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Roadshow Video Reviews
2012 Toyota Prius VSlightly bigger and with just a little bit more tech, the 2012 Toyota Prius V may usher in a new car category called the mini mini-van that just happens to be a hybrid.
Well, Toyota said they were gonna take the car that is the Prius and turn into the line of cars that will be called Prius. Let's see how they're doing as we drive the 2012 Prius V in Check Tech. So what is a Prius V? Well, I think it's the Prius that most folks are gonna end up buying to be honest to get a nice cargo box back here. The second row as you can see, spacious, it's go a higher roof line here than the standard Prius and by the time you get to front row, it's basically standard Prius stuff. But all these brings you a vehicle that doesn't print mini van, although in honesty, it's really kind of a mini, mini, mini van. Just palatable as a car, but you look at it and say, I could do a lot more with that. Now, once you're back up here in the cockpit, things are relatively familiar. We've seen this Toyota head unit before. This is the fancy one with a bigger screen. You can see we've got the upgraded JBL audio, more speakers and more importantly better amplification. This sort of eyebrow display is one of the most advanced in the business. You got your power in charge indicator, digital speedometer and then of course various sorts of MPG and other indications. And of course this touch screen can also defaulted over voice command which is pretty good on these Toyota Systems. The other way to control this head unit is via this rather elaborate controls on the steering wheel. You've got a pad over here for audio and one over here for a variety of display, trip computer and HVAC settings. Some interesting mix on the right. Bluetooth hands free of course is on here as well as bluetooth streaming, ox jack, usb. Now these cars come in different trim levels. 2 is the base for some reason. 3 is the middle car, that's the first one that includes NTune here under the apps button and then after that app screen right there, this is a way to get one app on your phone that brings 5 apps to the screen. For the details on this, make sure you check out our computer tour of this innovative new interface on CNET TV, just type in Engine. And the level 3 car also brings in navigation based on the hard drive and it also brings you satellite radio, HT radio and HT radio iTunes tagging. Now, you see we've got an nav screen here, a color screen, not every Prius V has that. You gotta step up to the top two trim levels for that, but they all have an LCD for controlling vehicle functions. Of course, there is the level 5 car which is the top behind all these, get a couple of numbers. That gets you this dual panoramic, but fixed glass roof. All it has are shades that move. And at level 5 adds almost $3,000 to the level 3 car and then on top of that we have an advanced technology package. That brings us to JBL high end audio, a split screen nav system with a bigger LCD and all (free iGo?) to this little dinky goofy little bejewelled knob right here, reversed neutral drive, brake is extra regent for the battery and park is a separate button up here. Then you've got 3-drive mode buttons here. EV, makes it run electric all the time as much it can. Eco makes it to do the least fuel consumption possible and then Power moves it into the performance range blending both sources for the best response under throttle. All right now, all Prius V's like all Prius. I have this Toyota hybrid synergy drive motor powered (??) combination. It's the big dog in the electrified car business. Now, it's 1.8 liter side saddle lean burn Atkinson cycle 4 coupled with an electric motor. 134 horse, 105 ft-lbs of torque then add 80 more horsepower from the electric motor and another 153 ft-lbs from that same motor for some good numbers. Well, okay numbers. It get this 3,400-lb car up to 60 in about 10-1/2 seconds. Remember, it's trying to sift fuel. Now, those kind of numbers could move this vehicle more sharply, but it's not programmed that way. It's a Prius after all instead it biases toward MPG, 44 city, 10 highway, substantially lower than the smaller Prius, but of course you're lagging a lot more around with this guy. All right, the Prius driving experience as you can imagine is very familiar in this vehicle although I find the rides a little nicer. I think it's got I don't know a couple of more pounds on the hoof dampens things out. But all the noises it makes and the responsiveness you get are pure breeze. Visibility is really good though because you got a higher greenhouse, a little bigger notch in the back what you're looking at. It's just a little more pleasant car to drive all around. Another thing I note, driving any Prius of the current model year is trying (??) a good job of handling these power modes and getting them to operate in ways. Each one of them that has kinda grown up and refined. They aren't too silly. They don't have herky jerky this them when you're in the power mode or the EV mode. Everything kinda falls over very elegantly from one motor stage to another. They've done a very good job on this. Okay, here's the pricing on the Prius V and here's how I play it. The base ride, the level 2 car is 26, 400. It's a little too sparkling though. Go to the level 3, that one's in N Tune and some navigation. Now, you got a great tech package without going broke. This guy is like 37. If we go to level 5, has all the tech, that gets a little too steep for me.