By contributing editor David Colman
- 58% more room
- Double sunroof
- Airy interior
- Reduced MPG
- Awkward shape
- Plethora of driving distractions
A couple of years ago, 3 of us set out on wine country safari in a second generation Prius 4-door. By the end of the day, the cabin of that car was beginning to feel very small. The trunk was loaded with cases of wine and the rear springs sagged accordingly. Our spirits flagged from sharing such close quarters. While the trip was a success, the Prius was judged to be undersized for the mission.
Enter the antidote for such congestion, the new for 2012 Prius v, which goes on sale in the Fall of 2011. According to Toyota, the “v” stands for versatility. The expanded version retains the original’s 134 hp Hybrid Synergy Drive and distinctive edgy appearance. But thanks to a soaring new roofline and lengthened wheelbase, the “v” gains that scosh of room growing families now require. Overall length grows by half a foot, width by just over an inch, and height by 3 inches. Wheelbase is up by more than 3 inches, which contributes to a 38 inch couple distance between front and rear seats. The feeling inside is a move from Economy Class to Business Class. Compared to the existing Prius, the interior of the “v” feels like a cathedral, with huge, airy windows, and a vaulted ceiling made all the more impressive by a new, optional front/rear sunroof.
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