Like many people, I have spent the last 10 years eyeballing the Toyota Prius. At first, I laughed at them – there was no way this would catch on! Then, I marveled at them – how neat and quirky they were! More recently, I’ve boiled with envy as they flew past the gas pump while I plunked down all but my firstborn child in exchange for the diesel my car gobbled up like peanuts at a dive bar.
As an earth-friendly gal with a deep hatred of high gas prices, I’d all but convinced my husband to buy one back in 2005… and then I found out I was pregnant. Just like that, my Prius bubble popped. How would I fit a car seat in there? Not to mention all our stuff?! Just a quick trip to the grocery store would leave me, my husband and our two little girls in giant car seats crammed in like sardines!
Just when I thought I’d never get the hybrid of my dreams, I learned THERE’S STILL HOPE! I am pleased to announce that the Prius line is growing – to accommodate everything from a traveling family with pets to a big trip to Costco! This is, by far, the best news ever (ok, maybe not EVER, but bear with me). This fall, the Prius v (for “versatility”) will be born and this hybrid is made with young, active families in mind. Carrying on the Prius tradition of ridiculously great gas mileage, the v averages a 44 city and 40 highway for a combined 42MPG!
While still a manageable size, the v has 80% more cargo space than all small SUVs , making use of its foldable rear seats. This means I can cram ALL the beach gear (no more “Mooooom! You forgot my BIG bucket!”) or ALL the camping equipment into the back, without having to take our less than eco-friendly mid-size SUV on a long vacation!
The Prius, despite is stature, is both safe AND reliable – 97% of all Prius models ever sold are still on the road today – making it a great choice for families. Safety features include airbags, the Star Safety System (stability, traction, brakes, and stuff), LATCH for carseats and a “vehicle proximity notification system” which basically alerts you if you’re about to hit (or be hit) by something!
The v will come in three builds:
- v two – the base model, complete with standard features including EV/Eco/Power drive modes to maximize fuel economy, push button start, an umbrella holder, built-in Bluetooth hands-free phone controls and a 6.1-in touch screen that’s home to the audio, Entune (I’ll tell you about that in a sec) and navigation systems as well as the backup camera. That’s right, you read that correctly. All v’s come standard with a super convenient, sure to be used backup camera. I am the world’s worst parallel parker, so this will save me a ton of stress!
- v three – the next step up, including a fancier touch screen media center and more efficient use of the standard model’s Entune system, which allows you to use certain popular apps like Bing , iheartradio, MovieTickets.com, Open Table and Pandora – you can also access traffic, weather, sports, stocks, news and gas prices. Super cool, without having to fumble around with your phone.
- v five – the fancy-schmancy v! This one has 17 inch wheels with heated, fully adjustable seats, fog lamps, plus an optional “Technology Package” that comes with goodies like a rockin’ JBL sound system, Safety Connect (roadside assistance, stolen vehicle locator, etc.) and a panoramic moon roof. This ain’t yo’ Grandma’s moonroof… this this is EPIC! It spans the front AND back seats, making the interior super light and open or offering a full view of the stars!
- no, there is no v four – I asked them where four went, but they told me they’d have to kill me…
Bottom line? The Prius v is great! I was lucky enough to be able to test it out on an excursion to San Juan Bautista and it was a smooth, quiet, awesome ride. I can’t wait for its fall launch so I can start begging my husband to buy me one!
Check out the new family of Prius(es?) at: www.toyota.com/priusfamily and on Facebook!
*I was not compensated for this review… I’m just super excited for a family-sized Prius!*