The Prius V is the family friendly version of Toyota’s best selling hybrid.
The Prius itself was updated in early 2016, with better everything including better performance and fuel consumption.
This one however dates back to 2015, which is a bloody long time in the automotive world and explains why it feels dated.
What’s it cost?
Prices start from $37,590 for the base model, or $45,380 for the higher spec i-Tech.
Our test vehicle, the base model, comes with a mix cloth and faux leather trim plus single climate air conditioning.
There’s also daytime LEDs, satnav, and 8-speaker JBL audio including digital radio.
Seven airbags are fitted plus Pre-Collision Safety system with pedestrian detection, a rear view camera, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam and Active Cruise Control — but it misses out on the latest Auto Emergency Braking (AEB).
Head Up display is standard which projects driver information on to the lower section of the windscreen and this one even works with polarised sunglasses.
It also gets a thing called Touch Tracer which allows the driver to control various on-board functions without the need to look down or take their hands from the steering wheel.
When the driver lightly touches the audio or information dials on the steering wheel, a duplicate image is automatically displayed on the windscreen.
What’s it go like?
The 1.8-litre four cylinder petrol engine produces 73kW of power and 142Nm of torque, the latter from 4000 revs.
The hybrid system which adds a 60kW electric motor produces a combined output of 100kW.
Electric energy collected during braking and stored for later use during acceleration.
Fuel consumption is rated at 4.4L/100km.
Both models ride on the same 16 inch alloys wheels with wheel covers, even though they’re alloy (we used to call them hubcaps).
We were getting 4.8L/100km after about 430km.
Toyota has managed to inject some excitement into driving the Prius itself, but the Prius V sadly misses out that particular upgrade.
It does what it does, delivering excellent fuel consumption, but don’t expect it to ring any bells.
Performance is adequate at best, unsatisfying at worst, with a CVT that acts more like a CVT the harder you go.
By that we mean that driven sedately its fairly inoffensive, but when you start planting the right foot it starts to rev lot and produce the zoomy effect for which early examples of the technology are renowned.
The ride is firmish, verging on harsh at times, with plenty of noise from the low roll resistance tyres.
With that third pair of seats in the back, however, it represents good value as second car for larger families — not first because it just isn’t large enough.
We can’t imagine what the performance must be like with the seven seats filled (nor do we want to find out).
The cabin and seats are reasonably comfortable, but the cabin feels low rent with plenty of plastic contributing to this result.
The instrument cluster sits in the middle of the dash, instead of directly in front of the driver, and some drivers might not like this setup.
But the Head Up display puts most of the information you need back in front of your eyes anyway — so it’s not a biggie.
The 6.1-inch screen is a touchscreen but requires a steady hand to hit the right target on the move and Toyota still persists with its in house Toyota Link system instead of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
You need to download an app and any productive “linking” is severely limited.
Satellite navigation with speed cameras is however part of the deal.
What we like?
Great fuel economy
Seats seven at a pinch
What we don’t like?
Showing its age
Feels low rent
No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
Tiny computer screen
No one touch blinkers
The bottom line?
The idea is sound, but the Prius V is showing its age and feels a bit plastic — not to mention the tiny computer screen with its low-res graphics.