The station wagon is alive and well with the 2015 Toyota Prius v. This four-door wagon adds more cargo space and rear-seat room over the standard Prius hatchback while maintaining the same powertrain.
The Toyota Prius v receives a new front clip, different taillights and some equipment level reshuffling for 2015. It remains in the same wagon format since it debuted for the 2012 model year, with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, two electric motors and a battery pack. The 2015 Prius v comes in four trim levels. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive are standard.
The 2015 Prius v’s new front clip adds more bumper definition with a black finish. ‘Gills’ define the fender line in the lower part of the front clip with new turn signal lights. Top models add new LED fog lamps in the extended bumper area. Rear taillights get a different clear lens treatment with improved LED lighting.
Toyota’s hybrid wagon is just 182.3 inches long with a 109.4-inch wheelbase. The long wheelbase gives the Prius v four large and wide opening doors for easy cabin access.
The liftgate is also large with a high opening threshold and wide access to the rear. Most Prius v models come with 16-inch wheels, though the top Prius v Five model rides on 17-inch alloy wheels.
One look at the dash and you can tell you’re sitting in a Prius. The top of the instrument panel is dead center, and in the Prius v, the digital instrumentation is joined by a small TFT screen for driver information. The oval steering wheel offers circular pods with redundant switches for audio and the information screen. A 6.1-inch touch screen dominates the center stack that also houses the climate controls. The large center knob operates multiple climate functions, while the transmission is operated by a lever that flips into place.
In our test Prius v Four, leatherette upholstery covers the two rows of seats. Front seating offers plenty of power adjustment for rake, recline, height and lumbar support.
Rear seats can accommodate three across with a fully flat floor, and there are adjustments for rake and recline with adjustable head rests. The second row also folds down for a flat cargo floor with a 60-40 split.
With the second row up, the Prius v can hold up to 34.3 cubic feet. With the rear seats down, that capacity increases to about 67 cubic feet. A sliding removable cargo cover is available to hide precious items away from onlookers.
As with the Prius hatchback, the Prius v is powered by the combination of a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and two electric motors. Total power output is 134 horsepower. A CVT is connected to the hybrid powertrain and sends power to the front wheels. The 2015 Prius v gets up to 44 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.
There is enough power to manage the Prius v, though the CVT slows things down a bit during passing maneuvers and on-ramp entries. Handling is decent, and the Prius v does ride smoothly with its long wheelbase. Steering is on the vague side with a large turning radius. Brakes are decent, even with the regenerative system working.
The 2015 Prius v comes standard with automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a USB port and a 6.1-inch touch screen. Higher trims bring in features like navigation, smartphone app integration and satellite radio.
Our test Prius v Four had the navigation system, as well as audio options that include SiriusXM satellite radio and smartphone app connectivity from the Entune App Suite, including iHeartRadio and Pandora Internet Radio. Our test car had a six-speaker audio system, though the top Prius v Five trim features an eight-speaker JBL audio system.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Prius v with its Top Safety Pick+ designation. This award is based on the Prius v’s top ratings of Good in all crash tests and a top Advanced rating for front crash prevention. At the time of this review, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not rated the Prius v in most crash tests, though it did earn four out of five stars for its performance in rollover tests.
Toyota equips the Prius v with electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, seven air bags and a rearview camera. Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and Toyota’s Safety Connect telematics system are available.
The Prius v lineup starts off with a base price of $26,675 for a Prius v Two wagon. Our Prius v Four had a base price of $29,695. Hybrid vehicles tend to be priced higher than their gasoline-only competitors. For example, there is roughly a $5,000 price premium over a Volkswagen Golf SportWagen with the turbocharged 1.8-liter gasoline engine. Both the Golf SportWagen S and Prius v Two offer similar core standard equipment, which points to the Prius v’s higher cost of entry as a hybrid vehicle.
The Prius v only has one direct competitor: the Ford C-Max. As for wagons, the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen is another competitor. The Prius v offers better fuel efficiency, yet all three models rank similarly in terms of passenger space, cargo volume and equipment levels. Only the Golf SportWagen has better overall performance over the Prius v.
Those looking for a station wagon will appreciate the space available in the 2015 Prius v. Owners will also appreciate the good fuel economy the Prius v gets, along with the lack of emissions. It is a viable choice for those looking for sustainable transportation with the need to carry families and their things.