• Mar 11, 2011
2012 Toyota Prius V – Click above for the high-res image gallery

The Prius V is set to go on sale in the third quarter of this year, but the model being sold in the U.S. won't be the same as the European and Japanese versions. The New York Times reports that the hybrid wagon will come with only two rows of seating here in the U.S., while three rows will be offered overseas.

Toyota spokesman John Hanson gives several reasons for this decision, but two stick out above all others. Perhaps most important is the fact that the U.S. version of the V will come only with a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack, which takes up a lot of room in the hybrid's hind-quarters to offer a sufficient third row. The Euro and JDM models will feature lithium tech, which is smaller and more compact.

Another reason for the move is cost. Hanson points out that foregoing the third row and using the same battery tech as the current Prius helps keep cost down, which should make the fuel-sipping MPV more attainable to the masses. In Japan, the Prius V with lithium will reportedly be priced about $8,000 higher than the nickel-metal-hydride model.

So will the lack of a third row be a big problem for the Prius V? We doubt it, especially as we would expect the third row to be very tight for America's typically larger builds. In the end, however, consumers could have the last word on the subject. If it turns out that green-conscious buyers do want that third row more than Toyota is expecting, Hanson claims that both versions could be made available at some point.

[Source: The New York Times]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Even if the 3rd row was very cramped, it's still a pretty big selling point they're missing out on. Taking up space with bigger batteries seems kind of strange too, because interior volume is such a huge marketing item as well....But of course this is still a Prius we're talking about, so the people buying them won't really care anyway.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah, some commenters should really read more carefully. Toyota didn't call Americans oversize. The author of the article did.

      Toyota said lithium battery take less space but cost more. So they went with NiMH battery; cost less; more space = no room for 3rd row.

      So those that want the 3rd row seat, would you be willing to pay $30k+ for it? I think the Toyota's intended audience would not.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ugly and a soul sucking driving experience - save me from the Prius fate
      • 3 Years Ago
      I blogged about this this morning too haha ;)

      I recently rented a Prius for a week. During that time, "Gee, I wish it were bigger" never crossed my mind. The Prius is incredibly roomy (and incredibly bland).

      The Prius V actually did appeal to me because it appeared to be a neat alternative to a full-fledged minivan... if you needed 7 seats, but didn't necessarily need something the size of an Odyssey.

      Without the 3rd row, I don't see the point. If you wanted a bland, 5-seater wagon that didn't get as great gas mileage as a Prius, Toyota still sells the Matrix...
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Prius is fine, but it isn't "incredibly roomy." Fitting four adults in there is OK for a run to lunch, but not for a trip of any considerable length.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yeah - agreed. I took 4 colleagues out to lunch once - back seat was a bit cramped with 5 adults. But it's not any worse than say.. a Camry :)
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's a reason why cars are so much cheaper in the U.S. than in Europe - Americans get stripped down versions (e.g. Prius V) or old models (e.g. previous gen Focus).
      • 3 Years Ago
      I still cannot understand why we get shafted with the 5-seater model. Yes, most Americans won't fit into the last row, but guess what? The children can--hopefully, anyway. Have those have built-in booster seats, and now you've got a bona-fide family hauler.

      As it is, the Prius V doesn't have enough incentive over the regular Prius. As many have been commenting, the Prius surprisingly has a lot of cargo room as is, so I don't understand who would actually go for the Prius V for a nominal increase in storage but probably relatively substantial decrease in MPGs.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't like the Prius but I have to say the wagon version was the surprise for me of the Chicago auto show. It's number one on my replacement list for our Mazda MPV. The added room is perfect for a big dog plus luggage - the price and mileage are the bonus. I assume the third row would be pretty useless anyway based on the size - it's smaller than a Mazda5.
      Before you hate, I don't buy into global warming and I drive an S2000.
      • 3 Years Ago
      that's ok, for every hybrid sold, there are 5 V8s being sold somewhere else lol
      • 3 Years Ago
      They did the same thing to the CR-Z. Instead of a 4 seater, they made it a 2 here in North America, eliminating all chances of me buying one. The official excuse? The lack of rear seat headrests. What they left behind is an area which looks like seats, but is made from hard plastic with a yellow sticker saying they are not seats.

      Not saying I would use the rear seats on a regular basis, but to haul a couple of friends in a pinch? Of course I would.
      • 3 Years Ago
      To everyone commenting, please Read the Article first.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sooooo, what's the point now? It isn't like the Prius didn't have enough cargo capacity...

      I am sure people will buy it for the smug factor.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The main turnoff for me is design. It looks so sedate and un-exciting. And Toyota, please don't continue with the current funky design. Why can't you make a hybrid that looks normal? Is that so much to ask?
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