2012 Toyota Prius v is the next model to join the Prius family. It comes to offer spaciousness, economy and excellent performance.

If you wonder what the "v" behind the Prius stands for, well it stands for "versatility". This is because this Toyota model is the first one to offer the flexibility and roominess of seven seats combined with a hybrid powertrain.

What differs the Prius v from a standard Prius model is that it is longer, wider and taller and has an extended wheelbase. This is what makes possible for the vehicle to accommodate adults in all three rows. The latter were successfully added to the car, because its design now saves space from the highly compact, space-saving lithium-ion battery pack, which is placed under the centre console between the front seats.

In particular, the new car's seven-seat format includes three independent sliding, reclining and split-folding second-row seats and a 50:50 split-folding third tier. This ensures large range of seating and cargo-carrying combinations.

Moreover, Prius v comes equipped with array of advanced features including a 6.1-inch display-screen audio system, automatic air-conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, energy monitor, head-up display, keyless entry and ignition, daytime-sensing headlamps, electric power steering, cruise control and daytime running lamps.

The interior equipment of the car includes multi-information display, four-spoke premium steering wheel with Touch Tracer sensitive controls for audio, air-conditioning temperature and trip display, and a tilt/telescopic-adjustable column.

2012 Toyota Prius v

In terms of safety and security, the future customers will be delighted to hear that this model has seven airbags, a reversing camera, hill-start assist, stability and traction control, and anti-skid brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution are standard.

More importantly, Prius v includes the latest and best generation of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain. It uses 1.8-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine and a powerful 60kW (82 hp) electric motor for a combined system output of 100kW (136 hp).

The Prius v 1.8-litre Atkinson cycle 2ZR-FXE engine delivers alone 73kW (99 hp) of power at 5200rpm and 142Nm (105 lb-ft) of torque at 4000rpm. On the other hand the vehicle's 650V electric drive motor has 60kW of power and 207Nm (199 lb-ft) of torque. This results as already mentioned in combined maximum power of 100kW (136 hp).

In details, the engine uses the Atkinson cycle, which has a higher expansion ratio than a conventional Otto cycle engine. This basically means that it offers improved fuel economy and emissions.

This unique system ensures low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as well. It is supported by low weight and strong aerodynamic performance, thus offering class-leading fuel economy of 4.4 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 101g/km.

In addition, at the convenience of the drivers is the 6.1 inch display-audio screen, where they can observe the power flow between the engine, motor generators, battery and wheels on an energy monitor.

Being a true Prius, the "v" one includes three "on-demand" drive modes which increase the capabilities of the full hybrid powertrain. The first one - EV mode, runs alone the electric motor ultra-quietly for up to two kilometers. This of course effects in zero fuel consumption and emissions.

The second Eco mode prioritizes fuel economy by slightly damping throttle response and restricting power consumption from the air-conditioning system. The last one, the Power mode boosts system performance.

2012 Toyota Prius v starting price is $ 35 990.

2012 Toyota Prius v Interior

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2012 Toyota Prius v Specifications:

ENGINE
Type Petrol
Capacity (cc) 1798
Code 2ZR-FXE
Description Four cylinder Atkinson cycle, DOHC, four valves per cylinder with variable intake valve timing and cooled EGR
Bore x stroke (mm) 80.5 x 88.3
Compression ratio 13.0:1
Max. power 73kW @ 5200rpm
Max. torque 142Nm @ 4000rpm
Fuel system (petrol) Electronic multipoint fuel injection with Electronic Throttle Control System
Fuel type 95 RON or higher
Fuel tank capacity (L) 45
Fuel economy (L/100km)* 4.4 (Combined)
4.2 (Urban)
4.3 (Extra urban)
Carbon dioxide (g/km)* 101 (Combined cycle)
HYBRID SYSTEM
Type Series/parallel
System output 100kW (Combined)
Electric motor 60kW AC synchronous
Maximum voltage (V) 650
High-voltage battery Lithium-ion
- Voltage (V) 201.6
TRANSMISSION
Driven wheels Front
Transmission description Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT)
Transmission code P410
Final drive 3.703:1
STEERING
Type Rack and pinion, Electric Power Steering (EPS)
Turns lock to lock (m) 3.31
Minimum turning radius (m) 5.5 (kerb to kerb)
SUSPENSION
Front Independent, MacPherson struts, L-arms, coil springs, gas dampers and stabiliser bar
Rear Semi-independent torsion beam, coil springs, gas dampers
FRICTION BRAKES
Front 296mm x 28mm ventilated discs, with sliding callipers
Rear 290mm x 12mm solid discs
Stability control Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB), ABS with Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Body Control with Torque Demand
WHEELS
Rims 16 x 6.5J aluminium with full size cover
Tyres P205/60 R16
BODY
Body type Monocoque 5DR liftback
Length (mm) 4615
Width (mm) 1775
Overall height (mm) 1590
Wheelbase (mm) 2780
Front track (mm) 1540
Rear track (mm) 1545
Coefficient of drag (Cd) 0.29
Running clearance 160mm
WEIGHTS/LOADS
Kerb weight (kg) 1565
Gross vehicle mass (kg) 2115

Source: Toyota