Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Car Review Toyota 2012 Prius v Hybrid Fuel Efficiency Without Sacrificing Most Sought Auto Features


All photos in this post by Janis Brett Elspas, MommyBlogExpert.com

If you're a Baby Boomer who grew up in the 70s like I did, you may recall the early compact and sub-compact cars made by Toyota and its competitors that were products of the 1973 Oil Crisis and America's new demand at the time for greater fuel efficiency. Later in 1997, with the introduction of the original Prius model, Toyota became one of the first companies to commercially mass produce and sell hybrid cars, bringing forth a whole new kind of energy smart driving machine

2012 Prius v Featured in this Review
The Prius family of vehicles, which received the GreenCarReports.com 2012 Best Green Car Award  has been accelerating ever since. Now including the third generation Prius Hatchback, the Prius v, and the Prius c, with the Prius Plug-In Hybrid expected to debut early this year, the brand is the best-selling hybrid in America Understandably, with all that history in addition to my family having owned a few Toyotas over the years,  you can probably imagine why I was both intrigued and excited to have the opportunity to drive and evaluate the 2012 Prius v for Mommy Blog Expert.

The Prius v is unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show
I have to admit that the first time I saw the Prius v that was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November I wasn't really that stoked about it. From the looks of the car's exterior body, I thought this vehicle -- while certainly sporty in styling -- would be way too small for me, my passengers, and cargo, and that it would likely not have much power upon acceleration. As my subsequent hands-on testing went on to prove, I was wrong on both these counts and many other pre-conceived notions I had about hybrid cars in general and the Prius v in particular.

Pulling out of Toyota's Press Vehicle Lot to Start the Test
Typically I look forward to driving my own car again after using a loaner or rental. However this experience was a whole different story. After testing and driving the Prius v over 900 miles to Las Vegas to cover CES the International Consumer Electronics Show and back home to Los Angeles I discovered that -- ironically -- there are many more things that I liked about this Toyota hybrid than the non-Toyota SUV that I currently own and drive.

Prius v Driver's Seat View - Check out all the Bells & Whistles
With three models to choose from the Prius v is loaded with wonderful standard features depending on the model as well as some cool options that you can add on to customize it still further. At this point I'd be remiss not to mention that the "v" in Prius stands for versatile -- and as a matter of fact -- after driving this car I couldn't think of a better word to describe it.

Screen Shot of the Entune App on my iPhone
Furthermore, I could go on for pages about all things that I think you might appreciate about this vehicle. But to keep this post from getting too long, here are just a handful of the things that had the greatest appeal to me on the Prius v Five press car that I drove for this review.

The Spacious Second Row of Seats in the Prius v
  • Awesome fuel efficiency, averaging between 38-40 MPG in city and on the highway, and a good amount of power for driving long distances at the maximum speed limits on freeways
  • A compact size car that made it possible to take advantage of designated hybrid parking spaces in Las Vegas and L.A.
  • Sporty exterior with a roomy interior cabin with generous headroom and leg room for tall people like me, my hubbie, and all four of our teens
  • A panoramic moon roof with power sliding sunshades that opens so wide to the sky that it almost creates the feel of riding in a convertible with the top down
  • Automatic climate control to maintain a constant temperature of your choosing
  • Large display GPS audio with navigation with camera view back up, built-in SiriusXM Satellite Radio and the Entune system that when downloaded to your cell phone from the App Store gives you hands free in-car phone use, Internet connectivity to Bing, Open Table, Pandora plus other practical apps you'll use while traveling.
  • Ample center front seat console for storage as well as other strategically located cup holders plus other places to store things like maps, sunglasses, and mobile devices while driving
  • Sun visors with light up vanity mirrors above both the driver's and front passenger's seats
  • Keyless entry and ignition that starts at the push of a button; an added plus is that this car will not let you lock it if the sensor that opens it is left inside which is something I think harried carpool moms will especially appreciate
  • A great deal of room in the hatchback trunk for hauling around the things you need while in town like kid's sporting equipment and for baggage for longer trips
The Prius v has so many features it comes with 3 separate manuals
With the introduction of the Prius v last fall and the introduction of the brand new Prius c this month (which I hope to test and review for a future MBE post) Toyota shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. That's what is called real progress. 

If the latest innovations are any indication, I can't wait to see what Toyota rolls off their development line next.

Toyota USA Corporate Headquarters in Torrance, California

FTC Disclosure: I am a member of the Toyota Women Influencers Network TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. To facilitate this review Toyota provided me with the use of the Prius v from their press car fleet. However, I did not receive any compensation for writing this post or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of Toyota or any of its brands. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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