2014 Toyota Prius V Hybrid Review

2014 Toyota Prius V - this hybrid is good enough to make us want one

2014 Toyota Prius V – this hybrid is good enough to make us want one

5-door design is versatile and the tall roofline provides an impressively spacious cabin

5-door design is versatile and the tall roofline provides an impressively spacious cabin

Quick Drive

The 2014 Toyota Prius V is the first hybrid I’ve tested that’s good enough, I’d consider buying for myself.  Its five-door design is versatile, pricing affordable, and although not sporting, drives well for a car designed for congested, city driving.  But its the Prius V’s superb fuel economy that makes me want one.

Fuel efficiency and driveability

Fuel efficiency is the hybrid’s stellar feature and the Prius V didn’t disappoint.  In a week of mostly city driving,the on board computer of our demo Prius indicated an outstanding 4.8 L/100 km (58.8 miles per Imperial gallon.)  That’s less than half the fuel consumption of our frugal 2.3-litre 4-cylinder Mazda3 in similar driving.

The Prius V recorded the best fuel economy of any car we’ve tested, ever. That remarkable achievement doesn’t come at the expense of driveablilty.

Driving the Prius in urban traffic is impressively smooth.  In warm weather, the battery pack-powered electric motor starts the vehicle rolling and the 134 horsepower 1.8-litre gasoline 4-cylinder engine kicks in to help the car up to speed.  Whenever the car stops, the gasoline engine shuts down and the electric motor engages to get the car moving again.  The switch between electric and gasoline motors is seamless and occupants can’t discern when the power sources switch back and forth.

Comfort

The Prius V may be compact on the outside, but the interior is surprisingly spacious.  The car’s tall roofline gives an airy feeling inside, just like a London taxi.  The 60-40 split second row folds down, and with the hatchback design, the Prius can carry large, bulky items as well as many CUVs.

Prius V's 5-door design gives cargo hauling capability that rivals some CUVs

Prius V’s 5-door design gives cargo hauling capability that rivals some CUVs

Prius V's interior is London taxi-like spacious.  Second row passengers enjoy expansive legroom.  The floorpan is flat without a driveline hump

Prius V’s interior is London taxi-like spacious. Second row passengers enjoy expansive legroom. The floorpan is flat without a driveline hump

Front seats are broad and comfortable, and there’s loads of legroom for second row passengers.  The floorpan where the second row passengers sit is devoid of the typical driveline hump, further adding to the sense of roominess.

Our Prius V tester was a base unit, hence, it lacked heated front seats – my main complaint of this otherwise impressive car.

In town, the Prius’ suspension is very good, and soaks up road imperfections very well.  Road noise is well controlled, and the car is quieter than average for cars in its size class.

Features

The base Prius V comes nicely equipped.  I especially like the keyless entry and ignition (with push button start), standard backup camera and automatic climate control.

But the Prius isn’t for everybody

Digital readout instrumentation isn't for everybody.  At first glance, it's 'busy' and some elderly drivers say it's a 'deal-breaker'

Digital readout instrumentation isn’t for everybody. At first glance, it’s ‘busy’ and some elderly drivers say it’s a ‘deal-breaker’

But the Prius V isn’t for everybody.  The instrument cluster features a high-tech, primarily digital display.  A number of elderly drivers commented the display was ‘unfriendly’ and somewhat daunting.  “It’s a deal-breaker”, said one elderly driver.

Value

For those who worship at the alter of dollars and cents decision making, the Prius V, like all hybrid vehicles, doesn’t scream ‘buy me!’.  Crunch the numbers, and the evidence is glaring.  The 2014 Prius V MSRP is $27,480.  The base 2014 Camry LE ($23,750.)  NRCan’s website estimates the Prius’ annual fuel cost at $988 versus the Camry’s at $1820.  You pay $3,730 dollars more for the Prius, but with it you’ll save $832/year in gasoline.  The Prius will take 4.8 years in fuel savings to recoup its $3,730 higher initial cost.  Opt for even the less expensive Corolla and the ‘break even’ point is even longer. (We chose to compare the Prius to the Camry because both are classified as mid-size vehicles, according to their interior volume.)

But . . .

But, if you’re like me and resent the cost of gasoline with every fill-up, the higher initial cost of the hybrid becomes appealing.  Very appealing.  The Prius V’s $27,480, while not inexpensive, is affordable for many households.  If you plan on keeping the vehicle for a long time, say, more than seven or eight years, and you derive pleasure from calculating fuel economy numbers that are better than many motorcycles, the 2014 Prius V Hybrid is absolutely deserves consideration.

 

Tags:

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment