Nearly one million Prius Hybrids have been sold in the U.S. over the past decade, and with the third generation model sitting in every other politician and Hollywood starlet's garage, its appeal is at an all-time high. In Toyota's estimation it's a great time for the Prius brand to expand and kicking things off is a new crossover with the kiddies in mind.
The 2012 Prius V is packing all the hybrid goodness of the standard Prius but with 34.3 cubic feet of space for your stuff, 38 inches of rear leg room and the fuel economy most vehicles can only dream of. The V is five inches longer and an inch wider than the O.G. Prius with the same 1.8-liter four cylinder hybrid power source, so it won't match little brother's 50 miles per gallon efficiency. Sill, the roomy MPV will net 42 miles per gallon in the city and an also lofty 38 mpg on the highway, or better than most anything on the road. The efficiency quotient is helped with a .29 drag coefficient and creative engineering feats like a resin panoramic moonroof that helps keep weight in check.
Technology will likely be improved as well, typified by Toyota's Entune infotainment system that combines improved navigation, a rich interface, Bluetooth, and XM Satellite Radio. The Prius V hits dealer showrooms this summer but before you put down a deposit, hit the jump for the details and check the live gallery below.
Live photos copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips and Steven J. Ewing / AOL
The new Prius v, with "v" expressing the vehicle's versatility, will meet the needs of growing families with active lifestyles while providing the same attributes traditionally found in the Prius DNA. It will share the current generation Prius' platform and Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. Featuring a compact exterior yet spacious interior, the Prius v will feature over 50-percent more interior cargo space than the current Prius.
With a balance between outstanding spaciousness, refined style, and smooth aerodynamics, Prius v has a low 0.29 coefficient of drag, which does not inhibit the vehicle's convenient packaging. It is a new vehicle designed from the ground up, with a shape that evolved from Prius rather than being an elongated version.
The exterior styling is sleek, rounded and bold, with an extended roofline that allows the vehicle to retain the triangular silhouette symbolic of Prius. The trapezoidal-shaped front features sharp-edged headlamps, wind-slipping aero corners for improved aerodynamics and an enlarged under grille, which all help create a unique design evolving from the current Prius. Prius v's rear styling is highlighted by a refined backdoor panel, intricate combination taillights and a specially designed roof spoiler that improves air flow.
Inside, the Prius v emphasizes overall proportion with spaciousness and flexibility for active families. Comfortable interior space and good visibility has been assisted by a high seating position, ample head room, and an impressive 38-inch couple distance, providing generous rear legroom. A low, wide-opening rear hatch reveals 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, making it the most spacious dedicated hybrid vehicle on the market and better than some compact SUVs.
Comfortable seating for five is specifically designed for young families. Sliding second row seats allow for easier ingress and egress and rear-storage flexibility, with a 45-degree recline for greater comfort. The 60/40 split, folding rear seats present four different seat arrangements that provide excellent usability for passengers and luggage, while a fold-flat front-passenger seat allows for extremely long cargo.
Also available, and a Toyota-first, is a resin Panoramic View moonroof with power retractable sun shades that provides an open atmosphere in the cabin with a 40-percent reduction in weight as compared to conventional glass roofs of the same size, and excellent heat insulation performance.
Up front, instrument-panel controls, including a single-dial air-conditioning control and a center-mounted digital combination meter, provide an advanced look and user-friendly command. The driving controls – including the Push Button Start, parking switch, electronic shift lever, and driving mode selection – are distinguished by silver trim.
Despite the spaciousness of a family friendly midsize vehicle, the Prius v will deliver estimated EPA fuel economy ratings of 42 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined, the best fuel economy ratings of any SUV, crossover, or wagon on the market. It will also emit 66-percent fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new vehicle.
Like the current generation Prius, the Prius v is a showcase of technology that will include many of the same standard features. Four driving modes (Normal, Power, Eco and EV) satisfy a variety of road conditions and driver preferences. A Smart Key System with Push Button Start, an electronic shift lever, Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), and a back-up camera are standard. Available options include energy-efficient LED headlamps, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with a Pre-Collision System (PCS), and Advanced Parking Guidance System.
For a high level of safety, there are seven airbags, a high-strength cabin and an energy-absorbing body structure with impact beams, cross members and leg absorption pads. New driver and front-passenger seat design helps lessen possible whiplash injury during a collision.
Like all Toyota models, the Prius v will feature Toyota's Star Safety System™ standard, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. It also features the standard Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.
Prius v will be one of the first Toyotas with the Entune™ multimedia system. For the first time ever in an automobile, this innovative new system leverages the mobile phone to provide a richer in-vehicle experience with fully integrated and wireless upgradeable navigation, entertainment and information services.
Toyota Entune debuts the first-ever support for engaging mobile apps, such as Bing, OpenTable, and movietickets.com, along with accessing useful travel-related services, such as live weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price), stocks, news and sports.
Toyota Entune brings the largest selection of music options available to a vehicle, including iheartradio's 750+ stations, Pandora's personalized music, the driver's personal songs from portable media players and iPods (via USB or Bluetooth audio streaming), and more than 170 stations from XM satellite radio.
Featuring a best-in-class, advanced conversational voice recognition system that helps the driver to stay focused on the road, Toyota Entune eliminates the need to memorize thousands of voice commands and helps reduce driver distraction.
Entune will also allow for audio read-back and replay capabilities for text messages, with the ability to respond by pre-set "Quick Reply Messages."
Prius v will combine Entune with a standard Display Audio system rich with dynamic entertainment and communication features. The system will include HD Radio with iTunes tagging for future purchase; XM radio, weather, sports, stocks and local fuel pricing; Bluetooth hands-free phone and wireless audio; and full iPod integration including music and video.
A new evolution in hybrid vehicles with excellent cargo space and Prius' heritage of environmental performance and fuel economy, the 2012 Prius v will go on sale in late summer 2011.