Toyota asserts that the launch of the Prius v and Prius + in Europe and North America will proceed as scheduled in the fall. Because of the damage from the March 11 earthquake, there were speculations that the launch would be delayed. It was also rumored that the shortage of batteries has led to production getting clogged up.
However, enthusiasts may have to wait longer before the Japanese-market Prius Alpha arrives.
Toyota hasn’t yet indicated a timeframe for this model. Right after Toyota Motor Corporation's (TMC) announced in Japan that delivery of the Prius alpha will be delayed, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) made its own announcement that the Prius is still set on delivering the vehicle to the U.S. market in the fall.
The continuing effects of the Japan earthquake have resulted to the delay of the Japan-market Prius alpha. The Prius v is scheduled to start selling in the third quarter of 2011 but the model that would be offered in the U.S. is different from the versions that will arrive in Europe and Japan.
There have been reports saying that the U.S. version of the hybrid wagon will feature only two rows of seats while in other countries, it will have three rows.
The latest Toyota Prius V has been aptly named because of its versatility, and it is designed to satisfy the requirements of active growing families, as well as provide the classic well-loved traits that the Prius line is known for. The Prius V will be constructed on the existing tried-and-tested Prius platform and Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. However, the Prius V will be increasing the interior carrying capacity by 50 percent over the current model, despite still maintaining compact overall external dimensions.
The Toyota Prius V’s design equally considers spaciousness, style refinement and aerodynamic efficiency. In fact, it has a low drag coefficient of only 0.29, consistent with the automobile’s practical and green image. Overall, the vehicle represents an evolutionary step in the Prius line design, instead of merely being a lengthened version of the older models.
The Toyota Prius V features a streamlined and curved body shape that projects confidence. The signature triangular Prius profile is still evident because of the extended roofline. The polygonal form of the front is complemented by the angular headlights, the aerodynamic corners and the enlarged lower grille, which all combine to completely make over the existing Prius look. At the rear, a new roof spoiler that helps with overall aerodynamics sits atop, while the redesigned backdoor panel headlines the view, along with the elaborate combination tail lamps.
The interior of the Toyota Prius V is designed to prioritise properly proportioned roominess that’s adaptable for active families. Comfort levels and visibility are enhanced by the considerable headroom despite the elevated seating position.
Substantial leg room is also afforded by the generous 38-inch couple distance. The low rear hatch has a wide opening behind the rear seats and accommodates 34.3 cubic feet of space for storage. Indeed, its cargo capacity is unprecedented among dedicated hybrid automobiles and actually even exceeds that of some compact SUVs.
An active family of five can comfortably be accommodated in the Toyota Prius V. The second row seats can be reclined 45 degrees, and also be slid back and forth to facilitate passenger and cargo loading and unloading, as well as to optimise rear storage. The rear seats can fold in a 60/40 split, permitting four possible seat settings, all of which are greatly practical for passengers and carry-ons. Additionally, the front passenger seat can be collapsed flatly if long cargo items need to be carried.
The Prius V is the first Toyota to optionally feature a resin Panoramic View moon roof that has power-controlled retracting sun shades. This feature opens the cabin space atmosphere while providing outstanding heat insulation and being 40 percent more lightweight than similar-sized traditional glass roofs.
The controls on the instrument panel, from the single air-conditioner knob to the central multi-function digital meter, look sleekly hi-tech while being intuitively manageable. The Start push button, driving mode selection, parking switch and electronic shift lever all feature silver trimming.
For a midsize vehicle of considerable capacity and spaciousness, the Toyota Prius V surprisingly only consumes 42 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on highways and 40 mpg combined. These are unmatched EPA fuel economy ratings throughout the entire SUV, crossover and wagon segments. CO2 emission is also 66 per cent lower than the average for new automobiles.
As with past Prius models, the Toyota Prius V is loaded with innovative technology while also retaining many standard features. The Normal, Power, Eco and EV driving modes can be selected to optimise performance over various surface conditions and with different driving styles. Also standard are a Smart Key System with Push Button Start, an electronic shift lever, a back-up camera and Hill Start Assist Control (HAC). Other optional features include energy-saving LED headlights, the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with a Pre-Collision System (PCS), and the Advanced Parking Guidance System.
Seven airbags, a mechanically sturdy cabin, an energy-absorbing structural body design with impact beams, cross members, leg absorption pads and seven airbags ensure superior safety. The driver and front passenger seats have a new seat design that makes collision whiplash injuries less likely.