Price: From $35,990 (base), $TBA (i-tech)
Our tester and a CHOICE family take this new hybrid family car for a ride to see if it measures up.
Our tester's findings
I was more impressed with the Prius V than the regular Prius sedan. There is less disconnect with overall handling and cornering, presumably because it's designed to carry more weight. It managed 5.8 L/100km in our test whereas the fuel claim is 4.4 L/100km. Acceleration to 100 km is 12.2 seconds in its Normal mode, and 11.5 seconds in Power, the latter a little slower than the regular Prius. Braking distance from 60 km/h is 14.9 metres.
The CHOICE family's findings
At first glance we did not have high hopes that our family of four – soon to be five – would fit into what looks like quite a small people mover.
However, it proved easier than we thought to manoeuvre the kids in and out of the Prius V, and there is a reasonable amount of room to move around the child seats. These are far enough away from locks and window controls and child seat anchors were easy to locate. With plenty of room in the first rear seat, it easily accommodates two child seats with enough space for a third passenger to be comfortable. There is enough space for the kids when you move the front seats back as far as possible.
Boot space is disappointing unless you fold down the rear two seats, though you can still fit a folded stroller and some bags on top. While technically a seven-seater, the space restriction means the car is not suitable on longer trips for a family larger than five. The rear two seats will be good for car pooling kudos over short trips.
Our family was impressed with the size of the car. It's not excessive, so easy to park in tight spaces. The built-in window shades were great - much better than the add-ons. One downside is the car doors are quite low to the ground, so you have to be careful opening them otherwise they scrape on the kerb.
There are mixed feelings on the height of the back seat. On the one hand it’s great for the kids, as they enjoy being high up and getting good views out the windows. On the other hand it’s frustrating for the toddler who likes to be able to climb into his child seat himself but finds he can’t without assistance.
While our tester prefers the Toyota Camry Hybrid over the Prius V for a family car, our family said they would consider this car. The fuel consumption is a big plus, as is the ease of use with kids and its maneuverability.
For more information about green cars, see Cars.