Denver commuters will find the ride in the new 2012 Toyota Prius v quite smooth and comfortable. But don’t expect acceleration to push you back in the seat, but what should we expect from a small hybrid wagon? The power from the hybrid system will get Denver driver’s up to speed in an acceptable manner.
If maximum power is needed, the Prius v has a Power mode to provide extra boost during highway merging or when pulling a steep hill. And for saving on fuel,
an Eco mode is available which works well in the city, but its sluggish response makes it unusable on the highway.
The EV mode is for all-electric, and has a limited distance at 25 mph or less (if there's enough juice in the battery), most useful for tooling around looking for a parking space.
The v offers three selectable modes in addition to Normal mode,: EV, (all-electric), with a limited distance at 25 mph or less, ECO, which minimizes fuel consumption by reducing the throttle opening and restricting the air conditioning; and Power for full acceleration. The Prius v automatically switches from ECO to Power when you step on the gas.
The v uses the same CVT transmission as the sedan. Like all CVT’s, it's functional but boring. The new v gets some small improvements to the Hybrid Synergy Drive system. There are a number of battery cooling improvements that aren't even in the Lexus CT200H introduced last year. The front suspension components have also been upgraded, and there are different front strut mounts.
The bottom line on Prius v performance is that it's slower and less fuel efficient than the sedan, because of the extra weight. But the gain in family functionality, may just offset any liabilities it may have.
Click here and we’ll give a summary of our week with the 2012 Toyota Prius v.