2017 Toyota Prius V

Performance


#2 out of 8 in 2017 Wagons

$22,464 - $26,160

2017 Toyota Prius V Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Toyota Prius V was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 7.1

If you’ve driven the regular Prius, the 2017 Toyota Prius v will be quite familiar, as it shares much of the same powertrain. However, because the Prius v is heavier and larger, it doesn’t accelerate as quickly or burn fuel as efficiently as its smaller sibling does. Transitions between gas and electric-only power are seamless, and there’s not as much of a shudder during the switch as there is in other hybrids. Still, performance in the Prius v is quite sleepy, mainly due to sluggish acceleration and dull handling. Fuel economy is impressive by class standards.

  • It should be no surprise that a Prius V drives very much like a standard Prius. They both use a nearly seamless gasoline engine/electric motor powertrain and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT).” -- Kelly Blue Book
  • As is par for the course for the Prius family, though, the V is pretty bland to drive, and its lackluster acceleration means you must be more conservative with merging and passing maneuvers." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • Drawbacks? Well, the Prius v employs the same hybrid power system as its lighter sibling, so it's both slower and less fuel efficient. But speed is largely a matter of personal preference, and while 42 miles per gallon isn't quite 50 mpg, it's not what we'd call shabby, either." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Acceleration and Power

Powering the 2017 Prius v is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 134 horsepower. The only transmission available is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaves like an automatic but does not shift. This miser of an engine earns 43 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. That’s better than the C-Max Hybrid’s fuel economy (42/37 mpg city/highway) but worse than the Malibu Hybrid’s 49/43 mpg city/highway. The C-Max Hybrid makes an extra 54 horsepower.

Critics disagree on just how weak the Prius v’s acceleration is. Some say it’s slow, requiring extra space when pulling onto the highway and more time when overtaking another car. Others say it provides all the acceleration you need for daily driving, especially with the help of the “power” button, which increases throttle response for more spirited driving. Engine droning under hard acceleration is a common complaint about vehicles with CVT transmissions, and the Prius v is no different. However, test drivers praise the Prius v’s seamless transitions when switching from gas to electric vehicle (EV) mode.

  • The regular Prius has never been a barn-burner, and neither is its larger sibling. That said, don't believe those hybrid stereotypes: If you put your foot into the accelerator, it will do just fine. If you need a little more oomph to get up a short freeway onramp -- and sometimes you will -- there is a ‘power’ mode that helps." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Acceleration is underwhelming as well. Highway merging and passing requires some planning, and the CVT's tendency to keep the engine droning at high rpm is off-putting." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "Transitions when the gas engine cycles on and off during driving are very smooth." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

Whether in the city or on the highway, the Prius v offers a decent ride, but handling is dull. Steering is over-assisted, and there’s very little feedback for the driver. The ride quality is better than the regular Prius, mainly due to the v’s longer wheelbase. Like most hybrids, the Prius v uses regenerative brakes, which work differently than traditional brakes. Regenerative brakes recharge the hybrid battery when you decelerate the car. The Chevy Malibu Hybrid earns praise for its regenerative brakes, which don’t feel as grabby as its rivals.

  • "With its slightly longer wheelbase and larger dimensions, the Prius V in some respects is actually smoother than the smaller model on which it was based." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The 2016 Toyota Prius V's ride quality is remarkably smooth and comfortable around town as well as on the highway. It's an easy car to drive and should keep green-oriented owners quite satisfied. But the Prius' handling limits are low and the steering effort is very light and relays minimal information to the driver on how the car is connecting to the road." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • The regenerative brakes may feel odd if you're not familiar with the inconsistent responses of these systems, but we got used to them and we're sure you will, too." -- AutoTrader (2014)

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