When the Toyota Prius first came out, there was a a huge influx of those who couldn’t wait for the chance to buy them. I was not one of them. For purely esthetic reasons, I just wasn’t interested in the Prius. Now that the 2014 Toyota Prius v is out, that’s all changed! In fact, several commented on how nice the car looked and were shocked to find out it was a Prius!
2014 Toyota Prius v First Impressions
The “grown up” Prius v just makes sense. Designers at Toyota obviously put a lot of thought in to positioning, function, and style. There were three things that immediately got my attention.
- There’s no gauge cluster above the steering wheel.
- The gear shift is on the upper control panel.
- The emergency brake is a button on the upper control panel.
Though an adjustment to what I’m used to, it was very easy to get used to and I found that I even preferred the new locations. Everything was in arms reach and didn’t require my looking down at all.
Cubbies, Nooks, and Compartments – Oh My!
There’s a place for everything with plenty of room for more. The Prius v has TWO glove compartments and a mini-charging station complete with the perfect spot for your phone. It even has a nook for our purse, ladies! It’s awesomeness is only appreciated when you can quickly find and get all your necessities within a few seconds!
Features that only see occasional use tuck away neatly but are easily accessible when needed. This really comes in handy, especially if you’ve ever had to sit in the middle seat with a rogue center seat belt poking you in uncomfortable places. Yeouch!
Who needs a living room when you send the kids to the Prius v to make a fort?! There’s so much room in the trunk / cargo area that a full Costco/Sam’s Club trip fits easily. For those bigger stock-up trips, the back seats fold down for a smooth, flush surface. To rest those nerves, the seats have a plastic panel so there’s no worry about puncturing the fabric when scooting things in and out. Still, the Prius v is only a teeny, tiny bit longer than the normal Prius.
Oh, in case you forget to bring re-usable bags with you (like I did) or just have some small things you don’t want rolling around, smaller compartments can be found under the base cover.
Speaking of the rear row of seats, long-legged passengers will be quite comfy there. The 60/40 split seats slide back to accommodate the current giant-sized generation and even allows them to cross their legs! As the seats slide back, they also slide forward for an extra bit of space.
What About It Being a Hybrid?
Okay, let’s get to the part you’re most interested in – the fact that it’s a hybrid. Electric power is used mostly in the city. For faster speeds and more power, the car will need to use gas. The engine will decide which to use automatically but there was a function to choose EV (electric vehicle), Eco Mode (saving gas), or Power mode manually.
If you accelerate slowly from a stop (about 1/mph) and/or stay around 30-45 mph, you can drive on all electric power from the fuel cell. Speeding up a that rate will cause some pretty nasty gestures from cars behind you or waiting for you to pass the intersection. I guess it’s worth it for some though. No wonder Prius drivers always seem to go so slow – they’re trying to stay on electric power instead of using up their gas!
You do not need to plug the Prius v into a power station. Instead, every time you brake to slow down or stop the battery is charged a bit. It was actually kind of fun to see how much we could rely only on electric power and trying to recharge the fuel cell to stay as full as possible.
Even with switching between gas and electric power, Frans and I averaged about 44 mpg for the week we drove it. That included several trips back and forth and around the bay. Family was visiting so we pretty much had a family dinner every night but at different homes. The transition was smooth and not too noticeable, unlike the Ford C-Max.
Making the “Cool” Crowd
Once upon a time, I would be embarrassed to even be seen in a Prius. Now the Prius v is number two on my list of favorite 2014 cars so far. Look how far Toyota has come! (An older Prius coincidentally parked near me and the driver gave the okay to use photos of his car for this review.)
The ride is smooth, steering is responsive, sound is good, comfort if fantastic, and it only runs about $27,500. That includes the keyless entry and start system, auto headlights, touchscreen with backup camera, heated folding side mirrors, lumbar support, and back area cover as part of the base ‘three’ model. It’s a perfect shopping and / or commute vehicle.
This is one family car that you can afford, enjoy, and feel good about owning!
For more reviews & car-related tips, visit my automotive site for women & families, DrivingMamas.com.