First Close-Up Look at Toyota Prius V (Exclusive Photos)

The Toyota Prius V is the second model in the expanded Prius lineup. Toyota is preparing the media launch of the V later this month, with the wagon-like hybrid going on sale sometime this summer. (The first sales were scheduled for late summer, but could be delayed due to the effects of the March 11 earthquake in Japan.)

Toyota stopped by Berkeley today to give HybridCars.com our first look at the Prius V, which has 50 percent more cargo space than the current Prius, while delivering 42 miles per gallon in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway.

All the specs and details—as well as driving impressions—about the Prius V are coming in the next week or two. In the meantime, here are a few of our photos that reveal if the V for Versatility lives up to its name.

Toyota Prius V
Toyota Prius V
Toyota Prius V
Toyota Prius V
Toyota Prius V
Toyota Prius V


  • Anonymous

    and the point of this vehicle over the regular prius is? months later i’m still scratching my head… this is a huge strategic fail by toyota unless they can squeeze out a third row seating.

  • MythicalBeast

    The point is that some people need more cargo space. That’s the only reason I bought a Ford Escape hybrid instead of a Prius. I will likely be trading it in for a Prius V.

  • bonchien

    I like the concept as a Dad in a family of four. I have a Golden Retriever that gets squished into the cargo area of my Prius when we go to the beach. That said, it’s really disappointing to see a 10 MPG drop for a little space for the dog when I go to the beach. Although I like it, I would probably opt for the Prius over the Prius V and the dog will get squished.

  • Carroll

    It’s a small increase in cargo space, but of what real value? I don’t want to pile stuff in the back of the car so high that I block the rear view. So for me, it brings almost zero increase in versatility.

    On the other hand, if this was a competitor to the Mazda5, and offered 3 rows of seating, it would have been a game changer. Hands down, radical game changer. Too bad Toyota is just tweaking and not innovating. Personally, I think tweaking makes Toyota look conservative, timid and weak.

  • bonchien

    I like the concept as a Dad in a family of four. I have a Golden Retriever that gets squished into the cargo area of my Prius when we go to the beach. That said, it’s really disappointing to see a 10 MPG drop for a little space for the dog when I go to the beach. Although I like it, I would probably opt for the Prius over the Prius V and the dog will get squished.

  • wrightmercy

    kind a good looking car.. nice article.

  • Scott Z

    Small increase in cargo room??? Calling a 50% increase small is just plain wrong. That said I too would not run out and get this model. If I was looking to replace my current Prius I would consider it. I too would have prefer a model closer to the Mazda 5 size. Unfortunately the auto companies make big profits on minivans so there is little to no incentive to change them but this just might cause one of Toyota’s competitors to rethink their plans. I have wanted a small hybrid minivan for 10 years now. Still looking :(

  • mary
  • Tom

    In Japan, this vehicle has a third row. I guess it was omitted here due to different safety regulations or perhaps that we’re just a taller population. I agree with the other commentators that for a 10mpg drop, it really needed a third row here too. It’s difference between a niche vehicle and a segment buster.

  • Huh?

    Is there really that much extra metal on the thing that it loses 10 MPG in efficiency? It’s a Prius with more head-room in the rear end. How on earth is this possibly worth it?

  • Nelson Lu

    Scott, other manufacturers — specifically, Ford, at least — have already been thinking of it. In fact, with Toyota’s announcement that the Prius V may be delayed, there is a decent chance that Ford C-Max Hybrid/Energi will make it to market before the Prius V.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    How many people REALLY NEED a 3rd row?

    There’s maybe a few times each year that you’ll need that many rows and the 3rd row is usually too cramped for all but little kids and Chinese gymnasts.

    If you really need that usable 3rd row then the Prius V isn’t going to cut it for you. Get yourself a Chevy Suburban.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    How many people REALLY NEED a 3rd row?

    There’s maybe a few times each year that you’ll need that many rows and the 3rd row is usually too cramped for all but little kids and Chinese gymnasts.

    If you really need that usable 3rd row then the Prius V isn’t going to cut it for you. Get yourself a Chevy Suburban.

  • pat

    I think Toyota hides something from us about the Prius V, extends the back a foot or so and then call it a new model!
    I have seen the Prius V in the Auto show. I need to use a measuring tape to the tell it is not a Prius!

  • billiardsjim

    When will Toyota realize that Americans do not like that stupid center-mounted speedometer display? I won’t buy it if I can’t look straight down, instead of off to the side where it is not convenient.

  • Yegor

    Mark my word – Prius V will sell in huge numbers! – close to 10,000 per month!

    If does not fit you – it does not mean that it does not fit other people.

    Small car market share is 22% (by passenger volume) and Prius sells 12,000 – 20,000 there.
    Middle car market share is also 22% – Prius V will also sell huge in the middle car market share.
    Prius V is bigger than Prius not just in cargo space but in passenger volume also – lots of people want it.

  • Yegor

    I do not like center-mounted speedometer display too :(

  • Stephen

    The Japanese version of this is the Prius Alpha. Toyota has taken 25,000 orders for this in April alone after projecting a sales target of 3000 per month. Some owners will not receive their cars until April next year!

    See the full story and a video showing the Japanese version here:

    http://integrityexports.com/2011/05/14/toyotas-prius-minivan-alpha-gets-over-8-times-as-many-orders-as-expected/

  • Yegor

    To put a third row you need a smaller Lithium-Ion battery. I think Toyota decided not to bring Lithium-Ion battery to USA market yet because it does not have reliability record on Lithium-Ion battery – it does not want to break Toyota reliability reputation. I think that they want to establish Lithium-Ion battery reliability for a year in the rest of the world first and then bring it to USA.

  • Wants vs. Needs

    I don’t need a 3rd row. I also don’t need the extra cargo space that this provides.

    But there are times that I’d love to have room for a couple more passengers for a short trip around town. Like when my parents visit, so we’re not forced to take two cars to go out to dinner. Or when my kids want to go somewhere with a couple of friends.

    And occasionally, I’d like to pick up a load of mulch and still be able to fit my family in the car.

    I can picture keeping that 3rd row down folded down most of the time to make room for groceries, etc., and just pop it up when I need the seats. Sounds like it’s possible in the Prius Alpha (Japanese version) and probably the Prius+ (European version):
    http://green.autoblog.com/2011/05/13/toyota-prius-alpha-launches-in-japan-delivery-delays-expected/

    I see it as a sometimes-minivan that manages to double a normal minivan’s mpg.

  • Anonymous

    In the photos, the rear seats are movable individually. But are they removable like in those minivans? If not, then why?
    It seems to be a waste when removable rear seats can *really* increase the flexibility of the vehicle.

  • Anonymous

    Nelson said: “In fact, with Toyota’s announcement that the Prius V may be delayed, there is a decent chance that Ford C-Max Hybrid/Energi will make it to market before the Prius V.”

    Don’t hold your breath. Unless you know better than Ford or you’re one of those in power – according to Ford web site: “2013 C-Max Hybrid. Coming fall of 2012. “

  • Nelson Lu

    Anonymous, did read the news reports that the Prius V may be delayed up to a year? It doesn’t sound like you have (even though I referred to it in my post).

    Toyota has since claimed that the delay will *not* occur. Still, if it does delayed for a year, then the C-Max may make it to market first. That’s the premise of my statement. If the Prius V does not get delayed, obviously it will make it to market first.

  • Boneyards

    I have a lot of sex in my car. The fold down seats and extra head room will really come in handy. I think 25% less fuel efficacy is a small price to pay for the convenience and accessibility of that extra space.

  • Anonymous

    @Nelson: sorry, NO. I have not come across a news report that says ” the Prius V may be delayed up to a year”. BTY, where did you mention in your post??

    From Reuters: “Toyota Motor Corp said it had received 25,000 orders for the Prius Alpha hybrid wagon and minivan models in Japan before sales start on Friday …. Toyota said customers will have to wait longer than usual for delivery due to the ongoing disruption to production.”

    Even, for argument’s sake, Prius V is delayed by one year, it will just be delayed from ’11 summer to ’12 summer. As per Ford’s web ssite, C-Max hybrid is *only* coming by fall ’12. I don’t know what planet/country you live on/in, but, on the planet where I live, fall comes *after* summer!!!

  • Anonymous

    “BTY, where did you mention in your post??”

    Just to clarify: I mean, where did you mention the news reports in your post??

  • Morgan

    Yeah it has more cargo room, but the back seats look like they have way more leg room than the currently sardine like prius. I’m 6’6″ and have to drive bigger vehicles to allow for passengers, ie wife and kids. I squeeze into a TDI Golf for my 38 mile one way commute to work, so to be able to have a family vehicle with a little space would be very welcome. Here’s hoping for better than 33″ rear leg room.

  • Nelson Lu

    Well, I mentioned it — I tried to post a couple links, but they got stopped by the spam filter.

    Again, I said “may.” I never said that it would definitely (or that there’s even a high likelihood) that the C-Max Hybrid would make it to the market first.

  • Lucien

    The details were that there’s shortage of Li-Ion batteries supply but Toyota just gave an update that US version won’t be delayed.

    Reason in Europe/Japan it’s sold with 3 rows is that this doesn’t compete with big SUV’s. I guess US consumers would find this way too small for 3 rows… The Li-Ion is used to reduce size to accommodate this and that probably pushes price over $30K. So now it may generate some competition with Lexus hybrids (or even upcoming ones).

  • John K.

    The 3rd pic makes it look like the Prius V still has “stupid” (non-LED) lights in the taillights.

    Can’t wait for ALL a car’s lights (headlamps excepted) will be LEDs and not have to worry about broken/burnt out turn signal or back up lights. Safety FIRST! (+ more energy efficient)

  • John K.

    A CNG Prius (or plugin Prius) would be VERY compelling.

    Super clean and off of oil NOW! (Except for engine oil, grease, tires, antifreeze, etc. But those are MINOR compared to the consumption for propulsion).

  • Anonymous

    many of the posters already hit it right on the head… a flexible/folding/removable 3rd row would go a long way in selling this vehicle, even if the 3rd row will be uncomfortable. this is one of the reasons why japanese version is selling above the original expectation.

  • Anonymous

    i too, give two thumbs down on center speedometer. it makes no sense to take driver’s eyes away from straight line to look at the vehicle speed. also not sure if LCD display will be as clear from an angled view. overall bad ergonomic design.

  • John K.

    AP has a story about this model, and how the 7 seat version will have Li ion batteries to free up space to seat 7, while the 5 seater retains NiMH.

    Search for the story, “Toyota’s new Prius model may not arrive for a year”

  • Anonymous

    Toyota plans to produce 1,000 of the Prius with the lithium-ion batteries a month and 2,000 of the other model for the Japanese market.
    Toyota aims to sell 2,000 of the new Prius a month in North America, and another 2,000 a month in Europe.

    BTW, the title of the AP story seems to stir up the storm that Prius V is ‘delayed’ by up to a year. Haha.

  • Jonathan E.

    I have 3 kids (all boys) who fight on longish rides in our Prius. We also have a Sienna van which we use in those situations more than we would like. It’s also a waste because we own two vehicles, but I usually wind up driving the Sienna around town so my wife can drive the Prius, even though the van usually has only 2 or 3 occupants. I very much want a gas-efficient 7 (or even 6) seater so we can spread the kids out or bring along a child’s friend (or grandparent) occasionally.

    I want a Prius+ now (actually hoped for it 5+ years ago) and hopefully my Sienna will still be worth something in trade/resale when the Prius+ finally arrives in the US.

  • FamilyGuy

    This is going to sound like a lot of other comments. Maybe car makers read sites like this as part of their research, so the more voices, the better.

    I, too, would have liked a third row, just like a Mazda5. I think of the Mazda5 having part time 3rd row. I would leave it down most of the time. I’m a Dad in a family of 4. Then when grandparents are in town, we use the 3rd row. I don’t need a Chevy Suburban because I don’t require that 3rd row all of the time. It seems like a waste to me to buy for so much car and rarely use all of the functions.

    As for those waiting for the C-Max, don’t forget that the 7 passenger C-Max uses an ICE. The Hybrid and Energi are only 5 seaters, no different then Prius V. Sure waiting another year or so will give you more choices, but more of the same choices, no 3rd row.

    One last echoed comment, I’m not sure how I feel about the center console. I’ve never driven one, but the design looks awkward. I could be a deal breaker if I ever test drive one.

    For now, the leading car to be the next family vehicle is the Mazda5. And why doesn’t Mazda make a hybrid version? They make the Tribute with a hybrid. (heavy sigh)

  • Hybrid Cars

    Great info. I have bookmarked your site and will be back.

  • Elliot

    The third row is pretty useful for some. In fact, it is one reason we bought our Toyota Highlander Hybrid (2008). I didn’t want a full blown minivan, and the other options were too big. We love our THH and don’t need a second car with a 3rd row. However, it is nice to have an option with a little more space.

    My only concern is how well does this really stack up against the Fusion Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, etc. Very unlikely that it offers the power, ride quality, or passenger comfort. So, how does the cargo space compare to the trunk of a Fusion? Is it a little bigger or a lot bigger, bc the gas mileage isn’t that much better and the price is probably very comparable.

  • Mr.Bear

    Is there much market any more for station wagons?

    I hate the fully separated front seats of this and the 2010s. I’m seriously glad I bought a 2009.

  • simon@syd

    Not great fuel economy is it? Placed against a similar sized diesel, I’m not sure most people would think it competitive. Not that I like diesel, i hate it – and I like hybrids. But if this is the best of a station wagon hybrid that you can do in comparison, I reckon hybrids arent looking that great…

  • reneeL

    Really looks nice, I would love to have this hybrid car. I think it would be wise if I will have my own hybrid car. It will not only help me save money from the high gas price, I even heard that several of the newest hybrid vehicles make use of a basic-but-revolutionary concept. The motor simply shuts down several times per drive. Any time the car is not moving, the motor shuts down. A lot of people are trying to conserve money by following this same stop-start method in their older gasoline-powered autos. I found this here: Stop with the stop-starts in older cars: on cardealexpert.com/news-information/.

  • Andrew Jacob

    Dropping in 10MPG for more cargo space is little bit disappointing but overall it’s very nice to see such a good option in Prius line up for those whom wanted more cargo space.

    http://www.georgia-drivers-education.us

  • Lucien

    Start/stop systems do exist for quite a while for non-hybrids but unfortunately EPA test doesn’t show significant difference so then carmakers choose to save some money in US and ship without (since no change in EPA mpg). Which is why you see in Europe more cars with start/stop yet same models in US don’t (e.g. Audi/VW,BMW, …). It does potentially save up to 3-8% (city driving).

    Another reason we won’t see the 3 rows Prius V is the Highlander (US specific model). It would just create competition.

    I also dislike the instrument cluster in the middle but worse is that the seats appear pretty cheap and that’s a trend Toyota seems to continue. Leather seats probably will be a lot better quality but that will push price over $30K (for a non-Lexus car).

  • Lucien

    “Not great fuel economy is it? Placed against a similar sized diesel, I’m not sure most people would think it competitive. Not that I like diesel, i hate it – and I like hybrids. But if this is the best of a station wagon hybrid that you can do in comparison, I reckon hybrids arent looking that great…”

    A Jetta Hybrid EPA is 29/39. Looking only at highway ratings isn’t real-world mpg for most people.

  • Nelson Lu

    Elliot, Prius V and Fusion/Camry Hybrid are not in the same segment — its cargo capacity is far larger than those midsize hybrid sedans, while it will probably have substantially less power and use a little less gas. Again, its main competitor will probably be the C-Max Hybrid.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    There’s already 28,000 orders for this vehicle, which was 8x more than Toyota can produce.

    But that’s just initial demand for it. I’d love to see half that demand every month.

    My 2nd gen Prius is in the shop. Getting some damage fixed from a careless jackwagon who hit it in a parking lot and ran off without leaving their information. So now I’m in a Kia Forte EX for the week while my car is worked on. I am driving a car that gets about 27mpg instead of mine that gets 49.5mpg. Ouch. So I drive to and from work and that’s it. I’m leaving any errands until the weekend when I’ll have my Prius back.

    I like this Prius, but the dash isn’t my cup of tea. I thought about this Prius for my parents, but they won’t go for the center mounted dash. Too bad for them and Toyota.

  • walter lee

    The problem with Lithium ion battery reliabilty was solved several years go. More precise & cleaner manufacturing techniques have insured reliability. Unfortunately, China – the largest exporter of raw rare earth elemients – is now restricting raw exports of rare earth elements (to Japan). Japan which has only a limited reserves and supply of rare earth elements to makie lithum ion batteries cannot ramp up production of li-ion batteries. So even without the earthquake and Tsunami disaster, Japan will be unable in the near future to create large Lithium ion batteries in massive numbers. This is the main reason why Nissan isn’t exporting that many Leafs. While a Li ion battery would increase the Prius v’s FE it would also increase its cost as well and limit its production capacity – making it a rare luxury car not popular crossover . Ive heard rumours of Japanse company working on alternative battery tech that does not use rare earth elements – In addition as the cost of rare earth element goes up – non chinese mining operation will be more viable in the future.

  • Eugene Barufkin

    Or why not a Jetta TDI Sportswagon.
    The TDI’s are getting better hwy mpg and fewer less complicated parts/components and mechanics.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    Eugene,

    Why not a Jetta TDI? Because the Prius will get better all around MPG’s than a TDI. If you drive only highway miles than it is a toss up.

    My Prius is averaging 49.5 mpg and that’s approximately 30% hwy and 70% around town driving. That’s way better than a TDI vehicle is going to give me.

  • ferrisfan

    I just read via comments on a Motor Trend story that the reason for the lack of 3rd row seats is that the US version will have Nickle-hydride batteries instead of the Li-ion batteries in the Japan/European version. I bet that contributes to the reduced mileage numbers too (less distance in EV mode).

  • oxfortblue

    What exactly is it? No third setting, doesn’t look different enough and no minivan personality like sliding side doors etc. Toyota what are you doing? This is frankly pathetic. Take the Sienna and make it hybrid, period! Simple effective everyone happy, right? What was the point of this? I have had a prius since it first came out and now looking for hybrid minivan for family, but this is a joke, and I am not paying $2.500 pa on fuel for the Sienna as it is at the moment so you have lost my purchase until you can get your act together and change the Sienna into a hybrid and plug-in at that! Those of us with families that like to go out and do stuff together also like to save $’s and the earth while doing it.

  • David

    Well, in my own case. I want to buy a hybrid, but am very tall, over 6’6″. The smaller Prius model is just too cramped. I am leaning toward the Camry or Sonata Hybrid, but will wait to look at Prius V. I rented a non-hybrid Ford fusion and found the right leg room a bit cramped for the long-haul. Sorry to see the Altima Hybrid go, though it will in the future be ‘re-born.” Also looking at the Ford Escape Hybrid, as it seems to have lots of front seat head and legroom while still allowing reasonable seating for those who sit behind the driver. Anyone have first-hand knowledge on this?

    Due tp the lack of inventory and the fuel price induced craziness, I’ll wait until next year, when folks will have hopefully calmed down. Meanwhile,I’ll nurse my 11 year old Maxima and hope for the best. Nothing as good as a paid-off car.

  • David

    Well, in my own case. I want to buy a hybrid, but am very tall, over 6’6″. The smaller Prius model is just too cramped. I am leaning toward the Camry or Sonata Hybrid, but will wait to look at Prius V. I rented a non-hybrid Ford fusion and found the right leg room a bit cramped for the long-haul. Sorry to see the Altima Hybrid go, though it will in the future be ‘re-born.” Also looking at the Ford Escape Hybrid, as it seems to have lots of front seat head and legroom while still allowing reasonable seating for those who sit behind the driver. Anyone have first-hand knowledge on this?

    Due tp the lack of inventory and the fuel price induced craziness, I’ll wait until next year, when folks will have hopefully calmed down. Meanwhile,I’ll nurse my 11 year old Maxima and hope for the best. Nothing as good as a paid-off car.

  • raysonsmith

    This is the very first time I an looking at the Prius interiors. Its extremely well engineered car or say a hybrid car. Thanks for sharing
    used cars for sale