As a dedicated environmentalist, I choose gas mileage over almost any other car feature. So I was super excited to test out the Prius v. It offers the convenience and flexibility of a hatchback and split folding rear seats, just like a compact SUV, but with a rating of 42 mpg.
The Prius delivered. The car got super mileage (though a bit less when we ran the AC) and easily fit 3 adults, a full size yellow lab and the entire contents of my daughter’s dorm room. The car is rated at 42 mpg; we got 40, which is still in the upper echelons of economical and environmentally sensitive.
The dashboard tells you how far you have left in the tank.
And if you want to geek out, you can see how the energy in the car is regenerated in this video:
Luxury touches like leather seats and wood finishes are not available, possibly for weight considerations (plastic weighs less). But the front seats are heated; a welcome luxe touch. Maybe this is even environmentally correct; you only have to heat the driver’s seat if you are driving alone in the car. [But it’s a Prius – aren’t you car pooling?]
But choosing a Prius that doesn’t mean you have to wear a hair shirt while you proclaim your eco sensitivity. The Prius has a USB port and two power outlets, and five cup holders for your reusable drink containers. There is a rear windshield wiper and heated outside mirrors.
The touchscreen is on the smaller side – only 6 inches – but if offers Sirius XM radio, a built-in navigation system, bluetooth connectivity and a rear back up camera. In short, everything you need (again, I bet the screen size is related to weight considerations).
Start and Stop
The Prius has a push button start, but once the car is on, it is so quiet you have to readjust your expectations. Like when you turn the car off; the first time we drove a Prius, years ago, my husband left the car running two or three times. After that, we would run back to the car at every stop, making sure we’d really turned it off. If you are the type who goes back home to make sure the iron/oven/heated towel rack (would a Prius driver have a heated towel rack?) was turned off you will be checking and rechecking to make sure you turned the car off.
Save the Planet, Save Your Life
The Prius v received 5 star safety rating, the highest possible. It comes with seven air bags, and a nifty LATCH restraint system. LATCH, with Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren, helps parents properly secure a child safety seat. Driver and front passengers are kept safe with whiplash-injury-lessening seats
What We Loved
The gas mileage!
The split folding rear seat, making loading in a bicycle or transporting oversized items easy.
The latest safety and tech features.
Remote illuminated entry.
What You Need to Know
Suggested price: $30,395. Cargo nets, floor mats and delivery charge brought the total price of my test vehicle to $31,548.
Note: Toyota provided the Prius for my test drive. Opinions expressed are my own.