read the contents of new email, and provide a few canned responses. This system only works with a few phones that support the standard, such as Blackberrys.
This navigation option offers similar data services as the basic system, but the interface is different. The optional navigation system gets data for traffic, weather, and a few other service through satellite radio.