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December 01, 2011

My Toyota Prius v Experience

2012-toyota-prius_100336645_mBy Alicia A. Seiverth

As a single mother as well as a consumer, I’m always looking for a way to get the most for my money. Attending the Prius v Media Viewing Event at the Toyota JM Family Enterprises, Inc. in Jacksonville Florida, gave me a healthy dose of new and interesting information.

The exterior has changed only slightly in the past few years, although the improved aerodynamics were easily visible. The hood, windshield and roof made it very obvious that this vehicle was built to give maximum performance, encouraging the estimated 44mpg in the city and 40mpg on the highway.

Toyota-Prius-V-viewAs a bells and whistles kind of girl, they certainly caught my attention with some of the features. The keyless entry is truly keyless entry and is considered standard equipment. No more searching to find those keys!! You can leave the keys in your purse or pocket and just push the button on the door to unlock it, then use the push button ignition to get going. The instrument panel is also much easier to view, since they have placed it in the middle and the dash. The ability to see the speedometer, fuel gauge, clock and battery power are much easier to read in this position. Two other great features are the 6.1 touch-screen Navigation system and Entune. The navigation system, which is standard on the 3 and 5 series, offers a touch-screen with split-screen capability, as well as a backup camera, 2 features that are necessary for me since I always need help finding where I’m going and what’s behind me. No more dented bumpers! The Entune system offers almost too many features to mention like Bing, and Pandora, iHeartRadio, real time traffic, weather, fuel prices and stocks as well as Bluetooth wireless technology, USB port for ipod connectivity, XM radio, text-to-speech, voice recognition and many more. I would have loved to have seen the Panoramic View Moonroof but it wasn’t available on the models we drove.

Although I did enjoy the bells and whistles, I wasn’t extremely impressed with the interior. The seating was standard and boring and didn’t offer much appeal in the way of being eye-catching. The cargo space was surprising though, seeing how large it was and how much can be stored. It offers more space than the typical small sized SUV. It also offers a lot of storage space inside, with a double glove box and a huge console that can store up to 23 CD cases. 

Prius-v-rear-502Now for the economical part which is most important to me. I was blown away to learn that the Prius v gets 44 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. With 2 children attending different events in all different parts of the city, this was the most important feature for me. With gas prices at almost $3.50, I need to be able to conserve fuel wherever possible. When we were exiting the lot for the test drive, we had to pause for the gate to open. The car turned off the gasoline engine and switched to the electric motor to help with greater fuel efficiency. We couldn’t even tell this happened except for noticing it on the instrument panel. When we began to accelerate, there was no hesitation when switching from electric motor to gasoline engine. Not only does it help conserve gas, it also helps support a cleaner environment with Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle rating.

The drive in itself was pretty uneventful. It accelerated and stopped quickly and the steering was tight but I was bothered by the outside noise and the seating wasn’t that comfortable.

The MSRP on the lowest of the 3 models, the Prius v 2 is $26,400, which obviously is the most basic model, not the model with most of the fun options. The 3 and 5 series with the better options MSRP at $27,165 and $29,990 respectively. All in all, because of the high mpg and low emissions, I think this would be a great car for a growing family that expects to keep it for a long time. Especially for busy moms like me that are constantly running my girls around town! Less time at the pump, more money in my pocket!

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