Join Date: Apr 2011
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Second Prius model grows in size to expand hybridís mainstream appeal
Having achieved mainstream recognition and appeal, whatís holding the Prius back from greater success is no longer whatís under the hood, or the carís perception by consumers, but the packaging itís wrapped in. Over the years the car has grown and features have been added in an effort to expand its market appeal. But thereís only so far a small sedan can go to please everyone.
Having experimented with some dedicated hybrids in its Lexus line, it seems even Toyota has come to the realization that the Prius name is the only one in the segment with any brand equity. So when the idea came to grow Toyotaís dedicated hybrid lineup, the Prius family was born.
Enter the Prius v; the second of what will eventually be a four car family of dedicated hybrids. That little ďvĒ (lower case and italics) tacked on the end is rather obnoxious. Known as the Priusa (a for Alpha) in Japan and the Prius + in Europe, it doesnít really matter if you call it a station wagon, avant or touring. As long as itís called a Prius, itís almost guaranteed to be a success.
But letís not get ahead of ourselves. Before its crowned as a must buy, we should first examine if itís any good. And where better to start than with that pesky little v.
V STANDS FORÖ
The v, Toyota says, stands for versatility, all the more reason it should have at least been a capital as the Prius v does deliver a big increase in the amount of added space, despite some rather compact dimensions.
Still, it doesnít look much larger, nor does it drive that way, which is surprising when you look at the numbers. The rear cargo area has grown to 34.3 cu-ft (compared to 21.6 in the regular Prius) and thanks to rear seats than can be adjusted forward that space can actually grow to just over 40 cu-ft. Drop the seats and thereís a total of 67.3 cu ft when you need it, plus the passenger seat even folds flat so you can move some very long items.